When then Secretary of State Warren Christopher was kept waiting for hours by Hafez Assad in Damascus, he allowed Assad to make a fool of him. When then Secretary of State Madeline Albright arrived in Pyongyang to visit Kim Jong Il and announced, “I’m very glad to be here in your beautiful city,” she made a fool of herself. These events were not without consequences. They weakened the United States.
At Contentions Noah Pollak describes Secretary Rice succumbing to “Annapolis syndrome.” Pollak writes:
There is an unmistakable tinge of insanity creeping into the U.S. effort to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It takes form in the embarrassing desperation of Condoleeza Rice, as she countenances the increasing implausibility of the Annapolis conference with ever more florid and urgent declarations of the imperative of creating a Palestinian state. It takes form in the haphazard manner in which the U.S. has jettisoned virtually every requirement arrived upon in previous negotiations, most notably the unannounced dismissal of the 2003 Roadmap. And this creeping insanity takes form most strikingly in the refusal of U.S. strategists to deal seriously with the array of facts on the ground, facts that would undermine any print-on-paper agreements arising from Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.
I fear that Rice’s current venture is damaging the United States and Israel (whose government needs little assistance from the United States in this regard). Pollak’s post provides what might be the most optimistic assessment: “I feel safe predicting that the Annapolis conference, putatively only five weeks away, will not happen, or will take place in a highly attenuated form.”