Remember when George Bush had a sense of morality supporting his foreign policy? When he rewarded those who fought terrorism and punished those who supported that evil? Those days are gone.
This is a different George Bush. This is the Pre-9/11 George Bush. The one that Ariel Sharon had to warn:
Do not repeat the dreadful mistake of 1938, when the enlightened democracies of Europe decided to sacrifice Czechoslovakia for the sake of a temporary, convenient solution. Don’t try to appease the Arabs at our expense. We will not accept this. Israel will not be Czechoslovakia. Israel will fight terror. There’s no difference between ‘good terror’ and ‘bad terror’ just as there is no difference between ‘good murder’ and ‘bad murder.’
The Post 9/11 George Bush rebuked the Palestinian Right of Return. The New Pre-9/11 George Bush put it back on the table. Its all part of Bush’s Mideast Muddle.
Bush’s Mideast Muddle By MICHAEL ORENGeorge W. Bush’s visit to Israel today — the first of his presidency — has many Israelis confused. Is he coming to advance the peace process begun six weeks ago at the Annapolis Summit, that 83% of Israelis see as fruitless? Or is he aiming to fortify Israel against a mounting Iranian nuclear threat that American intelligence services claim no longer exists? The visit spotlights the blurring of the administration’s Middle East policies, leaving many of its friends — Israel included — confused. Israel’s bafflement is deepened by the fact that Mr. Bush’s agenda departs from a more than 30-year tradition. Unlike Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, all of whom visited Israel, Mr. Bush will not address the government on the grounds that that would obligate him to speak before the Hamas-dominated Palestinian Parliament. Mr. Bush also abandoned the protocol of receiving the head of the Israeli opposition, in this case Benjamin Netanyahu, who will likely be Israel’s next prime minister. And while Mr. Bush’s predecessors came to Israel following diplomatic achievements — Nixon after the separation of forces in the Yom Kippur War, Mr. Carter after the Camp David Accords, and Mr. Clinton after the Wye River Memorandum — Mr. Bush has none to his credit. Further bewildering for Israelis is the fact that Mr. Bush’s policies previously seemed unequivocal. He repeatedly affirmed America’s support for Israel’s identity as a Jewish state, and so ruled out the Arabs’ demand for the resettlement of millions of Palestinians within Israel’s pre-1967 borders. He further recognized the reality of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, and insisted that any agreement take that reality into account. Most importantly, Mr. Bush had reversed the once-sacrosanct formula through which the Israelis first ceded territory to the Arabs and only then received peace, insisting that the Arabs first eschew terror and recognize Israel’s existence before regaining land. The president upheld Israel’s right to defend itself, while stressing the Palestinians’ duty to dismantle terrorist infrastructures and abjure violence. “The Palestinian people must decide that they want a future of decency and hope,” he declared last July, “not of terror and death.” Since Annapolis, however, much of this paradigm has been jettisoned. Mr. Bush hasn’t reconfirmed Israel’s status as a Jewish state, and failed to comment when Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice compared the Palestinians’ plight to that of African Americans in the Alabama of her youth — implicitly likening Israelis to Southern racists. The administration has also denounced settlements as “obstacles to peace,” while ignoring the Palestinians’ reluctance to clamp down on terror. Freed from their Road Map commitments, Palestinians can now proceed directly to the “Go” of statehood without paying a fine for infractions. The administration’s policies on Iran have also become chaotic. A mere week after 49 countries and organizations rallied in Annapolis against Iran’s production of nuclear weapons, the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) concluded that Iran had suspended efforts to acquire those arms. The NIE report undermined both military and diplomatic options against Iran. Americans may be relieved that there was no need to destroy Iranian reactors, and foreign contractors delighted that sanctions against Iran were superfluous, but for Israelis having just forged an international consensus against Iranian nuclearization, the report was disastrous. The president to whom they had looked to take the lead in defending against Iran’s genocidal tendencies was suddenly rendered impotent. No wonder Israelis are stumped. While the old George Bush deemed the end of terror as imperative for peace and the containment of Iran as the prerequisite for eliminating terror, the new George Bush focuses on Israeli settlement-building and hesitates to confront Tehran. It is uncertain which of the two is visiting Israel today and what policies he may pursue. The president nevertheless has little leeway. Facing an investigation into the abortive Second Lebanon War that might force his resignation, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is in no position to make concessions to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, whose popularity on the West Bank is dwindling. The two could not even agree to meet trilaterally with Mr. Bush. At best, the president can bestow another blessing on continued Israeli-Palestinian talks. Regarding Iran, Mr. Bush might assure Israelis that the NIE has not tied his hands, and that the U.S. will back efforts to safeguard Israel’s survival. That message might, in turn, be conveyed to the Gulf States — Mr. Bush’s next stop — that were no less dismayed by the report. Presidential visits are always characterized as “historic,” but Mr. Bush’s trip to the Jewish state is marked by a lack of momentousness. Cross-signals and contradictory policies have clouded a celebration for one of Israel’s firmest friends. Israelis will greet Mr. Bush exuberantly, but his departure may leave them grappling with terror largely on their own.