Tue 9-July-2024

Gaza poses a strategic dilemma for America

Wednesday 12-June-2024

The current situation in which America finds itself calls for pity and sorrow. Yes, you read that correctly. This once great power that is supposed to control the world, dictate its decisions and destiny, and play the roles of global policeman, preacher and occasional local thug has become a laughing stock.

In days gone by, a visit by the director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) was enough to overthrow and change regimes, and alter the strategic plans of numerous countries. Today, though, we see CIA Director William Burns visit the Middle East repeatedly and return to Washington empty-handed, with his tail between his legs. The same applies to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who has become a messenger boy and cannot even change an issue related to a small Palestinian organization.

This situation has seen the Biden administration preoccupied with the Palestinian issue and the Middle East, distracting it from major issues and causing its decline in influence and presence in several regions. While America is impotent with its agenda in occupied Palestine, Russian is making significant advances in Ukraine, and the Ukrainian front line is on the verge of collapse, which will have serious repercussions for Europe and the rest of the world. The same applies to China, which has become the least of America’s concerns, after it was the main topic of discussion for US President Joe Biden and his team, not least the question of whether the relationship with China is one of open hostility or economic competition. The effort to contain and isolate China is now out of context.

Washington has generally dictated orders to the world and expected blind obedience in return.

This was based on the premise that it possesses the kind of power that humanity has never had before. This was exposed as a fallacy by the Taliban during the “chaotic” US withdrawal from Afghanistan, and again with the events of 7 October last year.

Despite all the military, economic, intelligence and technological support provided by the US, and the billions of dollars of aid, in addition to its veto in the UN Security Council and policies that allow Israel to act with impunity, the reality in occupied Palestine has not really changed. On the contrary, the main objective of Israel’s war, the total elimination of Hamas, has been reduced to limiting the resistance movement’s capabilities so that it can’t launch another 7 October-style incursion. The war aim is now almost heading towards a return to the status quo ante. While resembling the prevailing situation before 7 October, the essential difference will be that Hamas has gained legitimacy and struck a blow against the Zionist colonial project by turning Israel into a hellish rather than a “promised” land. The occupation state’s position has been diminished across all international, military and economic levels.

All of this has happened because the US continues to follow a logic of arrogance of power; it wants to impose things on people without regard for their independence and independent will. The saying that, “If you are a hammer, you will see everything as a nail,” holds true here. This logic has been proven in practice to be unrealistic and impractical. We have seen Hamas and the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip defy all the usual logic and refuse to accept displacement; they have remained steadfast despite all the massacres and threats, and thwarted the ethnic cleansing that Israel and the US administration behind it had planned.

Even though we have witnessed eight months of genocide using the deadliest weapons, and with well over 120,000 civilians killed or wounded, Hamas has not been defeated. The US and Israel have exhausted their usual methods and must feel perplexed at being exposed before the world with their lies and inability to get their own way.

The US wants to ignore the facts and portray things as if they are fully in line with Washington’s way of thinking, but this is not the case.

The Biden administration is taking the wrong approach. About a year ago, I wrote, “It is time for Western countries to talk to Hamas.” If there were rational people in charge who sought a political dialogue leading to some kind of credible solution, the carnage of the past eight months and the continued suffering of the Palestinian people — which has lasted for well over one hundred years, by the way, not just eight months or even eighty years — would not have happened.

It is clear that the same, blinkered mentality is in charge in Washington and other Western capitals, even though the Zionist propaganda has been totally discredited among ordinary folk and ruling elites alike. This has become a scandal for the US administration and Biden on a personal level; America’s credibility and role have both been eroded considerably.

As such, what is required is to change the Western and American way of thinking, and to search for solutions which give people their rights, instead of coercing them to adopt the US and Israeli positions without question.

Today, Biden and his administration represent the complete submission to the Zionist vision that sees no solution to the conflict other than the genocide of the Palestinian people and the complete ethnic cleansing of their land. The sweet talk that Biden is spouting today is for PR and re-election purposes, and has no real value. He has declared that his proposal for a ceasefire fully adopts the Israeli project, as he wants to impose Israel’s vision of a solution based on ethnic cleansing through the tools of international law and America’s mailed fist in a velvet glove.

The Palestinian people have long experience in dealing with Western and Israeli manipulation. Regardless of who is in the White House, unless Washington, which has already admitted that it cannot eliminate Hamas, changes its methods and resorts to diplomacy to solve issues, it will continue to lose strategically, as it is doing in Europe and South-East Asia. It will also continue to lose what might remain of its moral legitimacy. It is imperative, therefore, that the current US administration moves seriously towards independence from the Israeli worldview if it wants to maintain its role on the international stage with any degree of credibility.

Gaza does indeed pose a strategic dilemma for America. The big question is, can Washington grasp the nettle and do what it knows, deep down, it should do?

-Dr Mohammad Makram Balawi is the Director General of League of Parliamentarians for alQuds (LP4Q). His article appeared in MEMO.

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