Monday, November 5, 2007
Far be it from me to second guess Steve Clemons on foreign policy. But I admit I'm puzzled to see him link the situation in Pakistan to the lack of a final status settlement of the Israel-Palestine conflict. Not because I think a final settlement isn't necessary or even essential to re-establishing American integrity in the region. In fact, I think Israel's best hope for longterm stability is in a very generous peace, along the lines of a regional common market like the EU leading to an eventual quasi-federal arrangement with the Palestinian state.
It's just that I don't expect even the most generous agreement, let alone one that stands a realistic chance of being adopted, to have much impact on the Islamic radicalism that threatens the Arab and Muslim world. Iran, Hizbollah, the Taliban, Al Qaeda, and their copycat splinter groups aren't calling for a two-state solution to the conflict. In fact, a Palestinian state that reached such a settlement would become a principle target for these groups. And while the plight of the Palestinians exacerbates the alienation that leads to Islamic radicalsim, it is far from being its exclusive cause.
A fair final status agreement for the Palestinians is necessary for a variety of reasons. I just wonder if it's reasonable to expect it to have such a wide impact. And to assume that that impact will operate exclusively in our favor.