'Expert' admits he was wrong, for decades, on Israel

In a Washington Post piece titled "Arab-Israeli progress seemed impossible. That's because of old assumptions," published on Sept. 23, Aaron David Miller, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, former Department of State analyst, negotiator, and adviser in Democratic and Republican administrations, admits: "maybe we were wrong" to describe past approaches to peace in the Middle East region."

How refreshing!

For decades, many so-called "experts" in the State Department have pontificated on how to solve the problems of the Middle East.  They assured us that pressuring Israel to appease the Palestinians was essential to achieving peace in the region.

The know-it-alls included Aaron David Miller, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Martin Indyk, Madeleine Albright, John Kerry, and Hilary Clinton.  Now we know they were wrong.

The real solution came from a political novice: President Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner.  Earlier this month, Kushner demonstrated that the more effective strategy for Middle East peace is to persuade the Arab regimes to accept Israel.  The first two Arab states to sign normalization pacts with Israel were the UAE and Bahrain.  Soon, according to news reports, other Arab states will follow suit.

Miller admits that "these developments confounded the predictions of many peace process veterans — including me."  Miller even gives credit to the president: "Clearly, Trump and his advisers leveraged relationships with autocratic Arab leaders, and it paid off." 

Miller also concedes that "long-held assumptions that have guided U.S. policy haven't borne out, and in the process have upended American thinking about the centrality of the Israel-Palestinian dispute long considered to be the core of the broader Arab-Israeli conflict." 

The historic error in U.S. policy, according to Miller, "was especially prevalent" under the previous administration, which believed "the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was a veritable powder keg that could blow at any time, creating war and instability in the Arab world."  John Kerry and Hillary Clinton repeatedly claimed the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was "unsustainable." 

According to Miller, "despite the long history of confrontation between Israel and various Palestinian factions, the supposedly unsustainable status quo has proved remarkably sustainable." 

Next, Miller admits that "regional priorities are changing" as Arab nations see the benefit of normalizing relations with Israel while distancing themselves from the Palestinians. 

Miller concludes: "But analysts and diplomats should exercise care, and humility, in assessing the prospects for peace going forward."  How ironic that after explaining how experts like himself have been wrong for decades regarding the Middle East affairs — way wrong — he has the temerity to keep speculating on the subject!

Image credit: VOA / public domain, processed with FotoSketcher.

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