Does the Bush “Roadmap to Peace” make sense? I tend to agree with James Lileks today:
I don’t think it’s going to work. I never thought it would work. The only question is how many dead Israelis it will take before the point is made, for the 3,234th time.
I understand that Bush wants more influence with Middle East countries to help in the war on terror, and that the leaders of these countries express a strong interest in the US applying pressure to help resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. One problem with this is that I suspect that those leaders actually find the conflict useful to them. A larger problem is that a peaceful resolution won’t be possible until the parties with control of events have shared goals (which include a desire for a peaceful resolution). Today, they don’t.
Israel limiting its activities to negotiating with the Palestinian Authority to end the violence of Hamas and other terrorist organizations makes as much sense to me as it would have for the United States to limit its activities to negotiating with the Taliban to end the violence of Al Qaeda. They lacked the will and/or the power to do it.
Another problem is that now Bush is in the position of feeling a need to publicly rebuke Sharon for attacking Hamas leaders (I’m hoping that a different message is being communicated privately). This weakens the message that he had been communicating so clearly since 9/11, and makes it appear that he has become unclear on the concept of fighting terrorism. I think the moral position is vital to maintain here. This is not just a battle against particular terrorists; it’s against a horrible set of ideas, and the better ideas should be expressed clearly and consistently.
This Roadmap effort could very well be the cause of more, rather than less, violence if Israel is restrained from protecting itself. Pursuing a doomed policy that hurts our friends for diplomatic advantages is a bad mistake.
Have we become France?