It seems that the Bush Administration IS capable of learning. It seems they ARE aware of history, but choose to ignore it, when it’s convenient. The renewed Middle East peace talks are testimony to the fact the administration might finally be learning why anti-American sentiments seem to fester in the Middle East region. What the Bush Administration did not seem to understand or is reluctant to acknowledge (I am more inclined to think the latter, in this case) is that the core of these negative sentiments revolve around our unflagging support for Israel. Walt and Mearsheimer wrote a fabulous article early last year about the infamous Israel Lobby exposing AIPAC’s overwhelming influence in nearly every facet of US policy-making. Now, their book has been released drawing the eyes of bookstore nomads with its white cover and blue stars – sure to jump out amongst the typical black and beige colored covers of other books. Despite the fact that Annapolis has unprecedented international support, Syria’s presence, is ultimately a non sequitor – although it has been lauded as a hugely important symbolic move for continuing peace talks about the Golan Heights. New regional leaders have emerged positing Saudi Arabia as the necessary regional power to play counterweight to Iran’s political ambitions. It seems highly coincidental that they seem to be one of our best oil friends. Annapolis seems like it’s a big setup with big ambition, seemingly bridging never before seen bridges.
Invites aside, I have questions for the Bush Administration. Where has this sudden interest come from? Why are we resuming peace talks now? What has changed in the area to induce renewed efforts at peace? I am guessing now, that the worst part is over – in that our oil resources have been secured by destabilizing an entire nation, killings upwards of 80,000 Iraqi civilians – I suppose it is time to pursue more noble goals, now isn’t it? The administration has nothing to lose with rock bottom approval ratings equaling those of Nixon at the height of his Watergate scandal, according to some sources. Is Bush trying to polish some of his tarnished image before he leaves office? Is this a last ditch effort to salvage some sort of legitimacy regarding our foreign affairs and quell the spread of Anti-Americanism? I particularly like how Charles Kupchan, CFR fellow, describes the Annapolis Conference in calling this overture the ‘diplomatic equivalent of a “Hail Mary Pass.”‘ For those who don’t know what I’m talking about, well – you’re just going to be left out of the fun. More importantly, Kupchan continues the analogy by mentioning the Administration has, at last, called a play. They may have called a play, but what good is starting something without the intention to finish? In fact, I find the timing extremely problematic. These renewed talks are an illusory move lacking all sincerity and concern for the result. It can only degrade morale for all sides involved without the commitment to bring about any real change. All in all, if you can’t follow or are not willing to follow through, the renewed talks will only amount to ceremony, disappointment, and God Forbid! more bloodshed.
The Bush administration should hold the ball and let the clock run out.
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