THE SPINE JANUARY 7, 2010
Actually, I don't think we are going to hear the phrase "isolated extremist" again, at least not from the president. In fact, the more we hear from him from now on, the more entangled and united the terrorist international is likely to appear. The shock of Detroit has probably been most traumatic for Obama himself. He really did believe that the world of Islam was a civilized order, and he simply can't believe it now. Or can he?
But the Copts won't get much attention. After all, they are Christians. What "progressives" worry about the survival of a Christian church or, for that matter, of pious Christian lives?
What will get scrupulous attention--at last!--is Yemen because:
1. It is now in the public eye.
2. Yemeni elements threaten the Saudis.
3. Al Qaeda is spread out (but closely) around the country.
4. The president of Yemen has actually told us to mind our own business. Anyway, we already have a big operation in that end of the "empty quarter," although nobody had been told, certainly not us by the president and possibly not the president by his underlings.
In any case, the Associated Press reported yesterday that the Yemeni foreign minister told its correspondent that he wanted no American troops in the country. Except, of course, to train Yemen's troops. I think there are U.S. soldiers in Yemen for more basic reasons. And one reason I believe this is so is because John Brennan denies it. Oh, well!
The administration is panicking. Not a one of its foreign policy initiatives is working, least of all Iran. So poor Mrs. Clinton was trundled out to say that there are no deadlines ... after having said on several other occasions that we can't wait forever. But you've got to keep up hope or, at least, pretense. I'm glad my friend John Kerry was rejected as an emissary by the regime of the mullahs. He will be able to deal with his hip replacement and not be insulted by these goons.
So what else is left? Oh, yes. Israel. In the clinch, you can always beat up on Israel and feel yourself virtuous.
In the meantime, a Gaza mob clashed with Egyptian border guards. Ethan Bronner gives a vivid account in the Times.