Friday :: Nov 23, 2007

Annapolis Fakery

by Steve

I will leave it to others more well-versed in the region than me to comment on the chances for success at Tuesday's Annapolis Middle East "peace conference." But for a man who claims he isn't concerned about his legacy, and who previously said summits were worthless unless something can get done, Mr. Bush suddenly sees the value in something he spurned over five years ago.

Perhaps, as the Economist speculates, Mr. Bush is simply trying to make the Arab League think he cares about the region in order to get their support for tougher action against Iran. Perhaps Bush realizes that he may be the only modern president who is about to leave the Middle East in much worse shape than he found it. Or perhaps he has managed to drive down the expectations for next week's photo op so low that anything of substance would look good.

But it has been over five years now since Bush said he cared so much about the Israeli-Palestinian peace process that he refused to have a summit, and that even meeting could be detrimental to the process. Obviously, the neocon plan was to avoid diplomacy until the United States could use force to put Israel's opponents in a disadvantageous position. Yet he has managed to start a war and an occupation that has turned the region against us, and he has seen Hamas and Hezbollah take over in Gaza and southern Lebanon. And now with little more than a year left in his presidency and having little influence with regional players who now may simply wait for his successor, Bush thinks the time is right to meet.

He should not be surprised however that the Arab League is sending only ministerial representatives next week, and is not expecting much to come of this photo op, as they see little evidence that Israel and the United States is any more serious now about hard bargaining than they were five years ago. The Arab League figured out this administration long ago, and is also prepared to wait for Bush's successor. The only thing that can push along the process is a regional solution that includes Iran, our redeployment from Iraq, and the commitment of all states to supporting a two-state solution and the elimination of Islamic extremism. Until the United States is willing to take the lead on a regional solution, everything else Bush does here is hollow and fake.

Steve :: 12:54 PM :: Comments (16) :: Digg It!