Historic summit... Yawn

The helplessness of the American empire, circa 2007, is being laid bare today in Annapolis, Maryland.  It's being trumpeted as the first major Middle East peace conference since 2000.

Pardon me while I yawn.

Eric Margolis says failure is assured:

Israel is happy with the status quo.  The Palestinians are too weak and divided to alter it, the other Arabs too frightened and selfish to press for a solution to the world's biggest international headache.

And Steve Clemons sums up the consequences nicely:

Failure will hurt the US as well as the other parties involved as it will confirm in the minds of many around the world that America is no longer a superpower in the way it once was. If it fails in this, it will telegraph to many that we cannot achieve the objectives we set out for ourselves.

As if, in the case of Iraq, that's not already obvious.  A thriving pro-Western democracy friendly to Israel and quick to strike deals with the international oil majors?  At this point, Team Bush is willing to settle for the Iraqi parliament merely authorizing another year of U.S. troop presence in the country.  Baghdad isn't even sending a representative to Annapolis, but 30-some other countries in the region are — including Syria.  Go figure.

Anyway, what on earth do Bush and Rice expect to achieve with this?  Surely they don't expect to salvage some sort of late-term "legacy" — if they do, they're even more unhinged from reality than it already seems.

Look, Middle East peace really isn't that hard.  The Palestinians, realistically, will have to give up their "right to return," which is a pretty nebulous notion 60 years after their forebears left.  And the Israelis, realisticaly, will have to give up all the territory they won in the Six Day War of 1967.  And neither of those things is likely to happen until the two sides fight each other to exhaustion.  And we're nowhere near that point yet.