The False Religion of Mideast Peace

AARON DAVID MILLER

writes in Foreign Policy Magazine

Larry Summers, Obama's chief economic advisor, said it best: In the history of the world, no one ever washed a rental car. We care only about what we own. Unless the Arabs and Israelis want political agreements and peace and can invest enough in them to give them a chance to succeed, we certainly can't. The broader Middle East is littered with the remains of great powers that wrongly believed they could impose their will on small tribes. Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran … need I continue? Small tribes will always be meaner, tougher, and longer-winded than U.S. diplomats because it's their neighborhood and their survival; they will always have a greater stake in the outcome of their struggle than the great power thousands of miles away with many other things to do. You want to see failure? Take a whack at trying to force Israelis and Palestinians to accept an American solution on Jerusalem.

He makes a compelling argument that unless and until the Israelis and Palestinians take ownership of the situation and strive seriously to resolve their issues, efforts to force a solution from the outside are doomed to failure. The sense of urgency cannot be imposed on the participants. Absent that sense of urgency, Obama's time and effort is better spent dealing with other things, like two wars, Iranian nuclear ambitions, Pakistan, and a hundred others which might actually be impacted by his efforts.

http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2010/04/19/the_false_religion_of_mideast_peace?page=0,6

Aaron Miller was interviewed on NPR this morning, but the audio isn't up at their website yet.

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