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The President’s Word

JINSA Online December 19, 2002

Professional advice for public speakers is to a) tell your audience what you’re going to tell them, b) tell it to them, and c) tell them what you’ve told them. Or a) show them what you’re going to do, b) do it, and c) show them what you’ve done.

President Bush said he would not tie American policy to international treaties that would be more likely to hurt American interests than induce good behavior on the part of nasty regimes. Goodbye Kyoto and the International Criminal Court.

President Bush told the Taliban that it had a limited opportunity to close terrorist training bases in Afghanistan and turn over al-Qaeda members to the US, or it could number its remaining months in single digits. He had to show them.

President Bush told the UN that its Resolutions regarding Iraq had to be enforced, or the United States would enforce them. And he said Iraq had to prove that it had disarmed or we would disarm it. We think we’re in step b) with more to follow.

Perhaps most importantly, President Bush told the American people he was going to withdraw from the ABM Treaty, which was immoral and obsolete, and which prevented us from addressing new threats with new technology. Then, he said, he would order deployment of national missile defenses to protect us from countries including North Korea, Iran, Iraq, Libya and China – none of which were covered by the old U.S.-USSR Treaty. He has done so.

So, on this day, when we are deeply grateful to President Bush for his steadfastness on issues of American national security, we are sorry to grumble. But on Thursday, the “Quartet” of Israel-Palestinian negotiators is supposed to produce the latest “road map” for resolving the conflict. Early word on the Quartet’s map is out of synch with the President’s words, which we expect to be the basis of American policy.

President Bush said, “Palestinian authorities are encouraging, not opposing, terrorism. This is unacceptable… When the Palestinian people have new leaders, new institutions and new security arrangements… the (U.S.) will support the creation of a Palestinian state whose borders and certain aspects of its sovereignty will be provisional…” Of Israel, he said, “You have a right to a normal life; you have a right to security; and… you need a reformed, responsible Palestinian partner to achieve that security.” All of this, he said, will be, “based on U.N. Resolutions 242 and 338.” (24 June 02, Emphasis added)

To the extent that the road map talks about Palestinian sovereignty as anything other than provisional; to the extent that the road map tells Israel to “pay” to achieve an end to terrorism and incitement to violence; to the extent that the road map envisions the current Palestinian leadership and institutions remaining in place; and to the extent that 242 and 338 – requiring the Arabs to recognize the legitimacy of Israel without preconditions – is not the focus, the road map undermines the word of the President of the United States.

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