The Washington Post's Conservative Editorial Page
The Washington Post used to be a progressive newspaper -- back in the days of publishers Phil Graham and then his widow, the legendary Katherine Graham.
No more. Today it is almost predictably conservative on a host of issues (truth be told, it became vehemently anti-union in Katherine Graham's day), especially on foreign policy. Actually, on foreign policy, the editorial page editor, Fred Hiatt, and his deputy, Jackson Diehl, are as neoconservative as Commentary and the Weekly Standard.
The Post's views on the Middle East, in particular, are as predictable as those of its lead columnist Charles Krauthammer.
In today's Post, Diehl criticizes President Barack Obama for wasting his time on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict which, in his opinion, isn't worth the trouble. For Diehl, the status quo is just fine.
Obama suggested at his news conference last week that he understands his problem.
Yet the president, according to my colleague David Ignatius, is seriously considering putting forward a comprehensive U.S. plan for an Israeli-Arab peace, at the urging of some internal and outside advisers. That would... invite a diplomatic disaster.
This is not to say that Obama should abandon all diplomacy on Middle East peace or Iran. Incremental progress is possible, and should be pursued. But the big challenge for the president is to set aside his preconceived notions about what big thing he can or should accomplish in the region -- and seize the opportunity that is actually before him.
Incremental progress. It has been 43 years since the 1967 war when Israel was essentially forced into occupation of the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem. The United States has tried to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict "incrementally" for decades but, although the last several Presidents made some progress, resolution seems remote unless President Obama steps in directly (as it appears he might).
The biggest success the United States has ever had in the region came when President Jimmy Carter rejected the incremental approach to resolve the problems posed by Israel's occupation of the Sinai Peninsula. He brought President Anwar Sadat of Egypt and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin to Camp David and told them, in essence: Israel gives up every inch of Sinai in exchange for peace with Egypt. That's it. Those are the terms.
After months of haggling, both sides accepted, and it has now been more than 30 years since a shot has been fired in anger between the two countries.
That is the model Obama should follow. The Post's idea of incrementalism would damage US security interests, deny Palestinians their rights, and jeopardize Israel's future as a Jewish democracy. Not surprisingly, the neocon solution is a recipe for, at best, maintaining the status quo and, more likely, war.