Friday, October 31, 2014

War and Peace

Shlomo Ben-Ami

Is an Islamic civil war underway? Can a Pax Americana still take hold in the Middle East? Is "national security" an outdated concept? Is the “war on terror” winnable? Can the UN's ability to resolve conflicts and keep the peace be strengthened?

When communism collapsed, some saw the "End of History" at hand. No longer. The quagmire in Iraq now jeopardizes America's influence, as Russia returns to oil-funded global prominence and new superpowers rise in India and China. Peace in the Middle East appears more distant than ever. Failed states proliferate, as do nuclear weapons. History, it seems, has returned with a vengeance.

Shlomo Ben-Ami is the former Israeli foreign minister who came closest to devising a viable peace agreement between Israel and Palestine. A renowned historian of fascism, as well as a seasoned diplomat, Shlomo Ben-Ami has not only struggled – practically and daily – with the problems of war and peace; he is intellectually engaged with the historical currents and ideas that underlie armed conflict. Unlike many leaders, Ben-Ami acknowledges realities and sees opportunities that others overlook or choose to ignore. His unflinching honesty and tough-minded idealism enabled him to recognize the injustices suffered by the Palestinians, as well as the failures of leadership – on both sides.

While in office, Ben-Ami negotiated with the Palestinians. As a Project Syndicate commentator, he will regularly invite Palestinian and other Arab leaders to engage with him in debates and exchanges of ideas, to be featured in the War and Peace series.

Every month, in, War and Peace written exclusively for Project Syndicate, Shlomo Ben-Ami will bring his commitment to historical truth and appreciation of the legitimate claims of the "other" to bear not only on the Middle East, but also on the myriad wars, and causes of war, that trouble our age.

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