Steve Clemons has discussed on this blog the importance of perceptions of power in international relations – and the immense harm that the Bush administration inflicted upon American interests by exposing America’s military, economic, and moral limits.
Unfortunately, the Obama administration’s aborted attempt to persuade the Israelis to enact a “settlement freeze” as a precursor to final status negotiations is further exposing the limits of American power, particularly in the Middle East.
New America Foundation/Middle East Task Force Director Daniel Levy has an excellent piece over at Foreign Policy in which he untangles the settlement issue and its likely consequences.
Here is Levy’s bottom line:
After all of my questions, it is worth recognizing the question that is actually being asked of America from the citizens of the Middle East themselves: When will there be a serious American implementation plan for a two-state solution that recognizes the asymmetries of power and vital needs of each party and that is determinedly pursued by an administration which has, from day one, made Israeli-Palestinian peace a strategic American priority? On this question, we are all still waiting for an answer.
(Photo Credit: U.S. State Department Photostream)
— Ben Katcher