Aaron David Miller

The Play's the Thing

Lawrence Wright's "Camp David" brilliantly depicts the famous 1978 peace summit -- and reveals why there's no hope in the current Israeli-Palestinian talks.

This past weekend, I had a chance to see Lawrence Wright's play at Arena Stage about the Camp David peace summit of September 1978. As a refugee from the other Camp David summit, in July 2000 (the one that didn't work), my expectations going in were pretty low. After all, how does one stage a dramatic and compelling theatrical event about a Middle East peace conference, even one that produced a treaty between Israel and Egypt six months later? Although this is Washington, where policy wonks, diplomats, and assorted foreign-policy addicts would be inclined to attend a play like this, I really wasn't sure whether Wright could pull it off.  Summits by and large can be tedious, claustrophobic, and exhausting. At the second Camp David meeting, the most exciting thing that happened was Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak choking on peanuts, saved only by Gidi Grinstein, the youngest member of the Israeli delegation.

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I Wish I Knew How to Quit You

The world is addicted to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. But are never-ending negotiations only delaying a day of reckoning?

In an extraordinary editorial last week, the New York Times all but called for the United States to stop wasting its time on Israeli-Palestinian negotiations and to just move on. In another world, such advice might be not only emotionally satisfying but quite practical too. Process works better than peace does for both Benjamin Netanyahu and Mahmoud Abbas; both sides get stuff without having to make real commitments. And John Kerry is the security blanket that makes that possible.

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The Lonely Man

With the peace process sputtering, will John Kerry abandon his signature initiative -- or cling to his belief that a deal can really be reached?

Like rock-and-roll, the Middle East peace process will never die. The latest chapter of the ongoing saga has encountered recent travails and may dwindle away. But for better or worse, in some form, the overall process will go on and on -- and on.

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The Naïveté of Distance

The befuddled response to Russia's Crimea takeover shows that America needs a refresher on how the rest of the world actually thinks and works.

The Ukraine crisis has made it clear that there are some crucial facts about world history and geography that Americans don't really understand. As the world digests Russian President Vladimir Putin's aggressive moves and ponders future ones by Russia or other smaller powers, here are a few things about these two profoundly important forces -- or more specifically, the U.S. relationship to them -- that Americans need to keep in mind. Grasping them is, in a word, critical.

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Spies, Swaps, and Sins of Omission

Five ways to tell the Middle East peace process is in big trouble.

I am still betting that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will be able to come up with some fix that will get Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over the April 29 deadline for a framework accord and into the great beyond of yet more negotiations. But I must say, the signs don't look good for meaningful progress, let alone breakthroughs.

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