The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Friday, August 17, 2007

By Definition

There’s a facetious quote that is generally attributed to Ben Franklin: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” That’s what is about to happen as Condi Rice and Tony Blair (otherwise smart, sane, and rational people) try to resurrect a peace settlement between Israel and the Palestinians. Over and over, the Israelis have been asked to make tangible concessions (e.g., giving back land, opening closed borders, dismantling settlements, etc., etc.) all in return for vague promises of peace by one Palestinian faction. Of course, the promises are broken almost immediately, and other Palestinian factions continue to lob rockets into Israel. But never mind, this time it will be different. Not.

In the best major foreign policy white paper developed by a presidential candidate to date, Rudy Guliani has the following to say on the subject:
The problem there [in Gaza and the West bank] is not the lack of statehood but corrupt and unaccountable governance. The Palestinian people need decent governance first, as a prerequisite for statehood. Too much emphasis has been placed on brokering negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians — negotiations that bring up the same issues again and again. It is not in the interest of the United States, at a time when it is being threatened by Islamist terrorists, to assist the creation of another state that will support terrorism. Palestinian statehood will have to be earned through sustained good governance, a clear commitment to fighting terrorism, and a willingness to live in peace with Israel. America’s commitment to Israel’s security is a permanent feature of our foreign policy.

It’s encouraging to see a presidential candidate embrace a pragmatic and sane approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It would be even better if the current administration did the same.