Category Archives: Analysis

Exclusives to the Hashmonean – This is the best category here.

Israeli Reality: President Obama Can No Longer Be Trusted (Update)

We Must Pursue a New Strategic Reality

It is now clear that the President of the United States is intent on appeasing the enemies of both America & Israel. It is also clear he intends to do so at our expense in Israel. Whatever his strategy, (beyond sheer malice) the following is evident. Obama is moving to impose a solution on Israel that will not deliver the prime ingredient, PEACE.

The President has broken a number of agreements with us, despite his assurances his word is meaningless. He broke agreements with us regarding Jerusalem, we painfully froze settlements in the West Bank excluding Jerusalem and months later our concessions have been digested, and he is only pushing for more. This means our concessions have no currency, they are like devalued dollars in an inflationary spiral. Forget guarantees, our concessions don’t even generate goodwill! Neither with America nor the Palestinians.

The opposite, they are perceived as weakness by a tyrant intent on pummeling us further. Such a man cannot be entrusted, he has broken faith not only with our government, but the people of Israel. This new reality touches on a wide range of issues;

  • American assurances regarding Iran’s nuclear drive
  • American assurances in any peace making efforts
  • American assurances regarding defense, and or ballistic missile attack
  • American assurances regarding a nuclear umbrella

Credibility Gap

If Obama intends to impose a mideast solution, he will try to force concessions from us that do not deliver peace. Worse, this imposed settlement will require Israel to place its security in the hands of others, either NATO or the US in the deluded notion that they will protect Israeli interests. Clearly, they will not. We have seen how this has failed previously, UN forces on the Suez, UN forces in Lebanon. Not once have they ever secured security for Israel. They have only sought to tie Israel’s hands from ensuring its own security. This is the model Obama will seek when he pushes to impose a solution on any number of fronts.

The same can be said of Iran. We are being told not to strike and being given instead only American assurances. Such assurances are clearly worthless under this President. I am not being dramatic, polling shows Israelis do not trust the President, it is as simple as that. It may have been the case previously that Israelis would entertain allowing US forces or NATO forces to create a buffer between us & our enemies. Under this President who cannot be trusted this is no longer acceptable.

Whether it be Mid East peace, or more aptly titled Mid East concessions on land for no Peace.. Or the Iran threat, Obama has blown his own credibility with the people of Israel. His advisers whine about Netanyahu’s credibility as a peace maker, this is noise. They do so  after we called for a two state solution, after we froze settlements, after we openly maintained since day one we are prepared for DIRECT talks with the Palestinians. The Administration seeks to cover not only its own evident failures by blaming others, but those of the Arab world and the Palestinians as well – It’s rather pitiful.

In reality it is their credibility which is now strained, not ours. We must act accordingly, we must now dig in for massive White House pressure on an imposed solution, up domestic support for Netanyahu, preserve the Labor / Likud coalition and prepare to strike Iran militarily. It is also likely Palestinian obstinacy will cause violent flare ups regionally, Hamas has already been emboldened by Obama’s appeasement, Hezbollah will not be far behind.

Obama may believe he seeks peace, in reality all his failed ideologies and strategies will lead to war. The more he pressures Americas allies while giving a free pass to her enemies, the higher the likelihood of violence. When it explodes, we will know whom to blame.

UPDATE: March 29th

Haaretz today adds the muscle to the analysis above, as Jerusalem sources confirm the belief that Obama now seeks to impose a mediated settlement, and has broken American commitments with Israel. The article also touches on the credibility gap I wrote about above.

Below, a commenter expresses his frustration over the Obama tactics of bait & switch regarding Jerusalem, something felt strongly here in Israel as well.

The Day Obama Told Biden to Condemn Israel

Our “Friend” in the White House is obsessed with the Palestinian narrative.

Here are my thoughts about today’s big speech designed by the White House to ‘reach out to Israel’.

First let me say that we are honored to have had the VP Joe Biden visit with us, he is the Vice President of what has been until now our closest & most trusted ally, The United States of America. Sadly, it remains to be seen if that legacy will carry forward.

Mission Unaccomplished

It’s hard to escape the fact the speech was heavy on lecturing us in Israel, the bulk of it was seemingly devoted to this, Biden’s personal anecdotes of friendship aside.

  • How we don’t do enough for peace
  • How we don’t risk enough for peace
  • How we endanger peace.
  • How hard Peace is & how we are making it harder.

As I listened to it, even the parts extolling our long friendship, I couldn’t help but be struck at how superficial it all was. The personal anecdotes were the same ones delivered by Biden previously to AIPAC in other speeches, that’s fine & understandable. It may have effected me nonetheless. I can’t even fault Joe, he delivered his speech well. But I felt it’s as if this White House is just going through the motions when it comes to Israel.

It’s such a stark contrast to the genuine warmth we felt from Bush. When he spoke you could hear it in his voice & see it in his eyes he was true friend. You could feel the alliance pulsing, the passion that real friends or brothers have for each other. Shoulder to shoulder, thick & thin.

This passion & friendship at a leadership level is long gone.

Try as they may to write it out, the White House speech writers, the advisers, down to the President himself they hold no passion for Israel. It’s evident. Biden tried to deliver it for them, but making us wait 45 minutes collectively as a nation for him to get it started certainly did not help. TV stations, radio, all of it live..  Filling in dead air time for nearly an hour making up for the fact Biden was so late!? It contributed to this feeling we have, that we are a chicken or fish bone stuck in the White House throat. That’s how they feel about us and we can sense it, we’re an errand, an annoyance or something to knock off on a post it note.

Obama’s stumbling block to greatness

That’s the reason Obama is so unpopular here. We know that for Obama, in his mind we are a roadblock preventing him from greatness. He feels no doubt the same way about nearly everyone. The US House, the American people, the Congress. It’s very sad, he’s clearly an egomaniac and I won’t mince words. We all know the type, they blame their failures on everyone else, like a slighted Hollywood star who’s acting simply sucks.

So how can anyone here in Israel feel assured, or entrust our very existence to such a ‘friend’? It’s frankly beyond me. Truthfully this America Israel stuff should be easy as apple pie. This is not a difficult mission, we love America! We want to be swept off our feet by her, the fact Obama can’t accomplish even this simple task is astounding. It’s speak much more than words can.

Nonetheless, what we really needed to hear is how we would stop Iran. That part was painfully short and passed by all too quickly. Instead we mostly heard how we should stop figuratively abusing the Palestinians and begin delivering for Obama a big win. Indeed, when Obama spoke in Cairo and embraced the Arab narrative it is clear now more than ever, he wasn’t humoring them. This dribble is what he actually believes. It’s 20 years of Jeremiah Wright coming home to roost, and he’s humoring us instead.

This one line from the speech says it all.

It was in reaction to the housing plans announced in Jerusalem which caused such a scandal.
Jerusalem, the territory we made sure everyone understands is not subject to settlement talk, not subject to freezes..

I — and at the request of President Obama, condemned it immediately and unequivocally.

That’s the real story. We had once again dared to stand before President Obama and his failed legacies. We are, and have always been in his mind condemned unequivocally and we know it. If someone had intended to convince us otherwise today, they failed. The speech went out with a whimper, it’s hardly being spoken about or even reported about hours later. I suspect thanks to this Administration, much the same can be said about the American Israel alliance for the next 3 years.

Target Iran: A War of Choice or Necessity?

Obama’s Failed Foreign Policy Has Everyone Spinning

There’s a mountain of activity, editorials, blog posts, opinion pieces & think tank rhetoric exploding outward this week regarding Iran. With Obama’s signature foreign policy of engagement crashing & burning, and no direction in sight the spinners are out in force at every level.

American envoys, like Admiral Mullen, Kerry, even VP Biden are & have been shuttling to Israel to hold off any Israeli strike. Sec. Clinton jetted off to Latin America, doing whatever it is she does to unsuccessfully rally for sanctions. On the media front, articles galore delegitimizing strikes as a possible solution..

None of it is on the level

If it were, there would be a credible strategy put forth to counter the military option. But as we’ve seen, the refined fuel blockade combined with IRGC sanctions are nowhere to be found, if anything deadlines which passed months ago are only pointing to sanctions many more months away. Those sanctions are neither a given nor are the odds very good either.

Clearly, the Obama administration is stalling for time, waiting for the Iranian nuclear bomb to become a reality because the President like so many before me have claimed, is rather weak. He was weak on tough engagement, weak on supporting regime change in Iran, and now he’s weak on stopping the Iranian nuclear drive. If he weren’t, the multiple US House & Senate resolutions for fuel sanctions now sitting in drawers nearly a year would have been long ago realities, instead they are blocked by the Administration at every turn..

There are basically three courses open to the Obama administration with respect to Iran. It can do the Full Leverett (drop all pretense of hostility toward Iran and engage them on all issues in the hopes of a grand bargain); it can pursue the course it’s on now, a slow roll of diplomacy towards possible sanctions and international condemnation of Iran that probably won’t alter their nuclear progress; or it can start a war with Iran, which may or may not fully stop their nuclear program but would open the door to a host of consequences, most of them negative.

In contrast to their neoconservative critics, the Obama administration, including senior figures in the military, apparently sees the “hard realities of the world” as mitigating against starting a third war in the Greater Middle East – even if it means conceding some nuclear weapons capability to Iran. Of course, the administration can’t publicly acknowledge this, and so they have pursued the diplomatic and sanctions track, to demonstrate that they are least trying to address the problem.

“Hard Realities of the World”

That above is ‘realism school of thought’ euphemism for weakling, its testament to the overblown Iranian rhetoric. In reality Iran is the weak link, a regime forced to beat its own peoples to remain in power who’s unending glorious pronouncements of strength do little to buttress the fact that the only outlet they have is terror. So far so good, they seem to have terrorized the Obama administration into submission. Unfortunately for him, the American public is a different story..

“Do not even think about bombing Iran,” wrote Michael O’Hanlon and Bruce Reidel in yesterday’s Financial Times.  Pointing out that the US has two unpopular and unfinished wars in the region already, and that the damage from any military strikes on the Islamic Republic would be unlikely to do enough damage to its nuclear program to justify the military and political cost, and also that Iran would have many opportunities to retaliate against US interests in the region, they urge President Obama to take this option off the table completelyLiving with a nuclear Iran won’t be fun, but it’s better than the alternatives, so let’s start making plans for the inevitable.

I actually agree with O’Hanlon and Reid that military strikes against the Iranian nuclear program aren’t likely to get us anywhere good, but that doesn’t mean we can stop thinking about them. Sixty-one percent of Americans asked called Iran’s strength a ‘critical threat’ in a Gallup poll last month;  an additional 29 percent said the Iranian threat was ‘important.’  With 90 percent of the public feeling threatened by Iran — at a moment when nothing special was happening — it’s not clear to me that domestic politics will allow the Obama administration to steer clear of hostilities with Iran even if it wants to. [...]

The Israel Factor

It is worth noting that many of those advocating strategies of retreat are the same people who so boisterously argued for engagement, their track record leaves much to be desired. They argued for shelving the military option before engagement, that worked well as we’ve seen. Now they argue for shelving the military option after engagement.. One begins to suspect their true goal is not solving the Iranian nuclear riddle – But merely shelving the military option at all costs. Good luck with that.

All these pundits may want to stack the shelves & put things in drawers, but those same ‘Hard Realities of the World’ are also in operation in Israel. Here those realities tend to be even harsher than they appear in the local American think tank, filled with lazy chairs & academic tenures. Obama may be trying to stall, his advisers may even think he’s succeeding. Kerry quipped in Israel this week how the US & Israel are on the same page. But he was speaking in the language of fuel sanctions which Israelis understand.. So far, it’s a dialect Obama seems to be unable to comprehend.

A War of Choice or Necessity?

So are we all really on the same page? It doesn’t look like it, but sooner rather than later we are all going to find out. I suspect those flimsy locks on the military engagement drawers won’t stop Israel from doing whatever it deems necessary. Therein lies the rub, those opposed to using every tool in the arsenal cast this as a war of choice, just like Iraq they might argue.

Sadly they are gravely mistaken in my opinion. Here in Israel where the threat is seen a existential in every way – Stopping Iran’s drive for nuclear weapons is a war of necessity, not choice. If Obama keeps stalling and we start shooting, the Iranians themselves will force the President to quickly realize just how wrong many of his advisers often are. With American support for Israel at record highs, and anathema for Iran in similar territory - He may not have that luxury of choice, if or when Iran attacks American interests.

Then the question inevitably becomes – Does America want to strike on its terms, or Iran’s?

Buyers Remorse? : Joint Strike Fighter Woes Continue

Maybe we can walk to Iran?

Israel is still negotiating the endless contract for the JSF fighter, who’s sky rocketing price & endless delays are now becoming the stuff of legends.

Via the Weekly Standard we visit Aviation Week where rumors now abound of what some are calling the JSF manufacturing disaster, the fighter is now years behind due to problems and delayed flight testing. We will never see it by the 2014 time frame envisioned, which itself is two years behind what Israel had initially projected..

If February was a bad news month for the Joint Strike Fighter, with the program boss fired, a 13-month delay in test and a two-year slip in Air Force initial operational capability, look out for March. A Government Accountability Office report is rolling down the tracks, along with a Selected Acquisition Report (SAR) which, as we told you in Defense Technology International a month ago, is almost certainly going to record a critical Nunn-McCurdy breach.

Meanwhile, the flight test program continues to log an all-time slow record. [...]

The Obama administration along with Sec Def Gates have nailed the F-22 coffin shut. Despite claims to the contrary and attempts to soft pedal the issue officially in Israel – Our arms purchases from the US are moving at a glacial pace. We still don’t have resolution regarding Apache Longbow attack helicopter upgrades which I maintained were frozen by the Obama administration along with access to several other platforms. It’s now been a year that we are negotiating for half a dozen chopper upgrades for a helicopter we already fly, can you say deep freeze?

All this JSF woe leaves Israel, not too mention US forces in a bit of a lurch. There’s no JSF any time soon, and interim replacement platforms are simply seemingly not even on the menu for Israel to look at (F-15SE). None of it bodes particularly well when one considers the chorus of voices ever rising that the JSF simply ain’t that great in the 1st place..

The fighter is, and has been, plagued by delays, cost overruns, spats with allies, all underscored by the fact that the JSF isn’t that great of a jet. The Russian PAK-FA, which took to the skies this month, is already purported to be a superior air-to-air platform — though it won’t be fully operational for a few years. Moscow has no problem exporting their best gear to second and third world nations, and the Russians take particular delight in providing nations hostile to U.S. interests with advanced weaponry. Considering that proclivity to sell to bad guys, we could be facing the PAK-FA in air-to-air combat in under a decade.

So will we be ready? The F-35′s long list of failures is opening up some critical planning issues, problems that could end up critically degrading America’s abilities to fight and win wars a few miles down the road. The Obama administration is taking a colossal risk in canceling the F-22 program and sticking all their eggs in the Joint Strike Fighter basket. [...]

Did we screw the pooch on this one?

Israel faces much of the same, only we are more boxed in. We don’t have the minimum allocation of F-22s the USA has in stock & on order before the program runs its course. We may be looking at a few decades where our new superiority fighter (If it is ever delivered) is seemingly inferior to what our enemies can buy on the open market. That would be disastrous. The Obama administration maintains its claim that Israel’s military superiority is a top priority, while selling everything we have to the Gulf like it is going out of style.. In parallel we are being limited on purchases, a perfect storm.

One day we might have to call in the Cavalry

Americans who dislike Israel often claim they don’t want America fighting our wars for us. To date that has never been the case, and haters have just been blowing off steam. Going forward however, if we can’t get our hands on the best tech with the ability to customize it to our needs – Precisely the scenario now unfolding with the JSF contract, that may very well change. A situation which is just as unacceptable to us as it is to America.

It is dangerous entrusting our security to others, and only more so entrusting it to President Obama – His priorities simply lie elsewhere. Unfortunately for us, we sleep in the bed the American voters made.

Chef-D’oeuvre: Hudson Institute US Israel Symposium Simply Stellar

Much better than the new season of Smallville..

The Hudson Institute may not be a team in the MLB, but they sure know how to crack one out of the park.  The topic? Particularly timely and suitably riveting for political junkies such as myself:

U.S.-Israeli Relations - Challenges to the Special Relationship.

Hudson's 3rd Panel - But they were all very very good!

Hudson's 3rd Panel - But they were all very very good!

The Panels? One after the other some of the most balanced I have ever seen, fantastic stuff.

Even the opening speech (usually a borefest) was particularly good, with Ambassador Oren delivering a surprisingly interesting and frankly illuminating speech clearly written specifically for the event – Unlike the usual stump speech.

Highlights:

Certainly included Daniel Levy (of Yossi Beilin, Obama tuchus licking fame) making a total ignoramus of himself (I could watch that all day), but that was just the cherry on top of what can only be described as delicious overall viewing. Look at some of these experts lined up..

Ambassador Oren; Aaron David Miller, Douglas Feith, Robert Lieber, Marty Peretz, Gabriel Schoenfeld, Martin Indyk, Elliott Abrams, David Wurmser, Michael Makovsky.

I love it, only complaint is the oddball video player at the Hudson website which makes access to this excellent content a bit difficult. If you have been following the US / Israel relationship in the age of Obama, or have had concerns over recent US policy, these panels will certainly please!

It should also be noted that one of the panels was clearly designed with the controversial J Street in mind, but J Street founder Ben-Ami was a no show. Judging by Levy’s pitiful display this was probably for the best.

I’ve seen video of dozens of think tank symposiums, hundreds of hours of c-span etc etc. This is definitely memorable stuff imho.

NIE Debacle: Benefits of Game Changing Diplomacy Backed by Game Changing Intel

Back in late 2007, I wasn’t alone while tripping out over what was clearly highly politicized intelligence. The American National Intelligence Estimate released on Iran at the time went against the prominent views of the US Bush administration, the NIE released just prior in 2005, and stood in contrast to the intelligence estimates of a number of key western allies; Including Israel, the UK, Germany and even France.

The NIE made the absurd claim that Iran had ceased the military dimensions of its nuclear program. Worse it did so in the cagiest of manners with buried footnotes, selective declassified wording, topped off with media briefings. It resulted in a derailing of effective US policy on the Iranian issue buying Iran plenty of precious time, a respite which continues.

Dishonest sorta means lying doesn’t it?

Alan Dershorwitz writes..

In December of 2007, I wrote an article about the National Intelligence Estimate that had just concluded that Iran had abandoned its nuclear weapons program back in 2003. The immediate effect of this pollyanna-ish report was to diminish the need for tough sanctions against Iran and take the military option off the table. We now know that the conclusion reached in the report was categorically false, and that those who issued the report knew it was false. [...]

It now turns out that at the time this “stupid intelligence” estimate was released, our intelligence agencies were aware that the Iranians were building a secret military facility buried deep in the mountains near the holy city of Qom. The United States recently disclosed the existence of this facility (after Iran was forced to acknowledge its existence) together with its firm conclusion that it could be used only for the development of a nuclear weapons program. If the intelligence community knew then what they know now, then its 2007 National Intelligence Estimate was not only stupid, it was dishonest.

Pretty damning, and justifiably so. Ed at Hotair commenting on a scathing WSJ Opinion piece, states matter of factly that it seems clear enough bureaucrats at US intelligence pulled off a full fledged sabotage of then President Bush’s foreign policy..

As Glenn Reynolds says, the NIE has been exposed as an effort by a handful of people at the CIA to kneecap Bush on national security. It deliberately misled Congress and the nation on the threat posed by Iran, a lie that has cost us valuable time in stopping the nuclear threat. If Iran gets the bomb, we can thank Tom Fingar and his colleagues for distracting the US long enough to allow them to do so.

Jennifer Rubin goes right to the source, raising a number of questions while commenting on remarks by CIA Director Leon Panetta to Time Magazine – She concludes..

Both the 2007 NIE report and the behavior of the Obama administration betray a concerted aversion to confronting Iran and doing what is needed to halt its nuclear ambitions.

Game Changing Diplomacy

Questions which tie in the current administration seem apt. The politicization of the intelligence had an important role supporting and nourishing the floating think tank engagement theories which were emerging. Those theories have become the hallmark of Obama’s foreign policy strategy, and called for ‘putting the military option in the drawer’. The think tanks termed it Game Changing Diplomacy, after a brief by The Center For A New American Security (CNAS) on US Iranian strategy in 2008. CNAS members then went on to staff Obama’s administration in a big way, including  the Deputy Secretary of Defense Michele Flournoy.

Today, CNAS policies are closely associated with the Obama White House, so it should come as no shock that the Game Changing Diplomacy / Grand bargain strategy has become the blue print for Obama on Iran. However, it is somewhat shocking that apparently part of the effort to usher in ‘Game changing diplomacy’, may have involved a little nudging best effectuated by ‘game changing intelligence’.

A game that seemingly has continued to this day.

* UPD - I futzed with the title a bit and corrected a typo.