Water as a Strategic Flank -
Obviously, there remain aspects of President Clinton's discussions with Ehud Barak and Yasser Arafat which I do not know. That notwithstanding, I am nonetheless well situated to judge a more limited part of those negotiations. I focus here on what I do know with certainty: the specific nature of the President's awful strategic blunder of omission, in his stating publicly his relevant Middle East policy.
President Clinton has been, and presumably still is, an exceptionally intelligent fellow among our recently elected Presidents, and, in some respects, an unusually capable politician. On both counts, he has been the most intelligent, if certainly not the most effective President since John F. Kennedy. Among his failings, he lacks a competent approach to strategic thinking. He showed his best side in the Treaty of Westphalia-modelled "exit strategy" he had proposed for getting out of the 1999 Balkan war. Unfortunately, in that case, as in other instances, his inclination to be ineffective, was demonstrated by the way in which he abandoned his own exit strategy, once the bombing had ended.
In the matter of the Middle East peace negotiations, his potentially fatal strategic blunder ought to be obvious to any competent strategic thinker; it was obvious to me, and has been to numerous other senior specialists with relevant knowledge of the situation. Lest one might otherwise doubt that view, we have a taste of the threatened outcome of that strategic failure, in the subsequent recent political developments inside Israel itself.
However, despite the damage done, there is still the possibility of salvaging the situation, although, admittedly, the crippled intellects of either Vice-President Al Gore or Governor George W. Bush, like either Secretary of State Albright or Condoleezza Rice, would do their utmost to sabotage the President undertaking any sensible approach to that situation. This report presents that much-needed strategic option which dangerous fools like Bush and Gore would attempt to prevent.
Recent events have shown, once again, that the possibility of a peace within the domain of Israel and Palestine, is not a result which could be decided by the Israelis and Palestinians alone, nor even in simple concert with the President of the U.S.A. The issue lies, most immediately, in the hands of a large number of peoples and governments, covering the territory from the borders of Iran and Turkey, westward to the Atlantic coast of North Africa. That is to say, not only the Middle East, but the entirety of northern Africa.
In addition to the immediately interested parties of that combined Middle East and North Africa area, there are weighty influences from outside the domain of Arab and Hebrew-speaking nations, most notably those from the governments ruled by Her Britannic Majesty (most notably the U.K., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand) and political factions controlling the candidacies of both Governor Bush and Vice-President Gore inside the U.S.A. For these Anglo-American, outside meddlers, the Middle East exists only as a geopolitical pawn of both global petroleum interests and also the vast mineral resources of Central Asia. For these outside interests, the object is to keep the Middle East as inherently unstable as possible, to continue to serve the global geopoliticians as a perpetually unstable flank on the region of Turkey, Iran, Transcaucasia, and beyond.
Thus, to bring about a workable peace within the present territory of Israel and Palestine, these larger realities must be addressed directly, and with most efficient forcefulness. Otherwise, every time an outbreak of peace between Israel and the Palestinians is threatened, a powerful concert of outside forces will intervene to prevent that peace from coming about. There will be interventions by interested factions, for and against such a peace, from within the sweep of the region of the Middle East and North Africa; there will be more notable interventions from the indicated Anglo-American, "geopolitical" interests.
These have been the realities of the Middle East region, since the Napoleonic wars and the beginning of the British monarchy's interventions into the break-up of the otherwise self-doomed Ottoman Empire. These have been the geopolitical realities of the region since Britain's Admiral Fisher and the backers of Halford Mackinder added specific emphasis on the "geopolitics of petroleum."
In such a situation, every competent strategist recommends, "You must outflank these enemies." President Clinton, Ehud Barak, and Yasser Arafat were sitting in a foxhole called Camp David; there they sat and talked, while the Anglo-American geopoliticians were merrily dropping political mortar-shells and hand grenades into the foxhole at leisure. Without a suitable flanking strategy, President Clinton's efforts, whatever their merits otherwise, were doomed
During recent weeks, my associates and I have once again restated the desalination-based economic development program we first presented to relevant Arabs, Israelis, and others a quarter-century ago. Most notable such proffers have been the "Oasis Plan" presented nearly two decades ago, and our proposed inclusion of such development in both the "Productive Triangle" plan of 1989-1990 and the "Eurasian Land-Bridge" extension of the "Productive Triangle" plan, launched in 1992-1993.
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