Some Foreign Policy Links-Israel, Gaza, ISIS & ‘Peace’

Walter Russell Mead links to two good pieces: ‘White House Blindsided By Israeli/Egyptian Relationship

Mead:

‘It is clear from the above account that the White House has been consistently behind the eight ball on shifting patterns in the Middle East, and that U.S. diplomacy was seriously hampered by its failure to grasp the consequences of the burgeoning Egyptian-Israeli relationship’

It seems no one in the region, perhaps not even Hamas, wanted the Israel/Gaza peace-deal as brokered by John Kerry. The Israeli and Egyptian leadership have responded without our lead and in their own rational interests, a move which seems to have taken the current administration by surprise, as it has been busy simultaneously withdrawing U.S. influence from the region while still trying to pursue its aims.

Say you’re a committed isolationist, and you’re tired of the being the ‘world’s policeman,’ or at least believe U.S. interests may well be unsustainably overextended.

But now also think about what’s important to you (I’ll try to find one that’s near and dear): Your safety and security here at home, a sustainable economy and energy prices, free trade and human flourishing, less dictatorship and human suffering under autocrats and some recourse for human rights, human freedom, and international law and order of one kind or another.

When we withdraw, other interests fill the void. We may not like what we get.

On that note, not only is ISIS an ideological coalition of savage, ahistorical true-believing Islamists, blowing up ancient tombs (just like the Taliban did with slave labor those Buddha statues in Bamiyan), ISIS is also on a campaign, as I write this, to exterminate Iraqi Christians:

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They’ve also driven a group of Yazidis from their homes into the surrounding mountains to starve and die or return and be butchered:

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Perhaps the administration feels burned by the time it pursued humanitarian intervention in Libya, which has turned into a disaster, and thus has since withdrawn into a peace cocoon.  Perhaps it’s still trying to bridge the Iran gap, and keep that deal alive.  Of course, this relies on us doing business with the Ayatollah at the end of the day, a man whose power derives from the Islamic revolution in Iran.

On that note, Dan Drezner notes in the WaPo that in order to get to this point in our diplomacy, the administration has been concentrating foreign-policy decision-making in the White House. I suspect this is how you arrive at youthful, earnest hashtag activism (the kinds of people most willing to work with Obama on campaigns and follow his lead).

Drezner:

‘But I’ve written before that the foreign policy process matters significantly, and while it’s good for the White House to be interested in foreign policy, this does seem like an over-concentration of authority.’

Here we are.

From Foreign Policy: ‘Emergency Routine’

Full post here.

A little slice of life from Israel:

‘Israel is once again at war, yet civilian life continues — more anxious, more subdued, but unpanicked and resolute. At this point, 23 Palestinians and three Israelis have been killed in the violence, and Israel is taking the first steps toward a ground invasion.’

Related On This SiteVia Youtube-Uncommon Knowledge With Fouad Ajami And Charles Hill

John Mearsheimer’s offensive realism (Israel can’t go on like this forever, the Israel lobby leads to bad U.S policy decisions): Repost: From Foreign Affairs Via The A & L Daily: ‘Conflict Or Cooperation: Three Visions Revisited’From The L.A. Times Via Volokh: ‘Prosecution of Students Who Disrupted UC Irvine Speech By Israeli Ambassador’

From The New Yorker: ‘Obama And Israel’Repost: A Few Thoughts On The Current Israeli Military Operation Into Gaza: A Shift In U.S. Attitudes

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Via Haaretz: ‘Hamas Military Chief Ahmed Jabari Killed By Israeli Strike’

Full piece here.

‘Ahmed Jabari, head of Hamas’ military wing, was killed Wednesday in a targeted strike by Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip.

The Palestinian Islamist group said an Israeli airstrike hit a car in the Gaza Strip, killing both Jabari, who ran the organization’s armed wing, the Izz el-Deen Al-Qassam, and a passenger.’

What’s the U.S. strategy here?

Addition:  Escalating tensions.

Another:  Still escalating.  Hamas firing rockets aimed at Tel Aviv.

Related On This SiteVia Youtube-Uncommon Knowledge With Fouad Ajami And Charles Hill

John Mearsheimer’s offensive realism (Israel can’t go on like this forever, the Israel lobby leads to bad U.S policy decisions): Repost: From Foreign Affairs Via The A & L Daily: ‘Conflict Or Cooperation: Three Visions Revisited’From The L.A. Times Via Volokh: ‘Prosecution of Students Who Disrupted UC Irvine Speech By Israeli Ambassador’

From The New Yorker: ‘Obama And Israel’Repost: A Few Thoughts On The Current Israeli Military Operation Into Gaza: A Shift In U.S. Attitudes

Al Qaida back in AfPak: Lara Logan On Afghanistan Via Youtube: ’2012 BGA Annual Luncheon Keynote Speech’

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Michael Totten At Pajamas Media: ‘Darkness In Palestine’

Full piece here.

Some observations on the ground:

‘Last summer I visited Hebron, one of the darkest and most hate-stricken cities in the West Bank, a place most tourists visiting the Holy Land for a sun-drenched Levantine holiday would not dream of setting foot. Six years ago I took my mother to Beirut and even down to Beaufort Castle overlooking Hezbollahland and the Israeli border area, but I would not take her to Hebron. This is a city where a few hundred Jewish “settlers” make their home at the bottom of valley surrounded by Palestinians who have been trying, sometimes violently, to drive them out for a very long time.’

Related On This Site:  From Michael Totten: ‘An Interview With Christopher Hitchens’

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A Few Thoughts On The Israeli/Palestinian Conflict: No Questions…No Answers?

Quote found here at Jeffrey Goldberg’s site at The Atlantic:

A great sage once taught: He who claims to know the answer to the Middle East dispute doesn’t even know the question.”

My limited experience in looking at this problem has led to ever greater complexity and confusion:   an ancient history of settlement, displacement, conflict, relative peace, religious and other wars…religious (and highly abstract) deductions to land…lots of Western involvement from the Romans to the British…etc.  It goes on and on

I believe there has been a current American shift (mostly left) in opinion on Israel, and which Israel is foolish to ignore.  By focusing on the inequities of the current Israseli military actions, this conventional wisdom hasn’t fully recognized the dangers evident in the Hamas charter, or the deep wellspring of Arab hatred toward the Israelis (Israel doesn’t have a right to exist).  

As much as it may claim for itself, this viewpoint just seems to focus its lens on another part of the problem.

Of course, some of that Arab sentiment is also aimed at the West in general, based on genuine and legitimate grievance where mutual interest may lie…but also largely on a violent, ideological, and religiously extreme projection of the Arab world’s current failures (at least economic, social and educational) onto everyone else.  It has become Bin Laden’s raison d-etre.

As idealistic (especially politically so) as this is, I should also say that any foreign policy we make in the region should strive to recognize the Palestinians as subjects, and not objects in service of our own legitimate self-interest (which is a problem I have all too often with the American right).  We will reap what we sow, and so will Israel.

So, what was that question again?

Addition:  01/25/09 60 Minutes piece on one potential obstacle for the 2 state solution:  Israeli settlers.  Link here from Andrew Sullivan.

Another AdditionAaron David Miller on Bloggingheads discusses his book ‘The Much Too Promised Land.’  So what about practical policies, lobbyists, mutual interests, American politics, etc…?  This guy knows his stuff.

Also On This SiteFrom Bloggingheads: Anne Marie Slaughter And Stephen Walt discuss American Foreign policy and Obama’s options.  More On The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: Western/Non-Western Forms Of Government?A Few Thoughts On The Current Israeli Military Operation Into Gaza: A Shift In U.S. Attitudes?

MIDEAST ISRAEL PALESTINIANS by pinkturtle2

by pinkturtle2.

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