A Push for Middle East Peace?

Tomorrow's Wall Street Journal has an interesting article on the relationship between Barack Obama and Brent Scowcroft, the foreign policy realist who served as National Security Advisor under both Presidents Gerald Ford and George H. W. Bush. Of particular note, at least from this vantage, are Scowcroft's views on the role of a Middle East peace process in helping foster stability throughout the region.

Many of the Republicans emerging as potential members of the Obama administration have professional and ideological ties to Brent Scowcroft, a former national-security adviser turned public critic of the Bush White House.

Mr. Scowcroft spoke by phone with President-elect Barack Obama last week, the latest in a months-long series of conversations between the two men about defense and foreign-policy issues, according to people familiar with the discussions.

The relationship between the president-elect and the Republican heavyweight suggests that Mr. Scowcroft's views, which place a premium on an Israeli-Palestinian peace accord, might hold sway in the Obama White House.


Mr. Scowcroft said his biggest piece of advice for the new administration was that it should make a renewed push to help broker an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal. He also endorsed Mr. Obama's call for diplomatic engagement with Iran.

Renewed attention towards a possible Israeli-Palestinian peace deal from the administration would come as a welcome development following eight years of disengagement from the Bush White House. A professor of mine once likened America's role in the peace process to a bicycle rider -- if the rider gets off, the bike doesn't continue to ride itself. So while there may be some potentially positive omens out of Israel, particularly the suggestion that Israeli leadership might consider the peace proposal forwarded by Saudi Arabia, without America on board helping to move the process forward, it's difficult to see much of any headway being made.

It's in light of this that the selection of Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State is so enticing. While there is a sense that Clinton is more hawkish than Barack Obama, that she is to the right of him on some foreign policy issues, I agree with Jerome that the differences during the primaries were overstated by both sides to make electoral cases. More to the point, though, the Israel-Palestine situation is one in which Clinton, like her husband, could try to stake her legacy. Indeed, if she were able to move the process significantly forward, thus improving not only the situation in the immediate area but also throughout the region, not only would she be able to cement her own place in history she would also be able to fulfill the effort upon which her husband hoped to stake his term in office.

To be clear, I'm not blind to the difficulty going forward, and the very real prospect that Bibi Netanyahu, rather than Tzipi Livni (or Ehud Barak, for that matter), becomes the next Prime Minister of Israel in the spring makes the path to peace that much more arduous. That said, there remains a glimmer of hope that cannot be overlooked, and the role an active U.S. administration could play in making peace a reality should not be underestimated.

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Now you have it, now you don't: a Palestinian state

Peace at last?

From the Sunday Times, London, comes this great headline and story about a projected breakthrough in peace between the Israelis and Palestinians to be negotiated by Obama:

Barack Obama links Israel peace plan to 1967 borders deal

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Obama's Middle East policy

When optimism and pessimism meet on equal terms, one can only be talking about the Middle East and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, in particular. This YouTube video called Inside Story: Obama's Middle East policy came out a few days ago. I thought it was interesting enough to share.

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How big a deal is Obama's international trip? Discuss

Barack Obama is going on a big international trip next week where he'll speak with foreign leaders, talk to public audiences, and get huge press coverage there and at home.

But how big a deal is it?  McCain went to Europe, Israel and Iraq and it wasn't all that huge.

I think Obama's trip will be a bigger deal and so do the networks.  They're sending some of their top folks who will be interviewing Obama along the way.  According to The Page and the Washington Post's Howard Kurtz, "NBC's Brian Williams, ABC's Charlie Gibson and CBS' Katie Couric will meet up with Obama on his swing through Europe and the Middle East next week."

"Sources in both television and politics confirmed that the Williams, Gibson and Couric interviews will be parceled out on successive nights in different countries. That means the Obama camp will have drawn the anchors halfway around the world by offering access. (Correspondents could have done the interviews instead, but a certain competitiveness sets in once one or two anchors agree to go."
http://thepage.time.com/2008/07/16/netwo rk-anchors-pack-their-bags/
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/con tent/article/2008/07/16/AR2008071600758_ pf.html

What do you think?  Might this have a big effect on the race?  Is it a sign of media savvy or too much risk-taking on behalf of the Obama campaign?

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PROOF: George W Bush Is An Anti-Semite!

Crossposted from Left Toon Lane, Bilerico Project& My Left Wing

click to enlarge

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