Peace

The four issues that will determine an Israeli-Palestinian deal.

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The (Very) Quiet Peace Talks Between Israel and Hamas

The Middle East's storm clouds have a silver lining

The Middle East's storm clouds have a silver lining.

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I. In late 1988, when I set out to write a life of Whittaker Chambers,the cold war had reached its ceremonial endgame: Mikhail Gorbachevacknowledging the autonomy of peoples long after they had liberatedthemselves, valiant students halting tank columns in TiananmenSquare. It was an impressive, if occasionally hollow, spectacle,and it inspired a chorus of sweeping pronouncements in the UnitedStates.

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What if they had an anti-war movement and nobody came? For three nights at the end of April, a few politically conscious punk-rock bands from around the country passed through New York on a tour called Plea for Peace. Punk has included an element of political consciousness since the Clash strummed about the Troubles in the late 1970s, although in peacetime the good service of punks was to plead for anarchy.

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The Big One

RUNS ON GAS masks in major cities. Arguments about the relative efficacy of Cipro versus doxycycline. The House of Representatives temporarily relocating. As the war on terrorism enters its second month, fear of flying is giving way to fear of opening the mail. Psychologically, it may be that society can only concentrate on one threat at a time. But if that's the case—anthrax letters notwithstanding—the focus is in the wrong place. Biological weapons are bad, but so far none has ever caused an epidemic or worked in war. And it is possible that none ever will: Biological agents are notoriously

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