Joe Gandleman reports that the former NYC mayor is breaking with President Bush's policy of a two-state solution in Israel/Palestine. Giuliani thinks creating a Palestinian state at this time is a bad idea:
“It is not in the interests of the United States, at a time when it is being threatened by Islamist terrorists, to assist the creation of another state that will support terrorism,” Giuliani wrote.
“Palestinian statehood will have to be earned through sustained good governance, a clear commitment to fighting terrorism, and a willingness to live in peace with Israel.”
Now, Joe sees this as an apparent distancing from President Bush. I don't agree. Yes, the President has said he supports a two-state solution, but about all he has really done is provide lip service to the idea. Unlike Bill Clinton and his own father, Bush has expended little political capital playing hardball with both sides to solve the situation. In my view, Giuliani is only saying what Bush and many neoconservatives are already thinking.
I think this is not a smart policy. Yes, it will please the hard core base, but it won't make us safer. For whatever reason, the Islamic terrorists use the Palestinian situation as an excuse for their hatred and because of our close relationship with Israel, we are guilty by association. I'm not a foreign policy expert, but I tend to believe that one of the ways we can fight terrorism is by "draining the swamp," or eliminating a reason for fanatics to drive planes into buildings.
Are the Palestinians innocent? No. But neither are the Israelis. This is the Middle East, where there is very little black and white and a whole lot of gray. We have to broker some deal that allows the Palestinians some sense of self-determination, and give the Israelis some sense of security. The United States has the power to bring these two sides together and work on some agreement.
The other thing that is troubling is Giuliani's lumping of the Palestinian issue with the War on Terror. He is partially right that the jihadists use the issue to justify their hate, but that doesn't mean that the two are arm in arm. It seems just as Bush wanted to lump Iraq into the wider War on Terror, Giuliani is doing the same.
Bush's policy has been all about might and Giuliani might give more of the same. Of course I want a president that is willing to call in the Marines and kick some butt if need be. However, I also want a President that has a policy that is smart as much as it is strong. I want a President that has all the military power behind them, but seeks ways to get things done without resorting to military action. (And when they do use the military, use it in a way that is smart)
It's high time for Republicans to develop a smart and strong policy on Terror and on this particular issue. We have had too much of dumb and strong.