Wednesday, May 07, 2008

On Israel's Birthday

Richard Holbrooke has an interesting article in today's Washington Post on the birth of Israel. Not only is he a foreign policy expert, he interviewed the key participants in the Truman administration decision to recognize Israel about the decision process. It is an interesting story of a major disagreement between Secretary of State Marshall (supported by a large number of State Department "realists") and the President (supported by Clark Clifford). I have read elsewhere that Truman was influenced by his own Christian theological beliefs in making his decision.

Holbrooke writes:
Israel was going to come into existence whether or not Washington recognized it. But without American support from the very beginning, Israel's survival would have been at even greater risk.
Holbrooke feels Truman was right, and he is the informed expert.

It is interesting to speculate, however, what the last six decades would have been like had the United States backed the British plan to give responsibility for moving toward a two state solution at that time. Would the fighting have taken a different course, and would a two state solution have been arrived at in a few years? Would Jordan have permanently incorporated the Palestinian territory and population? If so, the repercussions for the Middle East, Islamic-Western relations, and indeed the whole world would have been very different than what actually occurred.

The U.S. decision on how to utilize American superpower influence at that critical junction may be a major historical turning point that could easily have gone the other way!

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