New Sheriff In Town?
There’s a new David Warren essay up, and that’s all you really need to know before reading it.
But I’m going to go ahead and quote a passage or two at you, just because it’s a slow news day.
A fundamental shift has just occured in the relations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Dick Cheney has taken over from Ariel Sharon as Yasser Arafat’s gaoler (or more precisely, probation officer). The Palestinians who thought they were fighting the Israelis, now find themselves staring directly at the United States.
That’s an angle I haven’t seen anywhere else, and Cheney is too cagey to advertise. But you’d better beleive that Arafat is wise enough to notice. And if this in indeed the case, then Bush’s “going wobbly” on Israel might just be something quite clever.
Democrats keep losing elections to Bush, always after seriously, uh, misunderestimating him. It could very well be his political supporters are now doing the same. I’ve suspended judgement on WobblyWatch so far, and I’m going to continue to do so for a bit. That’s the only safe way to play this game.
Now two longer grafs to give you Warren’s full picture:
This is the meaning of the invitation the U.S. vice president extended to Mr. Arafat to meet him in Cairo, Monday, before the Arab League Summit in Beirut (on Wednesday and Thursday, next week). The invitation is conditional. Gen. Zinni must first report that Mr. Arafat is making a “100% effort” to stop terrorist attacks on Israel. As ever, Mr. Arafat thinks he will be the last to blink. He wants to see if Mr. Cheney will meet him, even after he has privately ordered his militias to continue with the carnage. Gen. Zinni, anticipating that, is now telling him it is an extremely stupid idea. But Mr. Arafat has a genius for this kind of stupidity, has found it is consistently rewarded, and why stop now?
Because he is no longer dealing with Israel, or Mr. Sharon. He is instead staring down a U.S. administration that is about to decide whether it can live with him any more, and frankly doubts that it can. Mr. Cheney had, according to my information, actually told several Arab leaders during his regional tour that he would be personally taking over Mr. Arafat’s file. The news was intended to reach Mr. Arafat from them, first.
This could be a very big shift, indeed. Tectonic scale. We’ll see what happens at the summit.