WASHINGTON -- It's Lucy and the football, Iran-style. After ostensibly tough talk about preventing Iran from going nuclear, the Obama administration acquiesced to yet another round of talks with the mullahs.
JERUSALEM -- Immersion in this region's politics can convince those immersed that history is cyclical rather than linear -- that it is not one thing after another but the same thing over and over. This passes for good news because things that do change, such as weapons, often make matters worse.
JERUSALEM -- 'Twas a famous victory for diplomacy when, in 1991 in Madrid, Israelis and Palestinians, orchestrated by the United States, engaged in direct negotiations. Nineteen years later, U.S. policy is enabling Palestinians to avoid direct negotiations by engaging in "proximity" talks. The Palestinians talk to Americans, who toil to get them back to 1991 -- to direct negotiations. But negotiations about what?
JERUSALEM -- In the intifada that began in 2000, Palestinian terrorism killed more than 1,000 Israelis. As a portion of U.S. population, that would be 42,000, approaching the toll of America's eight years in Vietnam. During the onslaught, which began 10 Septembers ago, Israeli parents sending two children to a school would put them on separate buses to decrease the chance that neither would return for dinner.
JERUSALEM -- When Israel declared independence in 1948, it had to use mostly small arms to repel attacks by six Arab armies. Today, however, Israel feels, and is, more menaced than it was then, or has been since. Hence the potentially world-shaking decision that will be made here, probably within two years.