When I in February 2003 approvingly quoted Secretary of State Powell saying that American success in Iraq "could fundamentally reshape [the Middle East] in a powerful, positive way," I understood the U.S. goal to be bringing democracy to the Arabic-speaking countries"; little did I imagine he was referring in the first place to an imposed settlement in the Arab-Israeli theater.
Also, when one month later I predicted that "the road map is for show, not true policy, and U.S. endorsement of a Palestinian state remains remote," I missed the extraordinarily ambitious motives that lie behind the road map, the clear aspiration to solve the Arab-Israeli conflict from the outside.
Comment: This is not the first time that an American secretary of state has seen victory in the Iraqi theater as a reason to rush over to the Arab-Israeli theater; that's precisely what James A. Baker, III, did twelve years ago, as I detailed in "What Kind of Peace [to Follow the Kuwait War]?" (May 5, 2003)
Dec. 8, 2006 update: Baker has done it again. The Iraq Study Group Report whose production he co-chaired, asserts that the situation in Iraq is "inextricably linked" to the Arab-Israeli conflict.