Middle East: Subtle Shuttle

Old problems, new approach

U.S. Special Envoy Robert McFarlane showed none of the intensity of his predecessor Philip Habib as he began his first swing through the Middle East last week. Displaying the manner that has earned him praise as deputy chief of the National Security Council, McFarlane, 46, was cautious, methodical and discreet. His goal, in the words of a State Department official, was to "meet the people and go over the basic issues." Unlike Habib, who sometimes got his best ideas in a flash of inspiration while talking to his counterparts, McFarlane organizes his discussions carefully beforehand and then...

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