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framework Demichelis, researcher Marie Curie at the University of Navarra's Institute for Culture and Society

The Failure of U.S. Policy in the Middle East

Following the advertisement of the transfer of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, the author criticizes Washington's policy regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Wed, 27 Dec 2017 01:55:00 +0000 Published in El Español

The decline of US foreign policy has not started now, in the Trump era. It is the latest step in a shocking series of episodes that began after the ideological victory of the US against the Soviet enemy during the Cold War. This hyperpower has been completely incapable of leadership, of vision.

This inability is related to the geography of the Middle East, one of the most problematic regions in the world, which has not been able to change after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. This event had no impact on this area for local reasons, but also because of the West's inability to shape a genuine democratic foreign policy.

The success of the neoliberal Thatcher-Reagan dual policy has historically failed to develop economic-democratic ties, while, on the contrary, it has been particularly effective in preserving long-lasting autocratic regimes.

Anyway, the final step of Jerusalem not only highlights the inability of the US to be a real peacemaker or moderator in the historical discussion over the Holy Land. Although, to be honest, it had never assumed a real middle figure: already during the Clinton era, while a peace agreement was being built in the 1990s, the facts evidenced the inability of the US to stop the colonization of the West Bank.

With George W. Bush's policy in the region after 9/11, the US action provoked an isolationist perspective on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; it not only highlighted Washington's lack of commitment, but also a specific will not to intervene in the discussion. In any case, the US foreign policy narrative remained linked to the two-state solution, but the difficulties of making it possible with the presence of half a million settlers in the occupied territories were confirmed.

In parallel, all Arab countries historically committed to the peace process - Egypt and Jordan in particular - began to view US policy on this issue with increasing suspicion. Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice, as Secretaries of State, maintained their willful inability to interfere in Israel's internal politics, particularly when the Jerusalem municipality executed the expropriation of Palestinian homes on the east side of the Holy City.

In any case, the most unexpected surprise came from Obama's foreign policy, award Nobel Peace Prize in 2009. Although he proclaimed that he disapproved of the previous Republican administration's Middle East policy, he failed to take significant steps in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to stop the settlement of the West Bank. In this case, the responsibility of the Democratic party is particularly considerable, even if it is known that during Obama's double mandate, the Tel Aviv-Washington relationship reached its lowest Degree of reciprocal understanding.

Trump's final statement, at a stage when the risk of impeachment is approaching, underlines the lack of ideas and perspectives of US foreign policy today, both with regard to this long-running topic and to most of the threats to the security of world peace: North Korea, the environmental problem, the Syrian-Iraqi conflict. Its lack of credibility becomes even more evident in relation to Trump's presidential campaign slogan: "Make America great again", as was Obama's "Yes, we can". But, of course, a presidential campaign slogan should only seem realistic for a limited period of time, shouldn't it?

But there was a time when U.S. foreign policy on this area was completely different. committee After the end of World War I, Wilson's 14 points led to the creation of the King-Crane Commission, an academic research plenipotentiary on the Middle East that as early as 1919 was able to describe the clear difficulties that could have erupted if Zionist emigration policy had not been curtailed in the following decades.

At that time, old Europe and Great Britain in particular were still able to preserve their interests in the region, while the USA, a new world power, entered the war as early as 1917. Today the status is completely different. Unfortunately, the narrative continues to be trivialized by the Western world's inability to find an equitable solution, starting with the two-state propaganda. To be honest, this solution should not be put on the table anymore because it is impossible to realize it, so it is impossible to reconsider it.

There is no more space in the West Bank for a Palestinian state, its colonization eradicated the possibility: more than half a million settlers have been piling up since the seventies and the issue increasing in the nineties, with the silence of all the actors of the peace process. The politicians, the Secretaries of State responsible for the foreign policy of the European Union who continue to talk about this possibility are either excessively ignorant about the topic or they are lying. Neither side of the conflict deserves this diplomatic behavior.

The only possible result at this point is the one-state solution, but the maturity to achieve it is still far away. Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu, former US President Carter and many others defined Israel as an apartheid regime. As history makes clear, apartheid regimes have a time limit. It is to be hoped that in this case, this end time will not imply a new war in the region because, as in the past, the responsibilities of the West would again be disastrous.