Every so often, the sayings of Casey Stengel come to mind. The longtime manager of the New York Yankees, accustomed to a Prussian professionalism, moved over to the astonishingly hapless New York Mets in 1962 and, surveying his new team, uttered an exasperated question: “Can’t anybody here play this game?” What applied to those Mets applies now to the Obama administration. In the Middle East, it’s no hits and plenty of errors.
This fact marks our political age: The pendulum is swinging faster and in shorter arcs than it ever has in our lifetimes. Few foresaw the earthquake of 2008 in 2006. No board-certified political professional predicted, on Election Day 2008, what happened in 2009-10 (New Jersey, Virginia and Massachusetts) and has been happening, and will happen, […]
You might not have seen it reported, but the Senate will vote this morning on whether to repeal part of ObamaCare that it passed only months ago. The White House is opposed, but this fight is likely to be the first of many as Americans discover — as Nancy Pelosi once famously predicted — what’s […]
by Charles Krauthammer The prospects are dim but the process is right. The Obama administration is to be commended for structuring the latest rounds of Middle East talks correctly. Finally, we’re leaving behind interim agreements, of which the most lamentable were the Oslo accords of 1993. The logic then was that issues so complicated could […]
As Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu heads to Washington for another stillborn round of talks with Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas hosted by US President Barack Obama, he will probably be preoccupied with one issue.
It won’t be Obama’s demand that Jews be prohibited from building synagogues, schools and homes in Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria.
Netanyahu won’t be wondering how long Abbas can keep up with his “Palestinian president” act before his people chase him out of town. Abbas’s term ended in January 2009.
In recent American history three presidents, Republicans Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush–and Democrat icon John Fitzgerald Kennedy–all lowered taxes in response to economic recessions. In all three cases, more money flowed into federal coffers than expected, and all three recessions ended.
The White House is the most stubborn defender of the notion that the Iranian nuclear threat is not as serious a threat as the absence of a Palestinian state. That is, President Barack Obama himself is the most strident advocate of a US Middle East policy that ignores all the dangers the US faces in the region and turns American guns against the only country that doesn’t threaten any US interest.
There is an instinctive conclusion among the American public that President Obama’s stimulus package has failed to create a sustained recovery. Unemployment has increased, not declined; consumers have retrenched; housing starts have crashed along with mortgage applications; and there is a fear that a double-dip recession may very well be in the pipeline. The public perception, reflected in Pew Research/National Journal polls, is that the measures to combat the Great Recession have mostly helped large banks and financial institutions, and that’s a view common to Republicans (75 percent) and Democrats (73 percent). Only one third of either political leaning thinks government policies have done a great deal or a fair amount for the poor.
‘Twas a famous victory for diplomacy when, in 1991 in Madrid, Israelis and Palestinians, orchestrated by the United States, at last engaged in direct negotiations. Almost a generation later, U.S. policy has succeeded in prodding the Palestinians away from their recent insistence on “proximity talks” — in which they have talked to the Israelis through American intermediaries — and to direct negotiations. But negotiations about what?
President Obama has revealed his true nature. After 20 months in the Oval Office, he still remained a largely unknown figure. A picture is coming into focus now, and it should trouble all Americans. It is widely known that Mr. Obama is a post-national progressive. Yet he is also a cultural Muslim who is promoting an anti-American, pro-Islamic agenda. This is the real meaning of his warm – and completely needless – embrace of the Ground Zero Mosque.
Secretary of State Clinton’s announcement last week that direct Israeli-Palestinian talks will recommence next month poses considerable risk for the United States. The odds are high these negotiations will fail. If so, and combined with U.S. troop withdrawals from Iraq, President Obama’s commitment to begin withdrawing NATO forces from Afghanistan next summer and Iran’s continuing progress toward nuclear weapons, failure means that Washington’s Middle East influence will decline.
Immersion in this region’s politics can convince those immersed that history is cyclical rather than linear — that it is not one thing after another but the same thing over and over. This passes for good news because things that do change, such as weapons, often make matters worse.
History sometimes repeats itself in the Middle East, but not always. Twice before, Israel has attacked Arab nuclear reactors before they were loaded with the fuel rods that could have produced plutonium Pu 239 for an atomic bomb. Both strikes against Iraq’s Osirak reactor in 1981 and Syria’s North Korean-built reactor in 2007 were surprise attacks. In neither case did Israel receive Washington’s blessing. In the case of Iraq, Israel didn’t even warn its close friend, Ronald Reagan, in advance.
When Israel declared independence in 1948, it had to use mostly small arms to repel attacks by six Arab armies. Today, however, Israel feels, and is, more menaced than it was then or has been since. Hence the potentially world-shaking decision that will be made here, probably within two years.