Pete Souza/White House
- Until Bush, US presidents believed Israeli-Palestinian peace was touchstone of US policy in Middle East @dpletka
- Obama put Mideast peace process at the center of US policy--and yet again it has failed @dpletka
- Will the next president write his own narrative on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process?
This post is part of an ongoing series preparing for the AEI/CNN/Heritage National Security & Foreign Policy GOP presidential debate on November 22nd.
The peace process has been a roller-coaster ride for decades. The Israelis and the Palestinians inch closer, apart, turn their backs on each other, embrace. They have met directly, refused to meet, met via third parties, and met secretly. There is only one thing that Israel and the Palestinians have not done over the decades, and that is make peace.
"Will U.S. relations with terrorists and democrats, Islamists and autocrats, be rated on the merits?"
Until the George W. Bush administration, each American president, regardless of party, subscribed to the notion that Israeli-Palestinian peace, and the peace process that would lead to it, was a touchstone of U.S. policy toward the Middle East. Without that peace, the conventional wisdom had it, there could be no stability in the region, no democracy, and no end to terrorism.
Bush 43 abandoned that notion and turned to the freedom deficit at the heart of the region’s woes. From that deficit sprung not only economic and political stagnation but also the energy behind the alternative vision offered by Islamists.
Barack Obama repudiated this new idea, as he did with anything that smacked of George W. Bush. The peace process became the centerpiece of his regional policy, and yet again it has failed.
The next president will also be faced with this challenge. Will he or she pay reflexive obeisance to the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians, or will the new president write his own narrative? Will U.S. relations with terrorists and democrats, Islamists and autocrats, be rated on the merits? Will the next president be indifferent to the plight of those in the Middle East without freedom? Difficult to know, but it is hard not to be reminded of that old trope about insanity defined… doing the same thing again and again, and expecting different results.
Danielle Pletka is vice president of foreign and defense policy studies at AEI