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

At International AIDS Conference One Goal, Many Paths

The 12,000 delegates attending 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne have vastly different visions about how to eradicate disease More

Disasters May Doom Malaysia’s Flag Carrier

Even before loss of two jets loaded with passengers on international flights, company had been operating in red for three years, accumulating deficit of $1.3 billion More

Afghan Presidential Vote Audit Continues Despite Glitches

Process has been marred by walkouts by representatives of two competing candidates, Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani 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.
Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Agei
X
Elizabeth Lee
July 20, 2014 2:36 AM
Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.
Video

Video Diplomatic Crisis Grows Over MH17 Plane Crash

The Malaysia Airlines crash in eastern Ukraine is drawing reaction from leaders around the world. With suspicions growing that a surface-to-air missile shot down the aircraft, there are increasing tensions in the international community over who is to blame. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Undocumented Immigrants Face Perilous Journey to US, No Guarantees

Every day, hundreds of undocumented immigrants from Central America attempt the arduous journey through Mexico and turn themselves over to U.S. border patrol -- with the hope that they will not be turned away. But the dangers they face along the way are many, and as Ramon Taylor reports from the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, their fate rests on more than just the reception they get at the US border.
Video

Video Scientists Create Blackest Material Ever

Of all the black things in the universe only the infamous "black holes" are so black that not even a tiny amount of light can bounce back. But scientists have managed to create material almost as black, and it has enormous potential use. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Fog Collector Transforming Maasai Water Harvesting in Kenya

The Maasai people of Kenya are known for their cattle-herding, nomadic lifestyle. But it's an existence that depends on access to adequate water for their herds and flocks. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA, on a "fog collector."

AppleAndroid