Maybe Condi has a plan

I respect Condi Rice for the most part, but have thought her naive for believing (or, at least, appearing to believe) that the Palestinians want peace with Israel, as opposed to Israel in pieces.  David Brooks, however, thinks that there is a method to her madness, and that Iran’s follies may result in a back door route to some stability in the Middle East:

It’s not really about Israel and the Palestinians; it’s about Iran. Rice is constructing a coalition of the losing. There is a feeling among Arab and Israeli leaders that an Iran-Syria-Hezbollah-Hamas alliance is on the march. The nations that resist that alliance are in retreat. The peace process is an occasion to gather the “moderate” states and to construct what Martin Indyk of the Brookings Institution’s Saban Center calls an anti-Iran counter-alliance.

It’s slightly unfortunate that the peace process itself is hollow. It’s like having a wedding without a couple because you want to get the guests together for some other purpose. But that void can be filled in later. The main point is to organize the anti-Iranians around some vehicle and then reshape the strategic correlation of forces in the region.

Iran has done what decades of peace proposals have not done — brought Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, the Palestinians and the U.S. together. You can go to Jerusalem or to some Arab capitals and the diagnosis of the situation is the same: Iran is gaining hegemonic strength over the region and is spreading tentacles of instability all around.

Though this article originated in the NY Times, I take its conclusions with a grain of salt, simply because I’ve come to distrust the Times.  Nevertheless, this is certainly not a wacky idea, and it does reflect an impulse to bring some central stability to a region that will become entirely unbalanced if the Iran-Syria-Hezbollah-Hamas axis does in fact ascend to real power, rather than stopping at the noises of power, along with the violence of terrorism.

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Comments

  1. says

    I like Brooks–He’s one of the few sane voices at that bastion of left-wing thinking, and arguably, he’s the ONLY sane voice. Still, I think that at best he’s being unduly optimistic about what is going on there.

    BHG

  2. Ophiuchus says

    Look at the problem in terms of basic forces: population and GDP. Iran alone has a population of 70 million and a GDP of about $150 billion. Israel, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and UAR together have a population of maybe 30 million. Saudi Arabia’s GDP is $200+ billion and Israel’s is $125 billion. But now throw in Iraq, with a population of 25 million and a GDP of maybe $50 billion, and consider how the balance of power changes if Iraq becomes an Iranian client. Add an Iranian bomb and you’ve got a regional hegemon. Uh-oh!

  3. Deana says

    Well, I hope that Brooks is correct. I have always admired Dr. Rice and still do but I have been dismayed by what she has been doing and saying with regard to this peace process.

    I just cannot believe that she actually thinks there would be an improvement of any sorts with a Palestinian state.

  4. section9 says

    The only problem with Brooks’ analysis is that the coalition of the losing was losing last year, but has been winning in 2007.

    Rice is forming a containment field around Iran. This would not have been possible had Petraeus not been able to win in Iraq. We would have had to ask for terms. However, both AQI and the Quds Force have been essentially smashed by the U.S. Army and Marines in Iraq in partnership with the Iraqi Army. The task is to prevent a Persian Hegemony from rising in our place and a regional arms race from coming to pass.

    2006 was a bad year for the West. 2007, given Petraeus’ victories and Isreal’s strikes in Syria, has been decidedly better.

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