In his quest to continue and enhance Middle East Peace, President Bush may have made a critical oversight:
The Bush administration is laying the groundwork for an announcement of Tony Blair as special Middle East envoy for Palestinian governance and economic issues after he steps down as Britain's prime minister, following two months of behind-the-scenes negotiations, according to U.S. officials.
Blair would report to the so-called Quartet overseeing Middle East peace efforts--the United States, the United Nations, the European Union and Russia--and work on issues limited to the internal workings of a future Palestinian state. Political negotiations involving Palestinians, Israelis and the Arab states would be left to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, the officials said.
The idea, first proposed by Rice, was embraced by the Israeli government during talks between President Bush and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert this week. The Palestinians have yet to be approached, but U.S. officials believe they would welcome a Blair appointment.
When you think of the words "Middle East Peace," there is one man whose name is synonymous with the concept. And that name is Dick Cheney. Cheney has worked tirelessly for Middle East peace since the Gulf War, and as recent democratic elections in Iraq and the Palestinian territories show, the dividends are already becoming readily apparent. We saw Cheney's leadership proven once again on his recent Middle-East tour.
It is true that at one time, Tony Blair might have seemed a promising candidate for the role of Middle East Peacemaker (to his credit, Blair made possible the liberation of Iraq), and I suppose it is a good omen for Blair that Israel is backing him for his prospective new job, as it means that some Middle Eastern countries are already lining up behind him. But more than anything else, Blair should be disqualified for this role by his recent failure to nuke Iran and his speaking of French.