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The End of the Beginning

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New Republic

September 28, 2009

With apologies to Winston Churchill, President Obama may not have presided over the beginning of the end of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict last week in New York, but he seems finally to have marked the end of an embarrassing beginning to his Middle East diplomacy.

The president and his senior advisors came to office nine months ago eager to say and do what George W. Bush didn't. In place of regime change, Islamo-fascism, and "you're either with us or against us," Obama focused instead on behavior change, engagement, and an emphasis on "mutual interests and mutual respect." . . .

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