The Corner

The Conscience of a Nation

The latest missive to be released by a group of elder statesmen intent on elbowing their way into the Israeli-Arab conflict takes “engagement” with Hamas to a new level: it advocates inviting the terror group to the upcoming Annapolis conference. (It’s worth noting that the forum in which these luminaries chose to publish their letter is that legendary bastion of foreign policy sobriety, the New York Review of Books.)

“We believe that a genuine dialogue with the organization is far preferable to its isolation,” said the letter signed by both Democrats and Republicans. The signatories were: former national security advisors Zbigniew Brzezinski and Brent Scowcroft; former U.S. trade representative Carla Hills; former Republican Sen. Nancy Kassebaum-Baker; former Fed chairman Paul Volcker, former U.N. ambassador Thomas Pickering; former Democratic Rep. Lee Hamilton who is co-chair of the Iraq Study Group and Theodore Sorensen, an adviser to President John F. Kennedy.

None of these people seem willing to take their prescription a step further and explain what, exactly, the U.S. is going to accomplish in the course of dialogue with Hamas: America remains unmovable on Israel’s right to exist, and Hamas remains unmovable on the absence of that right. Is there really all that much to talk about?

In a conference call with reporters, Brzezinski added: “We have no illusions that the dialogue will be easy, but we also know that Hamas has people in it who are realistic and know that a permanent state of war and conflict is not going to be conducive to a better future for the Palestinians.” He appears to believe that Hamas’ goals revolve around Palestinian quality of life, rather than the destruction of Israel and the imposition of sharia governance. On this score, Brzezinski’s naivety is contradicted by the plain statements of the Hamas leadership itself.

Insofar as Brzezinski is one of Barack Obama’s foreign policy advisers, it would probably be useful if somebody asked candidate Obama whether he shares Brzezinski’s views on these matters.

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