The NY Times carries word of the latest Bush Folly: Tony Blair as new Mideast envoy. You can just imagine how this one was cooked up. Condi was sittin’ and shootin’ the shit with George with the latter saying just how much he’d miss the old guy now that he’d left No. 10. And that light bulb goes off in Condi’s head: “Hey, let’s make him our peace envoy! You know those Dems in Congress have been pushing for you to appoint somebody. Now, here’s your chance. Blair’s a guy you know and trust, not to mention a real pushover. What’s not to like about this idea??”
Well, a few things for starters. First, while Tony Blair does seem to have his head screwed on right regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, he has absolutely no credibility as someone who can actually move Bush to do anything. Look how many times Blair has sounded the clarion call over the past few years about Israeli-Palestinian peace. How many times has he met with Bush and pushed this agenda? When the Iraq Study Group made essentially the same analysis as Blair that the I-P conflict must be solved if there is ever to be long-term Mideast stability–did Bush pay any notice?
Tony’s main problem is going to be Cheney and the neocons. They still have Bush locked up policy-wise. The only way the Blair appointment would work (that is, if it even happens) is if Blair has some sort of special agreement with Bush that gives him presidential access and carte blanche to negotiate on U.S. behalf without interference from the above-mentioned parties. I just can’t see that happening. Not ever.
In fact, this is how limited the view is of his portfolio:
It remains unclear how broad Mr. Blair’s role would be. American and Israeli officials want him to focus primarily on shoring up Palestinian institutions and governance, economic development and security issues in the West Bank.
Yeah right. They want him to wade into that dysfunctional Fatah-run mess called the West Bank and turn it into a Palestinian paradise. Hey, good luck Tony. You’re being sent on a fool’s errand.
Perhaps that’s why there is some sourness from the other side of the pond:
British officials said Mr. Blair had not yet decided if he would take on the task, and bristled that public comments from the Bush administration were premature.
Interesting that Ehud Olmert had this reaction:
Senior Israeli officials said Mr. Olmert was also very keen on the idea.
What does he know that we don’t? I can’t imagine that Blair will look favorably on Israel’s historic bag of tricks used historically to impede the peace process.