Wednesday, December 28, 2016


Secretary of State John Kerry has proposed a framework for a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian "impasse".  His principled, structured positions were known but were never "outed" in such an urgent way.  His presentation sounded like a rescue mission for a two-state solution, at a moment when the increase of settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem risks making the possibility for a contiguous, governable Palestinian state impossible.  Furthermore, that there is no love lost between the Israeli PM and President Obama is a fact. The latter does not hide his antipathy for the outgoing American president. The former can hardly control his despise. 

If Netanyahu's calculus is to bet on the incoming Trump administration, so be it. It is clear that the time for ambitious ideological brainstorms is over.  The world order, which looked for awhile like having arrived at a globalized, desirable consensual point, is no longer.  History did not come to an end. It has been ripped apart. I suggested last year that the motto for international relations in the foreseeable future might be one of Neue Sachlichkeit.  We seem to be entering a totally amoral narrative, wherein only a deal is a gauge for success. The former inimical situations were, to a large extent, a battle between perceived good and evil.   Nowadays, this cold war imperative has been marginalized in favor of ad hoc placebos. The end of the pax Americana might be the beginning of the backroom deals a trois, between the Trump US, Russia and China. Unfortunately, the incoming American administration is devoid of the most elementary intellectual, cultural or philosophical particle. The two other "partners in crime" are not!

Kerry's sophisticated address sounded like the ending of an ambition to govern by creativity rather than arrangement. One can have a different point of view, but the staying-power of any counterpoint lies both in its proven historicity and in its daring to project for the future whatever the existential cost might be in the short-term.  I doubt that we will hear again the bold challenges of President Obama's many memorable speeches in Berlin, Cairo or Sandy Hook, or of Secretary Kerry's passionate plea for an Israeli/Palestinian peace. 

The future does not look bright and the signals received from the Trump administration in the making are frankly shocking.  History or diplomatic precedent are not obligatory erga omnes, but ignorance or contempt thereof could be lethal, given that both Russia and China have long memories and historical/ cultural self-esteem.  Many Trump voters already suffer from a hangover, finding out that they were duped. The wake-up call might arrive earlier than expected, but better later than never.

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