|Editions | myCNN | Video | Audio | Headline News Brief | Feedback||
Is the Unites States Losing Clout in the Middle East?Aired October 13, 2000 - 2:34 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: Peace isn't the only thing losing ground in the Middle East. The United States might be losing political clout. Joining us now from our New York bureau to talk about this is Jonathan Paris, an expert on the Middle East, who is with the Council on Foreign Relations.
Thank you for being with us.
JONATHAN PARIS, COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS: Good afternoon, Natalie.
ALLEN: Yesterday, Hanan Ashrawi, talking with CNN from Ramallah, seemed to be angry toward the United States, she being the Palestinian spokeswoman, saying that Madeleine Albright did not control Yasser Arafat.
Has the United States lost some ground as far as its influence or clout in its dealing with the Palestinians?
PARIS: Absolutely. The United States, after the breakdown of talks at Camp David in July, pretty much blamed Arafat for the failure of the talks, and pretty much said that Barak has made a very good offer, and that Arafat really should have considered it, come back with a counterproposal, instead of just saying no.
And I don't think the Palestinians appreciated that. I think here again, the Palestinians feel they're not getting support from the U.S. They feel that the U.S. is biased toward Israel. And the rest of the Arab region is echoing that concern. And this is where the U.S. is really losing clout. It's in the rest of the Middle East right now.
ALLEN: Back to Yasser Arafat: Was it fair for the United States to blame him? And didn't he say that he wasn't ready for this summit, and the that United States talked him into it at a time when we didn't want to do it?
PARIS: I think, in retrospect, we should have been -- the Americans should have more than generous toward Arafat. But in the end, Arafat chose not to make a courageous statesmanlike move. He chose, instead, to not to make a decision. And I think, according to the timetable -- everybody's timetable -- July was the time to make the decision. So there was a palpable disappointment on Israel America's part in Arafat's refusal to make a decision then. But that doesn't justify castigating him in public.
ALLEN: What about the relationship with Israel and its leaders? We heard one reporter asked the White House press secretary today about that, saying that to some, with the Israeli party had called last week's meeting in Paris a fiasco.
PARIS: Well, I still think that U.S. relations with Israel are quite strong right now. There was a lot of disappointment in Paris over principally Barak's refusal to accept an international inquiry into the violence over the last two 12 days. But, nonetheless, I think the U.S. and Israel pretty much see eye to eye on the recent events: namely that the violence has to stop and that there must be a return to the table.
Where the U.S. needs Israel's support is for Barak to exercise restraint and not fire missiles at Arafat's institutions, because that only escalates the situation and not reduce it. And that what needs to be done. So both -- I think the U.S. is appealing to both the -- Arafat and Barak to be more statesmanlike and less hostage to the winds, the emotional feelings of their people, which are running quite strong right now.
ALLEN: And let's look at the overall picture. The two candidates for presidents commented on this just before the recent blowup in the Middle East yesterday. George W. Bush said if we are an arrogant nation, they will resent us. If we're a humble nation, but strong, they'll welcome us. And then Al Gore said we are so much more powerful than any single nation has been. There is some resentment.
Overall, what is -- what are the perceived attitudes toward the United States these days and its influence?
PARIS: You mean from the Arab world?
PARIS: Look, I think the Arab world perceives the U.S. as the only superpower in town. There is no more Soviet Union. They are the address. If you want to have economic development and trade, you must work with the United States and international institutions, which are dominated by the United States. The banks, the financing, it's all through the U.S. So...
ALLEN: Thank you very much for joining us.
PARIS: Thank you very much.
TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com
|Back to the top||
© 2001 Cable News Network. All Rights Reserved.|
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.