Ahmad Majdoubeh
The Jordan Times (Opinion)
July 31, 2009 - 12:00am

As days and events unfold, the Obama administration - though recent on the global and Middle-Eastern scenes - has proven itself to be a most knowledgeable and reliable peace patron or broker: the Arabs’ and Israelis’ best bet, I would say.

I am sure there are Arabs (Palestinians and others) who are not happy about the Obama administration’s stand on the Arab-Israeli conflict. And I am sure that there are Israelis - including the current prime minister - who are also unhappy about the Obama administration’s position. The reason is simple: these Arabs and Israelis want Obama and his peace team to adopt their position.

Had the Obama administration, for instance, given the current Israeli government a green light or a free hand to pursue its expansionist policies in occupied Arab territories (which some American administrations did in the past), the Netanyahu government would be singing Obama’s praise. Similarly, had the Obama administration adopted the position of some Arab extremists (very unlikely, and no American administration has ever done so, of course), they would also sing the American administration’s praise.

The Obama administration, however, is doing neither. It is - faithful to the premise it announced the first day it assumed power - trying to be commonsensical, fair and evenhanded. Which is exactly what is wanted - and what has been missing for years - regarding both the Arab-Israeli conflict and other delicate global issues. What the world has needed for a long time is an honest, evenhanded broker.

To date, the Obama administration has committed itself to resolving global problems - including Iran’s nuclear issue, North Korea’s provocative politics, rivalry with China and Russia, etc. - through diplomacy: strong, confident, active diplomacy. To date, the Obama administration has aligned itself not with this or that party (which was the common practice for many decades in American politics) but with peace.

What I like most about the Obama administration, so far, is the correctness of its discourse, and therefore the accuracy of its stance. You rarely see politicians looking at matters from several angles at once - and several angles equally forcefully. You rarely see politicians doing their full homework. And this is exactly what is required. For some time, I have been an enthusiastic supporter of what I call the “postmodernist” sense of equity. If we live in a diverse, pluralistic world (and we do), and if we should respect diversity and pluralism (and we should); then, to be fair, we have to look at matters from the standpoint of all those involved - not that of some, or even many. We have to stand right in the middle. And this, I believe, is what this American administration (a true global leader, I would add) is trying to do.

This is not only a fresh approach, which should be both encouraged and supported by all peace advocates all over the globe, but the correct approach to adopt. Violence and the use of force, it has become crystal clear, do not solve problems. Far from it, they complicate and prolong problems. But neither does factionalisation or fragmentation of the world into “those with us and those against us”.

So many American administrations tried violence and force in so many parts of the world, and not only failed to make things better, but made things worse. And so many American administrations tried factionalisation and fragmentation. I am sure there are some in America who do not like the present American administration’s approach. They would rather see America as it most often has been: the policeman or cowboy of the world.

Those in Israel, the Arab world, and America who are critical of the Obama administration are mistaken - and are a minority, I would say. The majority are for peace; and, therefore, they are looking forward with great hope and anticipation for the Obama administration to stay focused, and to deliver on peace.

The world is in need of decent, honest, good American politics. The Middle East, especially, is in need of decent, honest, good American politics, as it has been in conflict for too long. Therefore, all those peace advocates in Israel, the Arab world, America, and the rest of the globe should rally behind this US administration in its attempt to establish peace in the Middle East.

Based on what we have heard and seen so far from the Obama administration regarding Arab-Israeli peace, we are compelled to do all we can to enable it to succeed in its noble endeavour.

We hope the Obama administration will stick to this decent, honest, good approach; will bend its opponents to its position, not - due to pressure - bend its position to that of its opponents - God forbid.


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