Monday, February 06, 2006

A Fox Named Arik

I am concluding the "Foxes and Hedgehogs" series. You can find the previous articles here(I), here(II), and here(III). The comments from my audience really helped me sort out my thoughts. As a parting thought I'd like to quote some passages out of an article in the New Yorker (Jan 23/30) about Ariel Sharon. As I was reading it, the article seemed to frame itself in the context of the "foxes and hedgehogs" paradigm.

"The old liberal opinion of Sharon was that he was a liar, and certainly, his relationship with the truth was complex. He was very cautious about revealing his views, but he did not lie gratuitously. Therefore, when he told me in 2001 that he would not evacuate the Gaza settlement of Netzarim, that was what he really believed. But when the circumstances changed so did he. He was prepared to destroy with his own hands much of what he himself had built."

"The answer to the enigma of Sharon, they said, is that he actually has no world view-no principles, no ideals, no integrity. He could establish settlements in one decade and demolish them in another."

I think in many ways, this ability to reassess the situation at every stage, to make decisions based on "facts on the ground" and not abstract ideas of how things should be is what made Sharon such a successful general. His political legacy is still hard to discern. Only time will tell whether his policies set the country on the right track.

I think to be fair, I also have to say that in many ways Sharon was also a hedgehog. His innate sense of Zionism, of the need to attach ourselves to the Land, his knowledge and consequent mistrust of the Arabs were never compromised by the tactical decisions he had to make. And in many ways, I think this combination of adaptability built on a solid ideological foundation is what made him a great man.

Whatever your political bent may be, I strongly recommend reading the article.


Blogger Irina Tsukerman said...

It's a very interesting article, thanks for the recommendation!

February 06, 2006 8:38 PM  
Blogger e-kvetcher said...

Aaah, even Blogger outages can't keep my intrepid readers away!

BTW, you are classified as Elemental by Chana.

What do you think she means by that?

February 06, 2006 8:39 PM  
Blogger Irina Tsukerman said...

That's a good question; my theory is that I'm the equivalent of the Fifth Element. What's your take?

February 06, 2006 10:08 PM  
Blogger e-kvetcher said...

OK, I confess my ignorance. What is the Fifth Element, other than the sci-fi movie with Bruce Willis?

February 07, 2006 7:53 AM  
Blogger Irina Tsukerman said... idea. I was thinking of the movie, actually.

But in reality, the Fifth Element is Quintessence. Something to do with alchemy.

February 07, 2006 9:33 PM  

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