By Fareed Zakaria
Secretary of State John Kerry shouldn’t push too hard, too fast in the Middle East in search of a peace deal, argues Aaron David Miller.
“The last thing we need (or Kerry needs) is another abortive effort to get talks going,” he writes in The New Republic. “The inconvenient truth is that if you put Benjamin Netanyahu and Mahmoud Abbas in a room tomorrow, their talks would fail galactically. The gaps on the two least contentious issues (borders and security) are large; the divide on the identity issues (Jerusalem and refugees) are yawning. What’s required now are separate discussions conducted by the U.S. – low key and quiet – not noisy enterprises generated by secretarial trips and visits to the White House. Diagnose the problem before you rush toward fixing it. Maybe you’ll have a chance of producing a better outcome.”
Anne Applebaum has a commentary looking at what the post-Communist Europe experience can tell us about the future of the Arab Spring:
In post-communist Europe, countries that faced similar problems took very different paths after electing democratic governments in 1990, argues Anne Applebaum in The National Post. “Yet some fell into economic stagnation or political turmoil while others thrived.”
Neither politics nor economics alone explains the differences. On the contrary, the factor most closely linked to stability and growth is human: Those countries that had an ‘alternative elite’ – a cadre of people who had worked together in the past, who had thought about government and who were at some level prepared to take it over — were far more likely both to carry out radical reforms and to persuade the population to accept them.”
And are the current tensions between China and Japan reminiscent of 1914? We shouldn’t be too complacent about the possibility of the great powers tumbling into war, argues Gideon Rachman in the Financial Times.
“America’s security guarantee is meant to reassure Japan, but there is also a danger is that it might tempt Japanese politicians to take unnecessary risks. Some historians argue that in 1914, the German government had concluded that it needed to fight a war as soon as possible – before it was encircled by more powerful adversaries. Similarly, some Japan-watchers worry that nationalists in the government may be tempted to confront China now – before the gap in power between the two nations grows too large, and while the US is still the dominant military force in the Pacific.”