This well-reasoned argument should receive special attention because of the author's current position as director for Near East and South Asian Affairs on the staff of the National Security Council. The thesis is that regional conflicts are not subject to resolution until conditions are sufficiently ripe for diplomacy to work. Haass buttresses his thesis with five case studies including the Middle East, India and Pakistan, and Greece, Turkey and Cyprus. Although these conflicts are often cited as candidates for major diplomatic initiatives, Haass argues that they are not "ripe" for a successful outcome. A number of preconditions for "ripeness" are identified by the author. The argument in some ways goes against the optimistic grain of Americans, yet is also very much in keeping with the current low-key atmosphere in Washington.