Things to read if you’re suffering from misplaced optimism

I’m still preoccupied with finishing a conference paper (the topic: Why it is so hard for states to “cut their losses” in wars of choice, and how they can do so more effectively?), and so I can’t do a lengthy blog post today. But in addition to the excellent commentary provided by FP‘s Marc Lynch, ...

Walt-Steve-foreign-policy-columnist20
Walt-Steve-foreign-policy-columnist20
Stephen M. Walt
By , a columnist at Foreign Policy and the Robert and Renée Belfer professor of international relations at Harvard University.
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577445_091106_waltb2.jpg

I'm still preoccupied with finishing a conference paper (the topic: Why it is so hard for states to "cut their losses" in wars of choice, and how they can do so more effectively?), and so I can't do a lengthy blog post today. But in addition to the excellent commentary provided by FP's Marc Lynch, I recently came across two short pieces that are well worth reading and I wanted to alert you to them.

The first is Tony ("Rootless Cosmopolitan") Karon's analysis of Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas's announcement that he is not going to run for re-election. Karon suggests that this is partly "political theater," but makes it clear that it is a setback for Obama's increasingly incoherent Middle East "peace effort." 

I’m still preoccupied with finishing a conference paper (the topic: Why it is so hard for states to “cut their losses” in wars of choice, and how they can do so more effectively?), and so I can’t do a lengthy blog post today. But in addition to the excellent commentary provided by FP‘s Marc Lynch, I recently came across two short pieces that are well worth reading and I wanted to alert you to them.

The first is Tony (“Rootless Cosmopolitan”) Karon’s analysis of Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas’s announcement that he is not going to run for re-election. Karon suggests that this is partly “political theater,” but makes it clear that it is a setback for Obama’s increasingly incoherent Middle East “peace effort.” 

The second is by Robert Dreyfuss on The Nation’s blog, right here. It is, to say the least, a rather damning indictment of U.S. Middle East policy since Obama took office. And the obvious question is: Why has Obama’s team caved so fast and so quickly, after its promising start? 

I never thought I’d write the following words, but is it possible that Obama’s handling of the I-P peace process might actually end up being worse than George Bush’s? It’s still too soon to go there, but the fact that the question even occurred to me ain’t exactly encouraging.

JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images

Stephen M. Walt is a columnist at Foreign Policy and the Robert and Renée Belfer professor of international relations at Harvard University. Twitter: @stephenwalt

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