This partial transcript of The Beltway Boys, August 18, 2001 was provided by the Federal Document Clearing House. Click here to order the complete transcript.

BILL SAMMON, GUEST HOST:  I'm Bill Sammon, in for Fred Barnes.

MORT KONDRACKE, HOST:  And I'm Mort Kondracke, and we're The Beltway Boys.

Well, the hot story of the week is definitely the Middle East cauldron, and I've got to say that George Bush's policy in the Middle East looks feckless, not because he is refusing to dive in Clinton-style into personal diplomacy, but because he refuses to name names.

Here's, here's his statement from Colorado.  Watch.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  The Middle East is a  cauldron of violence, and we've got to -- and we will continue to be very much involved in insisting that both parties break the cycle.


KONDRACKE:  You know, this cycle of violence talk is State Departmentese.  I mean, it represents moral equivalence, that Yasser Arafat and Ariel Sharon are equally responsible for the terrorism that's there.  What Bush has got to do is make it absolutely clear that the person primarily responsible is Yasser Arafat, and he's got to work on the Europeans and the moderate Arabs to get them to get Arafat to stop the terrorism, or else this thing is going to spin out of control.

SAMMON:  First of all, he sent a message to Arafat by not inviting him to the White House.  Remember, Arafat was invited to the White House more often than any other foreign leader during the Clinton years.

KONDRACKE:  That's a very subtle message.

SAMMON:  It's a subtle message, but at the same time, I think you'd rather have him do these hothouse negotiations like Clinton did...

KONDRACKE:  No, I wouldn't.

SAMMON:  ... at Camp David...

KONDRACKE:  Quite the contrary.

SAMMON:  ... where...

KONDRACKE:  I said, I said that he should put pressure on Arafat through the Europeans and the Arabs, not dive in Clinton-style.

SAMMON:  But the more he gets into this thing, before the two parties actually cease the violence, the more he vests his political capital in this.  And I don't think that's the wise course.  He's got to -- the only people that can solve this are the parties themselves.  At least pause in the killing.  And then the United States can come in and emerge -- and engage more directly at that time.

KONDRACKE:  Yes, well.

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