My futuristic scenario has trigerred an interesting disucssion on blog Jim Henley's blog about the global role of the U.S. and the potential for conflict with China. I also want to draw your attention to Steve Sailer's provocative analysis of Israel-Palestine on Taki's Top Drawer and my related comments. In that context, Jackson Diehl in his column in The Washington Post makes the same point I've been making for quite a while, that all the talk, and hope and expectation with regard to the revival of the Israeli-Palestinian "peace process is just a lot of B-S (check for examples this, and this, and this). Diehl concludes by arguing that:
You might think that talking about the parameters of peace can't do any harm. But history shows that it can. President Clinton's push for a peace deal at the end of his presidency raised expectations that, when dashed, helped produce the bloody Israeli-Palestinian warfare that followed. Some Israeli officials fear a repeat: When nothing comes of the Saudi initiative or Rice's political horizon, Hamas will have the justification it needs to launch the war-in-waiting in Gaza.

There's also the opportunity cost. Instead of talking about final borders and refugees, Olmert, Abbas and Rice might usefully be cutting deals that would ease conditions for average Palestinians in Gaza, release prisoners on both sides, solidify the cease-fire -- and maybe head off that war. Isn't that better than make-believe?

Indeed, I'm always fascinated by the fact that my friends in the "reality based community" when it comes to Iraq seem to be joining the "faith based community" when it comes to Israel-Palestine. They should explain why Washington would has made a mess in Iraq is going to do better in the Holy Land.


Anonymous said…
Abbas is basically a holocaust denier - It was the topic of his PhD Dis - Done while a grad student in the Soviet Union.

Why is he acceptable to negotiate with and the Iranian is not? Maybe because negotiations with the Palestians are all make believe to begin with.
Interesting point. Indeed, after he had landed in Israel, everyone suddenly forgot that Sadat was a pro-Nazi agent during WWII.
Anonymous said…
It's really weird because the case against Ahmadinejad hinges, in good measure, on his reputed rep as a holocaust denier. But depending on what you read - there's some grey area there; sometimes he indicates he acknowledges the holocaust but quibbles about the details and entertains those freaks - etc. But he at least is somewhat ambigious.

Meanwhile - Olmert hails his partner for peace - Abu Mazen - and it turns out that his PhD would make David Duke blush with deniers envy.

Grant Olmert this perogative - If it's in his national interest to pretend Abbas is not what his resume suggest, then that's his right. Afterall, holocaust denial is widespread in the area - so you can't be too picky

But it's sort of bizarre to see the media just cluck along without saying "wait a sec!"

Interesting that you mention that about Sadat - I'd wish that wasn't true.
Anonymous said…
When Bibi and others say, about Ahmadinejad that he's a holocaust denier so you can't negotiate with him, it makes some sense - Agree with him or not, you can undertand the logic. But then you hear about Abbas and how no one even mentions it. Abbas issues a non denial denial a while back, but he still is what he is. So you come to the depressing conclusion that a so much bs is being flung about that it's hard to know what to believe or who to trust. I have no idea if Iran is a threat because I don't trust these politicians to tell the truth.
Decisions in foreign policy have to be made based on calculations that take into considerations power, interests,etc. The president of Iran is clearly an unpleasant character, even if he hadn't denied the Holocaust. But so was Stalin (gangster), Mao (pedophile)and many others. At the same time, we also have to recognize that there is a small but living community of Jews (about 20,000) in Iran, unlike in Egypt, Jordan or Saudi Arabia (out great friends) and that most Iranians have less intense feelings towards Israel (either way). But if Israel bombs Iran all of that will change.
Anonymous said…
If Hersh is correct, Israel and the US are now basically alligned with Saudi linked Qaeda factions in Lebanon. - All because the looming Iran thing and the Hezb link. No good can come of that - It's not just immoral, it's also wrong. We should be doing everything we can to wipe out Qaeda and it would make more sense (though still dumb and unrealistic) to have a tactical alliance with Hizbollah to go after Qaeda, than vica versa. Israel once had good relations with the Shia of Lebanon - so maybe it will again, some distant day. But they can never have good relations with anyone linked to Qaeda.
The problems with the Shiites started after the 1982 Lebanon War (and remember Al Haig's "yellow light")and of course there was the Iranian revolution (and remember Mossadgeh). Basically, that's how is works in the Middle East. A lot of shifting alliances, usually based on short-term considerations. To be honest with you, I'm not even sure what Al Queda means any more, although I agree with you that the U.S. should have found Osama and hang him and his buddies instead of going to Iraq. At this point, it's just a mess and I don't see any way out, with the Shiite-Sunni stuggle becoming more of a reality, and not end to the crises in Lebanon, Israel/Palestine and of course Iraq.
Brian said…
I fail to see why the Holocaust has ANYTHING to do with negotiations for peace in the middle east. This is nothing but a ploy to avoid reaching a conclusion, one of the many ploys that have helped to prevent peace for FORTY years.

Regardless of their views on the Holocaust, the Ahmadinejads and Mazens of the world do have one point - they and their people had NOTHING TO DO WITH IT either way.

So, the existence of the Holocaust is irrelevant to any debate on peace in the middle east, land etc.

Fact is, the Holocaust has become a political tool (a perhaps a religion onto itself?). I think this is sad.

But what it should not become is some litmus test or precondition as to whether one can negotiate with someone. This just wastes everyone’s time. But maybe that is the point.
Anonymous said…
Brian, I think you missed the point of the discussion.

Israel is quite clear that they thihk Ahmadinejad's Holocaust views are something they take into consideration.

If you think you can negotiate a peace in the Middle East without taking into account the Israeli position, then you are mistaken.

The earlier comment was just making the point that Abu Mazen once stated beliefs somehow are held no longer important.

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