October 13, 2019

In Defense of Trump's Peace Plan

“In his recent CNN.com article, Aaron David Miller claims to know the “real” goals of the Trump Middle East peace plan. This is strange, because Miller has not seen the plan or been involved with its creation. I have.

Miller grossly mischaracterized the administration’s goals. Not once, but three times, he claims the administration’s policies are aimed at pleasing domestic political constituencies and he mentions “wealthy Jewish donors.” This is a more polished, but no less wrong, version of Congresswoman Ilhan Omar’s infamous anti-Semitic trope that support for Israel is “all about the Benjamins.”

As a former Middle East policy negotiator, Miller is undoubtedly familiar with the pitfalls that have prevented previous breakthroughs in this troubled region. But like other seemingly intractable conflicts in South Africa, Northern Ireland, and the Balkans, breakthroughs do happen. They often happen after circumstances change, new approaches are taken, or the parties decide to change their calculation of what’s in their own best interests.

Administration critics adopt the odd view that, although all past efforts have failed, we must never deviate from them. They are offended by alterations to old formulas, when the old formulas achieved no peace. I witnessed this dead-end thinking countless times at the United Nations.”

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