Unrest in the Middle East has been an unrelenting problem for centuries, the Gordian knot that cannot be cut. The Camp David Accords marked the first substantive step toward that end and still stand as a watershed moment.
Since Democrats raced to distance themselves from Carter with almost as much vigor as Republican embraced him, the Carter failure meme has gone unchallenged for 35 years. With Carter's announcement that he is fighting advanced cancer, maybe it is time to set the record straight.
We were an outsider civilization that was going to calm and shape the Arab Middle East. Today our enterprise is in ruin. The Ottoman metaphor is relevant because we tried, however unconsciously, to be like them.
It may well be that the Israel-Palestine conflict is but a reflection of the Middle East's inherent instability. Unfortunately this means that the area's fate, and that includes Israel's, will be determined by blind historical forces rather than by foresight and planning.