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The lasting damage of Iraq

By Shlomo Ben Ami MADRID: The folding of the American flag in Iraq amid a collapse of public security and a severe crisis in the country’s fragile political order seals a tragic chapter in the history of the United States. It marked the denouement of one of the clearest cases ever of the imperial overreach that …

DNE

Egypt’s revolutionary coup

By Shlomo Ben-Ami MADRID: How revolutions unfold depends on many factors, including a country’s socio-economic structure, its particular historical traditions, and sometimes the role of foreign powers. So the Arab Spring was never expected to be a linear process, or a Middle Eastern version of Central Europe’s non-violent democratic revolutions of 1989. Egypt is a case …

DNE

Has Palestine won?

By Shlomo Ben Ami TEL AVIV: The somber spectacle of Israel’s isolation during the United Nations debate on Palestinian statehood marks the political tsunami that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s critics warned would arrive if Israel did not propose a bold peace initiative. But, more importantly, the speeches at the UN General Assembly by the two rivals, …

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Nuclear disarmament and neighborhood bullies

By Shlomo Ben Ami MADRID: Twenty-five years ago, at a summit in Rejkjavik, Iceland, US President Ronald Reagan stunned the world and his Soviet counterpart, Mikhail Gorbachev, by proposing global and comprehensive elimination of all nuclear weapons. Unfortunately, the skepticism of the United States’ defense establishment, together with Reagan’s adamant refusal to abandon his Strategic Defense …

DNE

The Middle East’s new game

  MADRID: Whether or not the Arab Spring will usher in credible democracies across the Arab world remains uncertain. But, while the dust has not yet settled after months of turmoil in Tunis, Cairo, and elsewhere, the Arab revolts have already had a massive impact on the strategic structure of the Middle East. Until recently, …

DNE

Arab Spring, Western Fall

By Shlomo Ben Ami TEL AVIV: The old vocation of what Rudyard Kipling called the “White Man’s Burden” — the driving idea behind the West’s quest for global hegemony from the days of imperial expansion in the nineteenth century to the current, pathetically inconclusive, Libyan intervention — has clearly run out of steam. Politically and …

DNE

Netanyahu’s border war

By Shlomo Ben Ami TEL AVIV: Binyamin Netanyahu’s furious rejection of US President Barack Obama’s proposal to use the 1967 borders as the basis for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian dispute — frontiers that he called “utterly indefensible” — reflects not only the Israeli prime minister’s poor statesmanship, but also his antiquated military philosophy. In …

DNE

Israel’s Egyptian dilemma

By Shlomo Ben Ami JERUSALEM: The Arab revolt against inertia, despair, and decline has rightly inspired the admiration of civilized people everywhere — everywhere, that is, except in Israel. The fall of corrupt Arab dictatorships is being met in Israel with profound skepticism, even hostility. For years, the Israeli discourse has been that a true peace …

DNE

The many faces of the Arab Spring

By Shlomo Ben Ami MADRID: The attack by a Western-led alliance on Muammar Gaddafi’s forces in Libya is driven largely by principled motives. Had it turned its back on the Libyan rebels, the West would have betrayed its very identity. Of course, the same principles are not being applied to save the brutally repressed masses in …

DNE

Saving the Egyptian revolution

By Shlomo Ben Ami TEL AVIV: Revolutions throughout history have proven to devour their children. Their final outcomes are seldom congruent with their prime movers’ intentions. Too frequently, revolutions are hijacked by a second wave, either more conservative or more radical than what was first contemplated by the initiators of change. What started in France …

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The perils of Palestinian strategy

By Shlomo Ben-Ami TEL AVIV: It should be clear to all by now that talks between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu cannot produce a peace agreement. Yet it would be wrong to dwell excessively on current leaders’ weaknesses, for to do so presupposes that with different leaders at the helm, an …

DNE

The chaotic birth of South Sudan

By Shlomo Ben Ami MADRID: The Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) that was reached in 2005 between mostly Christian southern Sudan and the country’s Muslim North, ended one of the bloodiest civil wars in modern times. Lasting 22 years, that war left more than two million dead. Now the CPA is poised to face its most vital …

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Obama’s vision thing

By Shlomo Ben Ami MADRID: Humbled by the Republicans’ landslide mid-term election victory, US President Barack Obama will now need to negotiate every minor detail of his domestic agenda with a confrontational Congress — at least until the next elections in 2012. Congress can obstruct Obama’s foreign policy as well, but this remains a domain where …

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Diplomacy’s darkest hours

By Shlomo Ben Ami MADRID: Diplomacy is not having its finest hour nowadays. Quite the contrary: resistance to diplomatic solutions is a common thread in most of today’s major conflicts. Afghanistan will continue to bleed until the allies finally recognize that only by engaging the Taliban do they stand a chance of ending the war. But …

DNE

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