With respect to Iraq, he argued that we saw the end of the Iraq-Syria border this week, and that the Sykes-Picot system of nation-states may be unraveling in the Middle East.
On Israel's dispute with Palestine, Oren declared that his country was correct to unilaterally draw borders because Palestine was not yet ready to sign onto a "two-state solution." What I found more interesting was his account of what the unilaterally drawn border must achieve to be effective. In his view, Israel must be able to tell the Europeans, you may not like this, but it isn't worth imposing sanctions. Israel must be able to tell its own citizens, these are lines that we can send our kids out to defend. And the borders should, in his view, be disliked by Palestinians. "I think we have to draw a line that the Palestinians don't like. Because we want to leave the door open to a two-state solution. It may take a generation." Put another way, he believes Israel must build in concessions it can make during future negotiations, and (implicitly) that there is a tension between the fairness of present arrangements and game theory that maximizes the chance of long-term fairness. Logic of that sort could lend itself to rationalizing unfair arrangements.
With respect to the U.S., Oren argued that just as America is indispensable to Israel, insofar as we act as its "diplomatic shield" and military protector, so too is Israel indispensable to the United States, because they're our only real ally in the region, with a bigger military than the French and British combined. Unfortunately, he illustrated his point with a trite example: that only in Israel can an American president give a speech as the audience cheers and waves American flags. So what? Many people believe Israel's hard power in the region is essential for America. I'd like to hear the frank reasoning for that controversial position. An audience for friendly speeches is not essential. What is the U.S. getting that is essential?
Finally, Oren made the provocative claim that the U.S. is even now engaged in military action in Iraq, and that America ought to be fighting there even though we're unlikely to change the facts on the ground! "America's not going to impact the outcome," he said. "But the fact that America is involved sends a message to people in China and Russia that America is not withdrawing from the world." He regards sending that signal as important to long-term U.S. interests. I've long taken the less counterintuitive position: that countries shouldn't put the lives of their soldiers in mortal danger, spend billions, and kill people in a foreign land for purposes of signaling, especially when they know going in that fighting won't help.