Mark Steyn looks at the utter, abject failure of decades of shuttle diplomacy:
One of the interesting features of the present escalation is the circumspection of Israel’s Arab neighbors. Once upon a time, it would have been Egypt and Jordan threatening the Zionist usurpers. But these countries have been, militarily, a big flop against the Zionist Entity since King Hussein fired Sir John Glubb as head of the Arab Legion. So after ’73 they put their money on terrorism, and schoolgirl suicide bombers — the kind of “popular resistance” that buys you better publicity in the salons of the West. And one result of that has been to deliver Palestinian pseudo-“nationalism” away from Arab influence and into hard-core Iranian Islamist hands. It’s Iran that wants war, not Egypt or Jordan, So Jim Baker jetting in to shake hands with, say, Jordan’s King Abdullah is a waste of time, because King Abdullah cannot impact on the scene in any useful way.
During all the time the Great Men were shuttling back and forth, a kind of toxic globalization occurred: The Palestinian “movement” (insofar as there ever was a genuine nationalist movement) became infected and eventually annexed by hard-core Islamism and the Palestinians’ most depraved terror techniques were exported to every corner of the world. You can build a “security fence” in the region, but what we might call Palestinianism has leapt the psychological fence and incubated in radicalized Muslim communities worldwide: It’s not just Palestinians but also Yorkshiremen who now blow themselves up on public transit. What’s happened in Gaza, in Lebanon, in Syria and elsewhere is that the weaknesses of those polities were exploited by Iran and others through various client groups and a potent ideology that’s really a virus.
That’s a much more cunning and effective strategy than sending a fellow in a suit to concoct a plan in his name. We need to learn from the Iranians. We need to wage war on the ideology, because until we do, the reality is that the Middle East’s fetid “stability,” its demography, its remorseless nuclearization and proxy militarization all favor Israel’s and our enemies.
That would require removing the straitjacket of multiculturalism first–and not even Houdini could escape something buckled that tightly over much of the West.
Update: Not surprisingly, Howard Dean either doesn’t understand that the shuttle diplomacy era was doomed to failure, or is using its lack of success to score cheap political points–or both.