Saturday, March 19, 2011

Verdict: Not Guilty Of Course

I don't think we needed the New York Post or Aaron David Miller to tell us this, but it's always nice to hear.

The Miller piece, "The False Religion of Mideast Peace", published in May/June's 2010 Foreign Policy, is worth reviewing again; he sounds like a man who has given up a cult (something akin to Paul Haggis vs the Church of Scientology - for something completely different, a rather incredible story in the February 14 edition of The New Yorker; don't say that I didn't give you something to read over your weekend...), and his words ring truer now in light of the ongoing events in the Arab world than ever before:

"Like all religions, the peace process has developed a dogmatic creed, with immutable first principles. Over the last two decades, I wrote them hundreds of times to my bosses in the upper echelons of the State Department and the White House; they were a catechism we all could recite by heart. First, pursuit of a comprehensive peace was a core, if not the core, U.S. interest in the region, and achieving it offered the only sure way to protect U.S. interests; second, peace could be achieved, butonly through a serious negotiating process based on trading land for peace; and third, only America could help the Arabs and Israelis bring that peace to fruition."

"Today, I couldn't write those same memos or anything like them with a clear conscience or a straight face. Although many experts' beliefs haven't changed, the region has, and dramatically, becoming nastier and more complex. U.S. priorities and interests, too, have changed. The notion that there's a single or simple fix to protecting those interests, let alone that Arab-Israeli peace would, like some magic potion, bullet, or elixir, make it all better, is just flat wrong. In a broken, angry region with so many problems -- from stagnant, inequitable economies to extractive and authoritarian governments that abuse human rights and deny rule of law, to a popular culture mired in conspiracy and denial -- it stretches the bounds of credulity to the breaking point to argue that settling the Arab-Israeli conflict is the most critical issue, or that its resolution would somehow guarantee Middle East stability."

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