Keystone Kops, yes, and also murderous thugs. “Owls Gather at Annapolis,” by Youssef Ibrahim in the New York Sun (thanks to Ruth King):
Mr. Bush the son, and his secretary of state Ms. Rice are going into this one as anemic supplicants pleading with a collection of keystone cops for anything that can be dubbed success. A far more attainable success may have been wrung from an Iraq conference seeking to build on what finally seems to be some progress there. Instead, Ms. Rice picked a sure loser “” ending the 50-year conflict of Arabs and Jews in one afternoon photo opportunity.
Equally hard to believe is the coyness of it all. The ever-precious Saudis first said no, then maybe, and then okay. The Egyptians, who were not needed in the first place, said please. The Syrians are doing us the favor of coming.
Yet it remains unclear how the same Saudis, who last week were busy condemning a rape victim to 200 lashes, can contribute to anything called a “civilized” Middle East. Nor how President Assad’s killing machine, which for two years has been picking off pro-Western politicians in neighboring Lebanon, will push peace negotiations.
At Annapolis, too, goes a uniquely hapless prime minister of Israel, Ehud Olmert, who almost singlehandedly in the summer of 2006 lost a war to Hezbollah. This is negotiating from a position of strength?
Clearly what will happen at Annapolis is that Mr. Bush, the man who promised modernity and democracy for the Middle East, will inaugurate it with a speech that will be quickly forgotten, then leave the grounds for the rest of the world to grumble over the next year about yet another American Middle East failure.