Desperate hope from a desperate president!
Many Americans are currently affixed to their YouTube and TV sets desperately trying to figure out which presidential candidate will inspire them to hope, watching staged debates and manufactured emotion that allows each candidate to define his/her version of real hope. Away from all this political hope business, the incumbent president himself, President Bush – the one who for seven years has taken the American people into a post 9/11 bunker mentality devoid of any hope – went to visit the Middle East to give the peace process and the Palestinian people some hope. Sounds familiar. This strategy has become part of the American political landscape: to use the Middle East as a last resort and refuge for desperate presidents to escape their domestic crises and/or their irrelevance. In the seventies, an embattled President Nixon went to the Middle East during the Watergate crisis, Carter tried it during his misery index era, and Clinton visited the area for a last gasp attempt for peace to build some kind of legacy after Monica-gate. All domestically ineffective American presidents head to the Middle East to promise the people of this besieged area what they couldn’t deliver to the American people at home: real hope. So what is it about the Middle East that makes it not just a magnetic place to satisfy the Americans’ insatiable appetite for oil, but also a place where American presidents escape their disastrous domestic demise? Will it work this time? Based on a recent poll in Palestine, most Palestinians are not optimistic and the majority looks at President Bush’s visit as nothing but another desperate attempt to divert attention from his incompetent presidency domestically and internationally, and to use his visit to isolate Iran in the area. Can the U.S. get the Israelis and Palestinians to talk to each other and have real peace; now with the unconditional American support to Israel all these years, regardless of who is at the political helm, and President Bush’s mantra being the so called war on terrorism, he is disqualified from being an effective peace broker in the Middle East. As a Palestinian official announced on the Arab network Al Jazeera, “what can we expect from a country that has vetoed the UN more than 40 times to defend the Zionist state occupation and its aggression against the Palestinian people?” So is there any hope for President Bush’s latest visit to the Middle East to salvage any legacy for himself? That remains to be seen, but I wouldn’t mortgage your house on it, as there is very little hope and legacy to spread around these days. President Bush doesn’t have personal conviction like Reagan to tell the Israelis to “tear these settlements down,” nor the competence and charisma of President Kennedy to reach out to the Palestinians to say, “Anna Kodsy” – I’m Jerusalemian.
Ahmed Tharwat/ Host
Arab American TV Show