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Rich: I don’t think I was clear the first time around. The comparison would be if the Israeli government gave its imprimatur to unofficial efforts by, say, Ramsey Clark, Bill Clinton and/or Jimmy Carter in their foreign policy endeavors with, say, North Korea, Iraq and/or Cuba, even though they contravene official U.S. policy. According to the logic you set out, if the Israelis think that’s in their best interests, then so be it. If it undermines the president, that’s his problem. Interestingly, I know of no other instance in which the United States conducts foreign policy this way, do you? I suppose the exception, other than Israel, would be our efforts to topple hostile regimes. But that’s not this case, is it? In my opinion, it is not in America’s best interests to undermine allies, especially democratic allies. And Ramesh is right, although he’s not the first to say it, i.e, the best U.S. policy, at least for now, is to leave the Israelis to determine their own destiny, unless one believes that more land-for-peace deals are a matter of U.S. national interest. You’re not arguing that, are you?

Also, no one disputes that George Bush, not Ariel Sharon, represents U.S. interests. I don’t know that anyone has said otherwise. Certainly not me. So, why raise it at all? We’re talking about, or at least I am, how one ally conducts (or should conduct) foreign relations with another ally.



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