8 August 2014   Leave a comment

Stephen Walt is one of the most compelling analysts in the world today.  He is a realist, but hardly an ideologue: his thoughts are consistent without being knee-jerk.  He has written a blog entry that recommends that the US almost completely disengage from the Middle East.  The policy sounds impossible given the commitments the US has to a large number of nations in the region, not to mention US interests.  The essay is highly provocative, but there was a point in the essay that was particularly persuasive:

“To be sure, the course of action I’m sketching here is likely to leave the Middle East in a pretty messy condition for some time to come. But that is going to be the case no matter what Washington decides to do.”

I could not effectively respond to this point.  It is difficult to figure out a better path.

On the other hand, it is impossible to turn away from the plight of the Yazidis who are trapped in Sinjar.  Iraqi Kurdish MP from the Yazidi faith, Vian Dakhil, gave a powerful speech to the Iraqi Parliament, begging for aid for her people.  It is astonishing to witness the impassive faces of the mostly male MPs as this powerful speech is being delivered.

The US has dropped humanitarian assistance on the mountain, and has begun to attack the Islamic State soldiers who are besieging the Yazidis.

The 3-day cease-fire in Gaza is over, but violence broke out before the deadline.  Israel is demanding the demilitarization of Gaza before it will talk about ending the blockade; Hamas is demanding the end of the blockade before it lays down its arms.  Neither side appears to be interested in peace right now, and there is virtually no likelihood that any agreement can be reached without further violence.  The selection of Egypt as the sponsor of the negotiations was a serious mistake.  Hamas has no confidence in the good offices of the Egyptian government.  It is as if the negotiations were held in Iran–the Israelis would hardly be comfortable.


Posted August 8, 2014 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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