June 27th, 2009

Chris Keeley

catch 22

In a commentary posted yesterday, Dr. Michael Brenner, Professor of International Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh, includes the following insightful observation:

A statesman’s effectiveness depends on keeping his mouth closed unless his words serve a dedicated policy objective beyond that of playing the vapid, distracting game of domestic image politics.


BRAVO!!  Exactly right! 

Imagine the potentially catastrophic situation we would be facing today if John McCain, rather than Barack Obama, were president of the United States and had been exhorting the oppositionists in Iran to continue their protest demonstrations in the face of the regime's overwhelming application of brute force.  Such overt encouragement from the Leader of the Free World, with its implicit commitment of American support, could only have disconcerted and divided the opposition movement itself --- no doubt inspiring many with pro-American inclinations, but angering many who are motivated solely by their own patriotism and desire for internal reform.  Aggressive and bombastic cheerleading from Washington would probably have intensified and prolonged futile violence and bloodshed --- while giving the regime the political and legal justification for brutal repression that (to their enduring shame) they have so far conspicuously lacked.   
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Chris Keeley

hillary's wrong

For those of you have the time and inclination, this is a statement (Elliot Abrams) plus rebuttal (Lara Friedman) on “natural growth” and the settlements.

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WSJ/Opinion

Hillary Is Wrong About the Settlements
The U.S. and Israel reached a clear understanding about natural growth.
By ELLIOTT ABRAMS

 
Despite fervent denials by Obama administration officials, there were indeed agreements between Israel and the United States regarding the growth of Israeli settlements on the West Bank. As the Obama administration has made the settlements issue a major bone of contention between Israel and the U.S., it is necessary that we review the recent history.
 
In the spring of 2003, U.S. officials (including me) held wide-ranging discussions with then Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in Jerusalem. The "Roadmap for Peace" between Israel and the Palestinians had been written. President George W. Bush had endorsed Palestinian statehood, but only if the Palestinians eliminated terror. He had broken with Yasser Arafat, but Arafat still ruled in the Palestinian territories. Israel had defeated the intifada, so what was next?
 
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