Newt Gingrich recently precipitated a firestorm of controversy when he pointed out that the Department of State was working to sabotage President Bush’s security policies. As a case in point, he cited the State Department’s machinations behind the so-called “road map” for peace between Israel and the Palestinian front in the Arab-Israeli conflict:
“The State Department invention of a Quartet for Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations defies everything the United States has learned about France, Russia, and the United Nations. After the bitter lessons of the last five months, it is unimaginable that the United States would voluntarily accept a system in which the UN, the European Union, and Russia could routinely outvote President Bush's positions by three to one (or four to one if the State Department voted its cultural beliefs against the President's policies).
“This is a deliberate and systematic effort to undermine the President's policies procedurally by ensuring they will consistently be watered down and distorted by the other three members. This is worse than the UN inspections process -- a clear disaster for American diplomacy.”
The former House Speaker is, of course, absolutely correct in warning that the negotiating format the State Department has conjured up over the past year amounts to a stacked deck -- stacked against President Bush and the principles and preconditions for recognition of a Palestinian state that he announced last June.
Unfortunately, the problem is not simply a procedural arrangement whereby four entities profoundly hostile to Israel are in charge -- so much so that they are hoping to be able to dictate terms to the Israelis. This assuredly is not the negotiating process President Bush had in mind when he offered his vision for a real Mideast peace nearly a year ago.
Given the Quartet’s composition and proclivities, however, it is hardly surprising that the content of its road-map also deviates profoundly from what Mr. Bush at that time. This is evident in particular on two critical counts:
First, Mr. Bush made very clear last June that a new generation of leaders, “untainted by terror” would have to come to the fore in the Palestinian community via democratic means. The clear meaning of this precondition was that neither Yasser Arafat nor anybody associated with his terrorist kleptocracy could be considered a legitimate interlocutor in a new, reformed “peace process.”
Frank Gaffney Jr. is the founder and president of the Center for Security Policy and author of War Footing: 10 Steps America Must Take to Prevail in the War for the Free World .
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