by Barry Rubin
The latest development is an apparently well-informed New York Times article about a meeting chaired by National Security Advisor James Jones, known for being hostile to Israel, and including former national security advisors, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Brent Scowcroft—also known for being anti-Israel—and Samuel Berger. All three (it should be mentioned that none of this trio covered himself with glory when in office and are not exactly foreign policy geniuses) reportedly favor the idea. Former national security advisor Colin Powell disagreed, but he's a Republican (though a pro-Obama one) and probably less influential. Oh, and President Obama dropped in to hear the discussion.
One might ask a lot of people who voted for Obama if they are happy having Brzezinski and Scowcroft as top advisors on
But, the reporter writes:
"Still, for all of that, a consensus appears to be growing, both within the administration and among outside advisers to the White House, that Mr. Obama will have to consider suggesting a solution to get the two sides moving." This might happen also if indirect talks fail.
Let us pause a moment to consider that this whole approach is the opposite of being brilliant. First, the administration has just signaled to the Palestinians that they want to make the indirect talks fail, since then the
In addition, the strategy is deeply against diplomatic norms.
This, then, would be the third commitment from past years that the Obama administration would break.
The first was that any diplomatic solution could include
The agreement outlined in the article is that there would be no return of Palestinian refugees to
Leaving aside the problems that such a proposal would bring for
The sole expert quoted by the Times, by the way, is Robert Malley who, of course favors it though he stresses it won't be easy. Malley is very close to the PA and very far away from
There are many factors here but let me cite just two. First, high-ranking administration officials are not exactly deeply understanding of the issues at stake. Any plan presented by them will be full of holes and dangerous errors. Second, the notion that they can solve this issue and the whole
Yet the outcome would be the exact opposite of what they expect on the regional level. Islamists and many others in the Arab world will present any plan as treason, proof that
It would be nice if those favoring or reporting on current policy mentioned these problems and tried to refute them in some way. Instead, they are usually just ignored. How can you write about an imposed solution and not even mention that little detail regarding Hamas! At least the Washington Post version--which as usual is superior to the Times reporting from
In reality, the
After the British technical victory at the battle of
With the Obama Administration, having mishandled both Israel-Palestinian issues and sanctions against
Finally, one reason why I'd prefer that the administration did something right on foreign policy is so I could stop writing articles like this and find some good things to say about them. After all, the fact that the
Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal.
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