Thursday, April 08, 2010

A Mideast Peace Plan?

Daniel Levy has an outstanding analysis of the possibility that the Obama administration is getting ready to present a peace plan for the Middle East.

I think we are beginning to see an Obama strategy emerge, and Levy outlines how it is working in this case. I would generalize it to:

1. Present a goal or direction without a lot of detail.

2. Watch and listen while others develop their own ways to the goal, their opposition, or flounder. This tells you a lot about what you need to do. Avoiding detail in step 1 limits the kinds of attacks the opposition can mount and gives you flexibility in responding.

3. If a coherent plan that is generally in step with your goal emerges, back and encourage it. If no plan emerges, do some nudging to encourage more action or more agreement. If what emerges is mostly opposition, let them overplay their hand or make fools of themselves in other ways; some nudges may help them toward your goal in spite of themselves.

4. Bring things together in the shape of a solution. By now, support has coalesced and the opposition has worn itself out.

5. Get to the goal.

This is essentially what I've been calling the community organizer strategy. It's how the health care bill developed, how New START is going, and, if Levy is right, how a peace plan might develop for the Middle East.

Stay tuned.

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