Brent Scowcroft's Nov. 12 op-ed column, "A Middle East Opening," was a reminder of the Middle East policy that failed the first George Bush and his successor, Bill Clinton. Proposing NATO troops as guarantors of Israeli security is a non-starter; European troops failed to protect the Bosnians on Europe's own soil from slaughter. Europe surely will do even less to protect Israelis.

Mr. Scowcroft demands dismantling the security wall, a nonlethal measure that has demonstrably and dramatically reduced terrorist attacks. He proposes plying the Iranians with the same policy -- bribery with money and certain nuclear cooperation -- that failed miserably where North Korea is concerned and that invites similar cheating from Iran. And it shows a disregard for reality for Mr. Scowcroft to expect Iran to cooperate on Iraq, when the mullahs know that the greatest threat to their benighted rule is a domestic demand for democracy inspired by the country next door.


Yardley, Pa.


Brent Scowcroft implied that President Bush must revitalize the Middle East peace process through pressure on Israel. He seems to have learned nothing from Bill Clinton's efforts.

All the pressure that Mr. Clinton placed on Israel, and the broad concessions offered by Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, were met with a new war from Yasser Arafat. It would be naive to imagine that Mr. Arafat's successors will be different. They may turn out to be less corrupt and less totalitarian, but they are unlikely to make compromises for peace. Perhaps they will talk of peace to the Western press, as did Mr. Arafat. But their ultimate goal of destroying Israel remains the same.

On a global scale too, pressuring Israel will be seen as a reward for terrorism. It will encourage secessionist movements in southern Thailand, the Philippines and Nigeria, to name just a few countries. Nor is there any chance that more Israeli concessions will bring peace when Israel's enemies want war. Peace will be achieved only when the Arab world has a change of heart.