I cannot help thinking that the recent trip of President Bush to the Middle East was a spectacular failure. In Israel, Saudi Arabia and Egypt – in every country he visited and every speech he made, Bush managed to offend leaders, as well as people, in the region. Reverberations will be felt beyond.
Whether it was by calculation, or sheer incompetence, I do not know. But it certainly was not proper conduct by a visiting head of state. Nor would it help fighting the fires that are burning in the most politically sensitive region on the planet. His optimism that ‘a comprehensive peace settlement in the Middle East is possible’ is shared by no one. And as he runs out of time, he is also running out of friends. No wonder Arabs are furious and depressed. More