News / Middle East

Analyst: Another Approach Should be Taken to Resolve Israel-Palestinian Conflict

Stephen Kinzer, a journalist and author of the book 'Reset: Iran, Turkey, and America’s Future'
Stephen Kinzer, a journalist and author of the book 'Reset: Iran, Turkey, and America’s Future'

Multimedia

Audio

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been visiting Washington and New York. He met with U.S. President Obama and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, to discuss issues, including the Middle East peace process. Mr. Obama said the Israeli leader showed a willingness to engage in serious talks with the Palestinians. Mr. Netanyahu said it was time for direct talks between Israel and the Palestinians to begin.

However, Stephen Kinzer, a journalist and author of the book Reset: Iran, Turkey, and America’s Future, which looks at conflict resolution in the Middle East, believes another approach should be taken to resolve the conflict. VOA’s Susan Yackee asked him what new policies the United States could pursue to help stabilize the region.

Kinzer: I start from the idea that our policies are really stuck in the past. We have a policy designed to confront the Middle East of the Cold War, but the Cold War's been over for more than 20 years and our policy is stuck in the past. So I feel that we need new ideas and creative thinking and "out of the box" approaches to that region. That's my first conclusion.

The second is, as we approach that region in a new way to try to promote our own interests and the interests of stability in the Middle East, we would be wise to look for partners and not try to do it all ourselves and assume that only we have the good ideas in the Middle East.

And my third is, who would those partners be? If you look around that region and ask yourselves, "Which countries have long-term strategic goals that are similar to ours and also have societies that are similar to ours?" The only two Muslim countries in the Middle East that fulfill those criteria are Turkey, and surprise, Iran. So, I think in the future, in the 21st century, you're gonna see the emergence of this power triangle: U.S., Turkey, and Iran.

Yackee: But why should the U.S. pursue a partnership with Turkey and Iran?

Kinzer: There are different reasons for the both of them. I think in both cases, you see societies that are open and democratic and eager to engage with the rest of the world. In Iran, you don't see a government that encourages that but the society in Iran, as I found in my recent visit there last month, is amazingly vibrant and democratic. But over the long run, what about strategic goals? So it's not a hard sell to say that Turkey and the U.S. have closely linked strategic goals.

After all, we've been NATO allies with them for decades. But what about Iran? Isn't it a little counterfactual to think of the U.S. in a strategic partnership with Iran? I'd suggest this: First of all, Iran has a great ability to stabilize Iraq. They can do more to stabilize Iraq than anyone else, particularly in cooperation with the Turks who have very good ties to the Sunni factions there. So if we want to get out of Iraq, without another explosion of violence there, Iran is a vital partner and also has the great ability to stabilize Afghanistan on the other border.

Iran, of course, has long relations with Afghanistan and a lot of Afghanistan used to be a part of Iran up until Iran lost a few wars in the 19th century. Iran is eager to ensure the free flow of energy resources from the Persian Gulf to the West. Iran is the bitter enemy of radical movements like Taliban and al-Qaeda.

So when you look forward and put aside the prejudices of the moment, you think about state interests, which don't change when regimes change, you see that Iran's long-term state interests, along with its vibrantly democratic society, if not government, make it a very intriguing potential partner for the United States.

Analyst: Another Approach Should be Taken to Resolve Israel-Palestinian Conflict
Analyst: Another Approach Should be Taken to Resolve Israel-Palestinian Conflict

Yackee: Well, should the U.S. rethink its relationship with Israel?

Kinzer: I think it is right for the U.S. to maintain a long-term strategic partnership with Israel, but when I was in Israel researching this new book I have, I did find a new growing body of opinion in Israel and I think it's also reflected in the United States. It's asking themselves, "Are our political leaders able to make decisions that really guard our security over the long run or are we taking steps that seem to defend ourselves right now, but may undermine our security in the long run?" 

So, I'd like to see the United States adopt a view that in the long run, Israel is not going to be able to defend itself forever with only military means. The best guarantee for Israel's long-term security is a calm neighborhood.

Therefore, anything the United States or anyone else from outside the region does in the Middle East that helps stabilize that region and diffuse confrontation is actually good for Israel in the long run.

Yackee: Could Turkey be the arbitrator in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?

Kinzer: I hope so and I fear that the confrontation over Turkey and Israel over this Gaza flotilla in recent weeks might weaken that possibility. That's a very bad idea. Turkey is caught up in a lot of emotion now, because their citizens were killed on the high seas and there's a lot of anger about what's happening in Gaza.

But Turkey should not pick up one of the bad habits of the United States. One of our bad habits is that we make our foreign policy often based on emotion without stopping to think about what's really in our long-term interests.

Turkey's in an emotional state about Israel now, but actually the Turkey-Israel relationship is so important for the Middle East. Israel needs a Muslim country as a bridge out of its isolation. Only Turkey can play that role because of its long relationship with Israel. Turkey needs to ratchet down its feelings of anger and confrontation and realize that since it also wants a stable Middle East, it needs to maintain a good relationship with Israel.

You May Like

US Gives Malaysia Questionable Upgrade in Human Trafficking Ranks

Malaysia’s upgrade seen as removing barrier to country’s participation in the US-led 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership More

Turkey, US Try to Establish Buffer Despite Differences

Coalition airstrikes in proposed zone would aim to drive out Islamic extremists, allowing targeted area to come under sway of anti-Assad rebels More

Video US: Millions Exploited by Vast Fortunes of Human Trafficking

State Department's annual report calls exploitation 'modern slavery,' brutalizing girls, women into prostitution and forcing men, women and children into low-wage jobs across the globe More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Wini
X
July 28, 2015 12:21 AM
The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Iran Nuclear Pact Wins Few New US Congressional Backers

Later this week, President Barack Obama returns from a trip to Africa to confront a U.S. Congress roiled by the nuclear accord with Iran, an agreement that has received the blessing of the U.N. Security Council. Days of intensive lobbying and testimony by top administration officials have won few new congressional supporters of the pact. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Obama Encourages Kenya to Fix Cultures of Corruption, Discrimination

President Barack Obama bid farewell to Kenya Sunday with a major speech at as stadium outside the capital Nairobi where he called on Kenyans to change the cultures of corruption and discrimination that can hold society back. VOA East Africa Correspondent Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video California Towns Welcome Special Olympics Athletes

Cities and towns in Southern California are greeting thousands of athletes who are arriving for Special Olympics, a competition for people with intellectual disabilities. The games will run from July 25th through August 2nd. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, where athletes from Namibia, Singapore and Tanzania got a rousing welcome from local residents.
Video

Video Critics of Japan Defense Policy Focus on Okinawa

In Okinawa, many locals have long complained that Tokyo places an unfair burden on the tiny island by locating most of Japan's U.S. military bases there. As Japan's government moves toward strengthening and expanding the country's defense policies, opponents of those plans are joining local protesters in Okinawa, voicing concern about where the country is headed. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Okinawa.
Video

Video IS Uses Chemical Weapons in Syrian Attack

Islamic State militants have added a new weapon in their arsenal of fear: chemical weapons. VOA Kurdish service reporter Zana Omer was on the scene within hours of a recent attack in Hasakah, Syria, and has details of the subsequent investigation, in this report narrated by Miguel Amaya.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.
Video

Video Hoverbike Flying Toward Reality

Another long-standing dream of many technological inventors is quickly approaching reality: U.S.- and British-based firms are cooperating in the development of an individual flying platform they call a hoverbike. They say it may revolutionize the concept of flying, including in the U.S. military. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video As Japan Expands Defense Role, Protests Follow

The Japanese government is moving forward with a controversial security bill that would authorize the military to fight abroad for the first time since World War II. Leaders say it is critical to defend against rising threats from China and North Korea. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Japan on the big changes ahead, and the opposition they are drawing.
Video

Video Replacing Poppies with Coffee in Myanmar

The remote mountains of Myanmar’s Shan state are home to the second-largest opium-producing region in the world. After a drop during the 2000s, production surged in the past eight years to feed an increasing demand for heroin in China. But farmers are now making less on the crop, and the U.N. is hoping many will make the switch to growing coffee. Daniel de Carteret reports for VOA from Taunggyi.

VOA Blogs