16 March 2010

Errore di mira

Jim Geraghty su NRO fa il punto su Obambi e Joe Goofen in Israele. Bottom line: we're playing hardball with the wrong middle eastern country starting with 'I'.

Haaretz: "Israel's ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren, has told the country's diplomats there that U.S.-Israeli relations face their worst crisis in 35 years." Apparently, we've given the Israelis a bunch of demands.

Hey, I have a tough time believing the Israelis just happened to announce a bunch of new settlements the moment the vice president stepped away from the luggage carousel. But it's not like their diplomatic high-inside fastball wasn't predictable when our government started crowding the plate with an official stance that the Palestinians would be normal, happy, well-adjusted pacifists if it weren't for a couple of new condo projects. We've got beleaguered descendents of Holocaust survivors who have been hearing "we will push you to the sea" for 50 years on one side, and on the other, a culture that has adopted as its national pastime making mentally challenged children wear suicide belts.

Yet every president -- okay, not all of them, just the Democratic ones -- seems to think that sending enough retired senators and special envoys over there will garner them a treaty ceremony on the White House lawn and a couple (more) Nobels. Why is everyone reacting as if this diplomatic train wreck wasn't predictable? Obama and Netanyahu don't see eye-to-eye on almost anything; that'll strain the strongest alliance.

Why are we supposed to be the honest brokers in one of the world's most intractable and long-running disputes, anyhow? What have the Palestinians ever done for us?

William Jacobson says on the settlement announcement: "The optics looked bad, and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has apologized. That should and could have been the end of it. But consistent with Obama's policy of beating up close allies, Obama is not letting the issue rest. Obama has found his excuse to bring Israel to its knees, both on the peace process and the coming Iranian crisis.

Obama loaded up his foreign policy establishment with people who view Israel as the problem, and who look to taking Israel down a few notches as the key to our foreign policy. The foreign policy establishment has many sympathizers among the
anti-'Israel lobby' crowd."

Jen Rubin: "If they're honest, those who vouched for Obama's superior temperament and his pro-Israel bona fides must be embarrassed. For those of us who suspected that this president
lacked a fundamental attachment to Israel, critical national-security experience, and a full appreciation for why we don't have 'peace' in the Middle East (it's not housing sites, especially ones clearly within the Jewish state in any future two-state
deal), there's little comfort in saying, 'We told you so.'"

The conclusion of a lengthy, thought-provoking post from Bruce McQuain at QAndO: "Much like the people of the US, Arab leaders are not going to be impressed by only talk -- something the administration is long on. It is going to demand action -- something which puts the administration in a very awkward position given what they're now demanding vs. what Israel may be willing to do. And even if Israel capitulates, it will simply mean more demands -- all to the detriment of our strongest ally in the region. A very interesting situation brought on by perceived weakness and a diplomatic style akin to a pit bull at a cat show. It will be interesting to monitor the situation and see what comes of it, but, as one Israeli envoy noted, US/Israel relations are at their lowest ebb in 35 years. And I doubt this has substantially increased our image among the Arabs."

E la situazione e` lose-lose. O perde Bibi, o perde Obambi. Male tutte e due.

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