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Thursday, December 29, 2016

Kerry, Please Don't Let the Door Hit You On the Way Out. (Oh! And Good Riddance!)

Though resisting nodding off and realizing that his speech was likely nothing more than a desperate rhetorical attempt to recover credibility, I carefully listened to Kerry's regurgitation of age-old "principles of peace" required to settle the lingering dispute between Israel and Palestine. And, guess what?Absolutely no new ground was broken & no new break-through solutions were advanced which would result in a resolution of that nettlesome conflict .
My initial reaction was "Why now, Kerry, just three weeks before leaving office?" To me, it was a desperate, albeit entirely useless, shamelessly self-serving and transparent, attempt to recoup some semblance of credibility in the midst of the wreakage created by 8 years of a remarkably failed Obama foreign policy.
Aside from denying playing any part in drafting the UN resolution prohibiting the expansion of Israeli settlements (sure), and his assertion that "friendship requires mutual respect" and "honesty" (hmmm), and despite the ghastly Iran deal, an existential threat to Israel's very survival, his hollow pleas of innocence and good intentions were utterly unconvincing.
And regarding that elusive and long sought-after 2-State solution, what he didn't seem to appreciate is that, from the outset, the Palestinians have 1) refused to recognize Israel's right to exist, clearly a negotiating non-starter, and 2) Israel's unilaterally surrendering land in return for peace has NEVER WORKED. In fact, such well-intentioned retreats have led to more aggression from the Palestinians, Israel's ceding Gaza being the clearest illustration of that.
Another reality few seem to understand is that Palestine itself is divided, one decidedly more secular (West Bank) and one terrorist (Gaza). Not even these entities agree with one another. So, is it a 2-State solution or a 3-State solution we should be pursuing?
The sad truth is that peace between Palestinians and Israelis is most likely impossible. AGE-OLD hatreds and distrust are now foundational. Yes, we can continue trying to "bring them together" and to reduce conflicts and casualties, but, currently and for the foreseeable future, peace is but a pipe dream, and we need to come to grips with that unpleasant reality.
And though Obama's foreign policy has been feckless and short-sighted it has created an opportunity for Obama's successor, that being a serious re-examination of America's relationship with and support of the U.N. And, of course, there will be a return to normalcy in America's relationship with one of its closest democratic allies in the world. So, in that regard, thank you Kerry and thank you Obama.
And to those who proclaim the need for an international organization to better ensure peace in the world, why not a powerful League of Democratic Nations? Should we continue to rely on dictatorships and thugocracies, themselves the greatest threats to peace, to help us accomplish what doesn't come naturally to them? No. There is a better way. The League of Nations was a failure and the U.N. has proven to be an even costlier failure.

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