David Frum on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Question: Should the next US President engage in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict?

David Frum: If the next [US] president were to ask me for my view, I would caution that person against getting overly involved. First, I don't think it is as important as it's made out. Certainly, not important enough for the Palestinans ever to make any real compromise on the issue. If you want something badly enough, you'll make compromises even if they're kind of unpleasant.

And in 2000, we saw that the Palestinians won't on the core issues; they will not compromise. So it’s not that important to them maybe.

But it's important that presidents not do things that presidents can't do, and it's important that presidents not promise to solve problems that they can't solve. The time of a president is an extraordinarily scarce resource. And when someone comes along and says, I want you to devote 100 hours or 200 hours to problem X, that is a 100 or 200 hours that is not available for dealings with Congress over the budget, for environmental problems, for other foreign policy problems.

We saw that in the [Bill] Clinton years when the Palestinian-Israeli dispute just became a time sink for the president of the United States, and in the end, it was a failure.

President [George W.] Bush stayed away from this issue for so long, not just for ideological reasons, but above all, he was very conscious; you could just spend hours and hours of time and achieve nothing; look at what had happened to President Clinton.

So I would say that America's attitude toward it should be a much more laid back one. There may come a moment when the parties are ready for a compromise, either because the Palestinians feel defeated or because the Israelis' do. Until that, it is harder for the United States to want this peace more than the parties.


Recorded on: May 5, 2008





Be careful if you get involved; it's not as important as it's made out to be.

Compelling speakers do these 4 things every single time

The ability to speak clearly, succinctly, and powerfully is easier than you think

Former U.S. President Barack Obama speaks during a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee rally at the Anaheim Convention Center on September 8, 2018 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Barbara Davidson/Getty Images)
Personal Growth

The ability to communicate effectively can make or break a person's assessment of your intelligence, competence, and authenticity.

Keep reading Show less

Intimacy and sexual desire in couples can be heightened by this practice

Researchers discover a link between nonverbal synchronization and relationship success.

Sex & Relationships
  • Scientists say coordinating movements leads to increased intimacy and sexual desire in a couple.
  • The improved rapport and empathy was also observed in people who didn't know each other.
  • Non-verbal clues are very important in the development stages of a relationship.
Keep reading Show less

How 'dark horses' flip the script of success and happiness

What defines a dark horse? The all-important decision to pursue fulfillment and excellence.

Big Think Books

When we first set the Dark Horse Project in motion, fulfillment was the last thing on our minds. We were hoping to uncover specific and possibly idiosyncratic study methods, learning techniques, and rehearsal regimes that dark horses used to attain excellence. Our training made us resistant to ambiguous variables that were difficult to quantify, and personal fulfillment seemed downright foggy. But our training also taught us never to ignore the evidence, no matter how much it violated our expectations.

Keep reading Show less