As the title alludes to, the author describes the Mideast peace process as being like a religion; a key quote can be found on the first page:
Like all religions, the peace process has developed a dogmatic creed, with immutable first principles. Over the last two decades, I wrote them hundreds of times to my bosses in the upper echelons of the State Department and the White House; they were a catechism we all could recite by heart. First, pursuit of a comprehensive peace was a core, if not the core, U.S. interest in the region, and achieving it offered the only sure way to protect U.S. interests; second, peace could be achieved, but only through a serious negotiating process based on trading land for peace; and third, only America could help the Arabs and Israelis bring that peace to fruition.
I can't help but wonder...
What are America's vital national security interests in having a peaceful resolution to the Arab-Israeli conflict? Quite frankly, I can't think of any. Here are two I've ruled out:
1) Islamic terrorism targets us and the Israelis because we are all infidels; our support for Israel just gives them an excuse to do what their prophet commanded centuries ago. Now that Islam is getting entrenched and radicalized in Europe and even America, no amount of sucking up to some sheikhs in the Middle East is going to call off the dogs already at our throats.
2) If the region suddenly shut off its flow of oil going out, the world would shut off its flow of dollars, euros, yuan, and so on going in; Islamic terrorism would be left unfunded by Saudi petrodollars, and Saudi Arabia has no other source of income - there would be a quality-of-life issue for all the princes. We will get our oil from somewhere, and they will export their oil to someone. They can't sustain an embargo against the rest of the world over problems with or our support for Israel.
If peace is to be had, the warring parties are the ones who have to want it. Right now, there are too many Arab rulers happy to have the Israeli issue take attention off their own corruption and decadence, and too many crazy jihadis who want to drive the Jews into the sea. And, there is certainly a disproportionately powerful group of Israelis who believe God gave them certain lands, and that they therefore have a divine right to drive the Arabs out into the desert.
If they're not ready to make real peace, then maybe they need to make real war for a while until they're more motivated. America can maybe help with that peace process, but the ball is in their court, not ours.