Tuesday, 11 May 2010

It ain't so easy no more...

There was a time not so long ago when many Arabs would wring their hands in the air and exclaim - "It's Palestine stupid." Of course, there were naysayers such as former Bush Administration official MS Doran who contested this thesis in his piece years ago in Foreign Affairs. Yet, there was an element of truth heading into the late 1990s that the Palestinian issue was a central driver of the hostility towards the United States. Unfortunately, U.S. policy towards the Palestinian issue became a seed that has given way to an inordinately complex tree that now constitutes the Islamized anti-American movement that exists within many Muslim countries. Today, as proximity talks are ongoing between Palestinians and Israelis, even the utmost optimism cannot account for the fact that even a resolution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict will not solve the myriad of other issues: instability in Pakistan, an insurgency in Afghanistan, fractious destabilization in Iraq, autocracy in the Middle East, a failed state in Somalia, a cultish worldwide jihadi movement and so on.

Yet, that should not mean that progress on the Palestinian issue will not serve as a tremendous boon to efforts to re-balance the violent global equation that has come to define U.S.-"Islam" relations. It will be one less -- and a significant one at that -- lever to be exploited by autocratic leaders, jihadi figures, and general contrarians. Most importantly, it will finally undermine the hypocrisy of fighting for freedom on one hand, and suppressing the self-determination of the last stateless people on Earth.

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