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OBAMA AND NEW AMERICAN DIPLOMACY (4): STRATEGIC CONCERNS IN THE MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH KOREA.

By Professor Dr. Emmanuel Omoh Esiemokhai
Academic Chancellor, BOSAS INTERNATIONAL LAW BUREAU, ABUJA, FCT, NIGERIA
  -  Published July 29th, 2009


Addressing the Arab World from Cairo, the United States President, Barack Obama, adroitly used a halon strategy, to try to kill two birds with one stone.

Obama assured the Arab states of his good intentions to handle the Israel Palestinian question, by objectively wading into most facets of the issues that seem to have proved intractable since 1948.

His proposals were hinged on persuading Israel to stop building new edifices in Gaza, while pleading with the Palestinians not to stir the hornets’ nest by throwing missiles into Israel.

To his disappointment, the Government of Benjamin Netanyahu has declined to accept the pleadings. Although the Palestinians have not acted in a provocative manner since the last conflict, HAMAS has yet to assuage Israel disquiet. So, Israeli pilots are still wearing their flying jackets.

Peace accords are yet to be signed, sealed and delivered. There are opportunities and possibilities for peace in the Middle East, only that religious sentiments are too well-engraved to let things move on.

Also, bitterness from historical injustices run deep. As a result, Israelis and Arabs cannot share the fireside for now. US impartiality and long-time support for Israel, which has remained the corner-stone of American diplomacy in the last fifty years, lingers as an impediment to true negotiations.

The Second Coming of Benjamin Netanyahu makes cynicism to ride a white horse with bells on. There are formidable obstacles, which do not yield easily to appeasement ,rhetoric and good intentions. Who retains the ashes, is a difficult matter that defy goodwill.

Israel is not responding positively to US call to halt new constructions, and this defiance, weakens Obama’s position. This points to the fact that mutual hatred and distrust which had crystallized since 1948, is hard to reconcile.

Something must give. The leaders must consider their people, who do not necessarily agree with their leader’s policies, but have to acquiesce.

I hereby propose an International Peace Conference on the Middle East, to be convened by the African Union, the Organisation of America States and the ASEAN states. It should have judicial powers to pronounce on aspects of the Israel-Palestinian disputes. Both sides must abide by the decisions of the Conference and implement the recommendations.

Both Israel and Palestinians will present their discontent; argue their cases before a world audience of impartial arbitrators. This will be a new sustainable platform for action against the Middle East murderous conflict.

Perhaps, Obama should talk to the remaining leaders of the Ba’ath Socialist Party in Iraq, which was in power for over three decades, in order to work out a plan on how Iraq can move forward.

It is important to recognize that the Party has proved indestructible as a result of their leading the resistance against occupation, even after Iraq under Saddam Hussein, was disarmed before an undeclared war “awed and shocked” the populace. There has to be a political solution now, since the use of military force has failed.

How safe are the US troops, who are there to train Iraqi soldiers?

America has another headache trying to dissuade the North Koreans from nuclear gangsterism. The recalcitrance of the North Koreans poses a threat to international peace and security in South Asia.

The North Koreans are not likely to relinquish their nuclear ambition as long as they feel that there is threat, real or imagined, from the West.

Ambassador Christopher Hills and his colleagues, who negotiated with Pyongyang, did a good job. The Koreans said that having cooperated on the nuclear disarmament issue; they were surprised and amazed by the US failure to provide the nuclear fuel it promised under the treaty.

The North Koreans now rely, not on pacta sunt servanda, but on clausula rebus sic stantibus. This international legal principle states that when things are no longer the same as at the time a treaty was concluded; a party has a right to refuse any obligations arising from the treaty.

This is why North Korea announced recently that the nuclear disarmament treaty agreements “are finished”. North Korean’s incessant launching of missiles causes palpitations and disquiet in the sub-region.

The Russians say, “Scem chot ni shutit?” meaning what does the devil not joke with? We strongly call on both sides to observe the principle of state responsibility

The recent shouting match between the US Secretary of State, Mrs. Hillary Clinton and Korean officials was disturbing. North Korea is not likely to give up its nuclear ambition when it complains of Western hostility.

It is regrettable that the efforts of Ambassador Christopher Hills ended in the wilderness.

There is an ideological dimension in the West’s dealing with North Korea. However, the intractable nuclear problems we all face should remind us that we should not exacerbate the non-consensual parameters that exit but rather work to minimize conflicts.

My continuous assessment of US- North Korea relations is always impeached by contorted versions of the truths both sides lay claim to. I do not like getting involved in dodgy, diplomatic disquisitions. I hope that both sides permit themselves a dogged determination to resolve this long existing dolorous diplomatic stalemate.

There is a price to pay for treaties that fall into disuse. To disregard treaties may weaken the basis for international relations, international trade and globalization would stand on a broken tripod. UN member-states will doubt the status of bilateral and multilateral agreements.

After the recent Iranian elections, the government of Ahmadinejad was sorely tested. The émigré Iranian population campaigned hard to unseat the government, which claimed that Washington played its hand.

As a result, there is a wide gulf that would be difficult to bridge in US-Iranian diplomatic relations. All the projections, which permitted hopes that the Iranians would assist in blocking Taliban leaking exits, the Iranian leaders are irritated to the point of threatening to “strike Israeli nuclear sites.”

The war-game plans on both sides portend danger, as one side may attempt a pre-emptive strike. Who blinks first?

President Obama has sent George Mitchell to talk to Syria. This is welcome development. Perhaps, Syria can talk to HAMAS. Joe Biden told the Georgian President, who has the habit of over-drawing on his charisma that the new American diplomacy will not encourage antiquated rivalries in pursuit of narrow interests.

Obama’s diplomatic pendulum is swinging towards China and we shall examine the phenomenon how capitalist America is proposing a diplomatic wedlock with a former much denigrated communist state, with all the ridicule and scorn that was poured on China by the notorious, pernicious sector of the American press.

A CHIN-American Republic, half capitalist, half communist, will constitute a geo-political mongrel, with a formidable reach.


Professor Dr. Emmanuel Omoh Esiemokhai is Academic Chancellor, BOSAS INTERNATIONAL LAW BUREAU, ABUJA, FCT, NIGERIA.

   


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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