Friday, December 4, 2009

EU Opens the Door to More Mideast Violence.

 by Eric Trager

Next week, European Union foreign ministers will meet to discuss a draft document that calls for a Palestinian state along the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital.

If approved, this resolution will mark the latest failure of President Barack Obama's remarkably sloppy Middle East policy. After all, American leadership in brokering peace – or attempting to broker it – has been a cornerstone of international consensus regarding the Arab-Israeli conflict for over four decades. Even the Bush administration – which was routinely (and unfairly) lambasted for "waiting too long" to promote Israeli-Palestinian peace – managed to bolster American diplomatic preeminence in this sphere by drafting the Roadmap and assembling the "Quartet" as its sponsor. But with the EU breaking off from the Quartet and developing its own set of policies regarding the conflict, America's leadership on this issue is severely in doubt.

It is worth emphasizing that Washington's longtime involvement in managing the Middle East conflict is as much about showcasing American diplomatic strength as it is about minimizing violence between the two sides. For this reason, the sudden shift in the diplomatic environment is likely to have devastating results. With the EU recognizing Palestinian claims along the 1967 borders – including to lands on which Israeli settlements stand – it is giving Palestinian terrorist organizations the ultimate excuse for attacking. Essentially, these groups would argue that they are fighting to end the occupation of their now-internationally recognized state, and the newfound legitimacy of their violence would encourage it.

These developments – and the extent to which they anticipate renewed hostilities – should give pause to those who doubt the relevance of American primacy to preserving international order. President Obama is one of these doubters.


Eric Trager
Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.


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