American Dogma

Aaron David Miller calls dreams of an American brokered Israeli-Palestinian peace a religion unto itself:

Like all religions, the peace process has developed a dogmatic creed, with immutable first principles. Over the last two decades, I wrote them hundreds of times to my bosses in the upper echelons of the State Department and the White House; they were a catechism we all could recite by heart. First, pursuit of a comprehensive peace was a core, if not the core, U.S. interest in the region, and achieving it offered the only sure way to protect U.S. interests; second, peace could be achieved, but only through a serious negotiating process based on trading land for peace; and third, only America could help the Arabs and Israelis bring that peace to fruition.

Read it all. It's as balanced a view of the no-hope position as you'll find. My worry is that all problems are impossible to solve until someone solves them. And in this case, the solution is so blindingly obvious getting there should be possible in two presidential terms. My own patience on this score has lessened as one absorbs the global blowback of the US-Israel conflation in the Muslim mind. But Miller's pessimism is based on cruel experience and is well worth absorbing. From his conclusion:

The believers need to re-examine their faith, especially at a moment when America is so stretched and overextended. The United States needs to do what it can, including working with Israelis and Palestinians on negotiating core final-status issues (particularly on borders, where the gaps are narrowest), helping Palestinians develop their institutions, getting the Israelis to assist by allowing Palestinians to breathe economically and expand their authority, and keeping Gaza calm, even as it tries to relieve the desperation and sense of siege through economic assistance. But America should also be aware of what it cannot do, as much as what it can.