Day By Day

Friday, January 09, 2009

What Bush Has Wrought

Contemplating the current situation in Gaza, Victor Davis Hanson wrote:
Hamas has learned that for all its adept theater and victimization, its European megaphones and American sympathizers, it still was left largely hanging alone by the Arab capitals as it was systematically attrited.


Hamas was isolated and learned that Arab authoritarians worried more about Iranian influence than Arab solidarity.
Read it here.

This is a remarkable development, something never anticipated by fantasists like Former Secretary of State Zbigniew Brzezinski and other foreign policy "realists" who naively proclaim their faith in an endless "peace process". And, it is something that President Bush has accomplished.

It has long been clear to anyone but a "realist" that the interminable peace negotiations were never going to produce a satisfactory result so long as regimes in the Middle East had a vested interest in maintaining hostilities against Israel. It was their all-purpose excuse -- when pressured by Western powers to institute reforms their reply was always that nothing could be done until the Israeli/Palestinian problem was resolved. And, Israel was always a convenient boogey man they could invoke to rally support among their own populations.

Bush has changed that. The Iraq invasion and adversarial role played there by Iran has produced a more plausible enemy for Arab despots to worry about than Israel. Attention has been drawn away from the Palestinian cause, and their appeals have fallen on deaf ears. Military realities have produced a fundamental shift in the region, one that may have produced conditions in which a negotiated settlement might be possible. If the Obama administration achieves such a result, the "realists" will claim victory for their "process" and will conveniently forget that the fundamental shift brought about by the application of military force was what made the process work.

And, of course, President Bush will get no credit at all.