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22 August 2010
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- As Iran loads nuclear fuel into its first "electric reactor," which looks oddly like the nose-cone of a SCUD missile, U.S. President Barack Obama has a swell idea for Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu: Leave the Middle East and come to my peace talks!
Also invited were Tony Blair, who is no longer the Prime Minister of the U.K., George Mitchell, who is not Commissioner of Baseball, Al Gore, who used to be a harbinger of doom, and Jimmy Carter, who is no longer anything, except an authority on carpentry and on the integrity of Venezuelan elections. As the room will be full of recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize, we are reminded it's not too early to submit nominations for next year's medal--and it's not necessary to wait to see if the results are good.
According to the unbiased wire services, restarting direct talks fulfills an Obama campaign promise, in stark contrast to the mess he inherited. Mr. Obama badly needs a victory on the promise parquet, after defeats on keeping unemployment under 8%, not raising taxes, and extending quality health care to 46 million more people at no extra cost.
However, assembling such hot-heads in one room is not without risk. Mr. Carter achieved a historic peace breakthrough, but his Presidency continued its slide until finally (again influenced by events in Iran) it reached the National Malaise Speech. Mr. Clinton's peace conference was a bust, and with some twists and turns--and thrusts--he went from there to impeachment.
In the early going, Mr. Abbas refused to attend unless Israel stopped building settlements, and Mr. Netanyahu refused to attend unless invited separately. However, Ms. Hillary stepped in with a promise of gaily-colored party favors. The more ceremonial invitees have all accepted, provided there are buffet-style dinners and an open bar.
The mass media are unsure whether Mr. Obama will draft a peace proposal or merely be a referee. However, he has a long record, from the Cambridge Police Department to the Ground Zero Mosque, of taking whichever side has darker skin in disputes where the U.S. Government has no role. Regarding the upcoming peace conference, Mr. Obama said, "Looks to me like there are two nations, and one chunk of land. Fifty-fifty sounds pretty fair, don't it?"