Baseball is a game for young men. The mangers are often a generation or two older. In baseball the “old guys” (often in their 40’s – everything is relative) are called greybeards. Yesterday a quasi-peace agreement between Israel, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) was signed at the White House. I’m sure Trump and his sycophants will tout it as a great achievement. It is not. Let’s explore.
Bahrain and the UAE are small Arab gulf countries with little military power. They are also on the other side of the region from Israel. They are far from the military powers or major threats to peace in the region. Their quasi-agreement with Israel is good but it far from resolves the situation or removes a major threat to stability in the region.
Resolving the Israeli-Palestinian standoff would eliminate most of the civil unrest and much of the guerilla type activity in the region. Trump and Boy Blunder Jared Kushner are no closer to that then on the day they set foot in the Oval Office. In fact, they are further away having lost any perception of being honest brokers.
Major belligerent nations in the region include Syria and Iran. In the case of Syria we relinquished any influence or power we had to Russia. We unilaterally pulled out of the Iran Nuclear Deal putting our allies in a difficult spot and greasing the skids for Iran to develop nuclear weapons. Fat chance they’ll listen to us in a peace treaty situation.
Even with yesterday’s agreement the Middle East is much more dangerous today than it was on January 20, 2017.
This situation makes me think of a baseball manager (greybeard) in the dugout with his team at bat, down 12-1, in the fourth inning. The opposing pitchers are no longer nibbling at the corners; they are putting every pitch in the strike zone. Their idea is to make the hitters earn a base with a hit, not a walk. With the big lead they can afford a few mistakes and still win. Suddenly one of his hitter gets good wood on a mistake pitch resulting in a home run. As the manger paces the dugout he says, “Here we go boys, that’s the start, we’re coming back”. That’s good rhetoric but nobody in the dugout believes it. Even as he is saying it the greybeard is thinking of how to get through the game using the fewest and least valuable pitchers in his bullpen because he is already planning for the next few games, conceding this one.
These agreements are good things; but in the greater scheme of things (like that home run) they are not impactful. In international relations as in baseball some things can be good but leave the team far short of victory.
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