Saturday, January 07, 2006
This article from RFE-RL has an interesting perspective of Ariel Sharon's historical importance. It quotes Robert Satloff as saying that although he expects Kadima to win the elections and continue his policies, the process will be more complicated without his authority within the movement. This makes Sharon into an interesting case study in "Great Man History." Sharon was not the first person to propose unilateral withdraws from the Occupied Territories, and in fact some of the commentary I've read the past few days credit him with simply being the one who got things done. One can't forget that his policies were popular with large numbers of Israelis, and hence someone else would probably have come along and done similar things in a similar way. This suggests, and I hope it's still okay to say this under the circumstances, that Sharon is not so much an indispensible man without whom Israel will fall as a creation of Israeli politics, and that the Israelis will sooner or later simply create another one to fill his vacuum. His absence will thus be felt mainly in the short term, unless something radical happens before they have the chance.