Thursday, April 16, 2009

Stephen Walt on the skillful use of pressure vis-a-vis Israel

If President Obama is serious about reaching a two-state solution, he will need to demonstrate U.S. seriousness.  As Walt understands, Obama does not need a sledgehammer to drive home his message. Instead, carefully calibrated messages will be "read" astutely by Israeli-insiders.

I am confident that a recalcitrant right-wing Israeli government will reliably and frequently demonstrate its obduracy.  It is in the U.S. interest to highlight that obduracy and to subtly demonstrate that non-cooperation has non-trivial costs.  Walt's essay is a helpful guide to some of the cues and signals that the Obama administration might employ to let Israeli decision-makers know that the U.S. expects cooperation, if not from the Netanyahu government then the government that replaces it.

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