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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

What could go wrong?

The Wall Street Journal outlines some of the risks of the upcoming 'direct talks.' Trying and failing may be worse than not trying at all.
Rather than squeeze peace from these stones, the U.S. might make more progress with both Israel and Mr. Abbas if it stopped Iran's march toward becoming a nuclear power. Israelis and Arabs saw on the weekend that Iran began loading fuel into its (ostensibly civilian) nuclear reactor at Bushehr, with the help of Russian fuel rods and no objection from the U.S. Russia says it will control the rods and return them to Russia, but any rods that disappear could be turned into weapons-grade plutonium.

Iran's march to nuclear status is the security threat that dominates the region because it would instantly transform every nation's strategic calculations. Israel is less likely to cede more territory for promises of peace if it knows that Hamas and Hezbollah are suddenly backed by an Iranian bomb. A diminished Iran with a shuttered or damaged nuclear program wouldn't guarantee that Israel and the Palestinians could agree to a peace, but it would improve the chances.

The White House and U.N. officials argue that, whatever the long odds, there is no harm in trying. But sometimes there is harm in trying and failing. Mr. Obama is putting his own prestige on the line, and that supply is not unlimited. A loud failure might weaken Mr. Abbas's political position among the Palestinians, while inflaming anti-Israel sentiment in Europe, Turkey and elsewhere. We certainly hope for the best, but the White House and Pentagon should prepare for the consequences of failure.
As I have outlined countless times since 2007, the problem is that creating a 'Palestinian state' is THE foreign policy goal for President Obama (nuclear disarmament is a distant second). He is about as likely to abandon that goal as he is to abandon Obamacare. He'll just keep beating his head against the wall trying to make it happen. And we will suffer the consequences.

What could go wrong?


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