Saturday, February 14, 2009

Carter on the Middle East

Heard some comments from Jimmy Carter on the radio overnight - probably a BBC interview. He seemed to be very aware of the issues and points of contention in the middle east. Some of what emerged from that interview follows.

He mentioned that Obama consulted him on the middle east, and indicated it was one of his big priorities. Carter expressed strong optimism for the new administration's capacities to reduce tensions (his words on Obama in the past included: "honesty, intelligence, and politically adept"). He was especially praiseful for Obama's middle east envoy, George Marshall, who had a significant part in easing tensions in Ireland. Carter stressed Marshall's neutrality to the situation, with words that suggested a) previous envoys had been too pro-Israel to achieve solutions; and b) Israel probably wouldn't like him. Carter also noted that Israel seemed headed to a one-state solution, which was patently unviable, not the least because the arab population (Israeli? or Israeli+Palestinian?) was set to outnumber the Jewish.

Carter did not mention Hillary Clinton at all, which suggests that either Obama has no intention for her to play a significant part (wise), or that Carter had little confidence in her capacity to bring about peace. Certainly, Hillary's words prior to inaugeration sounded like a death-knell to peace, substantially the same attitude as past US administrations had had. I think it's possible for her to be a successful Secretary of State, but clearly not in this area.

The interviewer also made mention of Carter's upcoming book We Can Have Peace in the Holy Land: A Plan That Will Work. A promising title, and now, hopefully, a government with the capacity to achieve it.

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