Current Comment

A Shameless Bribe

The Middle East peace process has become a sacred cow for American diplomats. To flatter their own sense of importance, they believe that no peace will be achieved without U.S. involvement, conveniently forgetting that the 1993 Oslo Accords were mediated by Norwegians and only blessed by the United States. The bribe offered last week by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shows the craven collapse of U.S. diplomatic judgment.

The deal offered the Israelis more than 20 F-35 fighters, a package worth in excess of $3 billion, in return for a 90-day renewal of the Israeli moratorium on settlement expansion on the West Bank. The moratorium is intended to induce Palestinians to rejoin bilateral talks. A bad deal, you say? There’s more. The moratorium would not cover East Jerusalem, the area currently in hot contention, and past Israeli moratoriums have been riddled with loopholes. Worse, the United States has agreed to block U.N. initiatives unfavorable to Israel, including approval of a possible unilateral declaration of Palestinian independence. That would close out the one remaining option available if bilateral negotiations fail. What the United States has bought, if the Israeli cabinet accepts the deal, is not time for negotiation but rather a one-sided settlement dictated by the Israelis, unacceptable to the Palestinians and guaranteed to ensure protracted conflict.

Advertisement

Karzai Might Be Right

In Kandahar, NATO officials say they are routing the Taliban. Special Operations units have killed 339 mid-level Taliban commanders and 949 foot soldiers in the past three months. Meanwhile, 57 Americans died.

During the Vietnam War, Defense Secretary Robert McNamara employed the term body count to argue that because the United States was killing more enemy soldiers than the enemy killed Americans, “we” were winning the war. But while 57,000 Americans and three million Vietnamese were killed, the United States still lost the war.

Today, in Taliban-controlled Chak, outside Kabul, the almost-nightly helicopter raids by special forces have killed dozens of local citizens, and thousands march at their funerals chanting, “Death to America.” Afghanistan’s President Karzai has recommended ending the raids.

Unless our government wants to revert to another failed Vietnam strategy, it should listen to Mr. Karzai. He might be right.

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
LaRue Withers
7 years 1 month ago
"The bribe offered last week by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shows the craven collapse of U.S. diplomatic judgment."

You have got to be kidding.  We have been "bribing" Israel (and everyone else) for as long as I can remember any dealings with them.  As far as the Oslo accord is concerned, if I am correct, isn't that the one in which Israel agreed to stop building new settlements.  Doesn't seem to me that they very often respect their part of the "bargains."  People are only as good as their word(s). 

Remember "arms for hostages?"

Advertisement

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

 Pope Francis and Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski stand outside the presidential palace in Lima, Peru, Jan.19.(CNS photo//Mariana Bazo, Reuters)
“The degradation of the environment...cannot be separated from the moral degradation of our communities.”
Gerard O’ConnellJanuary 20, 2018
The U.S. bishops had an unusually busy year issuing positive and negative statements about the new president, but some hoped for more decisive action against his policies.
Michael J. O’LoughlinJanuary 19, 2018
Transgender patients “need to know they are welcome and they will not be looked down upon” if they come to Catholic institutions seeking treatment, says Sister Carol Keehan.
Kevin ClarkeJanuary 19, 2018
Francis is the first pope to come to the Amazon region, and he insisted that his first event and major speech of his visit to Peru should be to this place.
Gerard O’ConnellJanuary 19, 2018