The Foreign Service Journal, November 2011

put a stop to that perennial dispute. It has already wasted toomany lives, taken up too much of our attention, and con- sumed resources that could have helped move the area forward. It has been too much of a distraction. The expression “confidence-build- ing measures” has a fantastical, even cynical air of unreality to it, at least as applied in theMiddle East. The so-called “peace process,” has proven to be little more than a diplomatic perpetual- motion machine. It provides excuses for all to keep things on hold. Between Arab anti-Semitism, and Jewish fear of Arab revanchism, no agreement is likely to be reached or to hold unless we take a strong hand. To us and to many other friends of the region, the out- lines of a settlement are pretty clear: they would resemble the Camp David proto-accords. There would be a Pales- tinian state committed to living in peace with Israel; Israel’s West Bank settlements—a bone in the throat to any peace effort — would be dismantled. There would be security guarantees for both Israel and the Palestinians. As a corol- lary to any agreement, there should be measures in place to monitor the sort of Palestinian state that would emerge; one Taliban-dominated state has been enough. We should work hard to enlist the association and support of our Western allies in this effort. But we should not get bogged down in details. We should ignore and bypass those who would slow our peace efforts by reviving objections drawn from over 50 years of failed peacemaking. It has been my experience that when the United States makes it clear to all the world that we are utterly determined that something must be done, reality tends to rearrange itself in a complaisant pattern. Once we do, Arab and Israeli leaders could turn to their popu- lations, and say with a shrug, “What could I do against the might and desire of the United States?” Third, our foreign policy should more forcefully and consistently reflect America’s ideals. When Secretary of State Colin Powell eloquently denounced the Taliban’s op- pression of women, was I the only listener to think he would have made just as much sense if he’d said “Saudi,” whenever “Afghan” was mentioned? Our government wants, it says, to reachMuslims’ hearts and minds, to reach “the Street.” But how to do it? There is a lesson for us in the political landscape of the Middle East. Where governments are friendly to us, we are often unpopular with “the Street.” And vice versa. The rea- son may be that in one case we are seen as a government, as an accomplice to the unpopular local power, while in the other we are viewed as a liberating civilization. American “exceptionalism” has never been more clearly demonstrated than after the events of Sept. 11, and our victory in Afghanistan. We stand unique in world history, virtually unconstrained by traditional considera- tions of the balance of power. For the moment, we face no credible adversary. We are therefore free to make fuller use of the source of our strength and our appeal. Yet, in Reinhold Niebuhr’s words, “We should be hum- ble hawks.” We should seize this millenarian moment, and work for an international community that better reflects our ideals, which are neither of the East nor of the West, and whose appeal transcends most cultures. U.S. - I S L A M R E L A T I O N S 42 F O R E I G N S E R V I C E J O U R N A L / N O V E M B E R 2 0 1 1 Our foreign policy should more forcefully and consistently reflect America’s ideals. AFSA Resource Marketplace Find the Most-Requested Resources from the Overseas Briefing Center Online at 1. FSI’s Transition Center 2. U.S. Department of State Overseas Briefing Center (OBC) 3. Security Overseas Seminars: PSOS, ASOS, SAA, SOS, SOS 4. Transition Center Training home page for eligible family members and members of household (MOH) 5. International Jobs - Working Overseas 6. Country Information (Bidding Resources) 7. Transition Center Courses 8. Preparing to Go Overseas 9. Pets and International Travel 10. Foreign Service Assignment Notebook: What Do I Do Now? 11. U.S. Department of State Career Transition Center (CTC) 12. Personal Post Insights 13. Elementary School Stuff 14. Arrange Medical Clearance and Immunizations 15. High Stress Assignment Outbrief Program