The Palestinians did not like hearing that at a three-day meeting held recently in the United States to discuss American strategy, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was not mentioned even once.

One topic mentioned over and over, however, was the war against international terror. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is considered marginal in the eyes of American strategists. This is an erroneous approach because the continuation of this conflict, including the Israeli occupation, will most certainly lead to new waves of terror; international terror, which the Americans fear so much, will spread.

It is edifying that the Americans do not know how to exert their military supremacy to ensure the safety and security of the world. This strategic contradiction was prominent in most of the speeches at the meeting, with the sense of power evident on the one hand while on the other hand, there was the opposite feeling, that America's sensitive points are more vulnerable to the enemy than ever before. This was apparent even though this enemy is neither a power nor a semi-power, but rather an opponent whose forces are small in number but whose attacks can be very severe because it is liable to use weapons of mass destruction. The American planners know that the answer to such a threat is not in the number of nuclear bombs or in the thousands of tanks and warplanes in America's possession.

Israel is a long way from being a world power but must nevertheless follow the development of this American strategy, to learn its lessons and know how to fit into it properly. Here are two sides that are certainly not of equal strength. On one side is an unprecedented military power (the United States). On the other side is a small enemy that is hard to define and locate and hard to eliminate by conventional means. For this reason the Americans are having difficulty defining the correct deterrent against such an enemy. Their strategy is therefore one that has more question marks than exclamation marks.

The Americans understand better - and Iraq is the latest example - that victory, even by a superpower, is not only in the military arena. The Americans know very well that the current war will be different from all the wars their country has experienced in the past. They figure that in the future, there will be more terror and it will be more dangerous.

At the same time, and on the background of what happened in Iraq, it is clear to the Americans that they will not be able to make the activation of their forces to protect American interests conditional on United Nations approval alone. If that were to be the case, they say, it is doubtful whether the U.S. would be able to exert its supremacy even for simple defense. They therefore concluded that Washington has to look for its friends anew, to forge new ad hoc coalitions with regional preferences.

The strategic approach that is forming is that Washington will not permit the existence of terror bases worldwide that will be capable of attacking it or its friends. It will do everything to prevent the development of weapons of mass destruction by states that support terror. It knows that it will not always be able to subdue its opponents, but it will be able to set the heavy price they will have to pay for their actions.

To this end the U.S. is building its forces such that they will be able to move faster. There is a desire to give up various bases beyond America's borders, but with the intention of reaching full combat potential and maximum precision - mainly with the help of the navy and air force.

On the one hand we will see cuts in the size of the regular American forces, but on the other there will be large investments in developing unmanned vehicles, including underwater ones. Over time the Americans will even part with the manned warplane, familiar since World War I. Israel can learn much from this strategic and technological revolution, which is already under way in the U.S., can become integrated into it and even advance the progress of certain processes.