Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Thoughts on Abbas (overdue)

I think that his election is not bad, but certainly not the best thing. He is a "moderate" and not as corrupt as Arafat. This means he might actually live up to future agreements and money that the international community will provide to the Pals will not be stolen (at least not as much). I think that the attack yesterday at the Karni border crossing is evidence of Abbas' weak position (ie the lack of a swift Pal response is evidence of a "slow" transition"). People elected him to be the leader of a state, not the leader of a revolution. That is, I do not think it is Abbas that will be strong enough to end the violence or foster a new Palestinian understanding of the world (like possibly Dahlan or Barguti). To compare to Russian history, he might be a Gorbitchov, but he is no Yeltsin (and even a Putin can follow a Yelstin).
I think it is also helpful to think about what we hope from the Palestinians under the term of Abbas. An end to terror is slowly coming based purely on the difficulty of carrying out the attacks. The real thing I think we can hope of Abbas is creating a strong federal infrastructure. That (not with all the Jeffersonian checks and balances) I think he can accomplish with some modicum of success.

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