Last June, during a NATO summit in Istanbul, President George W. Bush blamed the dictatorial rulers of the Arab world and their supporters for the culture of extremism that engenders terrorism and hatred of the West.
Bush said, "In the last 60 years, many in the West have added to this [state of affairs] by excusing tyranny in the region, hoping to purchase stability at the price of liberty. But it did not serve the people of the Middle East to betray their hope of freedom and it has not made Western nations more secure to ignore the cycle of dictatorship and extremism."
The fact that, in the midst of a reelection campaign in which he was being pilloried for alienating Europe and Turkey by invading Iraq, Bush stood in front of his erstwhile NATO allies and essentially told them they were advancing the cause of terror, speaks volumes for the president's seriousness in pursuing his strategy of victory through the democratization of the Arab world.
The European reactions to Bush's speech were highly suggestive. French President Jacques Chirac sent his new foreign minister, Michel Barnier, to pay his first visit to PLO chieftain Yasser Arafat and spend the night in his Ramallah compound. British Prime Minister Tony Blair stood next to Bush at a news conference and conflated Bush's Greater Middle East Initiative of spreading democracy regionally with establishing a Palestinian state.
The question of how Palestinian statehood fits into the Bush Doctrine of democratization has always been a nagging one. The president's central premise is that the endemic wars and terrorism in the region are the consequence of repressive regimes that prefer their people be raised on a diet of extremism and hatred under tyrannical governments than be educated in moderation and modernity under free governments. Rejection of Israel's right to exist by the Arabs who need Israel (and America) as their external enemy in order to justify the failure of their own leaders to advance their peoples is, by the reasoning of the Bush Doctrine, the central cause of the Arab-Israeli conflict.
On the other hand, the idea that there must be a "two-state solution" in which a Palestinian state ? empty of Jews at its inception ? is created in Judea, Samaria, Gaza and Jerusalem comes in response to a completely different set of operating assumptions. These assumptions are not American, but European. According to them, the cause of wars and Arab terrorism is not Arab tyranny and religious extremism but a lack of Palestinian sovereignty. The Arab conflict with Israel, according to this view, will be resolved when a "viable and contiguous Palestinian state" is founded in a Jew-free Judea, Samaria, Gaza and Jerusalem.
Caroline B. Glick is the senior Middle East fellow at the Center for Security Policy in Washington, D.C., and the deputy managing editor of The Jerusalem Post, where this article first appeared.
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