When controversial US Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, spoke about old and new Europe, in an effort to explain why European countries held different opinions about his country’s foreign policy, his words was widely reported and commented on. Time has proven that it was a very superficial analysis. Indeed, the most important European allies, with the exception of the United Kingdom, no longer provide theoretical and moral support to the coalition, after both the Italian and Spanish people voted in a new government!
In recent days, the US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, announced that our region is currently witnessing the birth of “The New Middle East”. “Condi”, as she is known, has emerged as a prominent figure in the current US administration, eclipsing the Vice President, National Security Adviser and Rumsfeld himself, as well as other presidential advisers. Rice has adopted pragmatic policies and toned down the White House’s cowboy rhetoric. This shift was evident after North Korea’s missile tests, when President George W. Bush’s opted for a diplomatic solution to the crisis. Relations with Germany have also recently improved and tensions with Russia declined. Condi’s latest statement was received with great interest and debated, just as its predecessor had. However, the situation now is markedly different.
The Arab world is now dealing with one of the most important figures in the Republican Party and a likely candidate for the next presidential elections (after Senator John McCain); at the very least, she will be a candidate for vice president. We are, therefore, seeing a glimpse of the Republican Party’s future foreign policy. It is crucial we invest all our efforts to “convince” Condoleezza Rice the “expected” Middle East is a dead corpse or in a coma, so long as the US position on Israel remains unchanged. Is this mission impossible? Arab government might have to implement some sort of “reform”, if their efforts to convince the US Secretary of State are to be credible. There is a real need for the birth of a Middle East built on values and convictions, rights and responsibilities, but not at the expense of innocent civilians being killed in Lebanon, Palestine and Iraq.