The United States needs to pick up the pieces left by President Bush’s flawed Middle East strategy by building a comprehensive sustained diplomatic approach across the region. We need to revive steady and regular diplomatic efforts to resolve Arab-Israeli conflict, stabilize Lebanon, more effectively manage our interests in Syria, and address the threat posed by Iran. All of these challenges are interlinked, far more than when the United States invaded Iraq in 2003.
The United States must find ways to turn Middle Eastern interdependencies to our advantage rather than disadvantage. One way to do so is by making strides toward easing Arab-Israeli tensions. Key countries and people in the region view the United States more positively when it leads efforts aimed at addressing tensions between Israel and its neighbors. Active engagement on resolving the Arab-Israeli conflict will make it easier to obtain and maintain support from pragmatic leaders in the Arab world and other key allies as our forces redeploy from Iraq.
President Bush should appoint a special Middle East envoy with support from two senior ambassadors devoted to resolving key Middle East conflicts. The special Middle East envoy should be an individual who can represent the United States at the highest levels and signal to the world that he or she represents the president, and that the issue is a top priority for the United States.
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