Friday, January 23, 2009

Abraham, Barack, And George

"The Economist" sounds only guardedly hopeful about prospects in the Middle East as President Obama turns to the former senator who helped Bill Clinton earn richly-deserved accolades for driving the settlement of the Irish question, itself once thought intractable:
Mr [George] Mitchell, though, manages to sound confident. On Thursday he referred to the hopeful example of seeing centuries of violence come to an end in Ireland. “Conflicts are created, conducted and sustained by human beings—they can be ended by human beings”, he said. His new challenge may be to persuade rivals in the Middle East to consider their adversaries’ interests. In his 2001 report, he suggested that each side’s lack of appreciation for the other’s views encouraged rivals to adopt the most extreme positions possible.
Of course, the senator is right. For Presidents, the question has always been how much precious and finite political capital to invest in that most risky of investments, namely angry-human futures. Will Israel and the Palestinians be enlightened or exhausted enough to make peace? If they aren't, Obama will pay a price.

For now, all people of good will are with Sen. Mitchell as the U.S. is once against triangulated into humanity's longest-running family spat.

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