Middle East Modesty

In international diplomacy, avoiding failure is sometimes a better objective than achieving great success. That is clearly the case with the plan to convene many of the parties to the Arab-Israeli conflict, which is not even close to being ripe for resolution.

“Ripeness is all,” concludes Edgar in King Lear . I will leave it to Shakespeare scholars to decipher what he had in mind. But for diplomats and historians, understanding the concept of ripeness is central to their jobs: it refers to how ready a negotiation or conflict is to be resolved.