Sunday, March 31, 2002
Who's running things around here?A day after backing a U.N. Security Council resolution which was critical of Israel, President Bush put the blame for events on the Palestinians, said that Arafat has to do more, and said that Israel has the right to defend itself.
Palestinian officials had hoped that pressure by Arab nations on the Bush administration would prompt it to restrain Israel. But speaking from his ranch in Crawford, Texas, Mr. Bush, who has refused from the beginning of his term even to shake Mr. Arafat's hand, said only that Israel should "make sure there is a path to peace as she secures her homeland."I have no inside information, but my guess is that this reflects the longstanding State Department/national security split. The U.N. votes are overseen by the diplomats, including Colin Powell, whose first instinct is to smooth things over with our middle eastern "allies." Bush, though, is listening to his national security team - Rumsfeld/Wolfowitz/Rice - who are a little more pragmatic.
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