Ed Moloney’s in the Jerusalem Post welcoming the arrival of George Mitchell as US Envoy to the Middle East. No doubt this will be high fives for the man who drove peace negotiations in the world’s most intractable of conflicts from the chronicler of the world’s most intractable of conflicts.
So with a recognised peace broker on board, hopes are high for a Middle East deal. Erm.. right Ed?
Well, according to Ed:
AND SO A MYTH was born. Mitchell had negotiated the Good Friday Agreement. For a while it was even called the “Mitchell Agreement,” but that term soon fell into disuse, not least because there was little appetite to perpetuate the fable among the participants.
None of this is to minimize the very constructive role that Mitchell otherwise played in the peace talks. He was widely liked, scrupulously air and was tough enough in the dealings he did have with all the parties. But to credit him with winning the peace in Northern Ireland is a step too far. If Obama has chosen him because he believes that he performed the role in Northern Ireland ascribed to him, then he has made a mistake.
There is though an important lesson from Mitchell’s time in Northern Ireland. The ploy devised by the British and Irish governments worked for a very simple reason. The Americans were seen by all sides as a largely disinterested party whose judgment and verdict thereby carried extra weight. They had no dog in the fight. The same cannot be said for America’s role in the Middle East. The real question arising from Mitchell’s appointment is whether Obama wishes to change that.
Jeez. Hopes dashed. George spatchcocked before the US even gets its feet under the dinner table. And George is probably asking, where the hell did that come from?
Ed’s got your back G Dog… Betrayal Five!