The Shame Of Annapolis
After reading more about Annapolis, I have to now conclude that what we are trying to do in the Middle East -- and I fault Israel for some of this -- is shameful and is guaranteed to bring nothing but more war.
It is as though we never learn anything from the past.
Compromise is healthy when it comes to political and diplomatic discourse. Parties to a contentious issue give up a little to gain something that is considered advantageous overall. The parties may not like having to compromise but recognize that no peaceful agreement is likely without such compromise. It is clear to all parties in such negotiations that a peaceful settlement is the best route. Thus, there is something resembling a meeting of the minds.
What we are doing now, with Annapolis and the other "peacemaking" venues of the past, is appeasing the Muslims. Plain and simple. We allow them to make humiliating demands before they'll even deign to show up. And, always, we -- the West and Israel -- wind up doing nearly all of the "giving" (or compromising). We've come to accept that the Muslims simply don't want peace enough to compromise toward a peaceful settlement. But we are so desperate to establish, for our own assurances, an agreement that we find ourselves giving Czechoslovakia away piece by piece, only in this case it is not 1939 but 2007 and the country is Israel, not Czechoslovakia.
Churchill called that episode in 1939 a shameful affair and a monumental loss of resolve by France and England. As a result, Hitler got what he wanted without breaking a sweat -- and, in exchange, Europe got a war like it had never seen before.
Until we have the backbone to demand the Muslims come to the table willing to negotiate, willing to concede that a peaceful resolution to the conflict between Muslims and Israel is in their interest as well, willing to negotiate on a realistic basis in which they gain something but not everything they may want (which is the complete destruction of Israel), then these "conferences" are a waste of time. In fact, they are worse than a waste of time because every time the West willingly allows the Muslims to denigrate the process and the people trying to find a peaceful solution, it will only embolden the Muslims to make more demands in the future. This can only result in another war and each war is getting closer to the time when weapons of mass destruction will finally be used.
The "moderates" in the Muslim world are not going to align with the West, regardless of whether they are against the "radical Muslims" or not, and will not be a force of reason when it comes to peace negotiations. Since most live in very oppressive societies to begin with, the kind of socieities that would just as soon kill them as infidels if they openly depart from the radical agenda, we are foolish to expect them to "lead" the way when it comes to peace. The clerics and tyrants are too strongly entrenched in the Muslim world, physically and psychologically because Islam itself encourages such.
That is why Annapolis was not only ill-advised considering the conditions under which it was convened, but it was also a shameful affair because the Muslims gave absolutely nothing, not even assurances to continue negotiating for a peaceful settlement, but they got to humiliate the Israeli negotiators without the slightest protest from the US.
That will not lead to peace but to war. Surely, there are still sane leaders in the West who still recognize that. Or did all common sense die with Churchill?