The Bush Doctrine

Posted: December 1st, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: In the News, the US and us | Tags: , , , | Comments Off

Last week, Ehud Olmert paid his last visit to Washington as Prime Minister. There he met another unpopular politician on his last days in office – President George W. Bush.

The meeting itself was unimportant – unless both leaders discussed a surprise attack on Iran, which seems very unlikely – but it did reveal something about the president’s views, and the damage he is leaving behind him.

According to Aluf Benn’s report in Haaretz, Bush took the opportunity to criticize, yet again, Israel’s effort to reach a peace agreement with Syria (which will probably include a withdrawal from the occupied Golan Heights):

 WASHINGTON – U.S. President George Bush believes that Israel is offering Syria the Golan Heights without getting anything in return, according to sources briefed on his White House meeting with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert last week.

After Olmert updated Bush on Israel’s indirect talks with Syrian President Bashar Assad, the U.S. president demanded “Why do you want to give Assad the Golan for nothing?” sources say.

“It’s not for nothing,” Olmert insisted. “It’s in exchange for a change in the region’s strategic alignment.” Bush persisted: “Why should you believe him?” And to that, Olmert did not reply.

It is not the first time the Bush administration has opposed talks between the Israeli government and President Bashar Assad. Many Israelis think negotiating is the only way to distant the Syrians from Iran, but Bush obviously still sees Syria as part of the “Axis of Evil”, and thinks the only way to deal with it, is through the use of military and diplomatic force.

Whether a Republican or Democratic administration, in the past American presidents used to promote peace talks between Israel and its neighbors. As far as I can remember, it is the first time in recent history that the US has actually stood in Israel’s way to peace.

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