Speaker 2: It is an excellent question and there are going to be setbacks, they are going to be really hard obstacles and after all we have an Israeli foreign minister who lives in a settlement on the West Bank, but I think we also have to recognize that we had an Israeli Prime Minister Begin who had a summer home in the Sinai Peninsula and I think that it is the view of the Obama administration that we shouldn’t accept as inevitable and permanent a domestic situation in Israel, which has prevented the various political parties from forming a government which would reflect the view of what you can tell from polling is the view of the majority of Israelis, which is to favor a two part settlement and be ready to have very, very substantial evacuation of settlements in the West Bank as well as withdrawal of Israeli forces in order to make that possible.  I can remember various times when it appeared that no progress was possible toward an Arab Israeli peace settlement and when changes in the region and changes within Israel itself or within Arab states lead to sudden breakthroughs and the important thing is the United States needs to be exercising persistent pressure and setting up a framework in which all sides understand that the benefits of moving forward are so much greater than the very probable disasters of continuing a downward spiral of violence that will lead inevitably to tragedies for both sides in this dispute.  So I would say yes there is going to be very substantial domestic, political pressures on the US administration.  Prime Minister Netanyahu is one of the most skillful Israeli politicians I know.  He is a genius at knowing how to mobilize interest groups within the United States and not simply the right wing of the Jewish community, a minority of the Jewish community, but a very vocal minority but also some of the pro-Zionist Christian evangelical leaders.  He is very good at doing this, but I think that President Obama and secretary Clinton will also prove themselves to be very adapt in framing these issues in such a way, it is the very powerful constituencies for peace within Israel itself will demand changes on the part of the Israeli government.  Israel has a very vital and extremely articulate press and various political leaders who are prepared to keep the pressure on the Israeli government to do what is necessary and I think we can count on that putting significant pressure on any Israeli government including this present one even though on the face of it, it looks like we are setting ourselves up for a great collision.

Speaker 4: I am Dan Coffman retired foreign service officer.  Building on your answer to the first question, is [???] democratization in the Middle East legitimate goal of US foreign policy.  If it is, how can it be reconciled with maintaining good relations with the undemocratic countries?

Speaker 2: Yes fostering democracy all over the world is a legitimate goal of American foreign policy because it has been something that American leaders since the very beginning of our nation even before the establishment of the United States have wanted to do.  Thomas Payne, one of the agitators for independence from Great Britain.  He didn’t think that we should stop with United States.  He wanted to spread democracy throughout the world and there have been a whole succession of American leaders who felt that the United States had a special mission in the world and that mission was to push the idea of democracy and human rights to other countries that were less enlightened than we are.  But there also is a very strong realist strain in US foreign policy that recognizes that however, desirable goals have to be pursued in a way that it is practical and that it achieves the results you want to see rather than causing a reaction and counterforces, which make it even harder and I think that the record of the past I would say 16 years is that US [???] of democracy in a very intrusive way often caused reactions, which were not helpful to those very democrats and internal dissidents that we wanted to encourage.  So I would say that the United States starts by setting the very best example we can in our own society of how to have a tolerant, just orderly democratic system and let people judge and at the same time be prepared to do things to educational exchange through encouraging the interchange of ideas and people to make it possible for others to understand how they themselves might proceed in those directions.  I am less concerned with the idea that we need to provide a blueprint for everybody of how to organize their societies which I think is the wrong idea than that societies everywhere been moving in the right direction.  It took the United States after all a couple of hundred years to get to where we were certainly at the time our nation was established somebody like Barack Obama could not be elected President.  He wasn’t free even to decide where to work or what to do and it is also the case that at least half of our population of women had very, had no political rights at all even if they had other rights.  So before we become too judgmental about the restrictions placed on human rights and political rights in other countries.  We should understand that if they are moving, however, gradually in those directions that is what we need to encourage rather than becoming too dictatorial about how they go about quickly reaching those goals.

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