Tag Archives: Foreign Policy

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.

Camp Victory II: Netanyahu Agenda Faces Unfriendly American President (100 Days – FP Analysis)

100 Days of Netanyahu Foreign Policy

Continuing my look at Netanyahu’s first 100 days,
here is my take on issues pertaining to Foreign Policy.

In Israel, we are mostly a one issue nation these days – Iran’s nuclear program and the greater Middle East. This is where the stakes are high, and this is where we must achieve victories both large & small. This is also where Netanyahu will either sail or stall as failure in these international issues will be the end. Accordingly I measure my analysis on these factors.

Thanks to the Obama administration the agenda until now has seemingly been all settlements, all the time. President Obama has taken a one sided view on issues pertaining to Israel, consensus on both the right & left including international opinion is that the pressure & onus is nearly entirely on Israel. It is apparent Obama has embraced the big lie, ‘Israel is the obstacle to peace’.

Of course, the big lie as they most often usually do disregards all reality. Including the numerous rejections of peace offers initiated by Israel to the Palestinians consisting of nearly everything they could ever dream of for themselves save one thing – The destruction of Israel. Instead, we see an emboldened Palestinians whom are simply demanding more because contrary to the President’s statements that he has pressured both sides equally, the Palestinians are clearly overjoyed with Obama’s slap Israel around positions and feel they have the ‘upper hand’ thanks to Obama, as stated by Saeb Erekat himself.

Analyze This

Netanyahu has been moving deftly despite the treacherous terrain outlined above. I think it is clear Obama over played the card. Making settlements the Mecca of peace processing was an absurdly idiotic idea – For one it is not true, but more importantly these concessions & weakness to one sided Arab demands for more & more have won America nothing, no concessions only rejection and certainly no mythical Muslim world love. The Peace process itself has not been advanced, it has been retarded in fact.

Yoel Marcus the liberal commenter at Haaretz has himself never seen anything like Obama’s one sided pressures, and praises Netanyahu in his analysis of the 100 days. By contrast, in one of the most superficial go through the motions pieces referencing the 100 days I’ve seen, JPOST truly disappoints. In an article that spends more than 50% of its type-space talking about the 100 days of everyone on the planet save Netanyahu himself, JPOST tops things off with pretty uncharacteristically shoddy analysis.

A main critique is that Netanyahu waited too long to give his Peace policy speech. Instead of embracing the commonly held view in Israel that the speech was excellent, properly reflected & articulated Israelis views, challenged dangerous notions Obama had put forth in Cairo, and laid out strong policy & requirements Israel regards as necessary for peace.. Jpost nitpicks and the analysis consists of ‘the speech came too late’. Apparently someone is convinced I guess that the Americans would take a softer line if we had in essence pre-empted the President. Good luck with that, considering Obama is clearly an ideologue with views formed on these issues over decades, surrounded by questionable sources and filth like Jeremiah Wright.

JPOST Asleep!?

The next critique of Netanyahu is over his use of Ehud Barak as point man to American discussions over settlements instead of FM Lieberman, thus ‘marginalizing the FM’ according to the JPOST Editorial. I have heard this false positive mentioned elsewhere as well. Again, I was disappointed by the shoddy work truthfully. Instead of praising the Prime Minister for using the best tools for a decidedly difficult job involving navigating a minefield in a critical issue for Israel (US Support), JPOST goes with the go through the motions blah blah.

Lieberman himself incidentally took the position opposite JPOST’s analysis, humbly stating that DM Barak was probably the better choice tactically for Israel re: US settlement negotiations. As even a cursory glance at articles or photos show, Mitchel & Barak get along. If we are trying to bridge an already unfair rift with the US on settlements in order to squeeze even some small gains, why on earth would we send out our FM who would likely not be able to achieve this is the question we should be asking?

Lieberman would not get along with Mitchel, Mitchel would only increase his hostility and Israel would achieve nothing. It makes little sense, even the most basic negotiation class will tell you to establish some rapport in order to maximize gains. Lieberman doesn’t need ego boosts, his party is on the rise, he is committed to Israel, seeks what is best in his belief for Israel. As things stand we may still achieve little, but at least we have put in place someone to make our case in these matters whom is beloved by Clinton Democrats and the American left in general, as opposed to someone whom is reviled like sadly & unjustly both Netanyahu & Lieberman are.

Minimizing achievements

By glossing over on the whole analysis part JPOST becomes the entity actually marginalizing the FM Lieberman unfortunately. Avigdor has done good work, and Netanyahu deserves praise for marshaling Israel’s resources so effectively. Instead of sending the FM to the USA for settlement talk best served by Barak, he sent him to Russia, and to a cadre of former soviet block states all around Europe & Asia where damaged Israeli relations benefited tremendously from the Russian Lieberman. Israel scored points with usually cold aloof countries who could relate to Lieberman and his character in general. Far from being a detriment, Both Lieberman’s & Netanyahu’s actions have in true analysis been fairly effective for 100 days. A Prime Minister must be a good manager, thus far Netanyahu & his inner circle have impressed.

Compared to Livni or Olmert it is night & day. Livni herself was considered the worst manager at the Foreign Ministry ever, and Olmert well he ‘managed’ to nearly get thrown in Prison and ‘managed’ along with Livni to not decisively bring home Israeli victories which was fairly disastrous, all within their own first 100 days. Under Netanyahu we have made compromises, big ones. On policy overall, and on settlements. It behooves me why some would not want us to capitalize as much as humanely possible on these compromises to the best of our abilities & benefit? It appears as if this is precisely what Netanyahu has done. I don’t mean to harp endlessly on JPOST, I’m just surprised & disappointed by the usually excellent Jerusalem Post crew of Keinon, Hoffman, Katz & Horovitz who were weak on this overall.

Atomic Meat & Potatoes

While the American administration has kept the focus on settlements to serve its own needs & to cover its inadequacy regarding Iranian nuclear weapons, we have nonetheless managed to notch gains in Israel. Some of the credit goes to Netanyahu himself, but much of it belongs to the Iranians who have through their demonstrations exposed both the Iranian Regime as brutal despots hiding behind the shield of Islam, and the American President himself to be an international clown. Yes, Obama’s main foreign policy platform was his engagement policies and he has been proved to be a naive fool thus far judging by world events. America has no plan, and its Emperor no longer has any clothes.. Yet still the administration persists, unable to divorce itself of its false ideologies. It’s pitiful to watch from such a great nation as America.

No matter, that’s up to the Americans to fix if they so desire, for Israel the critical factor until now was to steer this disastrous American government as best as possible in light of these realities. Specifically by getting a timeline down for when engagement policies are evaluated for failure, and some actual concerted action to stem the Iranian nuclear drive can take place. Netanyahu made gains when he met with Obama in Washington, by getting the President to acknowledge that engagement wasn’t open ended.

Barack Obama talked about the end of the year for his evaluations then. Now that Iran has been killing its own people and shredding both its & Obama’s credibility at the same time, those timelines are growing ever more positive to Israeli schedules. With the G8 calling for tangible signs by the end of September and the next G8 meeting, Obama’s engagement follies now bear harsh scrutiny not only from Israel, but the bulk of Europe as well. So while Israel is up against a stacked American deck on a slate of issues, we are in this case as well chipping away. From open ended, morphing to the start of 2010, now we are looking at October 2009 on the most critical issue for Israel of all & this occurred within the 100 days. Hopefully some sanctions and actions will take place going forward, but the ball has advanced and it is thanks to Netanyahu in part.

I’ll take another 100 Days of this please..

In the face of serious adversity, Netanyahu’s government has had to make concessions. But in the overall picture we have held the line in Israel regarding important issues, rolled back some dangerous concessions put forth by Olmert & Livni already accepted by the world as defacto realities, and brought world timelines regarding Iran more in line with Israel’s. In the near term we may also be able to show who the real obstacles to peace really are, as crazy as it seems that we should require to endeavor at that in the 1st place. These are solid feats for 100 days thus far, and for Israel to build on.

The critique from the opposition is that Netanyahu is ‘Zig Zagging’. My close friend served in an engineering unit for the IDF tasked with dangerous mine work on the Northern border. If you ask him, and he’s clearly an expert he will tell you that to avoid a zig & zag when crossing a mine field will lead to very ugly results for everyone involved. It’s called being a good politician, it’s called strategy, it’s called good leadership, and to measure the situation Israel is facing with a hostile US government and World all around us, without analyzing these realities & Netanyahu’s efforts to task & deal with them is absurd.

Just as in my domestic analysis; Camp Victory I: Netanyahu Agenda Hitting On All Cylinders I can only conclude that the far left & far right in Israel are again pulling their hair out and spinning wheels. That’s good news for the other 70% of Israelis solidly in support of Netanyahu until now. It means he’s doing something right. By reading through my two posts on his first 100 days I hope you have a clearer picture of what that is.

(Note: I amalgamated two posts in this portion of my analysis on FP, the original and then I weaved a short later post in before publishing.. Hope it flows despite some length)

CrazyTown: Leveretts Make the Wrong Policy Calls.. Again.

The weirdly singular duo better known as Flynt Leverett and his wife Hillary Mann Leverett have co-authored another gem for the world to enjoy, and as per the norm the course of action they suggest and their reading of reality leaves one lacking.

A few weeks ago Flynt told everyone Ahmadinejad had legitimately won the Iranian election, and bonus.. Now more than ever this was the time to engage with Iran’s discredited leadership and make an offer! That’s a real doosie now huh? I can hear John Madden.. Boy, I sure made the wrong call on that one! I won’t start pounding out the links worth of credible criticism his little delusion garnered because frankly it isn’t necessary, the position is absurd.

I think I read this book..

Of course Flynt probably engaged in his civilized form of academic insanity for two reasons. One being he’s consistently wrong on the Middle East, and two because along with his similarly deluded co-authoring wife he’s the grand-daddy of the engagement policy with Iran, so like President Obama he is heavily invested in Iranian fantasy.

This whole concept was already pretty pie in the sky before, and everyone knew it from Hillary Clinton on down the list when Obama best exemplified it with his ‘I would meet with dictators without pre-conditions’ nonsense during the campaigns. His goal was squarely in line with the Leverett’s agenda for the Grand Bargain with radical Theocratic, Iran. Recent events have only confirmed what more realistic non-realists already knew, and made clowns of the whole lot of ‘em seemingly.

Incidentally, much of Obama’s harsh Israeli policy is mirrored in the Leverett’s own world view. The latest chef-d’oeuvre is on settlements & the peace process, a topic which Flynt despite his winning track record on being wrong, is still an expert in I gather.

Can we be more wrong? Of course we can.

Mann, who did some work stints at AIPAC in her past seems to take on the leading voice here in this weird creep me out symbiosis format they have going of shared authorship with one voice, she chastises Obama for not going even more strongly against Israel, declaring the need to call Israel’s settlements not just frozen, but illegal..

By shrinking from declaring Israeli settlement activity illegal, Obama has guaranteed that, in substance, his Middle East policy cannot depart significantly from that of George W. Bush. Obama’s insipidly favorable response to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s conditional “acceptance” of the two-state formula underscores an unfortunate continuity in America’s Middle East policy. In the end, Obama’s Middle East policy is rooted in his predecessor’s profoundly flawed 2003 road map for a two-state solution and the feckless process that Bush’s secretary of state, Condoleeza Rice launched at Annapolis in 2007. Worse, in contrast to other policy mistakes made early in his presidential tenure, Obama will be hard put to reverse the damage done by his lack of clarity and courage on the settlements issue by coming back at a later date and arguing that Israeli settlements in occupied territory are, in fact, illegal.

It’s hard to tell where she is coming from other than the fact that she clearly wants to smack Israel around a bit, the feeling after reading this trash is mutual. She discards the road map for peace agreed upon by the parties and the INTL community via the Quartet entirely, replacing it with a fantasy construct that if the USA should ‘make it so’ (declare Israel’s settlements illegal & somehow enforce this) that will magically lead to peace or something like that, from what I could decipher. It’s such wacky foreign policy I have a hard time absorbing because it isn’t reality based or logical. It’s all very Walt / Mearsheimer, I think they should get together and do a show – Maybe a Vegas act or something.

She also takes issue with the parallel nature of peace moves in the road map, effectively excusing the Palestinians of the need to halt terrorism & violence, or incitement as a requisite step to peace. In reality this is excusing them of the need to actually make peace as part of her proposed ‘peace process’. Someone needs to remind people that the concept which is flawed enough already is known as ‘land for peace’, not ‘land for padding the leftwing resume’ or ‘land for testing out insane theories at your allies expense’.

Of course it all makes more sense a few more paragraphs into this 3 page delusion festival, when she makes the case for simply imposing the peace on the parties, including imposing US determined terms for all the key final status issues which US longstanding policy advocates is to be negotiated between the parties themselves. It’s all ok though since one gathers the US no longer stands by US policy commitments in the age of Obama as evidenced in dealings with Israel over settlements.

Piling On..

Mann also rationalizes these delusions by stating that Ariel Sharon’s friendly tenure along with GW Bush did not result in anything advancing the cause of peace!? Instead it is better to slap Israel around I take it and put some hostility into the relationship by pressuring Israel to make concessions its electorate rejects. This is a delusion so deep one needs to depressurize one’s ears coming out of it. It illustrates nicely why ground breaking massive concessions like withdrawal from Gaza and razing our settlements bought us nothing from those hostile to Israel. Not even acknowledgment of our monstrous sacrifice and efforts for peace contrasted with the Palestinians total failure in every realm imaginable as a people.

Hard to reconcile her outlandish views. If not for the confidence Israel had in the American Israel relationship under those leaders we would never have entertained Gaza withdrawal. Without some serious confidence building by Obama in regards to the US administration (never mind the Palestinian Israel relationship) there is only going to be ever growing mass resistance to American policy & blatant interference in our country. Overall, Mann dishes out here foreign policy totally removed from reality, but in line with the J-Street ultra left wing view currently pervasive in Obama’s administration to which one assumes the duo are now even more left of (after serving under the Bush terms). The Leveretts have been consistently mistaken, their policy ideas discredited by events themselves and history, I don’t see much changing in light of their recent articles.

Our PM Netanyahu may say rosie words about the relationship because he’s our elected politician and that’s his job, but there can be little doubt that the hostility toward Israel has been felt by the public here and their willingness to make concessions or take risks for peace are diminished by Obama’s policies thus far, I can’t see how strangling Israel even further brings the prospect for peace closer.. Maybe she is trying to deflect the criticism of Obama as anti-Israel by cajoling for him to take an even more extreme harsh line but if anything, the delusions she puts forth and the extreme nature of these views hardly accomplishes that task. It only highlights how extreme you need to actually get in order to ‘outflank Obama on Obama policy’ these days..

Bravery: Voight Stands Up to Call Out Obama, Defend Israel (Video)

Jon Voight, calls Obama’s policies ‘disastrous’. Asks if we are supposed to just wait while a new Holocaust develops, hammers the President on his arrogance for presuming to know & dictate to Israel what is best.. He is clearly concerned for both America, and Israel’s well being.

What can you say other than thank you Mr Voight?

I praise his bravery, because he says what many Americans no doubt think but have no venue or opportunity to express today with such wall to wall media adulation for Obama, and his cult like atmosphere. The Chicago community organizer turned President of the United States based on his ability to read a teleprompter! It is truly historic, and for more reasons than just having a man with African lineage elected to the White House.  As for me here in Israel, what can I say? We knew the guy was a socialist, had ties to black liberation theology which is deeply tied to the American ‘Nation of Islam’ and the Farrakhans of the world, non of it is surprising or shocking sadly.

We saw over & over how for political expediency Obama was willing to toss everyone & anyone under the bus. We knew he was a Palestinian sympathizer, we knew he wanted to ‘engage with’ and pander to the worst rogue regimes.. One could go on listing a litany of facts that we all knew. We saw him pledge not to divide Jerusalem at AIPAC only to do a full 180 the VERY NEXT DAY. In that same speech we saw him promise to NEVER pressure Israel for concessions which might harm her security, yet one of the 1st things he did in office was.. Pressure Israel for dangerous concessions, and it has only now just begun.

Here in Israel we will do our best no doubt to ride it out, but I for one am grateful for our true friends in the USA, and if I haven’t been clear enough until now – Obama is certainly not one of them. Both Jon Voight & Obama visited Sderot to witness the Hamas terrorism first hand, both had strong words of support for our struggle with these terrorists, ironically it appears as if one of them was ‘acting’, it wasn’t Jon Voight.