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U.S. Foreign Policy and the Middle East

By Syed Mahmood

“Every action has an equal and opposite reaction,” is the third law of motion says Physicist Sir Isaac Newton.

The basic objective of the successful Foreign Policy (FP) of a country is to improve her image and promote friendly relationships with other nations and powers. It also provides security for their citizens. Maintaining equilibrium is a barometer to judge a sound foreign policy strategy.

Since the creation of Israel in 1948, the United States foreign policy in the Middle East is predominantly influenced by Jewish Americans in collaboration with the Israeli Government. The US administration, congress and media are facing constant intimidation by the Israeli lobby.

Due to the unfair FP in the Middle East, The United States relationship with the Muslim World has reached the point of no return. A superficial alliance with corrupt rulers of the Muslim World is not going to take us anywhere; we need to win the hearts and minds of the people. Since 1967, the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands, the impotency of US foreign policy and the war in Iraq and Afghanistan has radicalized a large number of the younger generation in the Muslim World.

Former President George W. Bush’s reckless FP has also contributed to inflame the anti- American feelings around the Globe. Americans have paid a heavy price in terms of life and international relations.

The general public in the Muslim World wonders how a super power, the United States; promoting democracy, human rights, freedom, justice and liberty for all, cannot help to implement justice for the Palestinian men, women and children. The recent onslaught on Palestinians by the Israelis using American bombs, tanks and fighter jets against civilians. Under the eyes of the whole World, President George W. Bush, even until the last moment of his presidency, did not stop the blood bath of Palestinian children and women. He encouraged the Israelis to inflict more devastation for the Gazans.

Killing innocent Israelis or Palestinians both are criminal acts. Blockading the 1.5 million population of Gaza is an act of crime against humanity. Not allowing food, medicine and trying to choke their economy is an act of genocide.

Barak Obama’s Presidency offers Americans an opportunity to take a new look and evaluate the results of our previous foreign policy strategies.

What have we gained and what have we lost? Where are we today? Are we living in a peaceful world? If not, why not? Where did we go wrong? Did we make any progress on the so-called “War on Terror”? Did our foreign policy provide security for our citizens around the World?  What lessons, have we learned from the war in Afghanistan and Iraq? Are we succeeding, or have we made a bigger mess? Why did the mightiest military power of our time, lose her grip on international affairs? These questions were afraid to be asked.

The most important ingredient for a just FP is the courage of a leader. Morality should be the only basis for a sound FP, not the national interest and balance of power. Any international order that does not have regards for justice is bound to fail.  A shared ideology of justice could be a strong cause for the success of it.

This shared sense of justice, collective security and balance of power reduces the temptation to use force. In the Middle East, the US pushed the balance of power in favor of Israel by providing technology, money and the most advanced fighting equipment.

Former Presidents Richard Nixon and Jimmy Carter have acknowledged in public the existence of Israel’s nuclear armaments.

President Obama’s administration has to create a balance of power and sense of justice in the Middle East. He has to show courage and determination to make tough decisions. In October 1956, just before his election, President Eisenhower warned Britain, France and Israel to abandon their invasion of Egypt.  He threatened Israel to impose sanctions. The invasion was abandoned.

A Saudi peace plan could be a good start. Land for peace. President Obama has to play the role of an honest broker. The Israeli occupation of Palestinian land should end in the next two years, otherwise there is going to be more bloodshed.

Seize the moment. Please make this world safer for our children and for the children of the Middle East. Let us not forget, “every action has an equal and opposite reaction.”     

Syed R. Mahmood is the founder president of the American Institute of International Studies. He was Republican candidate for 13th Congressional District in 2002.