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November 04, 1994 - Image 48

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1994-11-04

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Close Up

Will The
Overseas success

may be his
political lifeline.


olitics and diplomacy often
are closer than practition-
ers of either care to admit.
Good diplomacy some-
times stems from crude
political factors. But poli-
tics also can distort rela-
tions between nations in
dangerous and unpredictable ways.
That intricate relationship was much in evi-
dence in the wake of President Bill Clinton's
whirlwind Mideast tour last week. In Wash-
ington, the president was basking in the after-
glow of a diplomatic blitz that included a
dramatic ceremony marking the end of hostili-
ties between Israel and Jordan — and a visit to
Syria that bolstered the spanking-new image of
a president deeply committed to foreign poli-
But in Israel, officials were singing a differ-


ent tune. Syrian President Hafez al-Assad, they
stressed, had again refused to indicate he would be will
to talkwith Israel without prohibitive preconditions
or to announce new steps to curb terrorist groups that
find sanctuary in his country. There was, in fact, a bare-
ly concealed sense in Jerusalem that Mr. Clinton had
given more than he had received from the wily Syrian
leader. That difference in interpretation between Wash-
ington and Israel points to some troubling questions
lurking just below the surface of a U.S.-Israel rela-
tionship that seems warmer and more personal than
Will the political needs of an administration facing
an angry, bitter electorate galvanize a new interest in
foreign policy that could boost the sagging Israeli-Syr-
ian talks? Or will those same political factors generate
new tensions along the Washington-Jerusalem axis as
the president seeks quick breakthroughs to provide a
political counterweight to depressing domestic

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