Back to Index

Middle East crack down on Sharon??



Paul Simon explains why the US does not "crack down on Sharon": "Maybe because the US government doesn't have as much power and authority as everyone thinks. Sharon is the chosen leader of his sovereign state, but even leaving ethics aside, maybe the US just doesn't have the clout to make heads of state elsewhere dance to its tune? Ask the same Europeans who suggest we "crack down" on Sharon if it is OK if we 'crack down' on Berlusconi or Chirac or Blair? Does the US really have either the authority or the might to 'crack down' on every head of state we have a disagreement with? Even if we did, would it be sound policy? I think there are a lot of 'no's' as answers to the above.

My favorite story about the myth versus the reality of US power. When I served in South Korea, those out of power, many student groups, and some newspapers constantly ascribed events to some US plot. We allegedly forced their foreign policy upon them, ordered the ROK military to shoot civilians at times past, engineered coups, etc. The reality was that the US did not have the combination of authority and will to open the ROK market to US citrus exports.

Moral: There is a big difference between being a sperpower and being omnipotent".

My comment: I agree that complaints by students and others in foreign countries about US policies are often silly. I told you about a Latin American who quit WAIS because I would not agree that all of Latin America`s woes are the fault of the US. However, some complaints are justified. A difference between Sharon and Hitler is that Sharon is repugnant, Hitler grotesque. Sharon is the chosen leader of his sovereign state? Hitler won an election and thus was the chosen leader (Führer!!) of a sovereign state. Like Sharon in Palestine territory, he found a pretext to attack Czechoslovakia. When I was in Nazi Germany, the walls were plastered with maps showing planes taking off from Czechoslovakia to bomb the poor Germans. Hitler had to invade Czechoslovakia to protect the Germans of Sudetenland.

The idea that Berlusconi, Chirac or Blair would do something similar is fantasy. If they did, the rest of the EU would crack down hard. The fact is that the US policy on the Middle East is not as balanced as that of the EU. This is natural, since the US, not the EU, is the target of terrorist attachs. These attacks are the result of US strong support for Israel. If the US had foreseen what this would lead to (as could an informed observer), it would have hesitated before recognizing Israel. Hindsight may be easy, bot foresight is needed in international affairs.

Ronald Hilton - 4/5/02


Webmaster