Giuliani is Mideast's worst nightmare
By Linda S. Heard
Online Journal Contributing Writer
Oct 31, 2007, 00:34
President George W. Bush's approval ratings may be in the
doldrums and he's only got just over another year to go, but before we order
the celebratory fireworks here's a thought. The next American president could
make this one look like a Boy Scout.
As the months pass, the next election looks like a race
between Democrat Hillary Clinton and the former mayor of New York Rudy Giuliani
for the Republicans. I'm no fan of the coolly calculating Clinton but given the
alternative, she's the one I'll be rooting for.
At the same time, I have serious doubts as to whether
certain American states are ready for a woman president and although the
American voters have shown they're fed up with Republicans they may reluctantly
settle for the usual middle-aged white man over a former First Lady, no matter
how bright and formidable she may be.
But here's the problem. Whereas post 9-11 Giuliani was
generally considered a competent, nice-guy keen to roll up his sleeves in order
to put his city to rights, in recent months the mask has come off. In short,
Giuliani is no benign patriotic do-gooder. He's a hawkish, sabre-rattling,
pro-Israel, nationalistic neocon.
A clue to Giuliani's leanings emerged during the visit of
Prince Al Walid Bin Talal to Ground Zero in October 2001. Bearing a $10 million
donation for disaster relief, the Saudi prince suggested the US reexamine its
Middle East policies and adopt a balanced stance towards Palestinian
aspirations. Giuliani's response was to hand back the cheque.
Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards has joked
President Giuliani would be like President Bush on steroids. Unfortunately,
this is no joke.
Giuliani makes no bones about the fact he would use military
force to set back Iran's nuclear programme. In September, he promised to use
America's military might to prevent Iran pursuing its nuclear ambitions should
he be elected president.
His senior foreign policy adviser, Norman Podhoretz, has
spelled out this message, advising that Iran be bombed with cruise missiles and
bunker busters. "None of the alternatives to military action --
negotiations, sanctions, provoking an internal insurrection -- can possibly
work," he told The Daily
Giuliani is talking tough when it comes to Pakistan, too. He
recently urged the president to be more aggressive in the hunt for Osama Bin
Laden within Pakistan, even if such a move would result in alienating the
On Iraq, Giuliani has been consistently gung ho. He
supported the war from the outset, backed the so-called surge and believes
American troops should stay in Iraq for the foreseeable future.
And if my worst fears are realised and Giuliani moves into the
White House, there will be no Palestinian state for the foreseeable future,
either. He has declared in no uncertain terms his antipathy towards a two-state
solution because a Palestinian entity would "support terrorism" and
threaten US security.
It's also worth recalling that in 1995, he banned the former
Palestinian president Yasser Arafat from attending events held in New York to
celebrate the UN's 50th anniversary and ordered his removal from a concert held
at the Lincoln Centre. It's not surprising that a panel of eight Israeli
experts, assembled by the daily Ha'aretz, determined Giuliani is the best
presidential candidate for Israel.
A recent article on the front page of the New York Times,
"Mid-east hawks help to develop Giuliani's policy," enlightens us as
to the former mayor's new best friends. "Mr Giuliani is consulting with,
among others, a particularly hawkish group of advisers and neoconservative
thinkers," the article reads.
His team, says the article, includes "Norman Podhoretz,
a prominent neoconservative who advocates bombing Iran as soon as it is
logically possible; Daniel Pipes, the director of the Middle East Forum, who
has called for profiling Muslims at airports and scrutinising American Muslims
in law enforcement, the military and the diplomatic corps; and Michael Rubin
who has written in favour of revoking the United States' ban on
Giuliani recently took the Democrats to task for avoiding
use of the term "Islamic terrorism" during four debates; an omission
he describes as taking political correctness to extremes.
A Giuliani presidential tenure would also be extremely bad
news for Americans who value the few civil liberties they have left. He
strongly backs the controversial USAPATRIOT Act; is an advocate for wiretapping
and domestic spying, and isn't sure whether "water-boarding" or sleep
deprivation should be considered as "torture".
He has also promised to appoint "strict
constructionist" judges to the Supreme Court to allay the fears of
conservative Republicans and the religious right that he is pro-abortion.
We can only stand by helplessly as the American people
decide their fate and ours. With the future of the planet in their hands, it's
time they made the right choice.
S. Heard is a British specialist writer on Middle East affairs. She welcomes
feedback and can be contacted by email at email@example.com.
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