Prospects for peace in the Mideast have never been better in MIM's existence. Mathematicians might call political conditions as reaching a local maximum. Nonetheless, even the best conditions for peace in the Mideast are not great.
Where we stand right now is that I$rael is being coy and trying to make it look like Syria is being coy. The Arabs have already offered a detailed peace agreement to the I$raelis as of March.(1)
In contrast, even the U.$. newswire services admitted that I$rael wants to escape conference discussions with vague joint declarations, no details.(2) Currently, Rice and Bush are making it look like they want to discuss Palestinian statehood and core issues, not just fluff.
I$rael seeks to keep the focus on mere formalities such as whether Syria will accept an invitation to a conference. Syria has said that as far as it can see, Bush's planned peace conference is a "photo op." If various countries send representatives and nothing gets accomplished, Bush, Rice and I$rael will still benefit from the publicity as having "tried for peace."
The gap between U.$. power and the rest of the world has reached an historical peak and is already decreasing. As a tail on the Yankee dog, I$rael would be wise to make a deal now rather than wait.
At the last party congress that MIM discussed I$rael, we had a minority position for the United $tates's purchasing Long Island for I$rael. As time goes on, that option may become more attractive to the whole world--the one state solution for the Mideast.
The question is whether I$rael's leaders really understand its situation. Ironically, the bombing of Syria raised Olmert's prospects for being able to negotiate by raising his standing in I$raeli polls.(3) Barak tried to argue against giving Bush too much since he is only in power another 13 months,(4) but Bush's difficulties are not temporary for U.$. imperialism. Things will only become worse in the future for U.$. imperialism, 5 or 10 years from now. I$rael can make life hell for others, but it cannot really win.
We are seeing classic lessons in bourgeois diplomacy at the moment. The Palestinian independence organization Hamas is asking that the Saudis not attend Bush's conference on Palestine,(5) because thus far no substance or details have worked out.
Thus far, in addition to Hamas's position, we also have Syria saying it will not attend the Bush administration conference on Palestinian statehood.(6) It is not in Syria's interests to give the Bush administration a boost in Western public opinion for doing nothing.
Likewise, the Arab League composed of Arab countries has said it opposes attending talks in general until there is a point of substance such as the cessation of I$raeli settlements.(7) I$rael tried to provide a pretext of this sort by declaring a few days before the discussions were to start that Gaza is an "enemy entity" subject to water and food shut-off.(8) Then Rice apparently instructed Abbas to speak up for Gaza to make Abbas look good and also make it appear that something substantial was going on in Mideast discussions.
The high profile addition to the Quartet of Tony Blair is a double-edged sword. He brings his own cards to the table which may matter if he has any ideas that differ from U.$. imperialism's. On the other hand, having Tony Blair at a conference increases its photographic appeal to news services. So the Arabs risk having a huge media blitz for nothing made worse by Blair's presence.
Bush himself ramped up the stakes by calling for a "peace summit" in November.(9) Summits usually occur after diplomatic accomplishments in detailed discussions.
This whole past summer I$rael spent its time saying it did not plan an attack on Syria and yet it wanted peace negotiations with Syria. The ruse went so far as to involve U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the second-most powerful persyn in the country and a Democrat. In a high-profile public visit, Pelosi passed a message of peace from Olmert in Israel to President Assad in Syria in April.(10) She did this even as she admitted that Syria was willing to work for peace.
Then on September 6 of course that turned out false and I$rael attacked. So often times diplomacy is a screen for war when it comes to imperialism.
There is much petty rhetoric in the air on petty issues, but the united $tates is the leading obstacle to peace. Currently it is bogged down in Iraq and believes it faces a threat from Iran. Hezbollah has shown it is a factor and Saudi Arabia is doing nothing but make more money all the time. We are at an inflection point in history. The ex-World Bank president James Wolfensohn just said there is a "tectonic shift" going on in the global balance of power.(11)
No one wants to see violent strife in connection to the collapse of relative U.$. power. The question is whether Uncle $am and its tails can recognize that it is best for everyone to go gradually but quickly to where things have to go instead of having violent collapses.
3. AFP, "Olmert's ratings rise after Syrian raid: poll,"
4. "Barak: Israel shouldn't appease U.S. president with one year left,"
5. AP, September 25, 2007