The impoverished diplomacy of Bush’s critics

Robin Wright of the Washington Post calls upon the Bush administration to get its act together and take “bold diplomatic action” in the Middle East. “Bold diplomatic action” isn’t exactly an oxymoron — it’s possbile to take such action. Unfortunately, though, in the absence of a prior military victory, bold diplomatic action usually consists of making major and dangerous concessions. Any other course normally will be insufficiently audacious to be “bold” or insufficiently realistic to constitute “action.”
Wright’s survey of the Middle Eastern scene demonstrates the point. In Iraq she calls for either a U.S. exit in 2006 (concession in the strong sense) or bringing in the U.N. (concession and unrealistic). In Iran, Wright’s solution is a deal in which Iran terminates its nuclear program in exchange for security guarantees (sure, Iran will go for that). In Israel, Wright looks to Zbigniew Brzeninski and Brent Scowcroft for her answer. And how do these worthies from the past propose to bring about a final settlement in which the Palestinians get a state in exchange for ending their terror campaign against Israel and permanently abandoning their claim of a right of return? We tell the parties what the solution is and then help/push them to bring it about. But of course. How did Bush miss that?


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