THE SPINE NOVEMBER 6, 2007
Hillary Clinton has laid out her foreign policy in the magazine Foreign Affairs. It is for sure that she did not write the article that appears under her name. This is probably true for all the writings attributed to political leaders who appear in this journal (and others), the tribute publishing pays to plagiarism.Still, it is for now the place you can get her take, and the take in which I am especially interested: the case of Israel and the Palestinians. After all, she is now the hard liner in the Democratic Party -- or, at least, the hard liner among the presidential hopefuls. Which makes me want to give her another look. In any case, I scrutinized the one paragraph in Foreign Affairs, and was completely mystified. What does she really believe? How does she see the hundred years war between the Jews and the Arabs? What has she absorbed from the lessons of the Palestinian negotiations with her husband and with the Israelis in 2000?Martin Kramer, a person I trust and over whose eyes no mask is ever drawn, has done a piece for the Jerusalem Post analyzing the dry mystification of Hillary's prose. The dry prose first:
Getting out of Iraq will enable us to play a constructive role in a
renewed Middle East peace process that would mean security and normal
relations for Israel and the Palestinians. The fundamental elements of
a final agreement have been clear since 2000: a Palestinian state in
Gaza and the West Bank in return for a declaration that the conflict is
over, recognition of Israel's right to exist, guarantees of Israeli
security, diplomatic recognition of Israel, and normalization of its
relations with Arab states. US diplomacy is critical in helping to
resolve this conflict. In addition to facilitating negotiations, we
must engage in regional diplomacy to gain Arab support for a
Palestinian leadership that is committed to peace and willing to engage
in a dialogue with the Israelis. Whether or not the United States makes
progress in helping to broker a final agreement, consistent US
involvement can lower the level of violence and restore our credibility
in the region.
And then he begins to parse it. This paragraph tells you exactly nothing about what she thinks and what she might do. I suppose this is how she has crafted her entire campaign. Remember the tiffs she got into in Philadelphia debate with her presidential rivals? Kramer writes:
The message is this: a Hillary administration would constantly busy
itself with Israeli-Palestinians talks, regardless of their prospects,
and would strive to avoid any appearance of partiality--toward Israel.
hyper-activism is made explicit in the promise of "consistent US
involvement," "whether or not the United States makes progress."
is exactly what the US did during the Clinton years, when Yasser Arafat
visited the White House 11 times, and met with President Clinton 24
times. Not only did this "consistent involvement" at the highest level
not produce any progress, it raised the expectations of Palestinians to
an absurd level, leaving them more intransigent and belligerent than
they were at the outset.
This is not reassuring.