Friday, January 09, 2009

Obama's Plan for Middle East Peace?

Daniel Pipes has suggested it may be found in Richard Haass and Martin Indyk's book, Restoring the Balance: A Middle East Strategy for the Next President, published by Brookings. Pipes called it "pablum," but maybe that's what the world needs's an excerpt from an interview on PBS's Charlie Rose show:
Charlie Rose: So what we have here is "restoring the balance", let's pick up on this title first.

Martin Indyk: Well, our thought was that the most important balance that needs to be restored is between the use of force and the use of diplomacy.

I think that fits very well with the whole attitude of President-elect Obama and his Secretary-designate Clinton – that there needs to be greater emphasis on diplomatic tools, and in particular in the Middle East, greater emphasis efforts to engage. And that is something that we go into detail in – how to engage Iran, which the President-elect has a mandate to do now; how to move the Israeli-Palestinian peace process forward; and how also to bring Syria into the Arab-Israeli negotiations, so that there can be a comprehensive effort to achieve Arab-Israeli peace at the same time as we engage with Iran.

And to create some synergy between these three initiatives that we think can have some positive impact on the overall objective of trying to make the Middle East a more stable, peaceful, and free place. The critical thing here is that we have 3 huge diplomatic challenges, so it is going to be a very tall order for the next president.