McCain Advisers: Down on Syria Talks, Peace Process Not a Priority

Two McCain advisers told participants in a weekend retreat that his administration would discourage Israeli-Syrian talks and would not prioritize the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

A McCain administration would discourage Israeli-Syrian talks and would not prioritize the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

That was the collective message delivered over the weekend by two McCain advisers — Max Boot, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, and Richard Williamson, the Bush administration’s special envoy to Sudan — during a retreat hosted by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy at the Lansdowne Resort in rural Virginia.

One of Barack Obama’s representatives — Richard Danzig, a Clinton administration Navy secretary — said the Democratic presidential candidate would take the opposite approach on both issues.

In an interview with the Atlantic magazine over the summer, U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) insisted that in his presidency he would serve as the chief negotiator in the peace process. But at the retreat, Boot said pursuing an Israeli-Palestinian deal would not be a top priority in a McCain administration, adding that several crises across the globe require more urgent attention.

The McCain adviser called the Bush administration’s renewed efforts to promote Israeli-Palestinian talks a mistake. He also cast American engagement with Syria as potentially betraying the stake that the United States has invested in Lebanon’s fragile democracy.

That Williamson was endorsing such views at all signified how closely the McCain campaign has allied itself with neo-conservatives.

One has to ask where is the evidence that such an approach has led to anything but endless suffering of innocent civilians and no greater security for Israel? More wars and more dangerous wars are the only prospect for the Middle East, for Israel and for Palestine with such a political philosophy of anti-diplomacy.

More of this for the Middle East?
More of this for the Middle East?
© Marc Gopin

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