Who said it, and when?
George W. Bush after the surge, or after the Road Map was formulated? No.
Bill Clinton after Oslo? Nope.
Jimmy Carter after the Camp David accords? Strike three.
It was Richard Milhous Nixon in his resignation speech, when he announced that he would leave office on this day, August 9, in 1974. He listed the accomplishments of his abortive administration, including this:
In the Middle East, 100 million people in the Arab countries, many of whom have considered us their enemy for nearly 20 years, now look on us as their friends. We must continue to build on that friendship so that peace can settle at last over the Middle East and so that the cradle of civilization will not become its grave.
Why did that friendship, such as it was, not last? Why have so many other presidents failed in their own attempts to establish and build upon that friendship?
Because, of course, of the fanatical intransigence of the jihad ideology, and because of how dimly understood that ideology always has been, and continues to be, in the State Department and the highest levels of the U.S. government. As long as this fog of ignorance remains — and it is thicker than ever these days — every successive President will try, and fail again and again, in achieving the goal so triumphantly announced by Nixon as a point in his favor during his hour of disgrace.