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Thursday, February 01, 2024

Thomas Friedman on the "Biden Doctrine"

In today's NYTimes, Thomas Friedman addresses the advent of a potential "Biden Doctrine" on the Middle East:

A Biden Doctrine — as I’m terming the convergence of strategic thinking and planning that my reporting has picked up — would have three tracks.

On one track would be a strong and resolute stand on Iran, including a robust military retaliation against Iran’s proxies and agents in the region in response to the killing of three U.S. soldiers at a base in Jordan by a drone apparently launched by a pro-Iranian militia in Iraq.

On the second track would be an unprecedented U.S. diplomatic initiative to promote a Palestinian state — NOW. It would involve some form of U.S. recognition of a demilitarized Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip that would come into being only once Palestinians had developed a set of defined, credible institutions and security capabilities to ensure that this state was viable and that it could never threaten Israel. Biden administration officials have been consulting experts inside and outside the U.S. government about different forms this recognition of Palestinian statehood might take.

On the third track would be a vastly expanded U.S. security alliance with Saudi Arabia, which would also involve Saudi normalization of relations with Israel — if the Israeli government is prepared to embrace a diplomatic process leading to a demilitarized Palestinian state led by a transformed Palestinian Authority.

If the administration can pull this together — a huge if — a Biden Doctrine could become the biggest strategic realignment in the region since the 1979 Camp David treaty.

I found the essay persuasive and well worth reading.

(But the Times needs a better copy editor, preferably someone who didn’t learn geography from a New Yorker cover. In his closing paragraph, Friedman says “[i]t is a strategy that could work with Arab Americans on Lake Michigan.” The Detroit area is on Lake Huron.)

Posted by Steve Lubet on February 1, 2024 at 06:37 AM | Permalink

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