Posted 28 June 2007 - 11:13 AM
What's an unemployed world leader to do, especially one as young as former U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair?
Fortunately, just as Blair's time in office was up, a group dedicated to bringing peace to the Mideast -- hung out a sign advertising for someone to stop the bloodletting in the region.
The U.S. was the driving force behind the appointment, which gives credence to the charge that Blair was President George W. Bush's poodle, and a toy one at that.
At joint appearances, it looked otherwise, as Bush would explain his rationale for the Iraq war in halting English and Blair would back him up, making the same excuses but with bigger words and a lovely upper-crust British accent.
Sending Tony Blair to negotiate a Middle East peace is worse than making Karen Hughes undersecretary for public diplomacy, charging her with explaining to the Arab world how, if only they understood us better, they would really, really like us. She's keeping busy, and on a good day, at least doing no harm.
Blair, if he's just being kept busy, is prolonging the day when someone with power -- say the head of state that he was -- starts knocking heads together.
In his new task, Blair will be undertaking a post that has defeated many before him who don't have his troubled history in the region. It's a post complicated by his singular role as Bush's enabler in starting the Iraq war, and by its domino effect -- the takeover of Gaza by Hamas and the West Bank by Fatah and the inability of anyone to do anything about it.
We have a far worse situation than when Blair and Bush began to assert themselves in the region: Fatahstine and Hamastan.
Although wedded to Bush, Blair actually resembles Clinton in his elevation of process over substance, his tendency to blame anyone but himself for his troubles as he did in his final press conference, and his facile personality.
It calls for the grubby, tedious work of building a legitimate governing infrastructure for the Palestinian Authority and dealing with terrorists running territories, at a time when Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is politically crippled after his inconclusive, if not losing, war against Hezbollah in Lebanon.
No cameras are going to be following Blair in the drab offices of Abbas or Olmert, when he speaks of peace in the Middle East.