Return to realism: There won't be a Middle East breakthrough
When we last read a piece by former Middle East peace negotiator Aaron David Miller, he had zigzagged from chiding the believers in the "religion" of the peace process to sunny optimism that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton could get things on track. Now, thankfully, Miller is back to his earlier brand of realism, stating that "it should be clear to all but the interminably obtuse" (and the intentionally obtuse, I would add) that a breakthrough in peace talks isn't possible in the forseeable future. He asserts that "the cooler heads in the Obama administration know this. Particularly the secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, and the new national security adviser, Tom Donilon." Now they just need to convince the president.
Miller urges Obama to focus on attainable items, not a Middle East peace breakthrough. So Miller advises:
First, stay out of the United Nations. Don't encourage the Palestinians to believe that the United States will vote for, or even abstain on, resolutions that criticize the Israelis on settlements. Or support efforts to recognize Palestinian statehood. It's a key to an empty room. That will come only through negotiations and U.S. mediation in the region -- not in New York.
Second, support Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad's institution building on the West Bank, especially in the economic and security areas;
Third, use the absence of direct talks -- which have rarely produced sustained breakthroughs in any case -- to press both sides separately, at a high level, on where they are on the core issues. Do this for three months -- and see where the gaps are and what the chances are for bridging them;
Fourth, probe for signs of life on the Israeli-Syrian talks.
I'd stop at No. 2. On the list of farcical exercises, the search for an Israeli-Syrian breakthrough ranks high. But Miller's return to realism should be applauded. We can only hope that the "interminably obtuse" don't include the president.
Posted by: K2K2 | January 24, 2011 12:00 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: K2K2 | January 24, 2011 12:02 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: eoniii | January 24, 2011 12:19 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: johnmarshall5446 | January 24, 2011 3:14 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Shingo1 | January 24, 2011 7:18 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Shingo1 | January 24, 2011 7:24 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Shingo1 | January 24, 2011 7:26 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: johnmarshall5446 | January 24, 2011 8:26 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Shingo1 | January 24, 2011 11:39 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: K2K2 | January 24, 2011 11:40 PM | Report abuse