DANIEL SCHORR: There is a way in which great issues tend to be put on hold as the administration nears its end.
LIANE HANSEN, host:
NPR's senior news analyst Daniel Schorr.
SCHORR: In the year 2000, President Clinton came close in his last days to forging an agreement between the Israelis and the Palestinians, but in the end it didn't work. President Bush has been striving for such an agreement to add some luster to his legacy, but the prospects for a solution to this longstanding dispute in the months leading up to January seem remote. And the announced resignation of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert adds another dimension of delay.
Similarly with Iraq, President Bush would like to see permanent military bases established. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki would like to see the troops leave on some definite timetable. The agreement on a general time horizon is simply verbiage to cover the kicking of the can down the road to the next administration.
Senator Barack Obama on his recent barnstorming tour of the Middle East and Europe caught the interest of foreign leaders with his emphasis on change. Foreign leaders are fascinated to know what that will mean concretely. Russia has already put one of its cards on the table for the next president. It's a proposal for a global security organization that would overshadow NATO and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.
The collapse of the negotiations for a world trade agreement, in progress for the past seven years, has sent a shudder of dismay, especially among developing countries. But there's talk now of resuming these negotiations, that is after the change in the White House. It is quite remarkable how much of the world seems to hold its breath every four or eight years hoping for a change in American policy on issues like the Kyoto treaty on global warming. This is Daniel Schorr.
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