Alexander's Column

Compromising positions

Mark Alexander · Aug. 17, 2001

It’s the season of “compromising positions” – with the two major international “peace processes,” in Israel and Ireland, failing.

In Israel, Palestinian suicide bombers struck again this week, with an especially vicious terrorist murder-explosion in Jerusalem, directed specifically at families with young children in a Sbarro Italian cafeteria, causing 15 deaths. Another bombing on Sunday wounded 15 Israelis.

Israel responded with brief armored incursions to destroy Palestinian security assets, leaving tanks positioned outside West Bank towns Bethlehem, Beit Sahur and Beit Jallah. Undercover agents also shot and killed a known terrorist planner in Hebron.

President Bush and administration members spoke softly, and drew no clear moral distinctions between intentional attacks on innocent noncombatants and defense against murderers. “My only point is the cycle of violence has got to end in order for any peace process to begin,” Mr. Bush commented on the continuing attacks and counterattacks between Israeli defenders and Palestinian instigators. (Shades of Bush(41).)

Secretary of State Colin Powell also reduced Israel’s efforts to defend itself from Palestinian terror with a soliloquy on the “cycle of violence,” a phrase introduced into the lexicon of international relations by Bill Clinton’s principal architect of appeasement, Dennis Ross. National Security Council spokesman Sean McCormack went further to suggest Israel is responsible for the attacks: “Israeli incursions into Palestinian territory are provocative and undermine efforts to create an atmosphere of calm.”

Security analyst Frank J. Gaffney observed of the deteriorating situation, “Worse yet, if the Bush Administration persists in treating with moral equivalence terrorist attacks on Israeli civilians and Israel’s generally restrained defensive responses to such actions – the ineluctable effect of equally condemning these two very different things by characterizing them as part of ‘the cycle of violence’ – it will convey a portentous impression: The United States is more interested in being an ‘honest broker’ than Israel’s ally.”

We note that “peace processes” necessarily involve “compromising positions,” as they are applications of internationalism through pressured negotiations. The phrase “peace process” is a term of art coined by diplo-babblers to prejudice evaluations of the actual accomplishments from negotiations. We further note that the term for the only 100% guaranteed “peace process” is far simpler – war. Only after a decisive victory, and wisely shepherded surrender conditions, is true and lasting peace achieved. Peace, like liberty, can only be attained through acts of self-reliance, with real peace coming only once former enemies themselves decide to quit warring. International pressure cannot suffice – and indeed invariably makes enmities worse.

To admit reality, Israel is in a low-grade state of war with the Palestinians, and the Middle East situation is assuredly volatile these days. Moreover, as we alerted readers not long ago, Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein has moved some troops toward the Jordanian border, and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has announced he might send soldiers from his 3rd Armored Division into the Sinai Peninsula, in violation of the 1979 Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty.

Memo to Secretary of State Colin Powell: You might want to brush off your copy of the “Powell Doctrine” and revisit it with the Israelis. You wrote, “Have a clear political objective and stick to it. Use all the force necessary and do not apologize for going in big, if that is what it takes. Decisive force ends wars quickly and in the long run saves lives.”

And in Ireland, the Irish Republican Army announced with great flourish and fanfare yet another promised plan to disarm – only to turn around and promptly withdraw the offer after Protestant Ulster Unionists rejected the plan as just another empty promise. Although the British Parliament suspended the Protestant-Catholic Irish home-rule Assembly in a stalling tactic to preserve ongoing negotiations, the outlook remains poor.

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