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Bush’s Regional Approach


Bush has been criticized for neglecting regional diplomacy during the Iraq war. But with Condi’s foray into Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, I think Bush now is clearly acting more “regionally” than his Democratic critics. Our allies (or “allies,” if you prefer) in the region: 1) Don’t want us to leave Iraq; 2) Don’t want us to talk to Iran, which they desperately fear; 3) Do want us to solve the Israeli-Palestinian dispute. On the first two, Bush’s policy is absolutely more attuned to the concerns of the region than Democrats who want to withdraw from Iraq and engage in direct talks with Iran pretty much no matter what. On the third, no one is going to solve the Israeli-Palestinian dispute anytime soon, but now the administration is at least engaging in some window-dressing diplomacy to placate our allies. Nothing will come of it, but sometimes, as even James Baker agrees, making a show of talking has its own uses.