Circus of the dancing bears

The late Yitzhak Rabin used to say that the only problem with dancing with a bear is that once you start, you can never let go. Watching the current Hamas-Fatah unity circus, I can’t help but think of Rabin’s comment. For the former Israeli Prime Minister, Yasser Arafat was the bear and the Oslo process ...

By , a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
554432_110504_cairo_picnik2.jpg
554432_110504_cairo_picnik2.jpg

The late Yitzhak Rabin used to say that the only problem with dancing with a bear is that once you start, you can never let go.

Watching the current Hamas-Fatah unity circus, I can't help but think of Rabin's comment. For the former Israeli Prime Minister, Yasser Arafat was the bear and the Oslo process was their choreographed dance. Rabin was no sentimentalist and he recognized Arafat's many weaknesses as a partner, but he continued to engage with him because he believed his counterpart had taken tough positions. Oslo was a good faith effort to achieve a goal.

Read more.

The late Yitzhak Rabin used to say that the only problem with dancing with a bear is that once you start, you can never let go.

Watching the current Hamas-Fatah unity circus, I can’t help but think of Rabin’s comment. For the former Israeli Prime Minister, Yasser Arafat was the bear and the Oslo process was their choreographed dance. Rabin was no sentimentalist and he recognized Arafat’s many weaknesses as a partner, but he continued to engage with him because he believed his counterpart had taken tough positions. Oslo was a good faith effort to achieve a goal.

Read more.

 

Aaron David Miller is a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and a former U.S. State Department Middle East analyst and negotiator in Republican and Democratic administrations. He is the author of The End of Greatness: Why America Can’t Have (and Doesn’t Want) Another Great President. Twitter: @aarondmiller2

More from Foreign Policy

An illustration shows George Kennan, the father of Cold War containment strategy.
An illustration shows George Kennan, the father of Cold War containment strategy.

Is Cold War Inevitable?

A new biography of George Kennan, the father of containment, raises questions about whether the old Cold War—and the emerging one with China—could have been avoided.

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks on the DISCLOSE Act.
U.S. President Joe Biden speaks on the DISCLOSE Act.

So You Want to Buy an Ambassadorship

The United States is the only Western government that routinely rewards mega-donors with top diplomatic posts.

Chinese President Xi jinping  toasts the guests during a banquet marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China on September 30, 2019 in Beijing, China.
Chinese President Xi jinping toasts the guests during a banquet marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China on September 30, 2019 in Beijing, China.

Can China Pull Off Its Charm Offensive?

Why Beijing’s foreign-policy reset will—or won’t—work out.

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar chairs a meeting in Ankara, Turkey on Nov. 21, 2022.
Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar chairs a meeting in Ankara, Turkey on Nov. 21, 2022.

Turkey’s Problem Isn’t Sweden. It’s the United States.

Erdogan has focused on Stockholm’s stance toward Kurdish exile groups, but Ankara’s real demand is the end of U.S. support for Kurds in Syria.