Inside sources tell me that the Annapolis Peace Summit to address Israel/Palestine issues will be officially announced tomorrow, and the date will be November 27.
The selection of Annapolis as the site for the upcoming Israel/Palestine Peace Summit makes some sense if one were serious about creating a new reality in the Middle East.
It was in Annapolis in September 1786 that Alexander Hamilton and James Madison teamed up and convinced the state delegates to exceed their designated authority and to approve a Federal Convention in Philadelphia the following year. Amidst dramatically low expectations and much bungling, the critical seeds were planted that led to the creation of a new federal Constitution and a democratic United States of America.
Logic has led me to the low expectations camp as we approach a Middle East summit this month in Annapolis — but I’m willing to be duped if Secretary Rice can manage something that will lead to a reversal of the “we tried everything we could but the Palestinians were corrupt, self-dealing, and weren’t ready” narrative.
My minimum threshold for success this round is that railroad track get set that can be sustained over the next 12 months and picked up immediately by the next administration. By the way, my already low expectations will be dashed if any military engagement with Iran occurs because we will then further “lose the Arab street” in any hot conflict — and solving the Palestinian problem will not get us back to even with the Arab world, whereas without a conflict with Iran — we may get back just a bit into the black.
As part of a bipartisan effort to encourage the administration in constructive directions, I have worked with Daniel Levy of the New America Foundation and Century Foundation; Robert Malley of the International Crisis Group, and Henry Siegman of the US/Middle East Project to generate and promulgate a letter signed by a diverse set of wise foreign policy players.
Tomorrow, Tuesday, we will be re-releasing a letter already signed and release last month by Brent Scowcroft, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Carla Hills, Nancy Kassebaum Baker, Paul Volcker, Ted Sorensen, Thomas Pickering, and Lee Hamilton.
We have a lot more signatories including:
Former US AID Deputy Administrator HARRIET “HATTIE” BABBITT, former USIA Chief JOSEPH DUFFEY, former US Senator GARY HART, former US Senator LINCOLN CHAFEE, RAND Corporation Board Member and New America Foundation/American Strategy Program Chair RITA HAUSER, former Assistant Secretary of State JAMES DOBBINS, former State Department Policy Planning Director MORTON HALPERIN. . .
former Deputy Ambassador to the UN WILLIAM VAN DEN HEUVEL, former Israel Foreign Minister SCHLOMO BEN-AMI, former US Senator BIRCH BAYH, former Congressman and Corning CEO AMO HOUGHTON Jr., former National Intelligence Council Chairman ROBERT HUTCHINGS, former Assistant Secretary of Defense LAWRENCE KORB, former American Political Science Association President and Columbia University professor ROBERT JERVIS. . .
Kings College Terrorism Chair and New America Foundation Senior Fellow ANATOL LIEVEN, former National Security Agency Director Lt. General WILLIAM ODOM, Committee for the Republic President WILLIAM NITZE, Brookings Visiting Senior Fellow DIANA VILLIERS NEGROPONTE, Former CIA Deputy Director JOHN McLAUGHLIN, former US Ambassador JOHN MALOTT, former EU Commissioner for Foreign Relations CHRISTOPHER PATTEN, former National Intelligence Officer for the Near East PAUL PILLAR. . .
former US Senator LARRY PRESSLER, former US Ambassador FELIX ROHATYN, MIT Center for International Studies Director RICHARD SAMUELS, retired Marine Corps General JOHN J. “JACK” SHEEHAN, Princeton University Woodrow Wilson School Dean ANNE-MARIE SLAUGHTER, Former Congressman STEPHEN SOLARZ, former First USA Bank CEO and Adagio Partners CEO RICHARD VAGUE, Former US Senator and UN Foundation President TIMOTHY WIRTH, and former US Ambassador and AIG Vice Chairman FRANK WISNER. . .
Rice University James Baker Institute Director and Former US Ambassador to Syria EDWARD DJEREJIAN, former Middle East Road Map Director Ambassador JOHN S. WOLF, Nixon Center President and National Interest Publisher DIMITRI K. SIMES, Lehman Brothers Managing Director (and Teddy Roosevelt great-grandson) THEODORE ROOSEVELT IV — among others.
I am attaching the latest version of the letter here now in pdf form. It may have a new name or two added tomorrow.
This is a pretty amazing list actually as far as lists go — and the full roster is even more impressive.
In addition to the release of this letter, the New America Foundation and International Crisis Group are hosting an event that C-Span will air titled “The Annapolis Summit: What (Not) to Expect.”
The event takes place at the New America Foundation Tuesday 10 am – 11:30 am and will feature:
Lead Palestinian Drafter, Geneva Initiative; Former International Policy Director and Advisor to the President, Palestinian Authority; Senior Research Associate, American Strategy Program, New America Foundation
Former Senior Advisor to President Clinton on Middle East Policy Affairs Director, Middle East and North Africa Program, International Crisis Group
Lead Israel Drafter, Geneva Initiative; Former Israel Government Negotiator and Senior Advisor to the Prime Minister in numerous peace talks; Senior Fellow & Director, Middle East Policy Initiative, New America Foundation; Senior Fellow, The Century Foundation; Publisher, Prospects for Peace
Senior Fellow & Director, American Strategy Program, New America Foundation and Publisher, The Washington Note
Should be a very interesting session that I think will be worth watching for any signs that Annapolis may have something in the water that will help the Summit beat the low expectations most have for the meeting.
— Steve Clemons