Friday, January 11, 2008

Bursting the optimist's bubble

The presidential election hasn't even happened, but Bush is already a lame duck. So he's putting himself into the role of elder statesman by negotiating a new peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Administration. This one, he says, will be lasting, and -- best of all -- it'll be wrapped up by the end of his presidency!

On the BBC the other day, an Israeli commentator made a comment to this effect: "This guy wouldn't be able to win an election in his own country at this point, and yet he expects to command the respect and compliance of parties in a conflict that he doesn't even understand."

Perhaps he's starting to worry that the sum of his presidential legacy will be heightened instability and cultural animosities in the Middle East and south-central Asia. But even if he manages to convert the heart and mind of each and every Israeli and Palestinian to pacifism and sacrificial love, I imagine that the families of slain and tortured Iraqis and Afghans will remain pissed for a long while.

Some analysis and commentary from Haaretz to burst the optimist's bubble:
"What a Glorious Decline" by Aluf Benn
"Palestinians Believe Bush Won't Pressure Israel" by Yoav Stern
"On a Divine Mission" by Ari Shavit (read response #1 from MB to round out the perspective)

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