Al-Haifi’s response to Wellaman [Archives:2003/642/Opinion]
By Hassan Al-Haifi
Thank you very much for your interest in the YT and the writings of the undersigned in particular. Your historical reprimand is well respected and taken into consideration. Though I would have liked to get into a discourse on each of the points you raised, I would just like to say that the Presidents I cited, were in the overall context of the image they projected, both at home and in the international arena. Of course, one can always argue for or against, because of the historical circumstances and the overall national mood prevailing at the time, not to mention the role of “interest groups” and the military industrial complex, etc. I do agree with much of what you mentioned about Johnson (with respect to Vietnam, for his domestic social achievements are hallmarks in American legislative history) and to a certain degree about Nixon, although the latter's ambition had miscarried him into the pitfalls of the arrogance of power and the belief that power must be maintained at all costs. As for the Egyptian-Israeli peace settlement, it was really Carter, who got that on paper (Camp David).
Johnson inherited the Vietnam debacle from Kennedy and its early beginnings could be said to go to the Eisenhower years and the misconceptions of the US military then that you can get people to bend with just a higher dose of “bombs away”. As for Clinton, his Yugoslavian adventures are well taken into consideration, because they were clearly a personal humane reaction to the unholy maniacal acts of a chauvinistic dictator, rather than out of consideration of just American economic or political interests (The present Administration tried to get the world to buy such a platform, with respect to Saddam, but it was obviously not viewed with the same quality of genuine sincere good intents, and it seemed more like a standby justification for a mesmerizing adventure). His handling of the Middle East problem was also viewed with a more genuine sincere drive towards bringing to an end the world's most complex problem with a recognition of the rights and injustices suffered by the Palestinians, which no American President before (except for maybe Carter) had the courage to even contemplate saying. At least in his term of office the Middle East was spared any major conflict both in the Holy Land and elsewhere. Moreover, demagogues, like Netanyahu, were not allowed to proceed with the ongoing plan for the Zionization of the Holy Land so openly. It is not the intention of this column or this paper to get into a conflict on the good or bad of American leaders, but in presenting an overview of the kind of leadership caliber being displayed nowadays in the US when compared to that of the past Presidents.