The New America Foundation, the International Crisis Group, and the U.S./Middle East Project, Inc. got an impressive group of bipartisan “wise men” (some of whom are women) together to issue this letter on the upcoming Middle East peace conference in Annapolis. They make a variety of points about what needs to be done for the conference to succeed, and also try to underline the very high costs of failure.
Unfortunately, my sense, much like this account from the Russian ambassador, is that almost nothing has been done on the US side to seriously prepare for this. In this country, at least, no real groundwork has been prepared. Indeed, nobody’s quite sure what the Bush administration is even hoping to achieve here. One holds out hope that the preparations and agenda are happening, but in some kind of double super-secret lockdown that nobody I talk to can penetrate, but it seems unlikely.