On Israel/Palestine, What Does “Unwavering” Mean?

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ValerieJarrett.jpgOn Wednesday evening, Obama confidente and White House Senior Advisor for Public Outreach Valerie Jarrett held a conference call with progressives around the country who may have been disheartened by Tuesday’s election results. It was a brave thing for her to do as many in the progressive community have felt ignored and abused as the White House in policies ranging from the health care public option, to carbon limits, to Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, and so on.
One of my New America Foundation colleagues, Jonathan Guyer, who happens to be the official cartoonist of The Washington Note, asked Jarrett where the President stood on Israel/Palestine.
As reported by JTA’s Ron Kampeas, Jarrett responded:

“The president has made it very clear that he is committed to doing whatever he can to foster talks in the Middle East – that’s unwavering,” Valerie Jarrett, Obama’s senior adviser for public engagement, said in a conference call Wednesday with a broad array of special interest groups, including Jewish groups. “That’s not a partisan issue; his commitment to that is unwavering.”
Jarrett initiated the call to reassure several sympathetic groups about the White House’s commitment in a number of “progressive” areas in the wake of Tuesday’s Republican sweep of the U.S. House of Representatives — one that Obama has described as a “shellacking.”

What does “unwavering mean?
If it means following the same unsuccessful strategy as before — with the same personnel, the same half-baked approach that leaves key participants out of the process, that tries to get Netanyahu to be nice to Palestinian moderates, and more of this — then Obama’s “unwavering” commitment is something worrisome.
If he wants to get things right, then the President needs to stand up, dust himself off, recommit to the vision he had when he won the White House, push Netanyahu around the sumo ring, and communicate a more definitive plan for what this White House expects in a settlement.
This is when “unwavering” might be something to applaud.

— Steve Clemons

Comments

83 comments on “On Israel/Palestine, What Does “Unwavering” Mean?

  1. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Israeli Envoy Demands US Jews Defend Israel
    Insists American Jews Must Condemn Goldstone Report
    by Jason Ditz, November 08, 2010
    Speaking today at the Jewish Federations General Assembly, Israeli Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren chided America

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  2. Dan Kervick says:

    “He mainly attacked the US partner (and India’s enemy) Pakistan. How smart is that?”
    No he did not. He was challenged several times by questioners seeking to goad him him into condemnations of Pakistan, but he maintained a diplomatic tone, and didn’t say anything in India that he has not already said at home.
    Of course, it is pretty obvious to all that US policy has tilted closer to India, and that puts more pressure on Pakistan. But Obama expanded US influence in the world that actually exists in 2010 by building a stronger relationship with the world’s second most populous country. That’s good for Americans in the 21st century.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-11715806

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  3. Don Bacon says:

    Obama projected US power, determination and commitment in India?
    He mainly attacked the US partner (and India’s enemy) Pakistan. How smart is that?
    Obama mentioned UN Security Council permanent membership. Obama addressing the India parliament: “I look forward to a reformed United Nations Security Council that includes India as a permanent member.” Pretty weak and highly caveated. And China has said essentially the same thing, last Spring.
    That’s about it. So how did Obama project US power in India? And who believes that the US is capable of projecting power?
    The US has proven itself to be ineffective in affecting matters anywhere and everywhere, particularly in projecting its military forces. China has been much more effective, and everyone in that part of the world knows it.
    The idea that the US can ally with India against China because the US and India are bound by our shared interests and values has limited currency. China is India’s largest trading partner, India has bad memories of colonialism and while the US economy heads south China and India are booming, for three factors.
    China has called Asian countries on this ploy recently, accusing them of playing a double game — aligning with the US on military matters and with China on economic matters. Guess who’s going to win that battle. Money talks and BS walks, every time.

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  4. Dan Kervick says:

    WigWag, any President who issued the kind of ringing “non-obfuscating” answer you pretend to want him to deliver would be an utter moron, and you know it.
    As I am certain you understand, this current Asian trip is designed, among other things, to project US power, determination and commitment in a ring of countries surrounding China, and to build on both enduring and new friendships and alliances in what has become the world’s most important neighborhood. Obama is visiting India, Indonesia, South Korea and Japan … and not China. And yet you would have him, on the eve of his visit to the most populous Muslim country in the world, where he is scheduled to announce a comprehensive partnership designed in part as a prudent check on Chinese power, issue a ringing insult to the entirety of the world’s Muslims, and to sally forth into moral and theological sermons on the proper interpretation and attitude toward jihad, like some cable TV infotainment talking head. You can’t really be so simple-minded.
    We live in a world in which Islam is long-established and deeply entrenched, and in which any informed, clear-thinking, betting person would have to conclude Islam is going to continue to be a very major force in the world out to the visible horizon of the future. You don’t have to like that, but you do have to deal with it. None of this self-indulgent rending of garments and posturing on the duty to resist evil at appearance of its devilish little face, and to refrain entirely from obfuscation, adds up to a prudent national policy. You know as well as we all do that politics is one long exercise in the art of creative obfuscation – and for excellent reasons. The goods and evils in this world do not come sorted into tidily organized and easily compartmentalized packets. It’s all mixed up, and the best our leaders can do is try to minimize the damage of the worst evils and promote the progress of the best goods that it falls within their limited power to affect. They say what they have to say to accomplish what they have to accomplish. They don’t get to act out and mouth off with abandon like WigWag, Pissed Off American, Dan Kervick or other blogospheric drama queens.
    Your own resistance to evil is highly selective if you ask me – as is Steve’s, mine, and just about everyone else’s in this world. Stop pretending you’re not a grownup about it, and cut the moralistic pose. In the past you have defended an utterly nihilistic and craven doctrine of the rights and prerogatives of conquest and the virtues of sheer power for its own sake that is more odious as the most extreme variants of the doctrine of jihad. So don’t try now to climb up on some high moral horse.

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  5. Don Bacon says:

    WigWag: “Pakistan, a nation which is the poster child for the pathologies that are epidemic in the Muslim world,”
    Ah, but do they torture as well as Christians do, that’s the real test. Real men (like George W.) waterboard. Damn right.
    Jimmy Carter initiated and supported the Pakistan-supported Mujahideen who fought on the beaches, on the landing grounds, in the fields, in the streets and in the hills to evict those pesky Russkies from Afghanistan in a jihad, or struggle.
    And wouldn’t you know? They have a similar aversion to US troops occupying their land. Jihad II. Go figure.

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  6. WigWag says:

    Early on in his trip to India, President Obama, at a forum with college students, was asked a very straight forward question,
    “Hi, good day, sir. Hi, my name is Anna and I

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  7. nadine says:

    From an anguished Haaretz, who was leading the pack in baying that there was no military solution back in 2000:
    West Bank most-wanted terrorist list has dwindled to almost nil
    There is not a single security suspect being sought by Israel in the northern West Bank for the first time since the outbreak of the second intifada in 2000. In the southern West Bank, there are only a few names on the security establishment’s wanted list. The situation is a reflection of both the improved security situation in the West Bank and the increasing cooperation between Israeli and Palestinian Authority security forces.
    The northern West Bank, notably Nablus and Jenin, but also Tul Karm and Qalqilyah, was where the most lethal terrorist networks established a foothold during the second intifada. Members of the Hamas terror network, which had its center of operations in Nablus, led the Israeli list of wanted terrorists, but Islamic Jihad and local cells of the Fatah military wing, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, also exacted a heavy toll in the lives of Israeli civilians and Israeli soldiers. In response, the security barrier was constructed, thousands of Palestinian terror suspects were arrested and interrogated and Israeli security forces made prolonged efforts to stop the wave of terror centered in the northern West Bank.
    The last fatal suicide bombing emanating from the northern West Bank occurred in April 2006 when 11 Israelis were killed at an explosion at a restaurant near Tel Aviv’s old central bus station, committed by Islamic Jihad in Jenin. At the time, however, most senior terrorist figures in the northern West Bank had already been arrested and dozens of others had been killed by the Israel Defense Forces and the Shin Bet security services.
    A major reason for the shrinking list, however, is growing coordination with Palestinian security forces, which went into high gear against West Bank terrorist groups after Hamas completed its takeover of the Gaza Strip by Hamas in June of 2007 and expelled Fatah’s leadership from the territory. The Palestinian Authority then began arresting hundreds of Hamas and Islamic Jihad members in the northern West Bank. At the same time, the PA, with Israel’s assent, developed protective custody arrangements and later released hundreds of wanted Fatah figures who promised to lay down their weapons and refrain from terror activity against Israel. Israel, in turn, allowed the suspects who had not been involved in acts of murder to escape punishment as part of an effort to stabilize the situation on the ground and assist Palestinian security forces.
    In the last year, several major terrorist attacks have been carried out in the West Bank, but Israel located the perpetrators, Fatah members from Nablus and Hamas members from the Hebron area, and killed them. Among the few wanted figures still at large are Hamas members operating in Hebron.
    In 2004, when the number of wanted suspects still numbered in the hundreds and suicide attacks were still occurring within the borders of Israel proper, a controversy developed in the leadership of the Israeli security establishment. The head of the Shin Bet at the time, Avi Dichter, argued that the “terror barrel” had a bottom, and that a continued intensive fight against the terrorist organizations would reveal the bottom, meaning a complete halt to the wave of terrorism. Senior figures in the IDF contended, however, that despite the successes that were being chalked up at the time, it was not possible to entirely stop terrorism.
    Dichter was correct to a great extent. Terrorism from the West Bank was stopped almost entirely and the wanted list for the northern West Bank dwindled to nothing. The improvement is also related to arrangement with the Palestinian Authority, which involved substantial compromise on Israel’s part.
    http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/west-bank-most-wanted-terrorist-list-has-dwindled-to-almost-nil-1.323465

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  8. nadine says:

    Don Bacon, “US-fomented instability”? As opposed to the beneficent calm that held over South Asia for the last 60 years or so? Do you even know how many India-Pakistan, India-China, Pakistani and Afghanistan wars you are ignoring?
    But noooo, instability must be the US’s fault. Wars not “fomented” by the US don’t count.

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  9. Don Bacon says:

    The situation in South Asia is in flux primarily due to US-fomented instability. China and India have had armed disputes in the past, and have some current differences, but generally would be on a better course if the US weren’t involved in the area. The strategic partnership announced by the two countries in 2005 may be in peril.
    Both China and India (unlike the US) have high economic growth rates, with China being more advanced than India in areas like economic growth, healthcare, education and infrastructure. China is India’s largest trading partner and has supported India’s bid for a permanent seat on the UNSC (as the US recently has done).
    But the US intervention is screwing it up (a familiar story) with its interventions — military, economic and diplomatic.
    The US is increasing area instability (probably a US goal) with its military activities and by aligning more closely with India. China correctly sees the increasing US engagement in South Asia as a threat to stability, as the US-supported Afghan mujahideen has morphed into the Pakistan-supported Taliban now acting against both the US and India, and acting against China’s stability interests. Pakistan, despite the infusion of US dollars, sees the US tipping toward its arch-enemy India and doesn’t like it.
    The expanded Afghan War, now AfPak, shows signs of becoming IndAfPak. Good work, USA.
    China has had to live with US military encirclement, including Japan, Okinawa, Korea, Taiwan (by proxy), Philippines, Afghanistan, the -Stans and now a “reset” with Russia, as well as the Seventh Fleet off its shores and in its seas. The new US/India alliance, coupled with the other factors mentioned, promises more instability. There is also the looming US military threat against Iran, an ally of China and India (to a lesser extent).
    There seems to be no limit to the increasing trouble the US is causing in Asia.

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  10. WigWag says:

    “That makes possible the prospect that China, India and the US will be three anchors of a 21st century global security order invested in trade and global prosperity, with a common interest in political stability and in policing trade routes.” (Dan Kervick)
    I tend to doubt that a new Cold War can be avoided, although in the long run I think that the major protagonists are likely to be China and India, not the United States.
    There is simply little to no precedent in world history for rising economic powers to avoid military competition if not outright military conflict. The one wild card that might reduce the likelihood of outright conflict is the presence of nuclear weapons (which shows how naive Obama’s obsession about nuclear disarmament is). The Bush nuclear deal with India was unambiguously a good thing. I could be mistaken, but I seem to remember that it was criticized in the pages of the Washington Note; in this case at least, Bush was right and the progressive world was wrong.
    Not only are the Indian and Chinese navies likely to vie with each other for control over the Indian Ocean (with a still dominant U.S. navy continuing to play a very powerful role), but there are plenty of spots where the Chinese and Indians might face off in close proximity, including Kashmir.
    Will China, India and the United States dominate the world while Europe declines towards irrelevancy and the Muslim world descends in internecine conflict? I tend to think not. Of course, as a world power Europe is finished, and the Muslim world shows no sign of emerging from the dark ages. But the Chinese have many more neighbors concerned about their ascendency than the Indians do. I’m very interested in watching India

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  11. Paul Norheim says:

    “The Soviets were not eager to trade with the West. The Chinese,
    of course, have a very different attitude.”
    Yes, that makes a huge difference, and I hope that these three
    major powers (US/India/China) will cooperate. This may depend
    not only on circumstances in Asia, but also on the attitudes of
    belligerent hawks in America. In case of a grand scale conflict,
    however, I think we’re seeing the contours of the future alliances.
    Just saw Obama’s speech in the Indian Parliament. I think it was
    significant.

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  12. Dan Kervick says:

    China and India do about $45 billion in bilateral trade. The US and China do about $270 billion. In each case, the Chinese surplus is a very large percentage of the overall trade volume, and both India and the US have expressed a common interest in getting it down. This will be a large topic at the G20 meeting.
    While the US and India no doubt have a common interest in guarding against any untoward consequences of the Chinese rise, the high volume of trade among the Chinese and their partners should help keep the relations among these three countries from developing into a new cold war framework. The Soviets were not eager to trade with the West. The Chinese, of course, have a very different attitude. That makes possible the prospect that China, India and the US will be three anchors of a 21st century global security order invested in trade and global prosperity, with a common interest in political stability and in policing trade routes. The Soviets were particularly averse to imports from the US, mainly on political grounds. I hope Americans don’t decide to follow same ideological path. We can see how well it went for the Soviets.
    And for what it’s worth, students at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government don’t think NATO is going away:
    http://walt.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2010/10/28/nato_lives

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  13. Paul Norheim says:

    From BBC today:
    “US-India ties ‘to define century’
    US President Barack Obama and Indian PM Manmohan Singh
    have said Washington and Delhi’s relationship will be one of the
    century’s defining partnerships.
    On a visit to Delhi, Mr Obama said India was a world power,
    and both countries could work together to promote stability
    and prosperity.
    In a speech to parliament later, he said he would address
    Delhi’s bid for a permanent UN Security Council seat.”
    ————————–
    I’m not surprised, and yes, I have no doubt that there will be a
    US/India (/England? /Israel?) alliance against turmoil in
    Pakistan and a rising China. In the next couple of decades I
    guess Europe will become less important, and so will NATO.
    But Turkey will become a key player in the Middle East context.

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  14. Don Bacon says:

    It’s (reportedly) only three billion a year, or $428 per person counting Arabs which of course don’t count because mostly they have not accepted Israeli citizenship.

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  15. Fernando1958 says:

    unwavering? like in what? if Israel keeps building settlements the US will stop giving Israel 4 billions dollars a year? or the US will keep bending over each time Israel complains about, well, everything and anything the Palestinians do.
    If Israel don’t like the Arabs shouldn’t they move somewhere else, where they can be happy?

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  16. Cee says:

    Documents whose existence were denied by the Israeli government for over a year have been released after a legal battle led by Israeli human rights group Gisha. The documents reveal a deliberate policy by the Israeli government in which the dietary needs for the population of Gaza are chillingly calculated, and the amounts of food let in by the Israeli government measured to remain just enough to keep the population alive at a near-starvation level. This documents the statement made by a number of Israeli officials that they are “putting the people of Gaza on a diet”.
    http://globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=21799

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  17. OhWhy says:

    As long as the US is blatently on Israel’s side, it will never be taken seriously by anyone in the Middle East. Obama’s nice words do not change anything, in fact since he’s been in power, Israel has been most direspctful of the US that it’s ever been.
    Do yourselves a favour and allow someone else to sponsor the talks, like Israel itself. Believe me, it wouldn’t make a difference, apart from cutting out the middle man.

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  18. David Billington says:

    “No one epitomized this arrogance and elitism more than George Kennan who…hated the idea that the
    public might act as a check on the action of foreign policy professionals.” (Wigwag)
    There is a real tension with professional authority in any democracy. In addition to Kennan, who
    opposed NATO, other professionals in the State Department of the late 1940s went against public
    opinion on other issues. However, a decade earlier, many with foreign policy expertise found fault with
    the public for its near-unanimous embrace of isolationism. I wish I had a better answer than to say
    that there are times when the public can be wrong and other times when the experts are wrong. Being
    or thinking oneself to be right cannot be an argument for public servants to resist democratic
    accountability. But it may be true that when professional judgment is at odds with the public it is the
    selective understanding of the peer group that is largely responsible, although attitudes toward the
    public can also play a role and shouldn’t. You point to a real problem that we will need to negotiate
    better in a world of increasing specialization.
    “If you ever get back to the Princeton campus there is something I would urge you to take a look at…
    About 100 yards from the front door, you will find a magnificent metal sculpture entitled “Moses” by
    the great American artist and sculptor, Tony Smith.”
    Thanks very much for this. I had noticed the sculpture and had no idea what it meant. Now that I do, it
    is indeed a compelling work and I’ll take a closer look the next time I am back.

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  19. Dan Kervick says:

    I like George Perkovich’s overview, which is not so focused on the Indian Ocean littoral, and sees US-India and India-China relations in a more global context.
    http://carnegieendowment.org/files/realistic_us_india_relations.pdf

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  20. Don Bacon says:

    I think that the Indian Ocean is better left to the Indians.
    Anyhow I’m going over there in January to check it out, and perhaps clean up after Obama. I should at least run into a few of my Dell tech support guys.
    I got mis-routed the other day and was talking to a rep in hardware sales. She said something about switching me from her “division.” I asked: How many people in your division? She hesitated a moment and said: About a thousand.

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  21. WigWag says:

    Anyone who wants to understand India, its looming competition with China and the increasingly important role of the Indian Ocean nations should read Robert D. Kaplan’s new book, “Monsoon: The Indian Ocean and the Future of American Power.”
    It’s an excellent, readable and informative book. It is available for the Kindle.
    http://www.amazon.com/Monsoon-Indian-Ocean-Future-American/dp/1400067464

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  22. Don Bacon says:

    timesofindia news report on Obama:
    “Several landmark deals have been done shortly before my arrival here. Boeing is going to sell dozens of planes to India and GE is going to sell hundreds of electric engines. The deals are worth USD 10 billion and will create more than 50,000 jobs in the US,” he said, making a strong start to his India visit.//
    I would take that US job creation with a grain of salt because these foreign sales also come with offset programs which create jobs for the buyer, not the seller. So they help US corporations but not US workers.
    2003 news report:
    Foreigners Exact Trade-Offs From U.S. Contractors
    By Leslie Wayne, 2003 –
    Washington — A DECADE ago, when the ruling sheiks in the United Arab Emirates decided to expand the local economy after the gulf war, they turned to American military contractors like Boeing, Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin for a helping hand.
    In return for buying military gear, the emirates pressed the contractors to spend millions of dollars to create jobs and to improve the lives of citizens in their desert outposts: financing a medical diagnostic center linked by satellite to the Mayo Clinic, building a shipyard that has created thousands of jobs, helping with oil-spill cleanups, starting a laser-printer recycling business and even bringing Berlitz schools to Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
    In another era, these gifts might be considered bribes. Now they are called offsets. //
    2007 news report:
    Statement read at the Boeing Company Annual Meeting, 4/30/07, by Susan Jordan, SSND, Coordinator, Midwest Coalition for Responsible Investment
    The prevalence of offsets, which send jobs and production overseas, undercuts the argument that arms sales significantly benefit the US economy

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  23. Don Bacon says:

    As rewarding as it might be for some to read the New York Times, and believe what they read, probably it’s better to read the Indian press regarding matters (like a presidential visit) concerning India.
    U.S. President Barack Obama’s first words in India had hit the

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  24. Dan Kervick says:

    Why does India need aid, WigWag? They are a dynamic and growing country. They seem perfectly capable of building their own economic future without charity. For the US to give India aid in 2010 seems like a European country in 1870 giving aid to the United States.
    The Times article was much less negative and one-sided than you portray it. It only suggests that Obama’s Gandhi talk is “complicated terrain” diplomatically.
    I think we have to look at it like this: If a visiting foreign statesman or dignitary came to the United States and spoke a lot about Thomas Jefferson, and conveyed real knowledge of Jefferson and a sincere impression that Jefferson was one of his heroes, then I think Americans would generally respond favorably, even though people recognize that Jefferson’s agrarian republicanism is of limited use as a model for the contemporary US. There might be a few snarky and worldly businessmen and media types in India who are now too cool and calculating for Gandhi. But displaying respect, and sincere appreciation for the founder of the modern modern Indian state and the father of Indian independence is still good public diplomacy, I would say.
    I wouldn’t read too much into the comments of a single Indian wag quoted in the NY Times. Obama has an agenda for his trip, and it doesn’t just consist in saying nice things about Gandhi.

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  25. WigWag says:

    “I think Americans now care a lot more about our trade with Asia than our long-running Middle Eastern melodramas. Jarrett can talk big for the one-issue folks about our unwavering commitments. But Obama is going on a big Asian trip to try to increase US exports. That’s where the focus is now: growth and jobs.” (Dan Kervick)
    I think that you’re right, Dan, the Israel-Palestine dispute is little more than a sideshow. It is increasingly less consequential to the American public, largely irrelevant to the Russians and Chinese and barely even noticeable in places like Japan. Only the Europeans and the Muslim world seem particularly interested in what happens to the Israelis or Palestinians as well as Jewish Americans and the tens of millions of Christian Zionists.
    What’s happening in Asia is far more important and it is a shame that Obama’s Asian trip isn’t getting the attention that it deserves at either the Washington Note or elsewhere in the press.
    America’s relationship with India may be the most important bilateral relationship that the United States has in the 21st century. From the time that the United States became a superpower at the end of World War II, it always needed junior partners to help it rule the world. During the post war era, Western Europe and Japan were our trilateral partners.
    Unfortunately now that Europe and Japan are committing demographic suicide, the United States needs to look elsewhere for junior partners and India represents far and away the most logical choice. To provide just one example, India would be a great interlocutor with Iran.
    The United States should be doing whatever it takes to win India over. We should be providing it with massive military and economic aid and we should be providing India with preferential access to American markets. If providing India with the type of aid they need is too expensive for the United States, than we should remove all American troops from Europe and dramatically scale back funding to NATO and shift those resources to help the Indians. Let the Europeans fend for themselves.
    Unfortunately Barack Obama is currently in the process of making a fool of himself in India. Instead of focusing on things that matter like bilateral trade, economic cooperation and military partnership, Obama is spending his time in India obsessing about Mahatma Gandhi. It seems that Gandhi is one of Obama’s heroes and he just can’t stop talking about him to the Indians.
    The Indians think Obama’s nuts; like a starry eyed love child from the 1960s. With his childlike fealty to Gandhi, Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela, our President is proving that he’s little more than a walking anachronism; so obsessed with the glory days of the past that he can’t accomplish anything in the present.
    Here’s the article from the New York Times which discusses how Obama’s Gandhi obsession is hindering his ability to do real work with the Indians.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/07/world/asia/07gandhi.html?_r=1&hp

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  26. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “I don’t think Palestinians are “illiterate savages” at all. But they don’t exactly have democracy or freedom of speech”
    Reading posts such as Nadine’s, above, is like a journey into the Twilight Zone. What kind of speech is more regulated, censored, and punished, than criticism of the Jews or Israel?
    Her descriptions of Palestinian practices, described for criticism, invariably describe Israeli practices to a tee. “Raining missiles” the bigoted wretch blathers. Is there anyone here that would want to hazard a guess as to the amount of ordinance “rained” down on the heads of the Palestinians this past decade, and comnpare it to the crude rocketry that the Palestinian radicals have used as return fire??
    Nadine’s musings are despicably scripted to warp the narrative into a twisted concoction of revisionist history and barely concealed bigotry that would do a Skinhead proud.

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  27. nadine says:

    Yes, jd, and if missiles rain down on Tel Aviv after an Israeli withdrawal from Judea and Samaria, I know you would find some reason to blame it on the Israelis for withdrawing in the “wrong way.”
    Tell me, if you have such a high opinion of the Palestinians, at what point will you ever hold them responsible for their own actions? or those of their own leadership?
    I don’t think Palestinians are “illiterate savages” at all. But they don’t exactly have democracy or freedom of speech. Anybody whose English reading leads him to conclude that the Jews do have history in Israel and did not invent the Holocaust, is going to be careful who he tells it to, lest he get in trouble. Remember Yaacov Lozowick’s friend “Abed”. Gotta mind that party line, or else.
    Why should being on-site make me agree with you? It certainly doesn’t work that way for your fellow Israelis, who presumably are also “on-site”! The only people it does work on are leftists who know nothing about the history of the Mideast, and will swallow the invented Palestinian “narrative” whole.

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  28. jdledell says:

    Nadine – Your understanding of the Palestinian knowledge base is woefully out of date. These are NOT illiterate savages. Even in the refugee camps there are TV’s and computers. In just about every Palestinian village there is at least one person fluent in Hebrew and/or English who keeps up on Israeli news to inform others. I believe the average Palestinian knows a lot more about Jewish Israel than the reverse.
    I don’t really know much about Palestinian polling but I’m not sure I trust them any more than I do Israeli polls. Remember, I personally heard Erekat tells young Palestinians there was no right of return. You seem to have self-selected your sources to affirm your preset opinions. I know that some Palestinian leaders who tell people the right of return will not be given up. But the average Palestinian has more common sense than to believe a politician’s every statement. Do you believe everything Israeli or US politicians say?
    The Gaza withdrawal was a disaster for both sides. It could have been negotiated as the first step of a peace deal. Sharon deliberately did this unilaterally rather than as an organized process with International help. While I don’t know for sure, I suspect Sharon knew very well that this withdrawal would be a disaster and did it purposely to make sure peace on the west bank negotiations went no where. Remember Dov Weinglass’ famous formeldhyde quote.
    I’ve given you this advice before but I’ll give it again. I would pay a lot more attention to your opinions if you did some on site investigation in Israel and the West Bank rather than just regugitating someone else’s opinion that you read.

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  29. nadine says:

    “You seem to have ideas about Palestinian attitudes that are set in concrete. Have you ever met a Palestinian? Do you understand that in the West Bank, aside from a few old men and women holding keys, the regular Palestinian people know there is no major right of return. I’ve been to the Al Amari refugee camp and spoken with relatives of my arab Haifa friends. They know it’s nothing more than a bargaining chip. ”
    How would they know that, jd, unless they read foreign media or otherwise have enough info to think for themselves? Their own leaders and media tell them the opposite. Might I suspect that the Palestinians you speak to are also a self-selected lot? The polls say something quite different. And the leadership, who holds the only opinion that matters (Palestine not being a democracy) is going backwards, not forwards, on the issue. Judging by their actions, they think time is on their side (& you agree!), so why should they compromise on anything? They certainly see no reason to. They are not desperate to negotiate — on the contrary, they are desperate NOT to negotiate.
    Giving compromises to this mentality is a mug’s game, one that fools in Israel have played since 1990 to their cost. Of course Netanyahu does not want to give up the West Bank now. Do you think the withdrawal from Gaza was such a success that you want to repeat it?

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  30. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “President Bush guranteed Israel that if PM Sharon withdrew from Gaza, the USA would recognize Israel’s right to retain the main settlement blocs”
    WTF right does ANY United States President have to tell Israel what stolen lands it can “retain”? All that does is make us an accomplice to the criminal, as if we aren’t so already.
    Have I told you yet how little respect I have for you and your “patriotism”, Nadine? It escapes me why you don’t shag your ass over to Israel and put your life where your mouth is. You should give it some thought, I’m sure they could find a place for you in their How To Be An Ugly Bigot youth program. Is it cowardice, or do you feel your bigotry is more useful to Israel if it is practiced here, where you can teach American Jewish children the fine art of hate?

    Reply

  31. jdledell says:

    Nadine – The details of Israel’s offers have also been hidden. Have you ever seen a complete proposal? Every negotiation including Taba was just a series of positions. That has given each side plausible deniability.
    You seem to have ideas about Palestinian attitudes that are set in concrete. Have you ever met a Palestinian? Do you understand that in the West Bank, aside from a few old men and women holding keys, the regular Palestinian people know there is no major right of return. I’ve been to the Al Amari refugee camp and spoken with relatives of my arab Haifa friends. They know it’s nothing more than a bargaining chip.
    I’ve heard Erekat tell students at Al Quds University there won’t be a significant reight of return – it’s a deal breaker. Remember when the Geneva Initiative was released giving up the right of return there was no big hue and cry from the Palestinian populace about it. Remember when Clinton released his parameters for a peace settlement giving up the right of return – there was very little screaming about it from the Palestinians. The right of return is a red herring.
    The reality is Netanyahu and his coalition do not want to ever give up the west bank and will try to come up with every way possible to negate a viable Palestinian state and skate past the issue. He wants the status quo to be permanent – that is reality.
    I have spent literally 50 years in every corner of Israel and the west bank talking to every side on the issues, including extremists from both sides trying to figure a way out of the mutual perspective of this as a zero sum issue. So far I have failed. My one goal is to preserve a Jewish homeland in the Jerusalem area. My great fear is that Israel in pursuit of one more dunam of land will forfeit everything to a Masada end.

    Reply

  32. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “….when none of these counter offers never made it into public view”
    And why do you think that is, pray tell?

    Reply

  33. nadine says:

    “if pres. obama guaranteed israel and netenyahu that the usa would take out iran… ” (jim metzger)
    President Bush guranteed Israel that if PM Sharon withdrew from Gaza, the USA would recognize Israel’s right to retain the main settlement blocs. Bush wrote a letter to that effect, which Congress agreed to by resolution. President Obama reneged on it.
    So you tell me, how far would you trust the USA, if you were PM of Israel?

    Reply

  34. nadine says:

    “As far as counter offers go, my information indicates the Palestinians have made numerous counter offers. ” (jd)
    So you say. It’s hard to argue when none of these counter offers never made it into public view. By your description, they sound like counters to specific points under negotiations, not part of a package deal. If the Palestinians ever made a package deal to answer Barak or Olmert, it’s been remarkably well hidden.
    As for what Bibi is offering now, consider the conditions now. Surely (the charade of Mideast peace talks aside), we are talking about maintaining the truce condition that permit West Bank economic growth? Abbas couldn’t possibly sign any peace deal and is desperate to avoid peace talks. If the IDF really stopped raiding the West Bank, Hamas would begin taking it over. You tell me, what would happen if Abbas tried to sign a peace deal, no matter what it said? If he couldn’t deliver or survive any deal, isn’t talk of who is offering what at this moment all besides the point?
    As for “token” right of return — there has been no statement to the Palestinian people that right of return will be anything but total. Likewise, there has been no statement that Jews have a shred of legitimacy in Palestine; on the contrary, the line is that they are European thieves who seized Palestine by force. This makes peace talks even less likely.

    Reply

  35. WigWag says:

    “Wigwag – If you didn’t intend an ad hominem criticism, then I apologize for taking your words to mean more than you intended. I would be grateful if you could clarify exactly what you meant.” (David Billington)
    I meant that I don’t think foreign policy decisions should be made by so-called “experts” anymore than I think that decisions about domestic policy should be relegated to “experts.”
    As I am sure that you know, a significant percentage of the foreign policy nomenclatura in this country (including Steve Clemons, I suspect) resent the fact that they are unable to make foreign policy decisions unhindered by the popular will. This is true in so many areas, from relations with the Soviets during the Cold War to relations with the Iranians today. It is abundantly apparent when it comes to U.S. Middle East policy and U.S. Cuba policy.
    No one epitomized this arrogance and elitism more than George Kennan who despite his enormous stature, his fascinating books, his public service and his very interesting work while at the IAS, hated the idea that the public might act as a check on the action of foreign policy professionals.
    My personnel feeling is that elites are far more likely to get it wrong than the public at large.
    “Congratulations! My dad just retired from fifty years of teaching there, and I taught there for a semester three years ago” (David Billington)
    If you ever get back to the Princeton campus there is something I would urge you to take a look at. Every time I visit my granddaughter, even though she no longer lives on campus (she has an apartment in a private home in Lawrenceville), I stroll over to the Woodrow Wilson house and plant myself right in front of the addition that Princeton built to serve as the faculty dining room. About 100 yards from the front door, you will find a magnificent metal sculpture entitled “Moses” by the great American artist and sculptor, Tony Smith.
    Smith’s work is breath-taking; it defies gravity. Tony Smith’s daughter, Kiki Smith is an artist in her own right (though not a sculptor) who has spent some time teaching at Princeton.
    When I visit the campus I make sure to allot myself at least a half hour to admire this wonderful work.
    If you haven’t seen it, or if you’ve passed it by without thinking about it, I urge you to take a look. I think you will be very glad that you did.
    In case you’re interested, here’s some more information about Tony Smith,
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tony_Smith_(sculptor)

    Reply

  36. jdledell says:

    Larry Birnbaum & Nadine – Regarding giving the Palestinians Israeli citizenship, perhaps I wasn’t clear. Israel’s plan is to keep control of most of the West Bank, exclusive of the Palestinian cities of Jenin, Nablus. Ramallah, Jericho and Hebron. Each of those cities would be islands of autonomy called “State of Palestine”. Israel would control all ingress and egress from those islands. That is what Netanyahu offered to Abbas.
    That was essentially confirmed by representatives of the Likud, Yisrael Beitinu and Shas. I also met with Sari Nusseibeh twice at Al Quds University who seems to have a good handle on the Palestinian perspective on the Negotiations.(No Nadine, Sari isn’t that influential but he is very good friends with Saeb Erekat and they are together often)
    What I meant by Israeli citizenship is Israel wants to control the entire west bank and the lives of all the Palestinians without citizenship – hardly a recipe for peace. The same goes for those Palestinians swept up within Israel’s new borders. They would have to apply for citizenship and we all know how that would work. My niece works in the Ministry of Interior and every East Jerusalem application for citizenship has been tossed in the garbage for the last 7 years she has worked there.
    As far as counter offers go, my information indicates the Palestinians have made numerous counter offers. The Olmert offer was countered with his proposal with these changes – Ariel and Kiryat Arba would remain but under Palestinian soverignty and the Jordan Valley lease by Israel of land east of route 90 would be changed to NATO patrols for up to 7 years. The Israeli safe passage to Gaza would be inoperable until mutual agreement.
    While the exact details of the token right of return have not been worked out there has been a quid pro quo of trading the “Right” for East Jerusalem as a capital as part of the negotiations as long as everything else was workable.
    Netanyahu is pressing for the maximum Israeli gain in these negotiations which is very short sighted. Long term the only lasting peace agreement will be one that is fair to both sides. I think he is missing that perspective in his desire not to look like a frier.

    Reply

  37. observer says:

    PissedOffAmerican, Nov 06 2010, 11:37AM:
    I think US will survive.
    I think that US is being poorly lead at all levels – both in civilian economy and in the government.
    Consider: US has sold her jobs abroad for 2 decades to pay for her civilian and military consumption over the last 20 years.
    And her policies have caused tens of millions of people to hate America.
    The reaction in US, on the other hand, has been one of retrenchment: selling more jobs and continuing down the same path in foreign lands.
    Does anyone here find a margin in US confrontation with China? Yet the policy is pointing in that direction?
    Does anyone in the government question US policies in the Muslim World – that perhaps they might be mistaken?
    Just look at Stuxnet worm; it has put under question the integrity of IT systems coming out of North America and Western Europe – thus harming one of the bright spot of US economy.
    Sometimes, just like in business, you have to sit and watch things hit the fan. When enough harm is done, people might decide to change direction.

    Reply

  38. observer says:

    nadine, Nov 06 2010, 5:41AM :
    I cannot agree with this being a nationalistic war. Of the 57 member states of the organization of Islamic Conference only 8 or 9 states have diplomatic relations with Israel.
    The Israelis are supported, for the most part to the hilt, by world Jewery – regardless their thuggish behavior and their crimes.
    As I said, the war will continue.

    Reply

  39. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Kotz, what??? Judging from your sporadic appearances, it must take you a week or two to gather the strength to lift your rock high enough to crawl out from under. Or are your bizarre and inane musings elswhere on the blogosphere eating up your worthless time?
    So now this piece of shit poser Obama is going to step up involvement in Yemen.
    Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen…..wheres it end? When the next “Al Qaeda stronghold” springs up in some other third world hell hole, do we piss our money and soldier’s lives away there too?
    Do you REALLY feel safer? Fact is, we could do more to stem anti-American sentiment in the Muslim community by spending LESS money, not more. Cut the funds off to these fuckin’ racist monsters in Israel to start with.
    This country is in really deep shit. Now the right wing scum will try to outhawk Clinton and Obama, who don’t even vaguely resemble leaders for peace. The “War on terrorism” is a fraud, a huge scam. We aren’t “DEFEATING” terrorism, we are CREATING it.
    Anyone reading this “proud” of what we’ve become??? Is there really anyone out there so fuckin’ stupid that they believe this nation can continue on this course and survive? Wake up.

    Reply

  40. kotzabasis says:

    Clemons has been long arguing that one way to isolate the radical Muslims is for the Obama administration to mobilize moderate Muslims by being nice to them and not provoke them. Yet he is appalled when Obama presumably prods and

    Reply

  41. nadine says:

    “I am led to conclude that you do agree with me that there is an ongoing war between Judaism and Islam in Palestine, no?”
    There’s an intractable conflict between the Arabs and the Israelis, not quite the same thing. It’s based on nationalism on the Israeli side but on religion on the Arab side.

    Reply

  42. David Billington says:

    Wigwag – If you didn’t intend an ad hominem criticism, then I apologize for taking your words to mean more than you intended. I would be grateful if you could clarify exactly what you meant.

    Reply

  43. David Billington says:

    “As it happens, one of my granddaughters is graduating from Princeton this year.” (Wigwag)
    Congratulations! My dad just retired from fifty years of teaching there, and I taught there for a semester three years ago.
    “I don’t understand your point. One can think that premier educational institutions have a valuable role to play in American society without believing that foreign policy is so esoteric that it can only be left to privileged few and must, at all costs, be kept out of the purview of the “great unwashed.”
    You made a categorical statement about intellectuals who are as common in premier academic institutions as they are in think tanks. I thought you were attacking both and all cases of both. I asked that you limit your criticism to those intellectuals with whom you disagree.
    There are conservatives as well as liberals represented in the peer groups from which political appointees in foreign policy are drawn, and these people normally speak to those who are elected to make policy. Those who do op-ed writing are read by a wider public and may be less civil in the way they characterize the voters who disagree with them, but if so then the proper response on your part is to take exception to these individuals rather than to foreign policy intellectuals as an entire class.

    Reply

  44. jim metzger says:

    if pres. obama guaranteed israel and netenyahu that the usa would
    take out iran if they ever attacked israel, and i mean take it out with
    our overwhelming air force, not ‘boots on the ground’ as they say,
    but take them out appropriately, then i think palestine and israel
    would sign the two state agreement in a new york minute…jim
    metzger, cincinnati

    Reply

  45. Jim Metzger says:

    If Pres. Obama guaranteed Netenyahu (??) that no matter what, if
    Iran attacked Irsael the USA would strike back at Iran with all the air
    power it took to take out whatever Iran has, I think Israel would
    make peace with Palestine in a moment………the usual process will
    not work………………Jim Metzger, Cincinnati

    Reply

  46. observer says:

    nadine, Nov 05 2010, 4:18PM:
    Your wrote: “There isn’t a war in I/P …” followed by “There won’t be peace because the Palestinians are committed ..”
    I am led to conclude that you do agree with me that there is an ongoing war between Judaism and Islam in Palestine, no?

    Reply

  47. observer says:

    WigWag:
    An intellectual is a person who uses intelligence (thought and reason) and critical or analytical reasoning in either a professional or a personal capacity.
    For an intellectual such as me, ideas are alive and have significance and consequence. Like people in many other areas of human endeavor, some intellectual are effete, and some are not – some are whisky-drinking men with lots of hair on their chests, like me.
    You are correct that policies are made by run-of-the-mill human beings.
    One such rather successful policy exploded into the Islamic Revolution in Iran with its deep and abiding hatred for the United States.
    Another policy decision, this time in Lebanon, caused the death of 240 Marines.
    And some other policies resulted in death of 3000 people on September 11, 2001.
    You cannot hide from the consequences of policies made by these macho men devoid of an intellect (opposite of the effete intellectuals). These policies have caused millions of people to come to hate the United States and what she stands for.
    I think it will be a good idea to try to find out what has gone wrong and try to correct it, if still possible. I do not think it a good idea to go around creating hatred against oneself.

    Reply

  48. nadine says:

    jd, your comments bespeak your unshakeable faith that this conflict is about dividing the land, and that if the Israelis were to offer more, the Palestinians would be accepting the deal. You seem to have forgotten that when the Israelis did offer more, the Palestinians insisted on the “right of return” to Israel, and have never even broached the idea to their own people that they’ll have to return to Palestine, not Israel.
    The Israelis have accepted the principle of “two states for two peoples”. The Palestinians have not.
    On the contrary, the Palestinians are doing their best to deny the existence of any Jewish history in Israel, and to get the international community to deny it, the better to insist that the Jews have NO legitimate claim on ANY part of Palestine. Did you see where the Palestinians got UNESCO to declare that Rachel’s Tomb and the Cave of the Patriarchs are mosques and “Palestinian historical sites”?
    Those sites have been tombs for nearly 4000 years and have never been mosques; until 15 years ago Arabs and Jews called them by the same name. Now it’s the Palestinian party line to deny any connection between those sites and Jews, just like it’s the Palestinian party line to deny there was ever a Jewish temple on the Temple Mount.
    This throws up more fundamental obstacles to peace than where to draw the border.
    Listen to the historian Yaacov Lozowick’s story of what happened when he tried to find a Palestinian co-author for a book about Jerusalem:
    “About seven years ago, not long after I’d completed the writing of Right to Exist: A Moral Defense of Israel’s Wars, an idea for the next book began germinating. Jerusalem, it occurred to me, hosts either the headquarters or a branch of just about any significant grouping within the Jewish world; a book that would describe these many threads would effectively present the full tapestry that is the Jewish people in our generation. It would also demonstrate that Jerusalem has become the true capital of the Jews, to a degree unprecedented since 2,000 years ago.
    Yet about one third of the people of Jerusalem are Palestinians. Clearly, it would be intellectually dishonest to tell the story of the city and not relate to them. So I set out to find a Palestinian partner. There already are books written together by Palestinians and Israelis, but the Israelis always seem to be apologizing for everything their country does wrong. The book I had in mind would be different: I’m a proud Zionist with no intention to beg forgiveness of the Palestinians for the fact of our existence, nor for our insistence on regarding Jerusalem as the center of our world. Yet I was (am) quite open to hearing the Palestinian side of the story; indeed, I was eager to co-author a bi-national book, and thus sign onto and and take responsibility for all of its content, the pleasant and the less pleasant parts, both.
    The act of sharing, I mused, might itself be a demonstration of both sides seeking a way towards some sort of mutually respecting resolution. Indeed, all I requested of the Palestinian partner was that he (or she) respect my side of the story as I was offering to respect his.
    Ah, well. No-one ever volunteered to join me. I turned to all sorts of people I know who’ve got strong connections with Palestinians and requested assistance in finding the right partner. Some of them told me there’d be no chance, others told me there’d be no problem; none of them ever got back to me with any potential partners. None. So much for the usefulness of our so-called peace activists.
    About three months ago I found the man on my own. Abed – I’ll call him that because it isn’t his name nor does it resemble his name – was eager to talk, and very open to collaborating. We set off on a series of meetings and tours, all of which we found mutually fascinating; we also became good friends.
    As the moment of truth approached, however, Abed began having doubts. He remained eager to continue our dialogue, and we continue to regard each other as friends, as well as valuable sources of information. Yet he began to fear that his society would not accept his co-authoring a book with an unrepentant Zionist, even one who was willing to present the Palestinian narrative in a book with his name. Abed never detailed precisely what he was afraid of, but then the details weren’t particularly important. The principle was: A Palestinian cannot participate in a joint project that recognizes the Jewish claim to Jerusalem, even if the project also presents the Palestinian claims in an equally legitimate manner. Can’t.
    As things stand, I’m accepting failure. I may still attempt to write a book about Jerusalem, a city which becomes ever more fascinating the more I look; Abed assures me he’ll find the way to help me understand the viewpoint of his people, and I expect he’ll introduce me to others whenever I wish, but it can’t be a joint project.
    If anyone out there can think of someone I don’t know of who would be willing, I’ll be eager to meet them. Alas, I fear – as I’ve been told all along – that such a person doesn’t exist. ”
    http://yaacovlozowick.blogspot.com/2010/11/dialogue-impossible.html

    Reply

  49. larry birnbaum says:

    1. “…there was no way the bulk of west bank Palestinians would
    ever get Israeli citizenship.”
    This came as a surprise to the Palestinians? Or to you? The
    whole point from Israel’s perspective is “2 states for 2 peoples.”
    Of course there’s no way that the bulk of west bank Palestinian
    Arabs — or for that matter Gazans, or descendants of refugees
    living in Lebanon — would ever get Israeli citizenship. If they
    did, the state would cease to be Israel in short order.
    2. Territory. The PA negotiators were unhappy with the proposal
    on the table? Make a counter-proposal.
    3. Jordan valley. It should again come as no surprise to anyone
    that whatever Palestinian Arab state with whatever borders might
    emerge from negotiations, will be substantially demilitarized for
    a long period with considerable mechanisms for verification and
    safeguarding this including in particular at the border with
    Jordan. Again, the PA is unhappy with what Israel proposed?
    Make a counter-offer that addresses the issue, i.e., something
    other than “you leave and we control the borders and can bring
    in whatever military hardware we wish.”
    Seriously, if you had a lawyer representing you who made points
    like this about a negotiation you were engaged in, you’d fire the
    guy. And maybe sue him for malpractice.

    Reply

  50. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “The question in my mind is whether the world will tolerate this kind of approach to Palestinian aspirations”
    Well, you can rest assured the United States will go along with it. Particularly considering that the RW scum joins hands with the LW scum in all things pertaining to Israel. It is the one and only issue where we can expect true bipartisanship, even if it is practiced behind the scenes.
    And as the last week has shown so clearly, all it takes is a spectre of an Islamic boogie man waved in the faces of a compliantly gullible media, and our attention is once more directed towards the nasty bloodthirsty hordes of Muslims that wish us, and Israel, a slow and painful death. Israel can do as it wishes to the Palestinians. It doesan’t even need to kill Americans to get its message across. A “failed” false flag attack works just as well in advancing the carefully nurtured phenomena known as “Islamophobia”. And there is always the option of another “trifecta” kind of event, when they REALLY wanna drive their message home.
    Of course Netanyahu is considering “offers” that the Palestinians will not, cannot, accept. He realizes that ANY false “concessions” will be slobbered over and lauded by Hillary Clinton as Secretary Of State, no matter what Obama’s reaction is. All he need do is run out the clock, biding his time until this one term political pussy crawls out of the White House in disgrace. Then he can REALLY get serious about frying Muslims in white phosphorous. There WILL be a “final solution” to the Palestinian “problem”, and a “state” is just not in the cards.

    Reply

  51. jdledell says:

    Nadine – I was in Israel for most of September and October for the Holidays. During that time I heard speeches by Danny Danon, Benny Begin, Danny Ayalon, Ariel Atias and others explaining to the audiences what was going on in negotiations with the Palestinians and Americans. As you can imagine this was a very hot topic.
    They all spoke in quite specific terms about the absolute most Netanyahu was prepared to give. The very most he was prepared to offer the Palestinians was Areas A and a slightly enlarged area B. The Jordan Valley and most of Area C would be retained by Israel for at least 99 years in a leasing deal. This is very similar to the way Livni described the Olmert deal during last years election.
    Danny Ayalon said that when Netanyahu proposed this, Abbas was visibly shaken and no further negotiations have taken place. Danny further stipulated there was no way the bulk of west bank Palestinians would ever get Israeli citizenship. I am terribly pessimistic about prospects for peace. What Netanyahu proposed was 4 autonomous Palestinian zones and he doesn’t care whether they call it a state or not – whatever it is will be under total Israeli control.
    The question in my mind is whether the world will tolerate this kind of approach to Palestinian aspirations.

    Reply

  52. Don Bacon says:

    Obama has waffled and wavered on everything. Here are a few of my favorites.
    * He would solicit public comment on the final drafts of all non-emergency legislation before he signs it into law.
    *He would require heads executive departments and agencies to conduct significant public business in public and in venues that can be watched online.
    *I will immediately begin to remove our troops from Iraq.
    *I will also renew the tough, direct diplomacy that can prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons and curb Russian aggression.
    *I could no more disown [Jeremiah Wright] than I can disown my white grandmother. (He disowned him a week later.)
    *.. .our commitment to the rule of law.
    Obama saw himself as Reagan redux:
    *Obama: I think Ronald Reagan changed the trajectory of America in a way that Richard Nixon did not and in a way that Bill Clinton did not. He put us on a fundamentally different path because the country was ready for it. I think they felt like with all the excesses of the 1960s and 1970s and government had grown and grown but there wasn’t much sense of accountability in terms of how it was operating. I think people, he just tapped into what people were already feeling, which was we want clarity we want optimism, we want a return to that sense of dynamism and entrepreneurship that had been missing.
    Barney Frank didn’t buy it (Jan, 2008):
    This brings me to my particular concern with Senator Obama’s vehement disassociation of himself and those he seeks to represent from “the fights of the nineties.” I am very proud of many of the fights I engaged in in the nineties, as well as the eighties and before. Senator Obama also bemoans the “same bitter partisanship” of that period and appears to me to be again somewhat critical of those of us who he believes to have been engaged in it.
    Frank went on:
    I agree that it would have been better not to have had to fight over some of the issues that occupied us in the nineties. But there would have been only one way to avoid them — and that would have been to give up. More importantly, the only way I can think of to avoid “refighting the same fights we had in the 1990’s”, to quote Senator Obama, is to let our opponents win these fights without a struggle.//
    again: “There would have been only one way to avoid them — and that would have been to give up.”
    Hey, how about that Jerry Brown in ’12?

    Reply

  53. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Anyone wanna advance an example of ANY issue over which Obama has exhibited “unwavering” conviction?

    Reply

  54. Dan Kervick says:

    I take it back. I misread. Never mind.

    Reply

  55. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Here is another issue that Obama has exercised despicable cowardice over. I doubt Wiggie can find much to gloat about over this, but no doubt Nadine and questions will seek to sugar coat BP’s giant deadly turd known as the Gulf Of Mexico…..
    Dead, dying coral found near BP spill called ‘smoking gun’
    ‘We have never seen anything like this,’ chief researcher says Interactive
    msnbc.com staff and news service reports msnbc.com staff and news service reports
    Scientists returning from an expedition off the Gulf Coast said Friday they found dead and dying deepwater coral near the BP oil spill site that was covered in a brown substance.
    More U.S. news Dead coral near BP spill called ‘smoking gun’
    50 minutes agoScientists returning from an expedition off the Gulf Coast said Friday they found dead and dying deepwater coral near the BP oil spill site that was covered in a brown substance. Full story
    2 arrested in fatal shooting of boy on Halloween Victims remembered 1 year after Fort Hood shooting 50 minutes agoLesbian who sued over prom talks about bullies Lucha libre becomes jeering, cheering family night “The compelling evidence that we collected constitutes a smoking gun” that the substance is tied to the BP spill, the chief researcher on the cruise, Penn State biologist Charles Fisher, said in a statement Friday.
    “We have never seen anything like this,” he added. “The visual data for recent and ongoing death are crystal clear and consistent over at least 30 colonies; the site is close to the Deepwater Horizon; the research site is at the right depth and direction to have been impacted by a deep-water plume, based on NOAA models and empirical data; and the impact was detected only a few months after the spill was contained.”
    “These kinds of coral are normally beautiful, brightly colored,” Fisher said. “What you saw was a field of brown corals with exposed skeleton

    Reply

  56. Dan Kervick says:

    Well, now. That was bizarre.

    Reply

  57. WigWag says:

    “When people who share this sentiment tell their children to turn down letters of admission to Harvard and Princeton, I’ll take the criticism of effete intellectuals seriously. In the meantime, Mitch McConnell the other day spoke at the Heritage Foundation, and I suspect that the issue for most people isn’t intellectuals and where they congregate but the views that they hold. Can we agree to make this distinction in the future?”
    (David Billington)
    As it happens, one of my granddaughters is graduating from Princeton this year.
    I don’t understand your point. One can think that premier educational institutions have a valuable role to play in American society without believing that foreign policy is so esoteric that it can only be left to privileged few and must, at all costs, be kept out of the purview of the “great unwashed.”

    Reply

  58. David Billington says:

    “I know you would prefer a world where a group of elite and effete wonkish intellectuals drawn from the academic and think-tank sectors got to make all of the decisions about foreign policy.” (Wigwag)
    When people who share this sentiment tell their children to turn down letters of admission to Harvard and Princeton, I’ll take the criticism of effete intellectuals seriously. In the meantime, Mitch McConnell the other day spoke at the Heritage Foundation, and I suspect that the issue for most people isn’t intellectuals and where they congregate but the views that they hold. Can we agree to make this distinction in the future?
    Regarding your point about Israel/Palestine talks, I agree that most of the electorate (and I would add even most liberals) do not see a need to pressure Israel right now. I can think of more important foreign policy concerns that should occupy the President’s time over the next year, such as Afghanistan and Iran.
    Obama’s election was a sign of American exhaustion with wars in Asia and worries about national decline. These constitute the real pressure on Israel right now, as they do on all of America’s friends in the world.

    Reply

  59. David Billington says:

    This is off-topic but on C-SPAN this morning I caught a panel discussion on world energy moderated by Steve Clemons. I wanted to commend Steve for a fast-paced substantive discussion and I hope there are more of these.

    Reply

  60. observer says:

    Nadine:
    You wrote: “US keeps the sea lanes open..”
    US does not have to.

    Reply

  61. Kathleen Grasso Andersen says:

    On the Palestine/Isreal issue….committed to “talks”…about what in particular? The UN should serve as mediator and Obama should insist on Israel respecting the 1967 borders or forego US aid……the whole world would support him…oddly, with all the world in favor, that position on the Palestine/Isreal issue would take some stones…not sure he has them.

    Reply

  62. WigWag says:

    “WigWag: I have a feeling that your hero, Walt Whitman, might have been a little more generous to the Muslim world than you are. Whitman always saw the best in people, when it comes to Arabs, you always seem to see the worst.” (A Lurker)
    Walt Whitman was a gay man. He liked to fuck men.
    His poetry was, in many cases both graphic and erotic.
    Many of the poems in the first two editions of “Leaves of Grass” (written when Whitman was still young and unconcerned about his reputation as the most important American poet of all time) have autoerotic elements and numerous masturbatory allusions.
    To wit,
    “As God comes a loving bedfellow and sleeps at my side all night and close on the
    peep of the day,
    And leaves for me baskets covered with white towels bulging the house with their
    plenty,
    Shall I postpone my acceptation and realization and scream at my eyes,
    That they turn from gazing after and down the road,
    And forthwith cipher and show me to a cent,
    Exactly the contents of one, and exactly the contents of two, and which is ahead?”
    or
    “The atmosphere is not a perfume . . . . it has no taste of the distillation . . . . it is
    odorless,
    It is for my mouth forever . . . . I am in love with it,
    I will go to the bank by the wood and become undisguised and naked,
    I am mad for it to be in contact with me.
    The smoke of my own breath,
    Echos, ripples, and buzzed whispers . . . . loveroot, silkthread, crotch and vine,
    My respiration and inspiration . . . . the beating of my heart . . . . the passing of blood
    and air through my lungs,
    The sniff of green leaves and dry leaves, and of the shore and darkcolored sea-
    rocks, and of hay in the barn,
    The sound of the belched words of my voice . . . . words loosed to the eddies of
    the wind,
    A few light kisses . . . . a few embraces . . . . a reaching around of arms,
    The play of shine and shade on the trees as the supple boughs wag,
    The delight alone or in the rush of the streets, or along the fields and hillsides,
    The feeling of health . . . . the full-noon trill . . . . the song of me rising from bed
    and meeting the sun.”
    If Walt Whitman lived in most countries of the contemporary Muslim world he would likely be beaten, tortured and murdered by the State.
    If Whitman lived in Tuki al-Faisal’s Saudi Arabia or Ahmadinejad’s Iran his death sentence might very well be carried out by having hordes of people heave stones at him until his skull was crushed or he bled to death. In other places in the Muslim world (Gaza comes to mind) he would simply have been hanged.
    I understand that in what passes for the progressive world today, none of this is particularly horrifying.
    But to millions of decent Americans, it is.

    Reply

  63. nadine says:

    “Put in a different way; US has lost control over the course of events in Palestine. It is out of her hands.
    The war will continue.”
    There isn’t a war in I/P and the only people creating the danger of war were the idiots who kept pushing talks when conditions were totally unfavorable. The Palestinian economy has been growing at 8% or better for the last few years.
    There won’t be peace because the Palestinians are committed to accepting no less than all of Palestine, and they can’t have it. They deal to extract concessions, not to do a deal.
    That’s why they won’t declare a state in the UN either, except as a statement of principles. If they declared a state in the 1967 borders, Hamas, Hizbullah and Iran would go ballistic.

    Reply

  64. nadine says:

    “Furthermore, oil is fungible and available widely.” (observer)
    That’s not a law of nature, observer. Mideast oil has to be shipped long distances. Oil is widely available because the US keeps the sea lanes open and does not allow OPEC or Iran to hold oil hostage by closing the Straights of Hormuz.

    Reply

  65. nadine says:

    “If he wants to get things right, then the President needs to stand up, dust himself off, recommit to the vision he had when he won the White House, push Netanyahu around the sumo ring, and communicate a more definitive plan for what this White House expects in a settlement.” (Steve Clemons)
    What’s the old definition of insanity? Repeating the same actions and expecting different results?
    Obama’s vision when he won the White House was the the Mideast impasse would be transformed by his presence; that with his dark skin and Muslim middle name he would change the tone by being nice to the Muslim world that Bush had so offended; and the Arabs would be eager to help him solve the I/P conflict that they kept pushing forward as the biggest problem in the world.
    And thus we got the Cairo speech, bows to King Abdullah of SA, requests for a change in tone to Egypt, Jordan and SA, demands for a settlement freeze to put daylight between the US and Israel. That was Obama’s vision of how he was going to make Mideast peace talks succeed. Instead, he made Mideast peace talks impossible.
    Obama is a very slow learner but here you are telling him to learn nothing at all!
    “If it means following the same unsuccessful strategy as before — with the same personnel, the same half-baked approach that leaves key participants out of the process, that tries to get Netanyahu to be nice to Palestinian moderates, and more of this — then Obama’s “unwavering” commitment is something worrisome.” (Steve Clemons)
    Sure, all that’s been lacking to the Mideast talks is the refusal to give Hamas a seat at the table, because they don’t really mean what they say about destroying Israel, neither they, nor Hizbullah, nor Iran their patron, nor Syria and Turkey, their new allies in the “Bloc of Resistance”. It’s all a great big misunderstanding.
    At least that’s the impression you try to give, Steve, together with Robert Malley and and Mark Perry and Flyntt Leverett, et.al. I have been forced to choose between thinking that you are even dumber than Obama, or that you would be happy to sell Israel out for an alliance with Iran. Not wishing to insult your intelligence, I choose the latter choice.
    But, thank heavens, the American people, who don’t like Islamist religious fanatics as allies, and who understand that values matter in alliances, prefer the modern, democratic Israelis, much to your consternation. Bibi will have the House as a backstop now.

    Reply

  66. Maw of America says:

    This reminds me of a hat that was worn in the mildly successful 80s thriller, Blue Thunder. In it, a young Daniel Stern is given the hat by his superior, played by Roy Scheider. It bears the letters JAFO. At the end, it is revealed to stand for Just Another Fucking Observer. Maybe we should find one for Obama.
    Of course, my recollection may be flawed, so feel free to correct any inaccuracies…

    Reply

  67. Sensa says:

    Right. He will stand up to Netanyahu only after AIPAC and their cronies in Congress disappear into thin air. You must be joking!
    The US is utterly impotent, POTUS is impotent. SOTUS is impotent. The only clear path right now is to push for a unilateral declaration of Palestinian statehood at the UN. If the US opposes it, which it probably will, the shameless game and hypocrisy and double-standard will be out of the closet for good.

    Reply

  68. Don Bacon says:

    WigWag fully and accurately answered my question above:
    Q: Why is the US intent only to foster talks — why isn’t the US an active agent for peace?
    A: It’s politically impossible.
    The US is a close, reliable and sustaining ally of Israel and therefore it has no business acting as a neutral arbitrator. So the US instead acts as an interlocutor, “the master of ceremonies of a minstrel show” (in its musical definition).
    The facade of US-sponsored talks provides valuable cover for Israel’s take-over of Palestine. Israel’s position is that only the borders of Palestine would provide Israel the secure boundaries prescribed in UNSC Resolution 242: “. . .respect for and acknowledgment of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force.”
    So Clinton is serious when she says she wants to find a way to get the talks going again. If the US can’t provide at least a show of talking, then other sponsors might be considered. Imagine what might happen if the UN, the World Court, Switzerland, South Africa or Norway replaced the US in sponsoring these bogus talks?
    The two-state solution is obviously as dead as a dormouse. (see photo of cute torpid dormice — http://tinyurl.com/26vtbkz)

    Reply

  69. Dan Kervick says:

    I think Americans now care a lot more about our trade with Asia than our long-running Middle Eastern melodramas. Jarrett can talk big for the one-issue folks about our unwavering commitments. But Obama is going on a big Asian trip to try to increase US exports. That’s where the focus is now: growth and jobs.

    Reply

  70. observer says:

    WigWag:
    That is plainly silly.
    China, Korea, Japan, India all import significant amounts of oil from the Persian Gulf that the United States. Furthermore, Korea, Japan, and India , unlike US, do not have their own domestic oil production.
    Furthermore, oil is fungible and available widely.
    You have stated, implicitly, that the American people find Muslims in general and Arabs in particular revolting.
    Likewise, Muslims seem to reciprocate that feeling.
    Muslims and Chinese/Indians/Japanese/Koreans of this world seem to be able to get along.
    What gives for America and Muslims?

    Reply

  71. A Lurker says:

    WigWag:
    I have a feeling that your hero, Walt Whitman, might have been a little more generous to the Muslim world than you are. Whitman always saw the best in people, when it comes to Arabs, you always seem to see the worst.

    Reply

  72. WigWag says:

    “If the Muslim World in general and the Arab world in particular are so vile and revolting to Americans; then why doesn’t the United State leave those areas?”(observer)
    We need the oil.

    Reply

  73. observer says:

    WigWag:
    If the Muslim World in general and the Arab world in particular are so viloe and revolting to Americans; then why doesn’t the United State leave those areas?
    One could envision US maintaining a military posture within Israel and directed outwards and only a commercial presence elsewhere, no?

    Reply

  74. WigWag says:

    “If he wants to get things right, then the President needs to stand up, dust himself off, recommit to the vision he had when he won the White House, push Netanyahu around the sumo ring, and communicate a more definitive plan for what this White House expects in a settlement.” (Steve Clemons)
    With all due respect, Steve, your comment is almost pathetic in its desperation.
    Let’s review some of the salient facts:
    1. According to almost every recent credible poll, the popularity of Israel is near or at all time highs in the United States. The popularity of the Palestinian Authority approaches the popularity of the Ahmadinejad regime (the PA has an approval rate of around 10 percent).
    To be fair, polls also show that Americans support a two state solution, want the United States to treat both sides equally and support an engaged American role. But if you look at those who have more than a causal interest in the Israel-Palestine dispute, you have a large cadre of Jewish Americans who are well organized, who vote and who make political contributions who will simply not tolerate a President who pushes an Israeli Prime Minister around the sumo ring (even if they disagree with the Prime Minister about alot of things). This group of Jewish Americans is backed up by an enormous group of well organized Christian Americans who for religious and/or other reasons believe supporting Israel is of paramount importance.
    President Obama has given up on fighting with the Israelis in public not only because it didn’t work, but also because the United States is a democracy not a dictatorship of the wonkish intellegencia. Americans just don’t want an American President pushing around an ally that they value, especially at the same time that he is kissing up to a Muslim world that they despise.
    2. Elections have consequences. The new Majority Leader of the House of Representatives, Eric Cantor, has already announced that if the Palestinians unilaterally declare a state that he will ensure that all American funding to the Palestinian Authority is cut-off. Cantor can accomplish this whether the President likes it or not. Illeana Ros-Lehtinen (who I have met personally and like very much as a person, if not as a politician) is going to be the new Chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. If anything, when it comes to Israel, she is even more right wing than the Democrat that she is replacing, Howard Berman. Ros-Lehtinen has already been asking out loud why the clauses that permit the President to refrain from moving the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem continue to be maintained. If the President starts pushing Prime Minister Netanyahu around the sumo ring, the gentle lady from Florida and the House Majority Leader will make President Obama’s life a living hell not only when it comes to the Middle East, but when it comes to every other foreign policy issue as well.
    3) The U.S. Senate race in Pennsylvania was almost certainly decided by voters who were upset with Joe Sestak’s views about the Middle East. According to the exit polling, Sestak won about 64 percent of the Jewish vote; this sounds pretty good until you consider the fact that had Sestak done as well in the Philadelphia suburbs as Obama did when he ran for President in 2008, it would have given Sestak thousands of additional votes. Sestak’s relationship with the Pennsylvania Chapter of CAIR also cost him desperately needed support in a state where every vote counted. In Pennsylvania, J Street went up against the Emergency Committee for Israel and despite J Street’s posturing, they lost.
    None of this will be lost on either David Axelrod or Barack Obama. They have literally no legitimate way to win reelection if they don’t carry Pennsylvania in 2012. Pushing Netanyahu around the sumo ring won’t win Obama one additional vote in Pennsylvania but it could cost him many thousands. Considering how close Pennsylvania is likely to be in 2012, those few thousand votes could easily be the difference between winning and losing the Presidency.
    4) Obama probably still has ambitions that he can win Florida in 2012. He’s wrong; his chance of capturing Florida’s electoral votes is near zero. Nevertheless, with dreams of Florida’s 27 electoral votes twinkling in his eyes, Obama will understand perfectly well that pushing the Israeli Prime Minister around the sumo ring is a sure way to lose Florida. The only Floridians who have any affection for Obama at all are the Jews, the sizable gay population in Dade and Broward counties and African Americans, Haitian Americans and Caribbean Americans (my suspicion is that Obama has already lost the vote of young Cubans who came out big for Rubio). If Obama is to have any chance of winning Florida in 2012 he needs to capture 75 percent of the Jewish vote. Florida Jews by in large are older, more fervently Zionist, somewhat more conservative and somewhat more observant than their brethren in places like the Upper West Side of Manhattan. They will not vote for a candidate who pushes an Israeli Prime Minister around the sumo ring.
    If you want proof, I offer up what happened to my own Congressman (who I voted for on Tuesday), Ron Klein. Ron is Jewish, staunchly pro-Israel, and a big Obama supporter. He went out of his way to defend the President’s positions on the Middle East even though he said he was uncomfortable with them. Klein infuriated his Jewish supporters by defending President Obama. Klein’s opponent, Alan West, was a Tea Party candidate (he also happens to be an African-American Republican) who made supporting Netanyahu’s policies a cornerstone of his campaign. West was just way to the right of Klein on everything pertaining to the Middle East in much the same way that Marco Rubio was to the right of Kendrick Meek and Charlie Crist (both of whom had always been allies of Israel). While Klein won a majority of the Jewish vote, he didn’t win a high enough percentage of that vote to actually win the election. The reason for this is simple; South Florida Jews hate the way Obama has treated the Israeli Prime Minister, they don’t like the President kissing up to Muslim nations that have values that most decent people think are disgusting and they don’t like the President’s instinct to honor people like Mary Robinson who hate Jews. If Obama wants to pursue his delusion that he can win Florida in 2012 than pushing Netanyahu around the sumo ring just isn’t going to fly.
    Here’s the reality, Steve; I know you would prefer a world where a group of elite and effete wonkish intellectuals drawn from the academic and think-tank sectors got to make all of the decisions about foreign policy. But that’s not the world that we live in; we live in a noisy, messy representative democracy.
    In a representative democracy you actually have to convince people that your ideas are right. It’s not that you and others who agree with you haven’t tried to convince people that your ideas about the Middle East are right; you have tried. The problem is that you’ve failed.
    In fairness to you and to President Obama, it’s not hard to understand why you’ve failed. In order to convince Americans that your view of the Middle East is right, you have to ask them to ignore what’s right in front of their eyes. When Americans look at Israelis, they see people remarkably like us. The Israelis look and act just like their Jewish neighbors in the United States; Americans like their Jewish neighbors. When they see how Israelis responded in Gaza or in Lebanon when the rockets started flying, most Americans would want the American Government to respond in exactly the same way if we were taking incoming fire from Canada, Mexico or elsewhere.
    When Americans look at the Muslim world in general and the Arab world in particular they see something else; they see a world filled with violence, hatred, bigotry and intolerance. They see capital punishment for homosexuality, female genital mutilation, forced marriage of very young girls, honor killings, horrendous persecution of minority Christian groups, rioting over something as innocuous as cartoons, women forced to wear the veil whether they want to or not, so-called moderate clerics refusing to condemn the idea of stoning to death women accused of adultery, the mocking of grieving Americans by constructing a triumphalist mosque near a location that is now iconic and loud cheering for terrible terrorist acts.
    I understand that from your point of view this characterization of the Muslim world might lack nuance; fair enough, you are entitled to your opinion. But many Americans including me believe that the reason you don’t see the Muslim world the way we do is because you deliberately avert your eyes.
    Americans understand that the Palestinians are part and parcel of this world and that despite the soothing demeanor of Abbas or Fayyad much of the same dysfunctionality that characterizes the rest of the Muslim world also characterizes Palestinian society.
    Let’s change the wrestling metaphor from sumo to something more quintessentially American; the WWF (even though Linda McMahon lost her Senate race in Connecticut). It’s not the Israelis that Americans want Obama to push around the sumo ring, it’s the Palestinians that Americans want President Obama to place in a sleeper-hold.

    Reply

  75. observer says:

    Steve Clemens:
    I think you are over-estimating the degree of control and exercise of power that US has over the antagonists.
    Put in a different way; US has lost control over the course of events in Palestine. It is out of her hands.
    The war will continue.

    Reply

  76. Don Bacon says:

    Clinton’s working on talks. “We are working on a non-stop basis with our Israeli and Palestinian friends to design a way forward,” Clinton said, saying she believed Netanyahu and Abbas were committed to pursuing a two-state solution to the six-decade conflict. “I am very involved in finding the way forward and I think that we will be able to do so,” she added.
    Designing and/or finding a way forward, she’s not sure which.
    The recent US election didn’t please Israeli opposition leader Tzipi Livni:
    “For those of you who believe that the loss of Obama is good for Netanyahu, I ask myself have you all gone crazy?. . . He who says that a weak US or a weak American president is good for Israel is not just speaking stupidly, they are encouraging something that endangers Israel itself.”
    http://www.jpost.com/Israel/Article.aspx?id=193881
    She might have a point. Power abhors a vacuum and the Saudis are a factor. Saudi prince Turki al-Faisal, who was in Washington on Thursday, maintained that the Kingdom will not engage Israel until it leaves all land captured during the 1967 Six-Day War. “King Abdullah’s forthright initiative of 2002 laid the groundwork for an end to hostilities: if the Israelis withdraw from occupied lands, including East Jerusalem, to their pre-June 4, 1967 boundaries and address the refugee situation through mutual agreement, Saudi Arabia and the Arab League and the Organization of the Islamic Conference will end all forms of hostilities and commence normal and peaceful relations with the State of Israel,” he added.
    I doubt that the Zionist Biden and SecState Clinton will agree with the Saudis as they pander to Netanyahu. Perhaps some New Orleans voodoo is in order to help Clinton design or find a way forward.
    It’s rather comical to see the US try to be partial and impartial at the same time, and expect Arabs to believe US intentions are honorable when all the evidence is otherwise.

    Reply

  77. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Netanyahu says he will meet Clinton during U.S. visit
    PM will arrive in New Orleans on Sunday to address a conference of the U.S. Jewish community, where Joe Biden will also speak.
    By The Associated Press
    Netanyahu questions Palestinian commitment to peace Palestinians see settlements as major obstacle U.S.-brokered peace process at an impasse
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday he would meet Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during a U.S. visit next week in addition to previously announced talks with Vice President Joe Biden.
    In a speech to parliament, Netanyahu again voiced strong criticism of the Palestinian Authority, which has suspended peace talks over his refusal to resume a partial freeze of construction in Jewish settlements in the West Bank.
    “The truth is, there is great readiness in Israel for a real peace process,” he said. “The truth is, we have not found a corresponding readiness within the Palestinian Authority.”
    Netanyahu has resisted U.S., Palestinian and international calls to impose a new building moratorium in settlements after a 10-month freeze expired in late September, some three weeks after the U.S.-brokered negotiations began.
    Palestinian officials have accused Netanyahu of destroying prospects for peace by allowing settlement building to continue on land that Palestinians want for a future state.
    Netanyahu arrives in New Orleans on Sunday to speak at a conference of U.S. Jewish leaders that Biden also will address. President Barack Obama will be visiting Asia during Netanyahu’s U.S. trip, which also includes a four-day stay in New York.
    “I will, of course, meet with the senior leaders of the United States, with Vice President Biden and subsequently with Hillary Clinton,” Netanyahu told parliament.
    continues…..
    http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/netanyahu-says-he-will-meet-clinton-during-u-s-visit-1.322733
    Out come the kneepads.
    “I am a zionist” Biden, and the whore for Israel Clinton must be ecstatic. Obama overseas, while their patron saint comes a calling. Things just got far far worse for the Palestinians.
    Be sure to look at the photo accompanying the article. This is what Hillary looks like while experiencing an orgasm. Does that look like the demeanor a Secretary Of State should assume while meeting with a foreign leader that has spent two years spitting in our President’s face, as well as murdered and maimed American citizens engaged in peaceful protest?

    Reply

  78. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “The president has made it very clear that he is committed to doing whatever he can to foster talks in the Middle East – that’s unwavering,” Valerie Jarrett, Obama’s senior adviser for public engagement, said in a conference call Wednesday with a broad array of special interest groups, including Jewish groups. “That’s not a partisan issue; his commitment to that is unwavering.”
    It is that kind of say-nothing garbage that indicates just how little respect these sacks of shit in DC have for the average American’s intelligence. To describe or ascribe any sort of “unwavering” conviction to Obama, on ANY issue, is utterly ridiculous. The posturing political coward has done nothing but “waver”, on ANY and EVERY issue you choose to pull out of the hat. But it is particularly disingenuous for some smooth talking spokesperson asshole to decribe Obama as “unwavering” in his handling of the Isr/Pal issue. And now that the previous scum is oozing thier way back into power, we are abvout to see the full depth of Obama’s political cowardice and lack of conviction.
    And I imagine, when pondering this recent chain of events, the witch Clinton is sleeping soundly with a satisfied grin on her face. No longer will she have to seduce Bibi behind closed doors, as the ascending right will be happy to do it openly in the public spotlight. And Obama is far too much the coward to dissent.
    Hillary will no longer have to precede your conversations with Bibi with “I have been instructed to tell you…”.
    She will now get to say “I am happy to inform you…”

    Reply

  79. Don Bacon says:

    “The president has made it very clear that he is committed to doing whatever he can to foster talks in the Middle East – that’s unwavering,” Valerie Jarrett said.
    SC: What does “unwavering mean?
    Rather I would ask: Why is the US intent only to foster talks — why isn’t the US an active agent for peace?
    Various observers have erroneously alluded to the US as a member of the I/P talks that are being promoted, or an arbiter. But the US has consistently said that it is only a facilitator of talks and has indicated that it is not an active participant.
    The US is acting like it has no vital interest in I/P talks, which isn’t the case. So again, why is the US merely fostering talks and why isn’t it an active agent for peace?

    Reply

  80. MarkL says:

    Obama seems to have an unwavering commitment to all his mistakes. He’s still talking about bipartisan outreach, and still pre-conceding in negotiations to Republicans about just about everything.
    His slow (read: nonexistent) learning curve as President is the worst I’ve ever seen, and makes me doubt his intelligence.

    Reply

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