I tend to agree with Mr. Casey [letter, below]. There's no will for a political settlement now, at least among those with the ability to sabotage it on either side. They both cling to the irrational, and what their rational interests are don't count for much. Both want victory over the other.
I don't think there's much for Obama to do in any affirmative sense, since no solution can be imposed from outside either.
We have potential influence in the negative sense--i.e., by cutting off subsidies to all in the region, especially Israel. But there's nowhere near a majority for that yet, in Congress or among the voters. So it's not in the cards.
What to do then?
The only thing left is to demand the impossible: that each side act rationally, pragmatically, stop the violence and make a deal. Even if it seems folly, it's better than keeping our mouths shut.
Jan 6 2009 - 5:53pm