Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Annapolis - the long view

Bush's Middle East conference is starting in Annapolis. So far Dubya has shown no inclination to learn from history but I suppose he has heard of the Annapolis Convention of September 1786, when 12 delegates from 5 states met "to remedy defects of the federal government" . Those delegates met for four days and decided that they could not achieve anything because four states had failed to send delegates and four more had failed to get there on time and because they had insufficient power to negotiate. They called for a wider conference in Philadelphia the following May, which drafted the US Constitution which endures to the present day.

I cannot help wondering if the present conference in Annapolis will be similarly hampered by the absence of parties, in particular Hamas, and a lack of powers to negotiate. Let us hope that the conference continues for more than four days and, like the ultimate success in Philadelphia, leads to the foundation of a new state, the state of Palestine.

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