Archive for December, 2016

December 28, 2016

Two States: Kerry’s Six Points

If you want a 2-state solution, US Secretary of State John Kerry’s six points (or here) sum much of it up.

1. “1967 lines with mutually agreed equivalent [land] swaps.”

2. “two states for two peoples, one Jewish & one Arab, with mutual recognition and full equal rights for all their respective citizens.”

3. Palestinian refugees “international assistance, that includes compensation, options…acknowledgment of suffering.” But the Palestinian refugee “solution must be consistent with 2 states for 2 peoples, & cannot affect the fundamental character of Israel.” In short: no return (or possibly VERY limited return) of Palestinians to pre-1967 Israel.

4. Jerusalem will serve as “the internationally recognized capital of the two states.” All religions will have freedom of access to the holy sites. Thought the city will serve as two capitals, the city will not be physically divided.

5. “Satisfy Israel’s security needs and bring a full end to the occupation.” Palestine as a “non-militarized state.”

6. “End conflict & all outstanding claims, enabling normalized relations and enhanced regional security for all.” Implement the Arab Peace Initiative and embed Israeli-Palestinian peace in a wider regional resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

But maybe you prefer something other than two states?

December 23, 2016

Trump’s Nuclear New Look?

Yesterday, President-elect Trump made a splash with this tweet  on nuclear weapons:

On the same day, Russian President Vladimir Putin said, “We need to strengthen the military potential of strategic nuclear forces.” A new, nuclear arms race? Putin says no. [UPDATE: Trump told MSNBC yes: “Let it be an arms race. We will outmatch them at every pass and outlast them all.”]

It has since come out that in 1987, Trump told an interviewer that the United States and the Soviet Union should work together to prevent other countries from developing nuclear weapons. He said both sides could use “economic retaliation” to stop countries from going nuclear, cutting off US (or Soviet) aid to the point that people were rioting in the streets. In short,

But I also want to suggest another possibility. Trump has also been attacking major conventional weapons systems:

What would you get if you continually downgrade conventional arms and focus more on nuclear weapons? Maybe in a crisis situation you end up relying more on nuclear weapons.

And that reminded me of President Eisenhower (1953-1961) and the early Cold War. Eisenhower’s “New Look” placed greater reliance on nuclear weapons. He wanted nuclear weapons to be more of a regular part of the arsenal, as illustrated by his answer at a March 16, 1955 press conference:

screen-shot-2016-12-23-at-7-16-16-amPerhaps the most memorable line of the answer: “I see no reason why they shouldn’t be used just exactly as you would use a bullet or anything else.”

Of course, this conceals a vast difference between the two leaders. Eisenhower was a general with extensive military experience while Trump has no military experience. That difference makes me even more concerned about increasing US stockpiles of and reliance upon nuclear weapons under the Trump administration.

I could be way off here about Trump but so much seems uncertain about Trump’s policy direction these days that it seemed worth thinking outside the box.