TGIF — your new favourite AM link fix (after the jump):
Silver linings in the gutter: Sarah Chayes believes the Petraeus scandal presents Obama with an opportunity to finally fix American foreign policy:
The scandal enveloping members of America’s adulated top brass is the deepest crisis to hit the military in decades. It is a crisis President Obama did not need — shaming the country and increasing his burden during a major transition on his national security team. And yet, crisis can be a great corrective. Obama should use this one to reverse one of the most dysfunctional elements of U.S. foreign policy over the last decade: an infatuation with military solutions to problems that are fundamentally political.
The resignation of former Central Intelligence Agency Director David H. Petraeus after an extramarital affair came to light, together with expected high-level personnel changes at the State Department and other agencies, creates a singular opportunity to embark on the complex process of rebalancing U.S. foreign policy in favor of non-military approaches.
Why do they do it? Because they can. Paul Pillar on the cruel paradox of Mideast asymmetry:
Israel, of course, has far greater and more sophisticated means (much of it U.S.-supplied) of inflicting death and destruction than does Hamas. The different means tend to carry different labels: ground-launched rockets are called terrorism, while the operations of attack aircraft are called a nation defending its borders. That difference in capability also helps to explain why Israel is the side that perpetrates the most marked escalations in this violent dialogue. If Hamas had anything approaching Israel’s capabilities, it probably would feel obliged to respond right now to Israel’s actions with much more deadly operations than anything it has been able to muster so far. But then again, [if] it did have such capabilities, there would be a major element of deterrence that would almost certainly dissuade Israeli leaders from perpetrating anything like the violence they have in fact inflicted.
States of disunion: Andrea Dessi talks with Khalil Shikaki, director of the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PSR), re: Israel & Palestine, who explains why, despite an increasingly murky future for a two-state solution, neither side desires a one-state solution:
Overall, both the leadership and the public are reluctant to seriously consider the one-state solution. On the Palestinian side a one-state solution is a threat to Palestinian nationalism, as it is a threat to Israel’s desire to maintain its Jewish character and this applies to established political parties and leaders as well as the Israeli Jewish public. In the Palestinian case this is also true both in terms of the various factions and parties as well as the leadership, but more importantly this is also the position of the Palestinian public. Less than 30 percent of Palestinians believe that a one-state solution is something worth fighting for.
But despite this reluctance (and continued public support for a two-state solution) reality may still lead to an unwelcome outcome:
A one-state solution coming out from negotiations or coming out as a deliberate intention of Israelis and Palestinians, this is highly unlikely to be the case at least for the next generation. For the next generation the idea that there would be an intentional outcome called a one-state solution, in my view is highly unlikely. However a reality is already unfolding today on the ground in which Palestinians and Israelis who live in the area between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River already essentially live a one-state reality. You can say it is a reality in the making. As I said, on a daily basis this reality is consolidated, and perhaps five years down the road, five years of right-wing government in Israel which isn’t committed to a two-state solution, as this government is, means more and more realities will be created on the ground. So in a sense therefore, we have a one-state reality that is the unintended outcome of politics that don’t actually aim at creating a one-state solution, but nonetheless this is what they end up creating. A negotiated outcome that can be called a one-state solution is something different. I’m saying this negotiated outcome towards a one-state solution is not realistic for the next generation, but a one-state outcome is something that is very realistic, as I said it is already in the making and if one adds to that expectations for the next five years or so one can see why this one-state outcome might be the most likely for the foreseeable future.
You really can’t bomb the world to peace: Erhard Crome says Western military intervention stifled Libya’s revolutionary progress:
Representing a strategic and not merely a symbolic connection between the upheavals in Tunisia and those in Egypt, a democratically motivated process of change in Libya after Gaddafi’s fall would have strengthened the case of the Arab revolution and improved the conditions for its further advancement. The war in Libya guaranteed that the revolutions in both its neighbouring countries remained isolated from each other, which makes it easier to channel the political conflicts in both countries to suit the wishes of the West in establishing a democratic façade behind which the old world order and property relations continue.
“Let us get political again”: The only way to save European integration is to politicize the process, says Petr Kratochvil:
What the EU needs is a politicization of the European public sphere. The EU must become a political animal, not an exercise in technical expertise or an economic project. In this sense, the recent demonstrations against the EU are paradoxically a good sign. For the first time in the history of European integration EU citizens shook off the suffocating pall of the so-called permissive consensus, which allowed politicians to proceed with the continent´s integration as if its citizens did not exist. The EU should be liked and disliked; it should be discussed in the pubs and in the streets. For a political demos to be born, what is needed is not necessarily a common language, but common political debates. The combination of a re-affirmation of EU values and a politicization of the integration process is the only way forward.
The process may stumble at times, perhaps temporarily strengthening eurosceptic and xenophobic parties and movements radically opposed to the political integration of Europe. The EU may become momentarily weaker, but what would make it truly fragile is not anti-EU sentiments but the EU´s inability to make these sentiments part of the Union´s political arena. Those who deny the EU´s values should be allowed to present their cause – let them be tested by the voters: do we want a highly unstable Europe of changing interests or do we prefer a Union based on a basic consensus about our fundamental political values? Once eurosceptics lose the aura of martyrs and dissidents and become a normal political force, their appeal will gradually dwindle.
The election’s demographic results have opened a frank and difficult discussion of race in American electoral politics, which may already be creating fracture lines in the GOP. Some party leaders are already calling for more inclusiveness, while others are spoiling for a fight. This debate itself will leave some traditional Republican voters feeling disconnected and disgruntled. Its outcome could create still more discontent.
White nationalist leaders will probably see this as a chance — very possibly their last — to make a case to mainstream Americans and convert pedestrian, non-obsessed racists into ideological, single-issue racists. In recent years, the movement’s center of gravity has begun to shift toward “race realism,” an effort to repackage white nationalist ideas in a less overtly repugnant form. Such outlets — includingVDARE and Jared Taylor’s American Renaissance — have been busy preaching to Republicans throughout Obama’s first term. If they have any chance of really succeeding, the moment is now.