The neocons continue to criticize prez Obama for not denouncing the Iranian regime more forcefully.

The president, of course, has been very clear about not wanting to make it about us, and give the mullahs a scapegoat, which would actually hinder the demonstrators.  Every non-neocon analyst agrees with that.  Even Iranian tweeters.  It makes absolute sense to me.  I mean, duh!

Now Zakaria points out that they took the exact same line against George H. W. Bush when the Soviet Union started cracking.  Of course, Bush’s cautios and measured approach worked and has been vindicated by history.

And how did their Iraq adventure turn out?  Wrong again.

The insane thing is that news media keeps bringing these idiots in to stomp over every serious and constructive discussion.  In fact they give them awards!

Why?  I don’t know, and I’m not going to start a conspiracy theory.  We will find out eventually.

But I know this: They speak for the Israeli right and for the military-industrial complex, not for us.

And America is worse for it.

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Obama continues pitting his enemies against themselves.  Sotomayor’s nomination is just the latest:  Republicans are caught between a rock (the base in the primaries) and a hard place (the Latin vote in the general).

The Middle East is the next installment.

Israel first: Obama demands a stop to settlements.  A relatively small step in the grand scheme of things.  Most Americans view it as a sensible enough request.  Political cost at home is minimal, even with Jewish voters.  But it puts Netanyahu in an untenable position: Under attack from his right flank while worrying the rest of the electorate that he can’t handle the U.S. relationship.

At a minimum it weakens Netanyahu’s hand, and in fact it will probably bring down his government soon in favor of a more moderate one.

Then there is Iran: Obama’s current charm offensive is not sustainable long term in the face of Iranian grandstanding.  But what if the point has never really been to coax Ahmadinejad to the negotiating table?

More likely Obama has just been giving the Iranian young (a large part of the electorate) a heavy dose of hope.  Not that Mousavi won’t still be largely a puppet of the clerics, but at least he won’t need as much tough talk to appease his base, which will make it a whole lot easier to negotiate.  Plus a new Iranian government won’t carry all the baggage of the last eight years.

So if I had to guess, tomorrow’s speech will be a throwback to the election tone: Soaring, hopeful, idealistic.

In other words:  Iran, yes we can.

PA losing it

January 14, 2009

My worst fears already coming true:

The more bombs in Gaza, the more Hamas’s support seems to be growing at the expense of the Palestinian Authority, already considered corrupt and distant from average Palestinians.

“The Palestinian Authority is one of the main losers in this war,” said Ghassan Khatib, an independent Palestinian analyst in the West Bank city of Ramallah. “How can it make gains in a war in which it is one of the casualties?”

NY Times 1/15/08

The future of Israel

January 14, 2009

Bob Simon has a sobering look at the future of Israel.  Some excerpts:

“… I think history has passed it [a two-state solution] by..”  because removal of the settlers is not politically and militarily viable.  So many of the soldiers are religious guys the army would break apart.

“.. might have been possible with Rabin, which is why he was killed.”

Within 20 years Palestinians will outnumber Jews.  What happens then?  Three options:

  1. Give them the vote (unthinkable)
  2. Ethnic cleansing
  3. Apartheid

Some say apartheid is already here.. for example settlers have their own highways that Palestinians are not allowed to use.

“The settlers went in there knowing that their objective was to prevent a Palestinian state”

“Gaza has become the largest prison in the world”

Anything you want Olmert

January 13, 2009

That the Israeli prime minister can just call up our president and order that we do X or Y is outrageous.

I don’t know what share of Jewish vote Obama needs for reelection, but this is something else that needs to change starting next Tuesday.

Oh and Olmert needs to shut up.

Propaganda

January 8, 2009

If Hamas is rigging schools with explosives to make Israel look bad, why isn’t Israel allowing journalists into Gaza?

296 to 1

December 30, 2008

“By last night, the exchange rate stood at 296 Palestinians dead for one dead Israeli” -Robert Fisk

I don’t see how Israel can expect goodwill from the world or understanding from Arabs with such asymmetric response. Or how it can possibly not produce a whole new generation of suicide bombers.

The whole thing comes off as Israel wanting to teach the people of Gaza a lesson for voting Hamas in.  Is that too cynical?

I’m most afraid Israel may have just delivered the West Bank to Hamas as well, and destroyed any chance for peace another decade.

Charles’ write up has some great quotes.

Mitchell Bard makes a good case for Israel’s actions and justification.  And I agree 400 rockets cannot stand.  And yet I think they’re playing right into Hamas’ hands.