Linkage that can work

October 02, 1990

"In the aftermath of Iraq's unconditional departure from Kuwait, I truly believe there may be opportunities for Iraq and Kuwait to settle their differences permanently, for the states of the [Persian] gulf themselves to build new arrangements for stability, and for all the states and peoples of the region to settle the conflict that divides the Arabs from Israel."

These words constituted but one paragraph in President Bush's speech to the United Nations yesterday, and the words were chosen with such care, and uttered so casually, that the significance of the statement might have escaped attention altogether.

But make no mistake: In those 58 words President Bush established what is known as "linkage." If Iraq will withdraw from Kuwait, Bush was saying, the United States will commit itself to resolving the issue of the Palestinian Arabs. Combined with a similar statement by France's President Francois Mitterand, and the long-standing similar position of the Soviet Union, Bush's statement begins to take on the dim outlines of a x behind-the-scenes international agreement that once the Iraq problem is resolved, concerted international pressure will be exerted on an unprecedented scale to bring peace to the Middle East by (1) guaranteeing security for Israel and (2) guaranteeing sovereignty for the dispossessed Palestinian people.

And that is the kind of "linkage" that the whole world will welcome.

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