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The Obama administration’s sober policy

Mar 06,2014 - Last updated at Mar 06,2014

Unlike those who believe in dramatic solutions and sheer power, many in our region appreciate the Obama administration’s current approach to the region’s problems.

Sober policies should always prevail over sombre politics.

Diplomacy must come before militancy, because diplomacy guarantees better results and is less costly to all. Militancy, on the other hand, should be a last resort, left to the very bitter end.

Those — like rash US Senator John McCain who treats the Middle East as if it were America’s backyard and is always actively working to escalate tensions and espousing militarism — are dead mistaken to think that a concerted American diplomatic effort is less appropriate than a militaristic one.

And they are also mistaken to think that people in our region see America as less powerful when it resorts to diplomacy.

In fact, it is the exact opposite: America gains appreciation and respect through diplomacy and hatred and repulsion through militarism.

And those like Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who, under the pretext of Israel’s security, want to invade and occupy other peoples’ lands whenever they wish are likewise mistaken to think that their aggressive, violent approaches are more effective than the Obama administration’s diplomacy approach.

The Obama administration’s assertive diplomacy with respect to the three major issues in the Middle East today is right, and it should be given the chance to succeed by all those who care about the security, peace and stability of countries in the region.

Regarding Iran, Israel’s intention to attack its nuclear facility is both a wrong and a destructive approach. 

Such strike will only escalate tension and violence in the region, isolate and radicalise Iran further and, in fact, endanger the security of both Israel and the neighbouring countries.

Engaging Iran diplomatically, and employing a regime of sanctions if need be, is the way to go. 

And we have already seen the fruits of such an approach: an Iran that is willing to open up its nuclear facilities to inspectors and open up to its neighbours.

It is in no one’s interest to antagonise and inflame the situation further with Iran.

As for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the Obama administration’s style is, again, correct.

The only way to achieve peace is to engage the parties to the conflict in serious, continuous, negotiations and to apply pressure to achieve the desired results.

The US administration has been doing exactly that, and in a concerted, active manner.

If we want anything at this level, it is to have the Obama administration exert more pressure on Israel, which is the occupier and which is not serious about peace.

The Palestinians, by contrast, are eager for a fair peaceful settlement and are negotiating in good faith.

With respect to Arab Spring countries, the Obama administration is also doing the right thing.

Interfering militarily or colonially is both wrong and counterproductive.

The peoples of these countries should be given full freedom to push for the right results.

All America can and should do is what it is doing at present: engage the parties diplomatically, not militarily, in order to reach stability, democracy and peace.

Even in Syria, military intervention — as we have learned from the situations in both Libya and Iraq — will be counterproductive.

Clearly, much is required from America at this point in time. And what we want are results on the ground. That is why we hold President Barack Obama to what he declared in his recent AIPAC speech: “A man is judged by his deeds, not his words.”

We only hope that the Obama administration maintains the focus and keeps up the pressure, through diplomatic means, for the purpose of seeing a more peaceful MENA region.

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