The Corner


You make good points, and this will be my last post on the matter.

I think in an interesting way you are more bullish on changing Arab culture than I am–you seem to think its possible to have a pristinely secular constitution in contemporary Iraq and to get Arabs to give up their long-running, deep-seated hostility to Israel. I might agree with you that these things can happen, but only over the very, very, very long run. In the meantime, steps in the right direction will suffice for me.

On the Iraqi constitution, I think you are mixing up having a role for religion in that document and the kind of sectarianism we are seeing now–namely, rivals sects killing each other. I don’t see any connection between the two.

Finally, on your own terms you seem to be a violator of the Bush doctrine, since you are willing to continue to conduct military operations from a country that isn’t “with us” in the war on terror. And if you aren’t going to make the, by your account, absolutely central matter of UAE’s non-recognition of Israel an issue in our relationship more broadly, the ports deal seems an odd place to start. Again, unless there’s a genuine security risk, but that’s a separate issue from the UAE’s posture toward Israel.

Rich Lowry — Rich Lowry is the editor of National Review. He can be reached via email: 

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