How Did the Conflict Affect the U.S. Image?

In the Financial Times today, Brookings scholars Philip H. Gordon and Jeremy Shapiro argue that the only clear result that emerged from the Israeli-Hezbollah crisis is that “America lost.”  They argue, “Washington’s decision to back Israel’s military campaign unconditionally and refusal actively to seek an early ceasefire may have had some marginal benefits for the US, such as the destruction of some of Hizbollah’s military capability. But in the broader scheme of things, Washington’s support of this war and tolerance for the way it was fought have been a disaster.”  This disaster, they say, does not just relate to the outcome for Israel and for the Lebanese civilians, but extends to the U.S.’s other interests across the region.  They contend that America’s position in this war drove Sunni and Shia Arabs together in an anti-U.S. front, further provoked and empowered Iranian-backed militias in Iraq, distracted the world’s attention from the Iranian nuclear issue, and destroyed the perception of the U.S. as an honest broker in the search for peace between Israel and its neighbors. 

The authors conclude, “It is too late now to undo all this damage. To make the best of a bad situation, the Bush administration should do what it can to bolster the Lebanese government, support the deployment of a capable UN force, provide reconstruction assistance and encourage a political process in the region.”  To read the full article, please click here: http://www.brookings.edu/views/op-ed/gordon/20060821.htm

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Explore posts in the same categories: Hezbollah, Israel, Lebanon, Middle East Peace, U.S. Role, United Nations

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