Obama interrupted his “Osama bin Laden is still dead” cross-country tour yesterday to give another major policy speech bereft of new ideas. But first the president let us know that “Osama bin Laden is still dead.”
As Jimmy Carter manipulated the teleprompter in the background, Obama put on his best professorial airs and spit out his trademarked clipped delivery in a room full of State department staffers and diplomats who applauded tepidly when the “applause light” went on.
He talked about what he called self-determination in the Middle East.
If you covered your ears hard enough you could barely tell that the speech was largely a plagiarism of Carter’s 2009 book, We can have peace in the Holy Land: a plan that will work, updated for recent developments.
The book builds upon Carter’s earlier work Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid.
That book built upon Carter’s earliest work: the failed presidency of James Earl Carter (1977-1981), much of which he and Obama are still pursuing today (see Korea, North, inflation, jobless, misery index).
In all of his works, Carter seems to be singularly forgiving to the anti-democratic thugs who manage, or rather mismanage affairs for the Palestinian people. It is those thugs, not Israel, who are mostly responsible for the plight the Palestinians find themselves in (see stagnation, jobless, misery index).
Obama is approaching peace in the same way Carter did. To both Carter and Obama, self-determination is something the world bestows upon the Palestinians at the expense of Israel, instead being, um, self-determined.
But real self-determination is something that only the Palestinians can give themselves. Peace will largely depend on whether the Palestinians are determined to how their own society is governed in whatever borders it occupies.
The recent “peace” agreement between rival Palestinian groups Fatah and Hamas, both of which claim to speak for the Palestinian Authority, is a terrific example.
While the agreement was hailed as a major milestone, perhaps it’s just a tad bit premature to think a coalition that recently made a tentative peace amongst warring factions inside the Palestinian Territories can negotiate a comprehensive peace agreement with Israel.
Forget about whether the violent, Iranian-sponsored Hamas will renounce their goal of the destruction of Israel for a moment.
These are folks who haven’t even been able to so simple a thing like operate a municipal airport.
But they sure do know their way around a variety of rocket launchers pretty well.
Rocket launchers have uses, but they’re no good for signing peace agreements.
Obama’s not after peace however.
He’s after “fairness’ instead.
“The United States believes that negotiations should result in two states, with permanent Palestinian borders with Israel, Jordan, and Egypt, and permanent Israeli borders with Palestine,” says Obama, imposing upon Israel his ideas of “self-determination” by fiat in the interest of what he considers fair.
He continues: “The borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states. The Palestinian people must have the right to govern themselves, and reach their potential.”
The Palestinians, the Israelis, the Americans, we all have these rights already to govern ourselves and to reach our potential. And so do every people, more or less.
If the Palestinians have failed so far to govern themselves and reach their potential, it’s been largely self-determined.
When the Palestinians accept that proposition, peace will come of its own accord.