Prime Minister Shamir arrived to the 1991 Madrid Summit as a tough and an assertive negotiator, who has subdued the 1987-1991 Intifadah, against the background of Saddam’s defeat in Kuwait, which has exposed Arab weakness, and bolstered by US commitment to refrain from proclaiming the formula of Land-For-Peace.
On the other hand, Prime Minister Barak arrived to the 2000 Sharem-A-Sheikh Summit as a negotiator whose red lines are routinely transformed into pink lines, whose dependency on the US has deepened, burdened by an exacerbated Intifadah (within the Green Line as well as in Judea, Samaria and Gaza), against the background of increasingly confident Arab leaders and an intensifying US pressure to retreat to the 1949 Lines, including the re-portioning of Jerusalem.
The Six Day War, the Operation in Beirut Airport, the bombing of Iraq’s nuclear reactor, the systematic elimination of Palestinian terrorists and the inherent defiance of pressure to withdraw from the post-1967 Lines, have triggered international condemnation, but have enhance Israel’s posture of deterrence and have bolstered the image and self-respect of Jews in Israel and abroad.
On the other hand, Barak’s proposed sweeping concessions, and his vacillation in face of Palestinian terrorism, have earned praise from world leaders, by they have severely eroded the steadfastness of the Jewish State and the posture of deterrence of the IDF. They have, also, radicalized Arab expectations and demands and have deteriorated Israel’s strategic image to an all time low, fueling anti-Semitism.
How is it possible that a decorated military leader, like Barak, would err so devastatingly? A friend of mine, who is a former top CIA official, contends that the US rarely elevates Special Operations Commanders to the role of Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and certainly not to the role of a President. According to him,