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September 02, 1983 - Image 12

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1983-09-02

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

12 Friday, September 2, 1983

New Vance Volume Details Foreign Policy Under Carter

Carter's memoirs, "Keeping
Faith," and Brzezinski's
"Power and Principles,"
confirms that there were
differences over foreign pol-
icy within the Administra-
tion, particularly due to the
rivalry between Vance and
Brzezinski. But the one
area where there seemed to
be cooperation and agree-
ment was the Middle East.

of his tenure as President
Carter's Secretary of State,
"Hard Choices" (Simon and
Schuster), all three of the
chief architects of the Car-
-ter Administration's
foreign policy — Carter,
Vance and Zbigniew Brze-
zinski, who was national se-
curity adviser — have pub-
lished books.
The Vance book, as did

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that a return to a passive
U.S. posture was not
realistic. The United
States would have to be a
fair and active mediator
between the parties if
there was to be any
chance of a genuine
peace. Playing this role
would necessarily re-
quire serious attention
on the part of the
mediator to both sides of
the dispute and a sincere
effort to address the
Palestinian problem.

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"Because of the intimate
American association with
Israel in previous Middle
East peace efforts, for Car-
ter to adopt an activist, bal-
anced policy carried a sig-
nificant political risk. He
could be seen both at home
and in Israel as tilting
toward the Arabs and
pressuring Israel to make
dangerous territorial con-
cessions . ."
Vance goes on to say that
"The President and I were
convinced that no lasting
solution in the Middle East
would be possible until, con-
sistent with Israel's right to
live in peace and security, a
just answer to the Palesti-
nian question could be
found, one almost certainly
leading to a Palestinian
homeland and some form of
self-determination."
To that end, Vance makes
clear the Administration
sought for a way to bring the
Palestine Liberation
Organization into the
Mideast negotiations, only
to be frustrated, as has the
Reagan Administration, by
the PLO's refusal to do even
the minimum required of it
by the U.S.

The position that
Vance outlined as the
Carter Administration
prepared to take office
was essentially the same
one it followed for the
entire four years. The
Carter Administration
remained wedded to
seeking a comprehensive
settlement, rather than a
step-by-step approach, a
position that the Reagan
Administration also be-
lieves in principle.

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Even before Carter took
office, he and Vance agreed
that the United States
would have to play an active
role in seeking a Middle
East settlement. "Without
question, the bedrock of the
Carter Middle East policy
would continue to be our
commitment to Israel's se-
curity," Vance wrote. But
he adds:

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The Carter Administra-
tion pushed the comprehen-
sive approach after Egyp-
tian President Anwar Sadat
went to Jerusalem, when he
realized an agreement could
not be reached through a
general settlement, and
even after the Camp David
agreements.
Yet, Vance learned on his
first trip to the Mideast,
that while Egypt and Israel

were not far apart, "the real
problem was disunity
among the Arabs."
However, it does not seem
that Vance ever learned
what an Israeli official tried
to point out to reporters in
Washington earlier this
year, that there is no con-
sensus among the Arabs ex-
cept enmity toward Israel.
On everything else they
disagree, and so peace can
only be made with each
country separately.

Vance's book confirms
that the major issue
which strained U.S.-
Israeli relations during
the Carter Administra-
tion was the establish-
ment of Jewish settle-
ments in Judea and
Samaria. But Vance does
not reveal in his book any
of the deep anger over the
issue that Brzezinski, in
his memoirs, attributes to
him.

above all the Americans
with whom they dealt in the
Carter Administration be-
cause they considered him
to be a gentleman.
It was this characteristic
that Brzezinski criticized in
his memoirs. Yet one would
wish that Vance was less
gentlemanly in "Hard
Choices," which was writ-
ten in the style of a State
Department press briefing.
While there is no need to go
into how U.S. officials really
felt about foreign leaders, as
Brzezinski did, Vance could
have provided more details
about the events he covered.

He also left some things
out, such as Andrew
Young's resignation as
U.S. Ambassador to the
United Nations after de-
ceiving the State De-
partment about his meet-
ing with a PLO official,
and the 1980 U.S. vote for
a UN Security Council
resolution condemning
Israel which Carter sub-
sequently reversed.

Vance, who maintains
that "Hard Choices" is not a
diplomatic history or a
memoir, does not go into the
criticism • of personalities
that characterized the
Brzezinski book. He has
kind words to say for Pre-
mier Menahem Begin and
former Ambassador Simha
Dinitz who was savaged by
Brzezinski.
But the Israeli who Vance
admired most and for whom
he seems to have a genuine
affection was the late Moshe
Dayan, with whom he dealt
as Israeli foreign minister.
The Israelis, including Be-
gin, always liked Vance

Vance was directly in-
volved in both controversies
and it would have been use-
ful to have his views on such
important events.
The dryness of the Vance
book has brought it less at-
tention than the Brzezinski
or Carter accounts. Yet all
these books should be read,
particularly by those with a
special interest in the Mid-
dle East, because they tell
not only how an official
views the events in which
he participated, but how
foreign policy is made.

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