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Pipes ventures a noteworthy assessment

Reader comment on item: Throwing out the [Arab-Israeli] Rulebook

Submitted by M Bond (United States), Jun 18, 2003 at 20:38

Yes, this puts a different calculus in motion. Though to what expected ends? And what pivotal contingencies (along this rocky, war-torn "road") will govern those potential outcomes? What contingencies will render them likely or unlikely, for good or for ill? If there is any tentative optimism voiced by Pipes here, it must be deduced from a lack of any forthright disapproval or censure on Pipes' part. If so, I'm in concurrence with that ever so cautious optimism or hope that Pipes is seemingly voicing.

I'd also agree this initiative does have the stamp and the feel of the President's own personal imprimatur on it. The acknowledgement that there is "much work to be done" for instance, seems to reflect something more than a mere stump speech slogan, it seems to reflect some real gravitas about - the work to be done. For one, the President has shown some rather well measured purposefulness post-9/11. True for the Afghan situation and true for the Iraq situation as well; in both cases neither an over-eager or reactionary jingoism was on display, nor an under-eager evasion of fundamental responsibilities either (as was witnessed post-WTC '93). Still further, one does get the sense that the President is amply aware that the work has merely begun.

If so, the pivotal contingencies are: 1) facing up to Hamas, Islamic Jihad, etc. and acknowledging the grievous work that needs to be tackled here, 2) recognizing that the work of modified or attenuated imperialism needs to be furthered in the region vis-a-vis Iran, Syria, the Saudi regime, etc., each in their own way certainly. Indeed, this will help facilitate #1, and 3) facing up to the realities of the Palestinian situation itself with similar cautions and realistic assessments: Arafat, connections with Hamas, etc., ensuring dissent and pluralism is permitted within the Palestinian initiative. But #1 and #2 need to be largely accomplished before #3 can begin to take form.

At first blush I was disappointed in this article since it didn't seem Pipes was forwarding his own assessment; but in the end I'd give Pipes high marks for striking precisely the right chord, avoiding both a dismissive or pessimistic note and also avoiding any optimistic over-reach as well. Neither too sour, nor too sweet.
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