President Obama’s guarantee for the Middle East

President Obama’s guarantee for the Middle East

Posted: Wednesday, May 25, 2011 8:01 pm
By: IVY SCARBOROUGH

By IVY SCARBOROUGH
President Obama has guaranteed that there will be no possibility in the foreseeable future of a negotiated settlement between the Israelis and the Palestinians. His statement of a U.S. “policy” that the boundaries of any new Israeli and Palestinian states follow the pre 1967 lines has at least three effects:
1) The Israelis will never consent to those boundaries — their security interests make that literally impossible for them — thus one party to the conflict is already effectively “out” of the negotiations even if there is some pro forma participation.
2) Worse yet, it ensures that the Palestinians from now on will regard the 1967 boundaries as a minimal outcome in any settlement with the Israelis; thus setting up an intractable series of rigid positions and rejections. In any negotiation — even those with no emotional overtones — statements such as President Obama’s guarantee more frustration for each party and thus an ever heightening negative emotion, all of which militates against a settlement.
3) As a mediator, the most basic mediation principles dictate that you never state openly — certainly not to the parties — what you believe the outcome of negotiations should be. This has the effect of hardening rather than mitigating attitudes between the conflicting parties. It will also suggest bias to one party or the other thereby undermining the would-be mediator’s credibility as evenhanded. Thus, the President’s pronouncement was also an act of incompetence.
Even for those of us who believe the United States should have been more even-handed and considerate of the Palestinians aspirations over the years, this is recklessly foolish. Parties to a difficult negotiation must be continually conditioned to the notion that they must make significant and painful concessions in order to achieve a settlement. When one party perceives that a would-be mediator is sympathetic to a position that strongly favors the other party — especially a position that threatens the very security of the first party — then a defensive posture is inevitable, and understandable. Not only is the opposing party perceived as an adversary but now the so-called “mediator” will be seen that way as well.
This leads us back to the question that has been asked a multiplicity of times: “Just who is Barack Obama?” “What are his true values?” “What does he really believe?”
You can be certain that the Israelis have been asking those questions for over two years. The psychological profiles and intelligence dossiers they have produced on Obama would surely be fascinating — and unsettling — reading.
That the American people — and even some very astute pundits and observers — continue to ask this question does not bode well. The American people should KNOW who a man or woman is before electing them to high office, especially the presidency.
Obama has provided multiple evidences why his values and belief system should be brought into question. He is a closed man, a duplicitous man, whose modus operandi is unquestionably manipulative and guileful. Openness and transparency are words that could never be used to describe his personality, yet those are the attributes of great — and trustworthy — character.
Obama is clearly not who many Americans think he is. Were they to understand the man — a prospect he works assiduously at frustrating — they would be shocked.
That dangerous reality, coupled with his propensity for worshipping at the altar of the human intellect — with the icon to his own intellect front and center on that altar — make him perilous in the extreme for America and the world at large.
The world should now brace itself for many more years of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict — and the broader international confrontations and tensions it triggers. The President has laid the groundwork that will make more death, violence and uncertainty — a certainty.
Editor’s note: In addition to being an attorney, Scarborough is a writer, radio, TV and print commentator and former adjunct professor of international studies at Union University in Jackson. He has traveled on four continents, including the republics of the former Soviet Union: Russia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia, and has entered eight war zones.

Published in The Messenger 5.25.11

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