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Jewish World Review March 29, 1999 /12 Nissan 5759

Mona Charen

Mona Charen
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Foreign-policy meltdown

(JWR) ---- (
PRESIDENT CLINTON'S FOREIGN POLICY can best be described as a game of "think fast," the children's prank in which the player doesn't know a ball is headed for his face until he hears those words. At such a moment, reflex reaction is the only option.

Clinton has responded to a series of foreign-policy challenges not by deliberate strategies or policies but by quick improvisation. North Koreans are building thermonuclear weapons? Let's build them some nuclear reactors in return for a promise to stop.

Saddam Hussein is engaged in a long-term effort to acquire nuclear, chemical and biological weapons? Warn him each time we find new evidence. Intone that we regard this very seriously. And bomb Baghdad from time to time when our policy of "containment" is most conspicuously failing (or when scandal timing at home dictates a foreign distraction).

The Middle East is roiling? Demand that Israel ignore Palestinian failure to comply with previous accords, and lean heavily on it to sign new accords. America's cry-wolf policy toward Slobodan Milosevic has now borne bitter fruit. After threatening force so often that the Serbs could confidently ignore him, the president has boxed himself and NATO into a situation in which military force is inescapable.

Meanwhile, Bill Clinton travels the world issuing apologies for the foreign policies of his predecessors, many of which contrast sharply with Clinton's -- they yielded success.

The outcome of America's involvement in Kosovo is not yet apparent. But let's check in on the Middle East, an area to which the president applied a great deal of his "personal diplomacy," including a personal visit.

The Wye River Accords were intended to keep the Oslo process going despite clear evidence that the Palestinians were either unable or unwilling to live up to their side of the bargain. Despite signing numerous pieces of paper promising to make changes, the Palestinian Authority simply could not bring itself to reduce its "security forces" down to 30,000, to confiscate weapons from irregular forces, to lock up those who commit murder and other terrorist acts against Israelis, to abjure violence as a means to political ends, and to refrain from inciting the Palestinian citizenry to violence.

If the Palestinian people are not willing to eschew violence in their conflict with the Israelis and submit all disputes to negotiation, as Oslo contemplates, it is difficult to see how anyone can describe the process as one of "peace."

Yet even a cursory review of Palestinian newspapers and broadcasts reveals an attitude of mind that sounds far more warlike than peace-loving. Employing a time-honored Arab technique in dealing with Israelis, members of the Palestinian Authority continue to make distinctions between "innocents" and others. By these lights, Israelis, all of whom are seen as illegitimate interlopers on Palestinian land, cannot be considered innocent.

At a recent literary awards ceremony sponsored by Yasser Arafat, Othman Abu Gharbiya, a member of the Palestinian National Guidance Directorate, told the audience, "They (the Israelis) talk about our incitement and want to kill our people's spirit and erase our heritage, our truths, our history and our people. ... We understand incitement as meaning a call to violence against innocents (only) but not against others. ... We are right to believe that the rifle is a means of life and not death."

In the Palestinian Islamic Jihad Weekly, a writer named Al-Istiqlal explains the nature of Jews to his readership: "The nature of the Jews is reflected in their hostile behavior. They were made of treachery and deceit and were marked by perfidy and treason. They rebelled against God's orders in evil and fornication and often unjustly killed prophets. They stole people's fortunes in false claims ... " And so on.

Palestinian newspapers routinely celebrate and lionize suicide bombers and other terrorists. They scoff at the idea of true peace between Arab and Jew and speak only of strategic objectives (the eventual abolition of Israel) that may be achieved piecemeal (for example, through peace agreements).

This administration cares far more for the peace process than it does for peace. The result will be neither.


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03/16/99: St. Hillary
03/10/99: Rodney King in perspective
03/08/99: Monica's story: No morals
03/04/99: Not home but library alone:
3/02/99: Tuning our racial sensitivities
2/27/99: Cease-fire in war between sexes?
2/23/99: Where were the religious voices?
2/19/99: Depends what you mean by "acting"
2/17/99: As Minn., goes so goes the nation?
2/09/99: Prepare for post-impeachment spin
2/03/99: Teaching morality
2/01/99: What did he say?
1/26/99: The truth about the Peace Process
1/22/99: The vulgar decade
1/19/99: Was Jefferson libeled by DNA?
1/13/99: The backlash picks up speed
1/11/99: Who invented politics of personal destruction?
1/07/99: Shall we dance?
1/05/99: Try him!
12/30/98: The price of virtue
12/28/98: The gift of giving
12/22/98: Party of shame, party of shamelessness
12/18/98: Wag the country
12/16/98: Is this impeachment constitutional?
12/14/98: Republicans find courage
12/09/98: Nappy Hair and other racial slurs
12/07/98: Stranger in a strange land
12/02/98: Dangerous ground
11/30/98: Involuntary fatherhood?
11/24/98: Lies, damned lies, and sex lies
11/18/98: Another victory for cowardice
11/16/98: Separatism plus welfarism equals a dead end
11/10/98: Did conservatism lose campaign '98?
11/06/98: Democrat venality, Republican timidity
11/04/98: Are girls being shortchanged?
11/02/98: Believe the children?
10/28/98: What 'Measure 58' would do
10/26/98: The officers are bailing out
10/20/98: Using Matthew Shepard's murder
10/19/98: The school voucher that saved a family
10/14/98: Are powerful women different?
10/09/98: Can just sex be impeachable?
10/07/98: Repeal Miranda
10/02/98: Understanding the polls
10/01/98: What school texts teach about marriage
9/28/98: Fear of choice
9/23/98: A fork in the road: Bubba's fate and ours
9/18/98: Christianity and the Holocaust
9/16/98: The national dirty joke
9/11/98: Are we in crisis?
9/09/98: Does Burton's sin let Clinton off the hook?
9/07/98: Liar's Poker
9/01/98: One, two, three
8/28/98: Fat and folly
8/25/98: When homework is a dirty word
8/21/98: The unravelling
8/18/98: The wages of dishonesty
8/17/98: Sex, honor and the presidency
8/12/98: Pro-choice extremist
8/10/98: Switch illuminates biology's role
8/05/98: The presumption of innocence and the American way
8/03/98: An American hero
7/29/98: Lock up those who need psychiatric care
7/24/98: Making the military more like us
7/22/98: The 'Net sex hoax... and us
7/20/98: Disappointed by Cosbys
7/15/98: Feelings, not morality, rule
7/10/98: Guns as the solution?
7/8/98: Teacher preacher
7/6/98: The China behind the headlines
7/1/98: What is the First Amendment for?
6/26/98: The Republican city
6/24/98: Poison pen
6/22/98: Clinton: inventing his own reality?
6/16/98: Senator mom?
6/12/98: Wisconsin: a trail blazer?
6/9/98: These girls say no to sex, yes to excellence
6/5/98: Lewinsky's ex-lawyer would feel right at home as Springer guest
6/2/98: English? Si; Republican? No!
5/29/98: The truth about women and work
5/27/98: Romance in the '90s
5/25/98:Taxing smokers for fun and profit
5/19/98: China's friend in the White House
5/15/98: Look out feminists: here comes the true backlash
5/12/98: The war process?
5/8/98: Where's daddy?
5/5/98: The joys of boys
5/1/98: Republicans move on education reform
4/28/98: Reagan was right
4/24/98: The key to Pol Pot
4/21/98: The patriot's channel
4/19/98: Child-care day can't replace mom
4/15/98: Tax time
4/10/98: Armey states obvious, gets clobbered
4/7/98: A nation complacent?
4/1/98: Bill Clinton's African adventure
3/27/98: Understanding Arkansas
3/24/98: Jerry Springer's America
3/20/98: A small step for persecuted minorities
3/17/98: Skeletons in every closet?
3/13/98: Clinton's idea of a fine judge
3/10/98: Better than nothing?
3/6/98: Of fingernails and freedom
3/3/98: Read JWR! :0)
2/27/98: Dumb and Dumber
2/24/98: Reagan reduced poverty more than Clinton
2/20/98: Rally Round the United Nations?
2/17/98: In Denial
2/13/98: Reconsidering Theism
2/10/98: Waiting for the facts?
2/8/98: Cat got the GOP's tongue?
2/2/98: Does America care about immorality?
1/30/98: How to judge Clinton's denials
1/27/98: What If It's Just the Sex?
1/23/98: Bill Clinton, Acting Guilty
1/20/98: Arafat and the Holocaust Museum
1/16/98: Child Care or Feminist Agenda?
1/13/98: What We Really Think of Abortion
1/9/98: The Dead Era of Budget Deficits Rises Again?
1/6/98: "Understandable" Murder and Child Custody
1/2/98: Majoring in Sex
12/30/97: The Spirit of Kwanzaa
12/26/97: Food fights (Games children play)
12/23/97: Does Clinton's race panel listen to facts?
12/19/97: Welcome to the Judgeocracy, where the law school elite overrules majority rule
12/16/97: Do America's Jews support Netanyahu?

©1999, Creators Syndicate