The Deal of the Century: Let’s Give Stupid a Chance
It seems unlikely that the Trump peace plan, the “deal of the century” will come to much. It doesn’t take a White House insider, a former government official, or someone with a book to sell to tell you that. This isn’t because it’s a good plan or a bad one. We don’t know what’s in it; for all we know, it could be an overwhelmingly comprehensive document that answers all the invested party’s fears and addresses their security considerations. It could also just be an old Miami time-share agreement with the names crossed out. This, however, hasn’t stopped the Smart People™ from telling us it won’t work.
You have to assume they are making this assessment based on their unique and extensive experience with plans for the Middle East that don’t work, they’ve built their careers on getting things wrong! It certainly can’t be based on the facts of the plan. Those will only be released later today. It’s disingenuous and lazy for anyone to make declarations about whether the plan will work or not before they bother looking at it. What’s the worst that can happen? Open hostility between Israelis and Palestinians?
The Smart People™ have been working on this for over half a century, maybe let’s give the Stupid People™ a chance?
It’s true that the Trump administration’s foreign policy has looked less like what we think of as “policy” and more like a drunk waving a loaded gun in a bar, but it has been nothing if not revealing. It revealed that the people who have been building their careers, their book sales, and their speaking fees don’t rely anymore on the real world to make their predictions. These are the people who predicted a third Intifada if Trump moved the US embassy to Jerusalem and the people who were predicting World War Three after the killing of Qassam Sulimani. Those people were proven hysterical barely a week later. Are we really prepared to take people seriously who have been so wrong so recently?
The Middle East has a history of making fools of people who think they can predict what happens next, but at what point do we become the fools for listening to them over and over? It’s the sublimation of what Middle East analysis has become: analyzing world events as you’d like them to be, rather than events as they are. They’ve got manuscripts to finish and publishing deadlines.
Until now though, the political class and media elite at least pretended to take events and facts into consideration before going on CNN, or taking to the pages of the Washington Post to blather on with their “analysis”. In the age of Trump though, they have apparently decided to dispense with this pretense.
For the last few years, we have been treated to such spectacles as Ben Rhodes laughing at the prospect of Jared Kushner ever being able to achieve peace in the Middle East. Why? because of his lack of experience.
This is the same Ben Rhodes who said he and a bunch of the other Obama bros watched the West Wing to prepare for running the most powerful office in the world. The same Ben Rhodes who came into the Obama campaign and the White House as a speechwriter because he had a master’s degree in creative writing. As luck would have it for Ben though, the ability to write and sell fiction to the public was the skill set needed to become Obama’s foreign policy guru.
History might never again record a time where so many people who have been wrong so often paid so much to predict doom and gloom… over and over. It’s possible that the only thing older than bad Middle East analysis is the Middle East itself.
I for one believe that the Trump administration has a serious advantage for brokering peace between Palestinians and Israelis. At the end of the day, the conflict is a question of real estate and there is nobody on Earth who has made people run away from real estate like Donald Trump.
So I’m asking everyone: Please give Stupid™ a chance.