Colin Powell’s Mid-East Mission: A Great Success. Here’s Why

Despite the punditry, the best thing imaginable happened this past week, Colin Powell’s visit to the Middle East. The US Secretary of State went to the troubled region to try to broker a cease fire, in a war where the screws on the pressure cooker have been tightened to the max and the burner is on full bore. There is about to be an explosion, and the United States, under constant pressure from the world felt we needed to step in and try to broker a cease fire deal.

First things first. It is naive to think that any cease fire could be negotiated when both sides are still primed for the fight. Historically cease fire agreements come after stalemates; it appears neither side has reached a point where they are ready to sue for peace in the form of a cease fire. There has to be a military victory for one side to truly submit and humble themselves to an oppressor (a title that both sides have used on the other), and it’s clear that neither side is even close to this.

The true gem of Mr. Powell’s excursion to the region is that he showed the world, without a doubt, that Yassir Arafat has no interest in peace. As a career instigator, his job security lies in stirring the Palestinian people to riot-like frenzy where they sacrifice their children for his cause- maintaining power. Peace is the furthest thing from Mr. Arafat’s mind. In a cunning move, the Bush Administration appeased the world’s elite and seemingly heeded calls to get involved. It looked like the best intentions were going to be served. From the view of the world’s media, who is overwhelmingly pro-Arab and pro-Palestinian, it looked like a great opportunity to sling some mud at the US. Not the case.

This is what happened. Colin Powell, at the direction of his boss, was to show the world a clear demonstration of Mr. Arafat’s intentions- that is to drag out the conflict for all it is worth. Exiting the stage and letting the world come to the conclusion that the Israelis came to years ago, Washington was able to toss the ball to the Palestinians, as if saying, “when you’re ready for peace, bypass Yassir Arafat and we’ll help you with statehood”. In a news conference yesterday, Mr. Arafat was furious that Mr. Powell did not hang around to listen to his ranting on the media’s soapbox. He was visibly shaking in anger as the absence of Colin Powell, tacitly supported the Israeli conclusion, from last December- that the terrorist in sheep’s clothing is “irrelevant”. George Bush was shrewd to let the global media elite do his work for him.

The second benefit of Mr. Powell’s trip was showing that the heads of state in the region are hopelessly anti-Israel. King Mohammed VI’s cool reception towards offering Mr. Arafat exile in his country simply expressed that he would like to see the conflict continue. The rhetoric flowing from Middle Eastern capitols is hardly promoting any type of peace in the area. If the US had stayed home, Yassir Arafat and his coalition of dictators would have looked like heroes as they called for peace on one hand and supported terrorism on the other.

By calling for the United States to get involved in the deadlock, the European elite stated, in essence, their inability to have any leverage in the matter. The liberal countries of the European Union are more dependent on oil from the region than the United States is. They have no choice but to reprimand Israel for actions in self defense. If they were to criticize the Arab nations for their continued support of terror, both verbal and economic, the effects would be disastrous. The post modern countries of Europe can neither defend themselves militarily or at the table diplomatically.

Washington’s message to the region is clear. To the Palestinians: if you want your own state, start playing ball at the peace table, and you just might get statehood. To Israel: we too, recognize Yassir Arafat’s irrelevance, and we’ll stay quiet because we understand that current affairs wish to promote two ideals- death and anarchy.

Stephen A. McDonald

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