It's easy to fly in a guy in a suit to hold a meeting. Half the fellows inside the Beltway have Middle East "peace plans" named after them. Bush flew in himself a year or two back to announce his "road map." Before that it was Cheney, who flew in with the Cheney plan, which was a plan to open up a road map back to the last plan, which would get us back to "Tenet," which would get us back to "Mitchell," which would get us back to "Wye River," which would get us back to "Oslo," which would get us back to Kansas.
And none of these Great Men meeting with other Great Men gets us anywhere. Some of the Great Men can't speak for their peoples (Mubarak) or their legislatures (Abbas). And a lot of the Great Men can't even speak for themselves: From the late Yasser Arafat to Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah, they say one thing in meetings with Western emissaries and something entirely different to their compatriots. And some of the Great Men we send to negotiate aren't all that great: the wretched Mohammed El Baradei, head of the International Atomic Energy Authority, is, in fact, a patsy for the nuclear mullahs. To reprise one of my all-time favorite Iranian negotiating positions, let's recall the perfect distillation of what Great Man diplomacy boils down to in the Middle East, as reported in the New York Times exactly a year ago:
"Iran will resume uranium enrichment if the European Union does not recognize its right to do so, two Iranian nuclear negotiators said in an interview published Thursday."
If we don't let Iran go nuclear, they'll go nuclear. Negotiate that, Chuck Hagel.
Yesterday Chris Wallace asked Condeleeza Rice about shuttle diplomacy. Kissinger shuttled back and forth between all parties when crises erupted during the Nixon years, he said, have you contemplated that? Rice paused for a moment and then opined as to how she didn't see what good it would do to run willy nilly between (who exactly?) the several parties involved at this juncture. Than she invoked UN Resolution 1559.
As Steyn points out, Middle East policy amounts to nothing more than an endless series of proposed peace plans, each with its own buzz words: Oslo, two-state solution, roadmap. The latest is UN Resolution 1559, which posited that, overall it would be a good thing, now that Syria more-or-less moved out of Lebanon, if Hezbollah would disband and hightail it out of Lebanon. Nothing, of course, was done to ensure that eventuality and so now, almost two years later, Hezbollah launches an attack on Israel from Lebanon and the Lebanese government is powerless to stop it.
A resolution is meaningless unless backed by the resolve to make it happen. The world, in the shape of the UN, decided it would be a good thing if Hezbollah left Lebanon. But the world, satisfied that its heart was in the right place, then did nothing. Small wonder Israel's decided to do the world's work for them.