Wednesday, July 29th, 2009
In the craziest-idea-of-the-month sweepstakes,, this one can’t help but come up a winner.
Writing in Newsweek, Gregory Levey suggests replacing U.S. special Mideast envoy with – are you ready for this – former President George W. Bush.
Levey writes that Bush is “someone who argued straightforwardly for a Palestinian state, and yet someone who has the implicit admiration and regard of Israel. President Obama needs a new envoy to the region who can get results—and George W. Bush is his man.”
Levey is probably right when he says that “many Israelis, especially led by their current right-wing government, would readily trust that policies advanced by Bush had their best interests at heart, and he would not abandon them.”
But why would the Palestinians trust the man who promised over and over again to create a Palestinian state – by the end of the the year, by the end of this term, blah blah blah – but who seemed to have little interest in actually doing anything to make it happen?
For that matter, why would Israeli officials, which says Iran is their number one concern, welcome an envoy who, as president, roared ferociously about the Iranian threat, but whose eight year reign saw the greatest increase in that threat, and left his successor with precious few policy options?
And why would Barack Obama, who clearly believes both sides in the Israeli-Palestinian dispute have to take serious, immediate action to change the current toxic environment in the region, give the job to a former president who seemed to feel that simply saying the words “Palestinian state” would make it happen, as if he were Dorothy tapping the ruby slippers and chanting “there’s no place like home?”
Also, Obama is trying to restore America’s reputation around the world. During the campaign, he argued forcefully that it was Bush’s go-it-alone policies that were largely responsible for the decline of that reputation. So why would he select him as special envoy to deal with the world’s most intractable and emotionally explosive conflict?
Sorry, file this one away along with suggestions that Jimmy Carter should get the job.