Saturday, July 4, 2009

Chess, Not Checkers

The following notes may be found in President Obama's breast pocket.

Opening: Make Hilary Secretary of State (that is, remove the leader of the opposition from New York). Show the Arab and Muslim world--a place where honor matters--an abiding respect. Embrace the Arab League peace initiative of 2002 and frame the Israel-Palestine conflict in regional terms. Set out the long range goal of a Palestinian state, albeit in vague terms, but along with the insistence that settlements cease--code for some variation on the 1967 border. Draw Egypt and Jordan into the mix, implying their participation as forces on the ground. Open a diplomatic channel with, and through, Syria.

Middlegame: Cultivate the Palestinian Authority's new government, providing training to its police forces, while providing the promise of new investments to its business class. Use channel to Syria to bring Hamas into negotiations with the PA. Encourage rejection of Islamist radicalism in Palestine by implying American pragmatism; leave the Iranian regime to discredit itself and, in the process, the democratic pretensions of Hamas and Hezbollah. Challenge Israeli government on settlements' "natural growth" to establish future position on a 1967ish border. Work with Quartet to establish a consolidated front of world opinion and great power fiat; imply complete diplomatic isolation of groups in Israel/Palestine that defy the "peace process."

Attack: Broker a deal, with Egyptian participation, for the return of Gilad Shalit, in exchange for the release of Palestinian prisoners and the opening of the Gaza crossings. Visit Russia. Visit Damascus. Prepare the ground to isolate Iran diplomatically. Welcome the creation of a joint Palestinian negotiation team, led by the PA, but including Hamas officials; accept the principle that any deal will be put to a referendum; accept that all groups that agree to abide by a referendum can enter into a dialogue with Washington. Call for renewed, bilateral negotiations between Israel and the PA presided over by George Mitchell.

Endgame: Present American formulations (Clinton parameters, etc.) to resolve the problems of Jerusalem, refugees, and borders; make these public as the negotiations proceed. Announce that the result of the negotiations will be presented to a regional peace conference, including the Saudis and the Syrians. Meanwhile, the latter establish low level diplomatic and commercial contact with Israel under American auspices. In advance of the conference, announce a Syrian-Israeli peace deal based on a demilitarized Golan, returned to Syria, but open to Israeli tourism and including Israeli commercial interests. Rally Europe and the Quartet to Marshall Plan scale investment package for the Palestinians. Provide for a three year plan to isolate the settlers who must be repatriated and compensated. Announce inclusion of Israel in NATO, and sign Israel to nuclear non-proliferation agreement. Prepare speech for Oslo prize ceremony.


Duncan Cookson said...

Sounds easy enough. Keeping Joe Biden locked away in a cellar might be on there somewhere too.

Anonymous said...

Wait a second, Bernard Avishai, aren't you the guy who said he wanted to form a international spec ops team to hunt down antisemites?! To be headed by some former Mossad tool (Uzi something something).

Anyways, why should we 'diplomatically' isolate Iran?

Is there proof they are making nukes?

Furthermore, why should we care? Israel has nukes and is the most belligerent and destructive country in the region and 2nd in the world next to the US.

And Arabs and Jews will never be friends or even friendly.

Want to know why, Bernard?

Because for the past 40+ years, Jews have LORDED over the Arabs - Palestinians and more recently (relatively speaking) Lebanese.

The relationship between Jew and Arab is that of Master and Slave.

Are you another one of those Zionists who characterize the Qassam rockets on S'Derot as if they were the bombardment of Dresden?

Studies on attitudes of 'the other' (Jews towards Arabs and vice versa) consistently show that the racism is much more prevalent amongst Israeli Jews.

How typical. Zionism was never anything more than Jewish colonialism.

You couldn't have your Jewish State without 800K Palestinians being ethnically cleansed and then refused the right of return.

A right they will NEVER give up.

Sorry, Bernard. The Palestinians will not be your slaves and will not be grateful for you for allowing them to breathe freely for one day. They won't bow down to your Holocaust religion and your self-worship.

The problem is with ZIONISM. Innate evil that has become more and more apparent as Jewish power has expanded over the decades.

Zionism is Jewish Id.

Just as Nazism was German Id.

And yes, I am comparing you to a Nazi. Just because genocide has gone out of style does not mean tribal Jews, those inbred colonists stealing the W.Bank, and everyone from the so-called Israeli left to the real fascists on the right wouldn't love to toss Palestinians in an oven.

The very fact that you are STARVING them to death right now and refusing them the RIGHT to live is proof.

I thought I'd never say this, but I hope China and Russia beat the shit out of the US and Israel. That would save the world.

Potter said...

Obama also mentions chess in his speech today in Russia:

There is the 20th century view that the United States and Russia are destined to be antagonists, and that a strong Russia or a strong America can only assert themselves in opposition to one another. And there is a 19th century view that we are destined to vie for spheres of influence, and that great powers must forge competing blocs to balance one another.

These assumptions are wrong. In 2009, a great power does not show strength by dominating or demonizing other countries. The days when empires could treat sovereign states as pieces on a chess board are over. As I said in Cairo, given our independence, any world order that -- given our interdependence, any world order that tries to elevate one nation or one group of people over another will inevitably fail. The pursuit of power is no longer a zero-sum game -- progress must be shared.

Obama means chess in a different way: no selfish manipulation as opposed to using chess as a metaphor as this blog entry does- for more thoughtful moves to achieve mutually desired ends.

Duncan Cookson said...

I think it's a slightly odd speech from Obama, coming hot on the heels of the inexplicable support for the Honduran ex-president. None of what he said was true seven months ago so does he think he's changed the world just by being elected? The Blair Delusion. In order for his words to ring true he more or less has to shut down the CIA and invite Russia into NATO.

In 2009, a great power does not show strength by dominating or demonizing other countries.

Is he joking? Is that an aspiration or supposed to be a statement of fact? It's a bit like saying bullies are cowards, which sounds comforting but isn't true. To quote Abe Simpson

"People say bullies are cowards. Well, they're wrong. Bullies are brave because they're strong".

Maybe he means they 'shouldn't' or 'don't need to if we put in the hard work to change things'. I hope he isn't starting to believe he's changed the laws of geopolitical physics forever just by existing. Maybe I'm being too cynical...

Y. Ben-David said...

This scenario reminds me of the old television spy show/thriller "Mission: Impossible". They plan a complex series of actions in which the bad guy (or government) they want to bring down reacts to in a pre-programmed way to actions the MI team plans. In other words, they say something to their "victim", he reacts in a predictable way, which then sets them up to carry out the next step, saying or doing something else to him, he then again reacts in a predictable way leading them to do something else, and so on, until they bring him down. Dr Avishai certainly has the imagination that the writers of that show have. Unlike all previous occupants of the White House, State Department, CIA and others, Dr Avishai knows exactly what the Arabs want and how they can be maneuvered into doing what he and the other "progressives" want, i.e. finally agree to a "reasonable" peace agreement with Israel so that they can feel better about themselves. That is why Dr Avishai has posited (in earlier threads) that Obama is supposedly the most popular, strongest, wisest President since Eisenhower and so he can flex his muscles against Israel and the Arabs and force them to carry out the actions described in this posting just as Ike did in 1957 in forcing Israel out of the Sinai.
Living in a fictional world is certainly more fun than reality.

We'll see what happens.

david said...

I think that man, the President I mean thinks things unreachable. It is good for him if he just play chess because Chess are best gift when End of Summer Sale comes because of its low price. and it is a game that will truly polish his brain to be able for him to decide well for the country.

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