The Breakfast Table

Meaningless Swagger

Dear Margaret,

Another suicide attack in Israel. It shows the weakness of a “get-tough” policy. How do you deter someone from killing themselves by threatening to kill them?

This is Sharon’s conundrum. What he has, the willingness to be brutal, is absolutely worthless.

I keep thinking of the Long Parliament and the voice demanding, “Go, you have stayed too long.”

Sharon won the premiership by leading a grand entourage to the Temple Mount. For all these months since September 2000, he has shown that swagger is not as good at ending an intifada as it is at starting one.

I saw all this with the humility that anyone merits when speaking of the Mideast. Talk about trying to square a circle.

By the way, my ultimate solution to Northern Ireland is a two-step: 1) have the six counties unify with the Republic in a new all-Ireland confederation; 2) have Ireland join the British Commonwealth of Nations. This would give Ireland full sovereignty over a united island. It would give the Unionists a residual British identity.

I’m smarter when it comes to the Old Country, Maggie.