The American-sponsored Middle East peace conference (or meeting or get-together) expected to be held in Annapolis , Maryland later this month has more to do with providing Secretary of State Condoleezza a much-needed photo op to repair her tarnished legacy than creating the groundwork for a just and comprehensive settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian crisis. Besides the need to repair her legacy, Rice urgently needs to buy Arab support for the Administration’s war in Iraq and its escalating threats against Iran. As a result, after years of scorning Arab-Israeli diplomacy, Rice has become such a freqent visitor to the region that she given birth to a new verb in Israeli government circles: ‘lecondel.” According to the New York Times, the verb –based on Ms. Rice’s first name– means ” to come and go for meetings that produce few results.”

But Rice has produced results. Disastrous ones. Responsibility for this war and occupation lies with her as much as anybody in the Bush Administration. She was perhaps the worst national security adviser in the office’s history, as Slate’s Fred Kaplan recently argued. (And she’s had some tough competition.) And as a former security realist turned messianic “democratizer,” Rice has squandered both democracy and realism in our engagement with the world. As Kaplan put it well, ” Rice remains one of the architects of a fantasy foreign policy, and her record as secretary of state gives little hope that she’ll be able to reverse that verdict in the administration’s final months.”