Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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December 3, 2003
By: Kevin Drum

CAN ONLY BUSH GO TO JERUSALEM?....Sometimes you learn interesting new things reading National Review. No, really. Check out the fan list of the unofficial "Geneva Accord" peace plan between Israel and the Palestinians:

The fact that failed politicians like Jimmy Carter, Sandy Berger, and Yossi Beilin would join them, cheered on by the likes of Thomas Friedman, is no surprise either, but the fact that our deputy secretary of defense, Paul Wolfowitz, is one of the cheerleaders for the Geneva Accord is.

....In loudly voicing his support for the Geneva Accord, Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz is working against the Bush plan and undercutting one of its strongest supporters, his immediate superior, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld.

Wolfowitz, huh? That's interesting. But is he really working against the "Bush plan"? Maybe, maybe not:

The administration had not previously embraced the initiative, known as the Geneva Accord, but officials said in recent weeks that the administration had become increasingly frustrated with Sharon....

In a choreographed sequence, the chief negotiators of the agreement -- Yossi Beilin, a former Israeli justice minister and longtime peace negotiator, and Yasser Abed Rabbo, former Palestinian information minister -- will meet with William J. Burns, the assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs, and Elliott Abrams, the senior National Security Council official for Israeli-Palestinian issues. Then [Colin] Powell is scheduled to drop by the meeting, U.S. officials said.

Let's see, we've got Paul Wolfowitz, Elliot Abrams, and Colin Powell all expressing support. That pretty much covers the spectrum of necons, mideast superhawks, and realist internationalists in the administration, doesn't it? And something tells me these guys aren't doing this without the blessing of their boss.

I wonder how far George Bush is willing to take this? I'm actually a big fan of the "only Nixon can go to China" theory, and it's (barely) conceivable that Bush has enough credibility as a pro-Israel hawk that he could put his considerable prestige behind a serious Geneva/Taba-like compromise and make it stick. And hell, even Yasser Arafat is getting old enough that he must be thinking about his place in history these days. You never know what might be going through the old guy's mind.

It probably won't happen, I know. But it's a thought.

Kevin Drum 10:44 AM Permalink | Trackbacks

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