Economist Debate

Economist LogoI am currently engaged in an online debate at The Economist with neoconservative journalist and former Bush speechwriter David Frum. The style is typical of a proper debate, with opening written statements for/against, rebuttals, and closing positions. The motion is, “This house believes that Barack Obama’s America is now an honest broker between Israel and the Arabs.” I’m supporting the motion.

I encourage everyone to take a look. Below is an excerpt from my opening statement. Rebuttals will be posted on Friday, July 24.

“I will argue that within the context of that US-Israel special relationship, the United States can still be an honest broker, should play such a role and has done so on several occasions in the past, and that President Obama’s America is beginning to occupy that political space.

Mr Obama is a friend of Israel. It is, however, a different type of friendship from the Bush years, more grown-up and grounded in reality, healthier for both parties. One should understand that the honest-broker effort under Mr Obama will be undertaken while maintaining the special relationship, not replacing it. He will, for instance, be especially sensitive to Israel’s legitimate security concerns (but not its territorial expansionism).

An appropriate analogy might be a sister-in-law’s role during a couple’s dispute: there is clearly a closer tie to one side, but that does not preclude a sufficiently effective evenhandedness. Let us say that Mr Obama’s America is now being enough of an honest broker.”