Peace in the Middle East ? (Part 2)

The causes of this economic crisis and the rapidity with which it developed, needs a separate discussion. But a careful perusal of the Wall Street Journal which breaks bad news gently, suggests that the long hoped for turn around has now been pushed to the first quarter of 2010 if not later. Without admitting it explicitly, it is now suggested that the Middle East be the new President's first priority. The official line will be - as it is now - Bush II's cliche, ' Two Nations living side by side in Peace.' Apparently, the word 'Peace' has many meanings; all of which (except the naive, commonly understood one,) are vigorously promoted on the Jerusalem Post, YNet and Haaretz. Bibi Netanyahu in his talks with Pres. Sarkozy has explained how far the Likud would go (taking the Haredi Right Wing along) in this regard. He envisages a situation on the West bank identical to that of Gaza. The views of Bush II have evolved from a near identity with Sharon's ( in 2000) to a position somewhat different from Bibi's. Apparently, the offer of the Arab Summit ( Beirut, 2002) itself a near ditto of the offer made by Yasser Arafat and Hanan Ashrawi at Madrid in 1991, is still a little way off though he does accept the Green Line with modifications and an exchange of land to accommodate the Settlers. Perhaps the word 'evolved' is inaccurate, if we note his strange behaviour re the Hizbollah War - he said in essence, that a little bit of violence would clarify the situation: he probably had in mind a prescription more like the one he imposed on Iraq. In the event, the Hisbollah proved as recalcitrant as the Iraqis and Hamas. Vacillation is probably the better word: Pres. Bush will follow the advice of Condi in these matters, now that Rummy, Wolfie and Karl have let him down. This kind of a solution would be swallowed with grimaces by the Christian Right if administered by Bush but they and the Christian-Zionists of the Right Wing Press would never accept from the hand of the new President.
Here is where the economic situation hopefully, will temper the zeal of the Christian-Zionists. The US is not in a position to conduct another war, anywhere, for any reason; and preoccupied with the real problems at home, Pres. Obama will be able to move towards Peace in foreign lands a little more freely. The problem for the US will be that the other side's views may have evolved too - much beyond their position in 2002 - and not necessarily in a contentious manner; for there is a real political - economical transformation of the world which in combination with the increasing clout of the Russians and the South Americans is tending to marginalize the US. The Chinese have warehouses at both ends of the Panama Canal and with over 400 companies in Africa they were able to dampen the West's response to the Darfur affair. The same is partly true of Zimbabwe. Hugo Chavez and Evo Morales are able to suggest that the wealth of South America belongs to people of the region and not to private companies foreign or even domestic; without protest from Chile, Mexico, Brazil and Argentina. The World Bank till recently run by Wolfie, finds itself short of customers. And now with the total collapse ( sic ) of Investment Banking, the free fall of the dollar and the tendency to bilateral trading arrangements the whole complex of what is called ( even by the Wall Street Journal,) "Anglo-Saxon Capitalism" has become a paper tiger.
The pose of Israel and the (oxymoronic) Liberal-Zionists in the US and elsewhere has been that Israel and its supporters has been that they are very supportive of civil-rights, freedom of choice (on the abortion issue,) the right to vote and be counted honestly, anti-colonialism ( sic ) and the fiction that Israel is the only true democracy in the Middle East, and that only the Palestinian and Arab short-sightedness prevents the quick and easy solution of the Palestinian problem: the old Abba Eban quip that the Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity, has become exposed as a self-serving fraud. Nobody, not even the other ex-Imperialist powers who played a prominent part in the establishment, the surreptitious maintainence and territorial expansion of Israel over the years care to peddle this line anymore. The important development one that has profound consequences, is that the UN whose existence and whose meaningless resolutions from #194 down to # 224 and # 338 that Israel and the US so nonchalantly ignored, now faces the fact that the rest of the world finds itself with, and is most likely to imitate the stances of Israel. The UN has become irrelevant to both sides.
So: are the prospects for "Peace" better than ever before? Will there soon be two states living in peace and harmony? Will the Palestinians and rest of the Arab and Muslim world applaud this acceptance of Arab rights to a part of Israel's Patrimony and accept this revised and updated Balfour Declaration? Will Arab and Israeli children be seen playing hop-scotch together while their elders sip mint tea at a nearby pavement restaurant, adjacent to an Holocaust Museum? Is this the Fukuyama-like "End of Middle Eastern and World History?" The absorption of Israel into the North-Atlantic Treaty Organization ( the Condi Rice solution) or even the EU as a few daring and advanced thinkers in the West propose (if such an offer is ever made and if the fiercely religious and devious Israelis accept it) remains only a remote possibility.
The West created Israel, and the rest of the world is ready to leave it to the West to deal with her. A lasting or at least a reasonably stable agreement requires some semblance of equality in real power among the negotiating parties. They will turn their attention to recovering their economic power and its concomitant military power - powers which they possessed before say, AD 1500 when the West was only their equal. Then and only then, it seems to me, that they will offer real and practical solutions: and such solutions the West mindful of Pres. Ahmedinejad, rightly fears will not be to their advantage.
This is the real reason why Bush II proposes the belated acceptance of the two-state solution; and to sweeten the deal he has just proposed to sell nuke technology to the UAE. Unable to Iraqize Iran, his hope is that forgetting Israel, the Arabs and the Iranians will bomb each other out of existence: and that India will then do the same to Pakistan - and so on. Mission Accomplished.

Perhaps this suggestion was sold to him by his chief adviser on Islamic Affairs, Daniel Pipes of the Mid East Forum. As the much misattributed Latin proverb goes: "Quem Iuppiter vult perdere, dementat prius." - Those whom the gods wish to destroy, they first make mad!

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