Most pointless “peace talks” ever?

Obama preens for the left, Netanyahu shores up the status quo.

What exactly are John Kerry and Barack Obama trying to accomplish with the new round of “peace talks” between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs – an event that has been put together with chewing gum and baling wire, and that won’t produce squat in terms of agreements, because no one has any incentive to negotiate?

It’s interesting to try to account for the urgent – even unseemly – push for talks, given the absence of realistic objectives for or benefits from them.  I include in the latter any potential benefits for Obama’s political standing at home, and specifically the chances for Democrats in the 2014 election.  No matter what happens between now and November 2014 – and I mean no matter what – the progress of the Israeli-Arab “peace process” will have no effect on the mid-term election. Continue reading “Most pointless “peace talks” ever?”

Observations on Obama’s trip to Israel: Apologies (Part 1)

More, and less, than meets the eye.

Obama went to Israel, and, as expected, gave some bland speeches and didn’t suggest putting anything new on the table in the now-defunct-in-all-but-name “peace process.”  To the question, “Why now?” the answer is that he is building a putative pro-Israel narrative for the 2014 congressional election (Jeff Dunetz has a nice piece on that).

The one thing that did come out of Obama’s trip is a pseudo-apology from Israel to Turkey on the Mavi Marmara incident in May 2010.  That leads to the first observation.

The history: Continue reading “Observations on Obama’s trip to Israel: Apologies (Part 1)”

Reflections on Ambassador Shapiro’s “We’re ready to attack” comments in Israel

Talking trash.

Why in the world were these things said?

“It would have been better to solve it (the Iranian nuclear crisis) in a diplomatic way, by using pressure and without applying military force,” the ambassador clarified at the closed meeting, “But that does not mean that this [attack] option is not possible. Not only is it possible, it is ready. The necessary planning is in place to make sure it’s ready.”

Well, OK.  The question is not whether we are ready or should be ready for this option – um, of course we are; would we tell anyone if we weren’t? – the question is why our ambassador in Israel would say this.  (Read the full comments for the unnecessarily explicit flavor.)

First of all, an ambassador – or at least his top advisors – knows Continue reading “Reflections on Ambassador Shapiro’s “We’re ready to attack” comments in Israel”