Some good advice for the president-elect was published Thursday in the Financial Times. In an article entitled "Obama Urged to Prioritise Mideast," Rouala Khalaf reports how the Saudi Foreign Minister urged Barack Obama to get to work right away on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
Saud al-Feisal said: "The issue of the Middle East is of paramount importance to all the problems in the region."
It sure would be nice right about now if Obama called his old pal Rashid Khalidi to ask him what he thought. I don't think that's going to happen. I do hope Obama understands that the Foreign Minister from Saudi Arabia is speaking the truth. He probably does know it. But I doubt seriously if he will try to tackle that problem directly. He's now trapped in the metaphysics of American Destiny and American Loyalty and American Allies. Before we know it, the Annapolis conference will be two years dead and nothing much will have happened during the first Obama year just as it didn't happen during the last Bush year. . . .and so it goes. Oh, Kurt Vonnegut, once more cynicism overcomes optimism.
It's a terrible madness, this refusal to act with skill and insight and humanity on a deadly and dangerous problem that has been around for 60 years. See you next November, 2009. Mission Unaccomplished. Year 61 of the Great Paralysis.