2 great articles by Walter Russell Mead

Keep it civil or we'll send in UN peacekeepers

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2 great articles by Walter Russell Mead

Post by Logg » Tue Mar 16, 2010 6:13 pm

This guy is writing some great stuff about Israel, America, and the world. It's hard to find a middle ground from which to navigate these divisive issues, but he's done it. I've picked two articles which seem to spell it out pretty well, and are good reads for both long time I/P aficianados and (especially) for newbies.

I'm really not interested in partisan/troll posturing here. This is for people who have no interest in feuding but who are willing to take the time to read a couple of columns to better understand the situation, instead of just the usual vacuous back and forth about terrorists and settlements.

http://blogs.the-american-interest.com/wrm/2010/03/15/the-israel-crisis/#more-3465 Here's an excerpt:
"Unfortunately, the US-Israel relationship isn’t the only important international relationship the Netanyahu government has flubbed. Last January deputy foreign minister Danny Ayalon committed one of the most grotesque diplomatic blunders in decades when he summoned the Turkish ambassador into his office and staged a deliberately humiliating and provocative dressing down. Ayalon was soon forced to issue a groveling, humilating apology — but kept his job.

The conventional response to all this, which I share in large part, is to blame the factionalism and extremism of Israeli domestic politics. Proportional representation ensures that even small groups with extremist views can elect enough members to the Knesset that Israeli governments have to do business with them. Religious politics, the settler lobby, immigrant parties and other groups can and do use the fractured parliamentary system to impose their agenda on the country at large. Unsavory and incompetent individuals come to hold great power in Israeli politics, and prime ministers have to indulge them, appoint them to senior posts, and hope and pray that they don’t cause too many train wrecks in Israel’s foreign policy by outrageous decisions and clownish diplomacy.

Israel by rights should be in even worse shape than it is. Even more than the United States, it is a nation of immigrants, as Jews from all over the world sought refuge there. Traumatized European survivors of the Holocaust, hundreds of thousands of penniless refugees forced out of Arab countries after Israeli independence, hundreds of thousands fleeing the wreckage of the Soviet collapse, black Ethiopian Jews, and many others have had to build a new society and a new state under constant threat of terror and conventional war while facing non-stop criticism from all over the world. That Israel would be a flawed and divided society was inevitable; that it would grow into a dynamic and lively democracy with one of the world’s most innovative economies was not.

Israel has a hard row to hoe. Decades of hostility and terrorism have taken their toll on Israel’s political culture and, with the shadow of Iran’s nuclear program lengthening by the day, Israelis live against a background of tension and anxiety that it is hard for others to understand. A diet of bitter criticism from those (like the Europeans) who judge Israel in crisis from their own safe havens does not help. The anger, frustration and bitterness that many Israelis feel sometimes boils to the surface. Yet precisely because their state is exposed to so many threats Israelis must keep their cool.
It is deeply unfair, but Israelis have to be smarter, more flexible and more self-controlled than other people just to survive."


http://blogs.the-american-interest.com/wrm/2010/03/16/obama-and-the-jacksonian-zionists/ The opening paragraphs:

Obama and the Jacksonian Zionists

Last week the Israelis handed the Obama administration an important advantage in the continuing struggle between the US and Israel over policy towards the Palestinians. By announcing a decision to move forward with 1600 housing units in East Jerusalem, the Israelis embarrassed the administration in a way that created problems for Prime Minister Netanyahu and gave Washington an opportunity to push back. But by going public with a set of tough demands without securing its domestic support, the Obama administration may lose the advantage it gained.

With Secretary of State Hilary Clinton and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu scheduled to address AIPAC’s annual meeting next weekend in Washington, the stage is set for high drama. The greatest danger at this point is that one or both sides may misjudge the state of American public opinion. Israel’s political support in the United States is ultimately based much less in the highly visible network of organizations like AIPAC than it is in the strong support for Israel well beyond the Beltway. I’ve been writing a series of posts over the last week about this; it is the gentile supporters of Israel, not American Jews, who ultimately define the boundaries of American foreign policy on this issue, and the Obama administration’s ability to put pressure on its most important Middle Eastern ally ultimately depends on the reaction of American gentile supporters of Israel to administration policy. The administration may be in danger of overestimating its support in a drawn out debate.

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Re: 2 great articles by Walter Russell Mead

Post by polardude1 » Tue Mar 16, 2010 6:28 pm

The conventional response to all this, which I share in large part, is to blame the factionalism and extremism of Israeli domestic politics. Proportional representation ensures that even small groups with extremist views can elect enough members to the Knesset that Israeli governments have to do business with them. Religious

I touched on thsi in a previous thread. The last fge coalitions have been terribley feracturedd, with high stake protfolios being ahded out to incompatent politians. if a leading party can command enough seats to only need a few partners to complete a govt, they they can be more careful with who they choose. But we have seen glaring incidents of incompatence it the last few govts

1. PM Olmert appointing Labor's Peretz as defense minister because his party had the 2nd highest number of seats in the Knesset. Peretz had no military experience and landed in a war that was poorly planned and managed. Peres, ranked lower in labor, would have been a far more appropriate choice, given his strong resume

2. Now we have former night club owner, Leiberman at te helm of th foreighn ministrybecasue of the strong position of his party in Bibi's coalition

What is clear to me is that the appt's to thse critical ministries have nothig to do
with sill sets and evferything to do with politics.

As for Shas and the interior ministy. that has been their kingdom for decades

Thisis tehe primary weakness of proprtional representaion
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Re: 2 great articles by Walter Russell Mead

Post by Logg » Tue Mar 16, 2010 7:00 pm

That's the real tragedy of Sharon's early demise. His move to the center was masterful. There was no one on the right who could stop him, and he was a smarter politician than anyone in Israel (Bibi by contrast is a dummy). The 06 Lebanon debacle was the first concrete example of just how much Sharon is missed. The current Bibi govt is the latest.

I've been too depressed to follow the details, so I don't understand exactly why Kadima is out of this govt but Labor is in. The trend over the last 20 years in Israel has been for Unity govts, and the recent Shas and Yisrael Beitenu fiascos are shining examples as to why.
Unity govts and the emergence of Kadima both indicate the direction much of Israel wants. I hope they can get there.

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Re: 2 great articles by Walter Russell Mead

Post by polardude1 » Tue Mar 16, 2010 7:13 pm

so I don't understand exactly why Kadima is out of this govt but Labor is in.


All I know Livni did not want ot give that much to the Likud agenda, but Labor is a real puzzle. Perhaps Barak just siezed on a polituicl opportunity, given that his party is a mere shadow of what it once was. In a way that's not a bad thing. At least Barak makes for a more appropriate Defense Minster
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Re: 2 great articles by Walter Russell Mead

Post by joeyramone » Tue Mar 16, 2010 7:18 pm

Fuck bibi and friends for embarrassing Biden. Don't ever step on daddy's toes.
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Re: 2 great articles by Walter Russell Mead

Post by unknown » Tue Mar 16, 2010 7:21 pm

I find it odd how anyone could miss Sharon and refer to him as a moderate. I suppose that region brings up many oddities.

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Re: 2 great articles by Walter Russell Mead

Post by polardude1 » Tue Mar 16, 2010 7:22 pm

Sharorn left Gaza and Hamas went a head a trashed it even more
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Re: 2 great articles by Walter Russell Mead

Post by unknown » Tue Mar 16, 2010 7:27 pm

polardude1 wrote:Sharorn left Gaza and Hamas went a head a trashed it even more


Do you have a point to that comment? Yes Hamas trashed Gaza. Errr we know. Idiot.

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Re: 2 great articles by Walter Russell Mead

Post by Logg » Tue Mar 16, 2010 8:06 pm

Sharon was the godfather of the settlement movement and one of the most hardcore likudniks, and then he left likud to found a new centrist party which immediately became the nation's largest, and unilaterally withdrew from Gaza. No one on the right in Israel could stop him; that's huge.
World diplomats spend millions of dollars and hundreds of hours awarding Nobel prizes, trying to get hardliners in the ME to soften their positions. Sharon was a hardliner who softened his position.

Behind the simplistic hardline rhetoric, it turned out Sharon was a good politician and a smart man. And a strong man. Israel needs a strong leader. They haven't had one since Rabin, and Sharon was in a far better position of power than Rabin ever was. People who hate Israel should be really, really happy about Sharon's demise.

Polar, if I were Livni I wouldn't want to join up as Bibi's junior partner either. I've never liked the guy even a little. He's not leadership material. I wonder what would happen if Labor left the govt and there was a no confidence vote. Does Labor have enough on its own to take away the coalition's majority?

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Re: 2 great articles by Walter Russell Mead

Post by polardude1 » Tue Mar 16, 2010 8:17 pm

I've never liked the guy even a little. He's not leadership material.

that has always been the case

wonder what would happen if Labor left the govt

Labor wil not leavem, because it is their only chance to have any leverage. As a stand alone party, they have no chance of commanding enough votes in an election to lead a coalition. labor's power base has deminished as israel reverted to a far more capitalist society. Even the last vestages of labor power in kibbutzim and Histatdrut owned industry has long since faded.ll;abotr needs hold on or risk obscurity and they have sold their soul to do so
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Re: 2 great articles by Walter Russell Mead

Post by joeyramone » Tue Mar 16, 2010 8:43 pm

unknown wrote:
polardude1 wrote:Sharorn left Gaza and Hamas went a head a trashed it even more


Do you have a point to that comment? Yes Hamas trashed Gaza. Errr we know. Idiot.


Candy, is that you?
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Re: 2 great articles by Walter Russell Mead

Post by unknown » Tue Mar 16, 2010 8:54 pm

This is an adult debating board yes?

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Re: 2 great articles by Walter Russell Mead

Post by unknown » Tue Mar 16, 2010 9:00 pm

Logg wrote:Sharon was the godfather of the settlement movement and one of the most hardcore likudniks, and then he left likud to found a new centrist party which immediately became the nation's largest, and unilaterally withdrew from Gaza. No one on the right in Israel could stop him; that's huge.
World diplomats spend millions of dollars and hundreds of hours awarding Nobel prizes, trying to get hardliners in the ME to soften their positions. Sharon was a hardliner who softened his position.

Behind the simplistic hardline rhetoric, it turned out Sharon was a good politician and a smart man. And a strong man. Israel needs a strong leader. They haven't had one since Rabin, and Sharon was in a far better position of power than Rabin ever was. People who hate Israel should be really, really happy about Sharon's demise.

Polar, if I were Livni I wouldn't want to join up as Bibi's junior partner either. I've never liked the guy even a little. He's not leadership material. I wonder what would happen if Labor left the govt and there was a no confidence vote. Does Labor have enough on its own to take away the coalition's majority?


You have made a very interesting point there. Sharon being a hardliner, was trusted to look after the best interest of jewish people in Israel. In that sense he was trusted not to sell them down the river, unlike Pires (correct me if I am wrong). In that case, only a hardliner can deliver peacewith the backing of most israelis. The leftist peaceniks cannot be trusted because they do not have the military or hardline credentials to use a sledgehammer to crack a few nuts.

Maybe Bibi can have a Damascus moment. Is he trusted though?

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Re: 2 great articles by Walter Russell Mead

Post by polardude1 » Tue Mar 16, 2010 9:17 pm

Candy, is that you?

there is an Originalsin feel to his style

corrected for typos

I've never liked the guy even a little. He's not leadership material.
that has always been the case


wonder what would happen if Labor left the govt
Labor will not leave, because it is their only chance to have any leverage. As a stand alone party, they have no chance of commanding enough votes in an election to lead a coalition. Labor's power base has deminished as israel reverted to a far more capitalist society. Even the last vestages of Labor power in kibbutzim and Histatdrut owned industry has long since faded. Labor needs hold on or risk obscurity and they have sold their soul to do so
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Re: 2 great articles by Walter Russell Mead

Post by Logg » Tue Mar 16, 2010 9:28 pm

unknown wrote:
Logg wrote:Sharon was the godfather of the settlement movement and one of the most hardcore likudniks, and then he left likud to found a new centrist party which immediately became the nation's largest, and unilaterally withdrew from Gaza. No one on the right in Israel could stop him; that's huge.
World diplomats spend millions of dollars and hundreds of hours awarding Nobel prizes, trying to get hardliners in the ME to soften their positions. Sharon was a hardliner who softened his position.

Behind the simplistic hardline rhetoric, it turned out Sharon was a good politician and a smart man. And a strong man. Israel needs a strong leader. They haven't had one since Rabin, and Sharon was in a far better position of power than Rabin ever was. People who hate Israel should be really, really happy about Sharon's demise.

Polar, if I were Livni I wouldn't want to join up as Bibi's junior partner either. I've never liked the guy even a little. He's not leadership material. I wonder what would happen if Labor left the govt and there was a no confidence vote. Does Labor have enough on its own to take away the coalition's majority?


You have made a very interesting point there. Sharon being a hardliner, was trusted to look after the best interest of jewish people in Israel. In that sense he was trusted not to sell them down the river, unlike Pires (correct me if I am wrong). In that case, only a hardliner can deliver peacewith the backing of most israelis. The leftist peaceniks cannot be trusted because they do not have the military or hardline credentials to use a sledgehammer to crack a few nuts.

Maybe Bibi can have a Damascus moment. Is he trusted though?


That's basically it. The axiom is 'peace comes from the right' and it's not unique to Israel.

Rabin had the same sort of trust as Sharon, though he wasn't a right winger, because he was a well known general in the IDF. As we know all too well, there were still people on the right who were very critical of Rabin. But there was no one credible to the right of Sharon, and plenty of people to the left willing to give him all the support he needed for disengagement. He had unprecedented room to maneuver. Had he chosen to evacuate any number of West Bank territory or settlements, he would have had plenty of support and no real opposition.
Of course, this is the part the 'Israel critics' don't like, because Sharon would likely have wanted to get the best final deal for Israel he could, which would have meant evacuating some areas and holding on to others. Because he was a good politician, Sharon could have probably delivered the best possible deal for Israel on this by decreeing which areas Israel would leave (and being able to follow through on it) and in return, which areas Israel would hold on to.
Netanyahu on the other hand, is a populist. He'll say things that will get him elected in the short term (like 'no one can tell Jews where to build and not build', and then when he's elected he'll say things to try to assuage the US, and then he'll go back and say something contradictory to his constituency, and then he'll have to explain himself to the US, which will put him between a rock and a hard place with the US and his constituency, and so on. Despite all the tough talk, after much stalling Netanyahu would be far more likely to be roped into signing something less favorable for Israel.
That in a nutshell is Israel's problem. What they need is someone strong enough to face down the extreme settler fringe and come up with a long term disengagement that would make most Israelis happy, but that won't happen. Sharon was a once in a generation figure who could do just that. Note that none of this is dependent on any sort of peace deal with the Palestinians. This is something Israel could do on its own and wait for the Palestinians to get their shit together, rather than have to engage in cat and mouse negotiations with them in which terror is used as a bargaining chip. That's another reason the 'Israel critics' didn't like Sharon's unilateralism.
Unfortunately, because Israel's politics is so fragmented, dysfunctional, and incapable of long term thinking, they will have to keep playing the game with the Palestinians and the 'world community'.

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Re: 2 great articles by Walter Russell Mead

Post by joeyramone » Tue Mar 16, 2010 9:37 pm

unknown wrote:This is an adult debating board yes?


Very telling.
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Re: 2 great articles by Walter Russell Mead

Post by polardude1 » Tue Mar 16, 2010 9:48 pm

it's simple, what it takes is 2 dynamic leaders on both sides to get a process rolling. Sadat and Begin were a case in point. Rabin had what it takes because he kneow what was needed for peace and had a reputation as Labor hawk. Perhaps Sharon as well. he was hated but respected by the Palestinians. Respect is a very important element in the ME. Groveling for peace or giving up someting in return for nothing is a sign of weakness in ront of the Arab world.
i thought I saw something of that in Livni, but she has yestb to really carve out her power bases in Israeli politics. She barely escaped the Kadima primary leading up to national elections, so the air was sucked out of her camapaign early
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Re: 2 great articles by Walter Russell Mead

Post by unknown » Tue Mar 16, 2010 10:04 pm

Logg
That's basically it. The axiom is 'peace comes from the right' and it's not unique to Israel.

Rabin had the same sort of trust as Sharon, though he wasn't a right winger, because he was a well known general in the IDF. As we know all too well, there were still people on the right who were very critical of Rabin. But there was no one credible to the right of Sharon, and plenty of people to the left willing to give him all the support he needed for disengagement. He had unprecedented room to maneuver. Had he chosen to evacuate any number of West Bank territory or settlements, he would have had plenty of support and no real opposition.
Of course, this is the part the 'Israel critics' don't like, because Sharon would likely have wanted to get the best final deal for Israel he could, which would have meant evacuating some areas and holding on to others. Because he was a good politician, Sharon could have probably delivered the best possible deal for Israel on this by decreeing which areas Israel would leave (and being able to follow through on it) and in return, which areas Israel would hold on to.
Netanyahu on the other hand, is a populist. He'll say things that will get him elected in the short term (like 'no one can tell Jews where to build and not build', and then when he's elected he'll say things to try to assuage the US, and then he'll go back and say something contradictory to his constituency, and then he'll have to explain himself to the US, which will put him between a rock and a hard place with the US and his constituency, and so on. Despite all the tough talk, after much stalling Netanyahu would be far more likely to be roped into signing something less favorable for Israel.
That in a nutshell is Israel's problem. What they need is someone strong enough to face down the extreme settler fringe and come up with a long term disengagement that would make most Israelis happy, but that won't happen. Sharon was a once in a generation figure who could do just that. Note that none of this is dependent on any sort of peace deal with the Palestinians. This is something Israel could do on its own and wait for the Palestinians to get their shit together, rather than have to engage in cat and mouse negotiations with them in which terror is used as a bargaining chip. That's another reason the 'Israel critics' didn't like Sharon's unilateralism.
Unfortunately, because Israel's politics is so fragmented, dysfunctional, and incapable of long term thinking, they will have to keep playing the game with the Palestinians and the 'world community'.


Thank you for your considered response. It would have been better if you broke up the paragraph a little for ease of reading. :lol:

Sharon would have carried the bulk of the Israeli populace with him, although many would have been sceptical, but he had earned their trust. It does say a lot about the society in that region where such odious men could command respect, ie Sharon, Arafat within their respective populace.

But that is what they were left with. Such a shame though. But what you say about Bibi appears true. He is a politician and not a realist wrt matters on the ground. They say that some people have the pulse of their people, know it and understand their fears and hopes. Bibi knows only how to talk the good talk to whoever has his ear at that moment. I doubt he cab deliver anything other than chaos for all parties.

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Re: 2 great articles by Walter Russell Mead

Post by Logg » Tue Mar 16, 2010 10:13 pm

polardude1 wrote:it's simple, what it takes is 2 dynamic leaders on both sides to get a process rolling. Sadat and Begin were a case in point. Rabin had what it takes because he kneow what was needed for peace and had a reputation as Labor hawk. Perhaps Sharon as well. he was hated but respected by the Palestinians. Respect is a very important element in the ME. Groveling for peace or giving up someting in return for nothing is a sign of weakness in ront of the Arab world.
i thought I saw something of that in Livni, but she has yestb to really carve out her power bases in Israeli politics. She barely escaped the Kadima primary leading up to national elections, so the air was sucked out of her camapaign early


I don't see anyone like that on the Palestinian side. And really, what could this hypothetical leader deliver? I've already explained my pessimism on that issue in detail in the past. All I'll say now is the Palestinian side is basically a rejection of Israel, same as it's been since 1948, and what the west wants in a partner is a figurehead who can modify that negationist sentiment enough to make it sound palatable to western ears and then sign an agreement with a big ceremony. Negating Israel is one thing, creating Palestine is something else entirely. Getting a Palestinian leader to say 'Israel has a right to exist' isn't that hard; having that position be accepted by Palestinians is significantly harder. And taking that and trying to project it into creating a non-militarized, peaceful Palestine on two noncontiguous pieces of land is an exercise in futile wishful thinking.
That's why I'm more interested in a strategic and partial Israeli unilateral withdrawal. Unfortunately, they're too dysfunctional and retarded to do even that.

BTW, the Egypt peace treaty was primarily a Sadat initiative with Begin along for the ride, no? And how easy was that compared to creating a state of Palestine from scratch? Basically, Israel had to return a clearly delineated piece of territory it captured, and in return Egypt ended the state of war. Not exactly rocket science. And even so, it wasn't that easy. For its part, Israel showed it could and would make trade territory for peace, even under a right wing leader. And for Egypt's part, it has honored the agreement to the letter, even though in every other capacity Egyptian society rejects Israel in every way it can.
Israel gives up land, Egypt ends a formal state of war.And in return for signing, Egypt's government gets a generous subsidy from the US every year. Not exactly a lot of personal sacrifice on either side, and yet it's still as cold a peace as one could get and still call it peace. And it's only because Egypt has a strong, moderate dictatorship. The Palestinians have neither.
Not a lot of equity on which to base a future comprehensive peace and nation building enterprise on the scale envisioned for Palestine.

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Re: 2 great articles by Walter Russell Mead

Post by unknown » Tue Mar 16, 2010 10:26 pm

Logg wrote:
polardude1 wrote:it's simple, what it takes is 2 dynamic leaders on both sides to get a process rolling. Sadat and Begin were a case in point. Rabin had what it takes because he kneow what was needed for peace and had a reputation as Labor hawk. Perhaps Sharon as well. he was hated but respected by the Palestinians. Respect is a very important element in the ME. Groveling for peace or giving up someting in return for nothing is a sign of weakness in ront of the Arab world.
i thought I saw something of that in Livni, but she has yestb to really carve out her power bases in Israeli politics. She barely escaped the Kadima primary leading up to national elections, so the air was sucked out of her camapaign early


I don't see anyone like that on the Palestinian side. And really, what could this hypothetical leader deliver? I've already explained my pessimism on that issue in detail in the past. All I'll say now is the Palestinian side is basically a rejection of Israel, same as it's been since 1948, and what the west wants in a partner is a figurehead who can modify that negationist sentiment enough to make it sound palatable to western ears and then sign an agreement with a big ceremony. Negating Israel is one thing, creating Palestine is something else entirely. Getting a Palestinian leader to say 'Israel has a right to exist' isn't that hard; having that position be accepted by Palestinians is significantly harder. And taking that and trying to project it into creating a non-militarized, peaceful Palestine on two noncontiguous pieces of land is an exercise in futile wishful thinking.
That's why I'm more interested in a strategic and partial Israeli unilateral withdrawal. Unfortunately, they're too dysfunctional and retarded to do even that.

BTW, the Egypt peace treaty was primarily a Sadat initiative with Begin along for the ride, no? And how easy was that compared to creating a state of Palestine from scratch? Basically, Israel had to return a clearly delineated piece of territory it captured, and in return Egypt ended the state of war. Not exactly rocket science. And even so, it wasn't that easy. For its part, Israel showed it could and would make trade territory for peace, even under a right wing leader. And for Egypt's part, it has honored the agreement to the letter, even though in every other capacity Egyptian society rejects Israel in every way it can.
Israel gives up land, Egypt ends a formal state of war.And in return for signing, Egypt's government gets a generous subsidy from the US every year. Not exactly a lot of personal sacrifice on either side, and yet it's still as cold a peace as one could get and still call it peace. And it's only because Egypt has a strong, moderate dictatorship. The Palestinians have neither.
Not a lot of equity on which to base a future comprehensive peace and nation building enterprise on the scale envisioned for Palestine.


Arafat is on record in saying that Israel has the right to exist. So has most if not all Fatah leadership. The Pals have a leader in Marwan Barghoutti who I believe can deliver peace. Yes I know he is in jail. But he can deliver both factions into a deal (before he gets assasinated no doubt)

As for Sadat and Begin, the difference is that a dictator does not have to answer to his electorate.

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Re: 2 great articles by Walter Russell Mead

Post by Logg » Tue Mar 16, 2010 10:32 pm

unknown wrote:Logg
That's basically it. The axiom is 'peace comes from the right' and it's not unique to Israel.

Rabin had the same sort of trust as Sharon, though he wasn't a right winger, because he was a well known general in the IDF. As we know all too well, there were still people on the right who were very critical of Rabin. But there was no one credible to the right of Sharon, and plenty of people to the left willing to give him all the support he needed for disengagement. He had unprecedented room to maneuver. Had he chosen to evacuate any number of West Bank territory or settlements, he would have had plenty of support and no real opposition.
Of course, this is the part the 'Israel critics' don't like, because Sharon would likely have wanted to get the best final deal for Israel he could, which would have meant evacuating some areas and holding on to others. Because he was a good politician, Sharon could have probably delivered the best possible deal for Israel on this by decreeing which areas Israel would leave (and being able to follow through on it) and in return, which areas Israel would hold on to.
Netanyahu on the other hand, is a populist. He'll say things that will get him elected in the short term (like 'no one can tell Jews where to build and not build', and then when he's elected he'll say things to try to assuage the US, and then he'll go back and say something contradictory to his constituency, and then he'll have to explain himself to the US, which will put him between a rock and a hard place with the US and his constituency, and so on. Despite all the tough talk, after much stalling Netanyahu would be far more likely to be roped into signing something less favorable for Israel.
That in a nutshell is Israel's problem. What they need is someone strong enough to face down the extreme settler fringe and come up with a long term disengagement that would make most Israelis happy, but that won't happen. Sharon was a once in a generation figure who could do just that. Note that none of this is dependent on any sort of peace deal with the Palestinians. This is something Israel could do on its own and wait for the Palestinians to get their shit together, rather than have to engage in cat and mouse negotiations with them in which terror is used as a bargaining chip. That's another reason the 'Israel critics' didn't like Sharon's unilateralism.
Unfortunately, because Israel's politics is so fragmented, dysfunctional, and incapable of long term thinking, they will have to keep playing the game with the Palestinians and the 'world community'.


Thank you for your considered response. It would have been better if you broke up the paragraph a little for ease of reading. :lol:

Sharon would have carried the bulk of the Israeli populace with him, although many would have been sceptical, but he had earned their trust. It does say a lot about the society in that region where such odious men could command respect, ie Sharon, Arafat within their respective populace.

But that is what they were left with. Such a shame though. But what you say about Bibi appears true. He is a politician and not a realist wrt matters on the ground. They say that some people have the pulse of their people, know it and understand their fears and hopes. Bibi knows only how to talk the good talk to whoever has his ear at that moment. I doubt he cab deliver anything other than chaos for all parties.


I wouldn't project too much on 'that region' and 'those people'. It's easy to preach from the comfort of safety and security (as stated in one of the Mead articles). BTW, Sharon was always ambitious but could never gain the outright leadership he wanted until the failure of Oslo. He was shunted out of Labor politics early in his career, so he switched to Likud (founded the party, I believe) to further his ambitions. Though a daring general, the Labor leadership made sure he never would become the Chief of Staff. So he waited on the sidelines, and he glommed onto the nascent settler movement, championing them and establishing a base among the most intransigent Likudniks. Under the incompetent Begin he received his biggest boost--Ministry of Defense, which he quickly botched in the worst debacle in Israeli history.
From that he was banned from ever holding defense ministership again, but stayed in politics as one of four likud MPs who rejected any sort of dialogue with the Palestinians. It wasn't until Likud was at a nadir in the late 90s after being trounced (thanks to Netanyahu's incompetent dithering) by Labor that he was able to wrest its control again.
The salient point of all this being that at no point before 2000 was Sharon ever accepted by a majority of Israelis as their kind of leader. He was known only as having the support of the most primitivist, uneducated types. But the failure of Oslo changed all that. So don't be too quick to pre-judge Israelis over Sharon.
Arafat on the other hand was always popular. He was Palestine. And sadly, once given power, he proved to be the opposite of Sharon. He was incapable of making peace or even of competent leadership in any way. He was a glorified gangster, a dumb gangster at that. He's much more of the Netanyahu style of populist, only he makes Netanyahu look like Einstein.

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Re: 2 great articles by Walter Russell Mead

Post by Logg » Tue Mar 16, 2010 10:36 pm

unknown wrote:
Logg wrote:
I don't see anyone like that on the Palestinian side. And really, what could this hypothetical leader deliver? I've already explained my pessimism on that issue in detail in the past. All I'll say now is the Palestinian side is basically a rejection of Israel, same as it's been since 1948, and what the west wants in a partner is a figurehead who can modify that negationist sentiment enough to make it sound palatable to western ears and then sign an agreement with a big ceremony. Negating Israel is one thing, creating Palestine is something else entirely. Getting a Palestinian leader to say 'Israel has a right to exist' isn't that hard; having that position be accepted by Palestinians is significantly harder. And taking that and trying to project it into creating a non-militarized, peaceful Palestine on two noncontiguous pieces of land is an exercise in futile wishful thinking.
That's why I'm more interested in a strategic and partial Israeli unilateral withdrawal. Unfortunately, they're too dysfunctional and retarded to do even that.

BTW, the Egypt peace treaty was primarily a Sadat initiative with Begin along for the ride, no? And how easy was that compared to creating a state of Palestine from scratch? Basically, Israel had to return a clearly delineated piece of territory it captured, and in return Egypt ended the state of war. Not exactly rocket science. And even so, it wasn't that easy. For its part, Israel showed it could and would make trade territory for peace, even under a right wing leader. And for Egypt's part, it has honored the agreement to the letter, even though in every other capacity Egyptian society rejects Israel in every way it can.
Israel gives up land, Egypt ends a formal state of war.And in return for signing, Egypt's government gets a generous subsidy from the US every year. Not exactly a lot of personal sacrifice on either side, and yet it's still as cold a peace as one could get and still call it peace. And it's only because Egypt has a strong, moderate dictatorship. The Palestinians have neither.
Not a lot of equity on which to base a future comprehensive peace and nation building enterprise on the scale envisioned for Palestine.


Arafat is on record in saying that Israel has the right to exist. So has most if not all Fatah leadership. The Pals have a leader in Marwan Barghoutti who I believe can deliver peace. Yes I know he is in jail. But he can deliver both factions into a deal (before he gets assasinated no doubt)

As for Sadat and Begin, the difference is that a dictator does not have to answer to his electorate.


As I said, getting someone to go on record as saying Israel has a right to exist is the easy part, especially when you tune out the other things they are saying. BTW, how's Fatah's hold on power these days? Is it confidence inspiring?
Step back a second and look at the situation. When getting someone to say 'Israel has a right to exist' is the measure of acheivement after decades of effort, how much can one reasonably expect from that?

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Re: 2 great articles by Walter Russell Mead

Post by unknown » Tue Mar 16, 2010 10:43 pm

I wouldn't project too much on 'that region' and 'those people'. It's easy to preach from the comfort of safety and security (as stated in one of the Mead articles). BTW, Sharon was always ambitious but could never gain the outright leadership he wanted until the failure of Oslo. He was shunted out of Labor politics early in his career, so he switched to Likud (founded the party, I believe) to further his ambitions. Though a daring general, the Labor leadership made sure he never would become the Chief of Staff. So he waited on the sidelines, and he glommed onto the nascent settler movement, championing them and establishing a base among the most intransigent Likudniks. Under the incompetent Begin he received his biggest boost--Ministry of Defense, which he quickly botched in the worst debacle in Israeli history.
From that he was banned from ever holding defense ministership again, but stayed in politics as one of four likud MPs who rejected any sort of dialogue with the Palestinians. It wasn't until Likud was at a nadir in the late 90s after being trounced (thanks to Netanyahu's incompetent dithering) by Labor that he was able to wrest its control again.
The salient point of all this being that at no point before 2000 was Sharon ever accepted by a majority of Israelis as their kind of leader. He was known only as having the support of the most primitivist, uneducated types. But the failure of Oslo changed all that. So don't be too quick to pre-judge Israelis over Sharon.
Arafat on the other hand was always popular. He was Palestine. And sadly, once given power, he proved to be the opposite of Sharon. He was incapable of making peace or even of competent leadership in any way. He was a glorified gangster, a dumb gangster at that. He's much more of the Netanyahu style of populist, only he makes Netanyahu look like Einstein.

The point is, Sharon may have been disliked by Israelis prior to 2000, but I reckon if a poll was taken and the question was "would he sell Israel down the river" the answer would have been a resounding NO.

Yes Arafat was popular. He was a hero to Palestinians. Why not? He fought all his life for them. He may have been a jackass, but he wanted his people to have their rights and what they saw as ther land back.

Could he have made peace? Who knows. He was never offered a justfiiable and honest peace deal imo.

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Re: 2 great articles by Walter Russell Mead

Post by unknown » Tue Mar 16, 2010 10:58 pm

As I said, getting someone to go on record as saying Israel has a right to exist is the easy part, especially when you tune out the other things they are saying. BTW, how's Fatah's hold on power these days? Is it confidence inspiring?
Step back a second and look at the situation. When getting someone to say 'Israel has a right to exist' is the measure of acheivement after decades of effort, how much can one reasonably expect from that?


I recall a wave of optimismprior to Oslo and the hope of peace. Also Fatah still control the west bank and east jerusalem. They are constantly being undermimed by Israel and Hamas. Rock and hard place. From the palestinian view point, they see their so called moderates being shafted. Its no surprise they chose the rejectionist side (albeit they also got fed up with Fatah;s rampant corruption).

Maybe israell can acknowledge the Palestinian's right to exist as a nation with actions rather than words. It cuts both ways mate. If you blame one side for the majority of problems in that hot spot, you are being woefully disengenious.

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Re: 2 great articles by Walter Russell Mead

Post by polardude1 » Wed Mar 17, 2010 3:06 am

Bibi knows only how to talk the good talk to whoever has his ear at that moment

he also has a party to answer. he does not want to go against the ideology of the party he leads.

BTW, the Egypt peace treaty was primarily a Sadat initiative with Begin along for the ride, no?

if I remember correctly, Sadat waspeaks being interviewe by Brabara Waters in ABC (?) and was asked if he woud accept and invitaion to fly to Israel if it were extended to him. he gave a positive answer. Begin might ahev been asked if he woud ever invite Sadat to Israel and he gave a positive response and extended the invitation, This was without a bit of involvement by the US. In fact tehy were caught totally off guard. Wha followed was at a fevor pitch- make Egyptian flags to line much of the route to Jerusalem, teaching the army band the Egyptain national anthem, preparing his itinerary that incuded praing at te Dome of teh Rock, a visit to Yad Vashem and of course the monumental speech in parliament. it was very quick.

Sadat had won back Egyp't dignit in the 1973 war and was no longer willing to fight for the Palestinians. All he wanted was Sinai and an assurance of getting self determination for the Palestinians some day. For Begin, giving up Sinai was probably the wasisst path to peace with any Arab country.
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Re: 2 great articles by Walter Russell Mead

Post by TerryTeo » Wed Mar 17, 2010 6:38 am

Discoracist wrote:" BTW, how's Fatah's hold on power these days? Is it confidence inspiring? "


Fatah remains the dominant Palestinian political party. Recent polling indicates that in terms of legislative support Fatah is much stronger than Hamas (42% v 28%). In the Presidential sphere, both Abbas and Barghouti (from Fatah) are considerably more popular than Haniyeh (Hamas).

Fatah has two considerable problems. First and foremost it is still plagued by corruption. Secondly it is hampered by its policy of negotiating for peace when the other party to negotiations doesn't want it.

As for Sharon he is/was a thug.

As a young soldier on the rise, Major Sharon faced court martial charges for having assaulted a fellow soldier. Before he could give evidence against Sharon, the victim died in mysterious circumstances, subsequently put down to suicide. I remember Sharon boasting of this event in his auto biography (Warrior), with the slightest hint that he knew how to silence his opponents. The charges were subsequently dropped due to lack of victims testimony. This was about the same time that Sharons Commando unit was bludgeoning its way into Egypt and Jordan, mutilating victims by etching 101 onto their chests with bayonets or knives. 101 was the number of the notorious commando unit that Sharon commanded at the time. Even his own country found he bore some responsibility for the massacres in Lebanon and he single handedly destroyed intensive negotiations in late 2000 and kicked off the second Intifada. Beyond that, he was corrupt to the core and sent his son to prison in order to protect his fat corrupt arse.

How fitting that Discoracist sings his praises. I hope that his coma is one full of pain and nightmares. Maybe Discoracist is right though, he's as good as it get when it comes to Israeli leaders. What does that tell you?

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Re: 2 great articles by Walter Russell Mead

Post by polardude1 » Wed Mar 17, 2010 10:47 am

Fatah has two considerable problems. First and foremost it is still plagued by corruption. Secondly it is hampered by its policy of negotiating for peace when the other party to negotiations doesn't want it.

I guess surrendering thedemand fr theright of return might help your arguement, but that really has ot happened.

Fatah has another problem. Both Syriaand Iran are intent in sabataging an peace efforts throgh the good offices fo Hamas and Hizbollah

As for Sharon he is/was a thug.

Sharon was strong and Arabs respect that

Major Sharon faced court martial charges for having assaulted a fellow soldier. Before he could give evidence against Sharon, the victim died in mysterious circumstances, subsequently put down to suicide

that's news

Even his own country found he bore some responsibility for the massacres in Lebanon

it was called indirect
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Re: 2 great articles by Walter Russell Mead

Post by polardude1 » Wed Mar 17, 2010 10:56 am

he single handedly destroyed intensive negotiations in late 2000 and kicked off the second Intifad

taht is complet bullshit. Thise so caled negototiosn were in the minds of israelis the very moment Hamas started buses enmass in 1996. Israelis lost all trust in the process yes, you like to blame that in the untimely demisef the primary suicide bomb maker from Hamas. it.

Lets not forget the one demand tha scuttled Camp David: the demand for the right of return. Arafat was not a trusted partner, yo know it and i know .

As for Sharon's little walk, that was only an excuse for violence. It was not the cause. The 1st intifada was set off by a car accident in Gaza involving an israeli driver and Palestinian padestrian. Was he to blame as well? I forgot, you claimed to have been a witness to the riot. Unfortunanatly riots on the JewishTemple Mount are a frequent occurence. Seems as if Palestinians don't like a Jewihs presence in the old city

Terror this si how violence erupts:

http://www.jpost.com/MiddleEast/Article.aspx?id=171176
Zaki and several Fatah and PA officials have in recent days claimed that the inauguration of the newly renovated synagogue in the Old City of Jerusalem was part of a conspiracy aimed at destroying the Aksa Mosque.

“The battle for Jerusalem is the battle of all Palestinians and Arabs, regardless of their religion,” Zaki said. “We are facing huge challenges that need to be confronted.”

Hamas also urged Palestinians on Tuesday to step up the protests against Israel’s measures in Jerusalem. The appeal came after the Islamist movement called for a day of “rage” in Jerusalem on Tuesday to protest plans to build new homes in Ramat Shlomo and the inauguration of the old synagogue.


The armed wing of Hamas, Izaddin al-Kassam, said recent events in Jerusalem will lead to “a new explosion in the face of the Zionist entity.” The group called on the PA to stop security coordination with Israel and to allow armed gangs to resume terror attacks against Israelis.

Ahmed Bahr, a senior Hamas official in the Gaza Strip, called for a “military strike” against Israel. He claimed that Israel had just built a synagogue on the Temple Mount as part of its plan to destroy the Aksa Mosque. He also called on the Arab countries to withdraw their support for holding indirect talks between Israel and the PA
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Re: 2 great articles by Walter Russell Mead

Post by TerryTeo » Wed Mar 17, 2010 11:30 pm

Rainman wrote:"Sharon was strong and Arabs respect that"


Sure Rainman, Arabs really respect Sharon.

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Re: 2 great articles by Walter Russell Mead

Post by polardude1 » Wed Mar 17, 2010 11:38 pm

Arabs really respect Sharon

repect does not mean admire. They thought twice before fucking with him. Sendingfa suicide bomber into a Nethanya hotel did not work out too well. Arabs do not respect weakness
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Re: 2 great articles by Walter Russell Mead

Post by dave.bt » Thu Mar 18, 2010 6:57 am

TerryTeo wrote:
Rainman wrote:"Sharon was strong and Arabs respect that"


Sure Rainman, Arabs really respect Sharon.


*Perhaps you can cut the use of 'rainman'. Its a repulsive term to use in 2010*

What an idiot you are - again deliberately confusing terms and words to twist what is being said (in this case the use of the word 'respect'. You have turned into a one line troll avoiding discussion, making off topic comments and either blatantly lying for propoganda purposes or simply displaying an incredible lack of knowlege of the subject matter.

Sharon wasn't popular among the Palestinians, but his leadership is well respected


http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1145771,00.html

Or will you now argue that TIME MAGAZINE is a pro-Sharon media outlet?

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Re: 2 great articles by Walter Russell Mead

Post by Logg » Thu Mar 18, 2010 2:54 pm

It takes two to tango.

As long as you indulge these dolts they will oblige.

That's why this place is so creepy. It's not the creeps, it's the fact that you let them dictate the discussion.

Apparently you need them as much as they need you.

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Re: 2 great articles by Walter Russell Mead

Post by dave.bt » Fri Mar 26, 2010 2:56 pm

As a young soldier on the rise, Major Sharon faced court martial charges for having assaulted a fellow soldier. Before he could give evidence against Sharon, the victim died in mysterious circumstances, subsequently put down to suicide. I remember Sharon boasting of this event in his auto biography (Warrior), with the slightest hint that he knew how to silence his opponents. The charges were subsequently dropped due to lack of victims testimony.


Sorry for the delay, I waited for the book (Warrior) to arrive. I had read it previously and knew Terry was lying again. However without the book to reference I wanted to make doubly sure.

Sharon talks of this between pages 113 -115 of Warrior and the trial only began *after* the death of the soldier and he died unaware charges were to be filed. The soldier "*accidentally* shot himself" which renders Terry's claim of this being suicide another falsehood and more specfically Sharon makes no hint (not even a slight one) that this was anything to do with him silencing anyone. His full quote was "the soldier I was accused of mistreating had accidently shot himself some time earlier and had died without never knowing that our run in would become famous". This quote also indicates the accident happened prior to either party knowing charges would be filed- this exonerates Sharon completely. But in any event - in that quote - were lies a hint about Sharon silencing anyone? Terry - you are a disgusting liar, just like MK yesterday you have no intent to do anything but spread disinformation, lies and propoganda.

Sharon made no such claim in his book. Why did you lie Terry?

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Re: 2 great articles by Walter Russell Mead

Post by Moethebartender » Mon Feb 10, 2014 5:06 pm

dave.bt wrote:
As a young soldier on the rise, Major Sharon faced court martial charges for having assaulted a fellow soldier. Before he could give evidence against Sharon, the victim died in mysterious circumstances, subsequently put down to suicide. I remember Sharon boasting of this event in his auto biography (Warrior), with the slightest hint that he knew how to silence his opponents. The charges were subsequently dropped due to lack of victims testimony.


Sorry for the delay, I waited for the book (Warrior) to arrive. I had read it previously and knew Terry was lying again. However without the book to reference I wanted to make doubly sure.

Sharon talks of this between pages 113 -115 of Warrior and the trial only began *after* the death of the soldier and he died unaware charges were to be filed. The soldier "*accidentally* shot himself" which renders Terry's claim of this being suicide another falsehood and more specfically Sharon makes no hint (not even a slight one) that this was anything to do with him silencing anyone. His full quote was "the soldier I was accused of mistreating had accidently shot himself some time earlier and had died without never knowing that our run in would become famous". This quote also indicates the accident happened prior to either party knowing charges would be filed- this exonerates Sharon completely. But in any event - in that quote - were lies a hint about Sharon silencing anyone? Terry - you are a disgusting liar, just like MK yesterday you have no intent to do anything but spread disinformation, lies and propoganda.

Sharon made no such claim in his book. Why did you lie Terry?

Odd, he forgot to respond to this.

Terry?
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Re: 2 great articles by Walter Russell Mead

Post by queenrania » Thu Apr 03, 2014 9:25 pm

Moethebartender wrote:
Terry?


He is in a coma!

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