Really Hard?!

In an interview this week Obama admits that he really didn’t have a clue on how the Middle East works:

I’ll be honest with you. A: This is just really hard. Even for a guy like George Mitchell who helped bring about the peace in Northern Ireland. This is as intractable a problem as you get. B: Both sides—I think the Israelis and Palestinians—have found that the political environment, the nature of their coalitions, or the divisions within their societies were such that it was very hard for them to start engaging in a meaningful conversation. And I think that we overestimated our ability to persuade them to do so when their politics ran contrary to that. From Abbas’ perspective, he’s got Hamas looking over his shoulder and I think an environment generally within the Arab world that feels impatient with any process.

Really hard?? The hubris is remarkable, isn’t it? One supposes that he imagined all the dolts who preceded him in the Oval Office to just not have been smart enough or him enough to get the job done. It seems as though he “overestimated” the impact of his mere presence on the parties. Really, who knew there were underlying political realities that would render the parties immune to his charms? But there is no sign he’s going to do much, if anything, differently (“we are going to continue to work with both parties to recognize what I think is ultimately their deep-seated interest in a two-state solution”). But now he knows it’s hard.

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Really Hard?!

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