One question hanging over the looming Biden Administration is whether its principals have learned from any of President Trump’s successes. Consider climate-envoy-to-be
Middle East views four years ago, shortly after Mr.
2016 victory. Speaking at the Brookings Institution, Mr. Kerry, then Secretary of State, insisted that Palestinian peace was a precondition for Israel to make peace with its Arab neighbors.
He repeated: “There will be no advance and separate peace with the Arab world without the Palestinian process and Palestinian peace. Everybody needs to understand that. That is a hard reality.”
Well, this year the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan agreed in U.S.-brokered negotiations to normalize relations with Israel without a resolution in the Palestinian conflict. The Abraham Accords were achieved more or less by reversing team
Mideast policy, and closer Arab-Israeli cooperation puts the U.S. on a firmer regional footing.
Everyone makes mistakes, and Mr. Kerry was reflecting the consensus of professional Washington and the Mideast peace industry. Yet the deals show that hard power and shared interests matter more in world politics than center-left sentimentality. Israel and Sunni Arab states have a common threat in Iran and can benefit from mutual investment. Let’s hope the Biden Administration doesn’t throw away this progress.
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Appeared in the December 8, 2020, print edition.