serves up a stunning venture
into counterfactual history
. Although its premiss stands at odds with the analysis of imperial decay through ethnic strife by the founder of its genre
, Laqueur’s narrative supports the underlying program of construing plausibility as the basis for understanding causation in history and political science. Curiously enough, for all current reaction
to its conclusions, no one appears to have drawn a parallel with Tony Judt
’s muchly maligned
advocacy of Israel’s conversion into a binational and secular state
. The take-away lesson is that bitter pills are better savored in wistful hindsight than grim foreboding.