The prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, responded to the Iran deal as expected: It is bad, endangers Israel, he argued; we are against it and will be the only American ally not only to oppose it, but to go down gloriously, fighting a battle in Congress that we are destined to lose.
Mr. Netanyahu often warns that Iran is like Nazi Germany in 1938, fooling naïve appeasers even as it plans a cataclysm for Jews. But only those who never see merit in any proposal and never initiate their own could respond as the Israeli leader has.
Not that the agreement is without faults.… Seguir leyendo »
"As Egypt goes," says an old adage, "so goes the Mideast." But the historic changes underway in Egypt have repercussions far beyond even that.
For four decades, Egypt, as the political and military leader of the Arab world, has been the linchpin of U.S. Middle East policy, the anchor for a moderate and pro-American Arab camp, the first Arab country to make peace with Israel, an indispensable first stop for all regional American diplomacy. It is not an easy alliance: When Egypt supports American policy, the United States is far better able to promote its regional objectives; when it does not, as has happened not infrequently, the U.S.… Seguir leyendo »
Outrage. That's what we should feel over the Syrian government's slaughter of more than 70,000 of its own people and its use of chemical weapons. And outrage is what we should feel over the international community's total impotence.
Despite nearly irrefutable intelligence regarding Syrian use of chemical weapons, which the Obama administration acknowledges, the White House persists in setting a burden of proof that is impossible to achieve in practical terms and is designed to allow the U.S. to avoid military involvement in Syria almost at all costs.
Moral outrage notwithstanding, the administration's reticence is not without foundation. When the president termed the use of chemical weapons a "red line" and a "game changer," he presumably did not mean a limited use leading to a few tens of deaths — as appears to be the case — but to the use of a weapon of mass destruction.… Seguir leyendo »
Israelis cynically refer to the repeated rounds of violence with the Arabs as "happiness," as in "it's happy today." Before the cease-fire, as Hamas fired 1,000 rockets at Israel, it was indeed very "happy."
A diplomatic push put an end to the fighting, with intensive mediation efforts by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi. If the truce holds, happiness will be behind us, for now.
It is standard diplomatic practice to view crises as an opportunity to seek fundamental change in the situation. Well before Operation Pillar of Defense started, strategists and pundits were calling on President Obama to devote his second term to a renewed effort to promote the long-moribund peace process.… Seguir leyendo »
It is a bad outcome — but it is the least bad of the available options.
When world powers meet with Iran on Wednesday in Baghdad, they may reach an interim nuclear deal. Its precise outline is unknown, but it reportedly includes Iran's agreement to cease weapons-grade uranium enrichment, ship its existing stockpile abroad for conversion into reactor fuel, and accept heightened inspections of its nuclear infrastructure. In exchange, Iran would be allowed to continue enrichment at low levels, and the punishing new American banking sanctions and European Union oil sanctions due on July 1 would be eased.
Iran has strategic reasons for wanting nuclear capability and has so far rejected all inducements to give up the effort.… Seguir leyendo »
In the end it will come down to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. His senior officials will make their cases, but he alone will have to make one of the most critical decisions inIsrael's history: whether to attackIran's nuclear program. I do not envy him.
There has been much media speculation lately about possible Israeli military action, largely from those who have never borne the crushing weight of momentous national decisions. Israel has made many controversial decisions over the decades, some mistaken. One thing that cannot be said is that it has taken major military action lightly. Rarely if ever have the stakes been higher.… Seguir leyendo »
My fingers burned with excitement. It was just weeks after Egyptian President Anwar Sadat's dramatic trip to Israel in November 1977 and my boss had just returned from Egypt, the first Israel Defense Forces officer ever to visit that nation. I was a young officer, and the "present" he brought me — a standard tourist postcard — was the most precious one I could imagine. It was something from Egypt, and it was not going to explode. Until Sadat's trip, and the 1979 Israel-Egypt peace treaty that followed, that sort of contact had been as tangible to Israelis as the moon.… Seguir leyendo »