Talking to Hamas

More

To wend a bit of a middle path between Messrs. Klein and Chait, I think it's perfectly reasonable for an American president to say that he wouldn't have any diplomatic talks with Hamas as long as that's Israel's position as well -- after all, what would they talk about? Hamas can't make concessions to the United States nor is there much of anything the United States would concede to Hamas. So in that sense, Barack Obama's refusal to expand his generous meetings policy to Hamas is both defensible policy and a good cheap talk way of saying something that "pro-Israel" folks like.

The more meaningful question facing an American administration would be what kind of counsel/pressure/whatever they give to the government of Israel regarding holding talks with Hamas. The Bush administration, in line with their general approach to the world, has always signaled unconditional support for Israel's preconditions for dealing with Hamas, even though it was the Bush administration that engineered Hamas' rise to power. It seems to me that the reasons it's smart for the U.S. to, as Obama suggests, negotiate in a meaningful way with countries like Syria and Iran are roughly the same as the reasons why it would be smart for Israel to negotiate with Hamas without preconditions. Whether or not Obama agrees with that or communicates those sentiments to the Israelis is the more substantial issue.

Jump to comments
Presented by

Matthew Yglesias is a former writer and editor at The Atlantic.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

Why Are Americans So Bad at Saving Money?

The US is particularly miserable at putting aside money for the future. Should we blame our paychecks or our psychology?


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

The Death of Film

You'll never hear the whirring sound of a projector again.

Video

How to Hunt With Poison Darts

A Borneo hunter explains one of his tribe's oldest customs: the art of the blowpipe

Video

A Delightful, Pixar-Inspired Cartoon

An action figure and his reluctant sidekick trek across a kitchen in search of treasure.

Video

I Am an Undocumented Immigrant

"I look like a typical young American."

Video

Why Did I Study Physics?

Using hand-drawn cartoons to explain an academic passion

Writers

Up
Down

More in Politics

Just In