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Giuliani's Gaza Analogy

The political world is scrutinizing Rudy Giuliani's 17-page foreign policy treatise in the new issue of Foreign Affairs, trying to discern who the influences behind it are and to what extent he has decided to take up the neo-conservative mantle from President Bush. But one source of influence for the paper may be found closer to home: Giuliani's experience as mayor of New York.

Like other mayors of the country's largest city, Giuliani liked to think of himself as a player on the international stage, with an informal foreign policy all his own. One of the proudest moments of his tenure was blocking Yasir Arafat from attending a United Nations event at Lincoln Center because Arafat was a "terrorist." Giuliani also clashed with the UN over diplomats' flouting of tens of thousands of parking tickets worth millions of dollars, saying at one point in 1995, "I'm not a mayor who is easily threatened, so if they'd like to leave New York over parking tickets, we could find another use for that area of town. It's the most valuable real estate in the world."

And, lo and behold, the UN does not fare well in his treatise, in which it is described as nothing more than a wasteful, hapless charity outfit that should be effectively replaced by an expanded globe-spanning NATO. "The organization can be useful for some humanitarian and peacekeeping functions, but we should not expect much more of it," Giuliani's paper states. "The UN has proved irrelevant to the resolution of almost every major dispute of the last 50 years. Worse, it has failed to combat terrorism and human rights abuses. It has not lived up to the great hopes that inspired its creation. Too often, it has been weak, indecisive and outright corrupt."

But it is in Giuliani's theories about bringing democracy to the Middle East that his mayoral experience shines through the most. Giuliani breaks from neoconservative idealism in stating that democracy must be preceded by security and "good governance." "Democracy cannot be achieved rapidly or sustained unless it is built on sound legal, institutional and cultural foundations," the paper argues. "It can only work if people have a reasonable degree of safety and security."

In his essay, he cites Hamas' victory in the Palestinian elections as proof of what happens when one attempts to establish democracy in an unsettled environment. But in last week's Republican debate in Iowa, Giuliani gave another example: New York. The city, he said in the debate, was so shaken by crime when he took office in 1994 that it was unable to function fully as a civil society.

"People were afraid to go out at night because crime was so rampant. I mean, we had all kinds of civil rights, but nobody could exercise them, because they were too darn afraid to go out, too darn afraid to go to the movies or go buy groceries at the grocery store," he said. "First, you have to have a certain quality of life that allows you to be comfortable (inaudible) going to exist, your children are going to go to school, you're going to be able to have a job, and your rights are going to be respected. Then elections start to mean something in the full picture of what a democracy is."

The comparison of New York circa 1994 to Gaza is provocative, and one that raises an obvious question: if Giuliani believes that the city was so crippled by crime that its democracy was effectively weakened, then is he effectively questioning the validity of his own election in late 1993? Sure, the city was suffering the tail end of a crack-fueled wave of violence, yet more than 1.75 million people made it to the polls to narrowly elect him over incumbent David Dinkins.

In fact, it was the very violence that Giuliani now compares to the Middle East that helped elect him in 1993, by allowing him to paint Dinkins as weak on crime.

--Alec MacGillis

By Washington Post editors  |  August 17, 2007; 7:00 AM ET
 
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Comments

Should we send Rude Rudy Giuliani
to campaign in Gaza?

Posted by: index_on_censorship | August 20, 2007 4:46 AM | Report abuse

How to Convince Palestinians to Vote Giulia for Mayor of Gaza?
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Promise them TRUE FREEDOM, and REAL INDEPENDECE from the ISRAELI YOKE [and its U.S. twin] and they'll turn their backs
on any Hamas, Jihad or even corrupt Fatah.

Is America ready for the experiment?

All that is required is
remove repression,
eradicate opression,
stop ethnic cleansing,

in short:
open the Gates of Prison Gaza
Israel's center of incarceration

Posted by: index_on_censorship | August 20, 2007 4:39 AM | Report abuse

How to Convince Palestinians to Vote Giulia for Mayor of Gaza?
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Promise them TRUE FREEDOM, and REAL INDEPENDECE from the ISRAELI YOKE [and its U.S. twin] and they'll turn their backs
on any Hamas, Jihad or even corrupt Fatah.

Is America ready for the experiment?

All that is required is
remove repression,
eradicate opression,
stop ethnic cleansing,

in short:
open the Gates of Prison Gaza
Israel's center of incarceration

Posted by: index_on_censorship | August 20, 2007 4:39 AM | Report abuse

If the next president does not have the reformation of a Palestinian state as one of their first objectives than the world will just have more of the same thing, there will never be peace as long as the israeli entity occupies and oppresses Palestinians.

Posted by: makybe3 | August 18, 2007 12:56 AM | Report abuse

I suppose Rudy has done some things and perhaps even a few done well..his 9/11 experience has been and will be the subject of debate as the campaign unfolds..there are however additional issues...privatize social security? economic policies which mirror Bush's?....
the continued privitazation of publicly owned institutions, again mirroring Bush's?....
With few excepions he would ne another Bush!! this nation cannot afford that.

Posted by: Barjrose | August 17, 2007 5:58 PM | Report abuse

Giuliani's narcissism knows lo bounds; this man would do and say anything to get ahead of others. I'm a New Yorker, too, and I'll never forget the day when there was an illegal police demomnstration in New York City, at which many policemen chanted racial slurs against Dinkins, who was then our first and only black mayor. Suddenly, Giuliani appeared and he climbed on top of a car from where, instead of admonishing the policemen to respect the law and the elected mayor, he kept laughingly prodding the men to continue their inexcusable behavior. To me, Giuliani is the biggest self-promoting phony that has crossed the political landscape.

Posted by: cafrimo | August 17, 2007 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Unfortunately, there is no one, in either party, that portrays leadership and "take charge". 9/11 made Giuliani; but what exactly did he do that perhaps any other mayor, with only one wife, wouldn't do in same catastrophes?

Mitt Romney waffles like the best of all politicians. Brownback is too conservative and probably doesn't play well with a majority of registered voters. McCain voted on policies a majority of us were against such as immigration.

Obama is a Democrat in "sheeps clothing". I do not see him as decisive as one should be in these difficult times. He even waffled when he was asked whether Gay rights was a similar struggle to the civil rights era of the 50s and 60s. Hillary just doen't cut the mustard; I'm afraid she would need to ask UN's permission before we need take action on terrorist sites.

Not one candidate has come across with new ideas. No one has step forward, for instance, to advocate a homeland for the Palestinians because they're afraid of offending the Jewish lobby and the state of Israel. Taking an initiative like this would possiby spread the message that the US is balanced in its approach to the Middle East and tell the rest of us that we need something better, given nothing we do has truly helped the situation in the Middle East.

I do not have much faith in the Republican or Democratic Parties since all candidates rehash and advocate party platforms such as tax cuts or tax increases. At this stage, an independent may make sense but who has the guts to take these issues on as an independent and develop new ideas?

Posted by: dklovens | August 17, 2007 10:44 AM | Report abuse

I read the piece in Foreign Affairs. It was comprehensive and serious. The man has a plan. I'm from New York and I saw the city both before and after Guiliani became mayor. He's right. He did make it safe for people to go out. Years ago you couldn't go to Times Square and other places in the city. No matter how much of the vote Dinkins got he was inept as a mayor and people were scared. Life is much better in New York.
I think the reporter's comparison to Hamas is shallow and meant only to be provocative, which is the way reporters are these days. That's what substitutes for analysis.
I'm a Democrat. What I don't like about Guiliani is the way he has pandered to the right since he has announced for president. I guess you have to do that to get the nomination. Otherwise, I think he is a moderate who could bring the country together.

Posted by: jsheehan2 | August 17, 2007 10:37 AM | Report abuse

I am no supporter of Giuliani by any stretch of the imagination, but I think this is quite a stretch. I think the bigger picture here is that Giuliani is dangling in front of the American people something so obvious, they can't see it. What he is actually saying is that FUD (fear, uncertainty, doubt) got Hamas elected, FUD got himself elected as mayor in '93, and FUD will get him elected president next year. I think the conclusion he means us to draw from his comments are that Palestinians live in fear and so elected a leader to take them out of that (one that he opposes), the New York people were afraid and so needed a leader who could cut crime, and the American people are now afraid and need someone to bring security. By just questioning the legitimacy of his election, this article misses the mark. Of course his election was legitimate. Do we really believe that New Yorkers were living in as much fear as Palestinians?

Posted by: jasonmadams | August 17, 2007 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Guiliani is trying to portray himself as some kind of savior who will rid the world of all evil. What a joke- same goes for when his flatterers say he 'owns 9/11'. Anyone who doesn't believe the actions of our government from 1953 forward played- and continue to play- a principal role in why we were attacked and why there is so much antipathy toward us is clueless, in denial or both.

I'm not sure which case applies to guiliani, but either way he's not fit to be president if he's going to spout out and act upon the same b.s. we've been getting from the current administration. They want to keep us in Iraq, thus continuing to gut our military, mired in a foreign civil war in which we have no place. This is dead wrong- we need to get out of there and let them duke it out among themselves. It's their country, it's their war- not ours. We have plenty of problems of our own we need to fix, including a porous southern border.

A handful of border patrol agents are watching our borders with one hand tied behind their backs, thanks to both major parties. Does anyone really feel more secure? That's what they tell us Iraq is all about, right? To make America more secure- 'fight them there so we won't have to fight them here'? Yeah, right. If guiliani or anyone running for president in either corporate and wealthy elite-sponsored party was interested in making our nation secure, the first step all of them would call for is the militarization of the Mexican border.

Also, why are we not, and why have we not been, actively working to wean ourselves off oil, which is why we're there in the first place? Oh, sorry, I forgot to mention the other reason: to make defense contractors a bunch of money off the lives and souls of our troops and untold numbers of Iraqis...

Guiliani is yet another kisser of bush's backside, as we all saw him do so shamelessly and prolifically in 2004 during the campaign. He also seems to want to carry on the current abysmal policies. I ask you, which is worse: the idiot, or the one who follows him? We can, and must, do a lot better than these two parties have to offer.

John Hoffert
Baltimore, MD

Posted by: jfh1965 | August 17, 2007 9:55 AM | Report abuse

Only a looney left reporter could make a case that Giuliani = Hamas!

Posted by: 626dan | August 17, 2007 9:17 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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