Middle East Notes and Comment: Politics Now, Diplomacy Later
December 15, 2004
Politics and diplomacy are related but distinct. Politics is often about drawing lines that force opponents to embrace unpopular views, while diplomacy is about removing barriers and stressing common interests.
Throughout his career, former Palestinian prime minister (and likely Palestinian president) Mahmoud Abbas has shown far more skill at diplomacy than politics. In the near term, he will need to put in a bravura political performance, and his most important help may come from an unlikely place: Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon.