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.

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

Can the keto diet help treat depression? Here’s what the science says so far

A growing body of research shows promising signs that the keto diet might be able to improve mental health.

Public Domain
Mind & Brain
  • The keto diet is known to be an effective tool for weight loss, however its effects on mental health remain largely unclear.
  • Recent studies suggests that the keto diet might be an effective tool for treating depression, and clearing up so-called "brain fog," though scientists caution more research is necessary before it can be recommended as a treatment.
  • Any experiments with the keto diet are best done in conjunction with a doctor, considering some people face problems when transitioning to the low-carb diet.
Keep reading Show less

If you want to spot a narcissist, look at the eyebrows

Bushier eyebrows are associated with higher levels of narcissism, according to new research.

Big Think illustration / Actor Peter Gallagher attends the 24th and final 'A Night at Sardi's' to benefit the Alzheimer's Association at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on March 9, 2016 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
  • Science has provided an excellent clue for identifying the narcissists among us.
  • Eyebrows are crucial to recognizing identities.
  • The study provides insight into how we process faces and our latent ability to detect toxic people.
Keep reading Show less

Want to age gracefully? A new study says live meaningfully

Thinking your life is worthwhile is correlated with a variety of positive outcomes.

Surprising Science
  • A new study finds that adults who feel their lives are meaningful have better health and life outcomes.
  • Adults who felt their lives were worthwhile tended to be more social and had healthier habits.
  • The findings could be used to help improve the health of older adults.
Keep reading Show less