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Sunday, Apr 07, 2002

a drain on leadership

"So it's alarming that, in the "root cause" department, Bush is doing roughly what Sharon is doing: dodging the issue. Of course, both men talk the talk. Sharon acknowledges the Palestinians' aspirations of statehood—it's just that it's never a good time to actually discuss them. When the Arab states unveiled their peace proposal—a vague and imperfect idea, but a major step forward—Sharon changed the subject, using the Passover bombing as the occasion to launch his massive incursion. (This seems to have pleased the bombing's sponsor, Hamas, which shares Sharon's aversion to the Arabs' two-state solution). Bush, similarly, says we need to address the sources of Islamic discontent, including poverty; but when it came time to open American textile markets to Pakistan—which Gen. Musharraf had requested in exchange for his courageous alliance with America—Bush balked. (He did so for crass domestic political reasons, as Franklin Foer has shown in the New Republic.)"