Open Reply to Ari Fleischer
On President Clinton and the Middle East:
Peace Between Two Presidents
by Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr.
Saturday, March 2, 2002
Dear Ari Fleischer:
On the subject of President William Clinton's role in Middle East peace negotiations, he made only two notable mistakes: First, he allowed himself to be trapped into the virtual role of Prime Minister Ehud Barak's attorney, rather than playing the part of President of the U.S.A. Second, he allowed the exclusion of the two issues on which an actual Middle East peace depends, absolutely: the issue of economic development, and especially, the issue of mass desalination.
There will never be a Middle East peace with Israel, this side of the mass graves appearing in many parts of the world, unless, and until the issues of economy and water are made the foremost subject of negotiations and agreements: as I have insisted repeatedly in my public and other dealings with leading Israeli and Arab circles since my initial, 1975-1976, intervention, as a U.S. Presidential candidate, into that situation. Others may talk all they wish, but until, and unless these issues are placed foremost on the table, there is no hope of peacemaking by anyone, inside, or outside the Middle East itself, as Prime Minister Rabin came to understand: ever.
The Oslo accords were an excellent step, and could have been the foundation for beneficial agreements on economy and water. Two things aborted and destroyed the Oslo accord process.
First, was the interventions to preclude action on measures of actual economic development; second, was the assassination of the Israeli Prime Minister, Rabin. Further, the failure of both the Israeli, or the U.S. Government, to address the matter of the assassination of Rabin. Rabin had been the last Israeli head of government to address these issues effectively. Since the failure of Prime Minister Barak on this account, it has been virtually impossible, until now, to establish a platform on which to conduct a fruitful negotiation of agreements.
It is important, even urgent, that the incumbent President of the U.S.A. and his Secretary of State, review the matter from this standpoint. It is important, that both the accomplishments and errors of President Clinton be accurately assessed on this account. My criticism of President Clinton's actions in this matter, are probably the most seasoned, most objective and accurate generally available from anyone inside the U.S.A. itself.
Take the strategic economic issue, as primary, and then consider the awful consequences of President Clinton's tendency to overlook that issue, the issue which was the key to his part in the failure of the peace effort.
Water and Peace
The amount of usable forms of water available in the region of Israel and its immediate vicinity, is not sufficient to sustain the existing population of that region at a decent level of existence. With the pressures for expanding the Israeli settlements program, this issue of water precludes any effective sort of peace agreement.
This problem of water could be solved only through large-scale, modern methods of desalination throughout the region, including Israel and its most immediately neighboring Arab states.
Implicitly, this places the emphasis upon nuclear-energy-assisted desalination; since Israel already has, after the Anglo-American interest, the world's third most significant nuclear arsenal, there could be no reasonable objection to large-scale installations of modern versions of high-temperature reactors, in the 100-200 megawatt range, of the Julich, Germany type, as adopted by South Africa and China at this time. Under such a version of "Operation Ploughshare," bundles of such small- to medium-sized reactors, typify the energy-requirements required to drive modern mass-desalination efforts.
This use of high-energy-flux-density-driven use of modern desalination technologies, would bring the effective cost of production of that increased supply of potable water down below the current cost in many regions of the Middle East.
Such desalination programs in the pivotal region of the Middle East and Egypt, mean a revolutionary improvement in the economy of that Middle East which is a crucial crossroad between the Mediterranean and Indian Ocean region. Thus, the potential population-density of all parts of the region is to be increased by up to an order of magnitude. Peace negotiated according to a Treaty of Westphalia model, then becomes an economically self-sustainable possibility.
If we examine the matter in those terms of reference, some of President Clinton's leading achievements and problems in that area should be easily recognized. Otherwise, his obvious, first problem, was the heavy burden of Vice-President Al Gore on his back, and the influence of ideologies kindred to some of those of Gore, on his personal outlook. His second problem was, that his world-outlook, and that of a crucial sector of the leadership of both major parties, is that of most representatives of that generation which came to adulthood during the middle to late 1960s, or later.
Although Clinton was, personally, perhaps the most intelligent President of the Twentieth Century, he bore the burden of the typical axioms of his generation, to such a degree, that, from where I sat, he lacked the quality of decision needed in certain specific, crucial areas of decision-making, especially in matters of the economy. In the latter areas, he tended, in performance, to be duped by ideology of the type which, as he often stated, he shared with Al Gore. At the end, he may have seen reason to regret his attachment to the career-ambitions of Gore, but, by then, the damage reigned.
The most relevant immediate fact is, that were a Middle East peace to be brought about, the global situation would become relatively much more manageable. Otherwise, it could become the detonator which impels the world as a whole into a trajectory from which few of this wide world would return. Perhaps, at this time, the former President would agree. I think the incumbent President should ask the former President about that. It might help to unify leading political forces of our nation behind a renewed, urgent attempt.