When the President of the United States repeatedly says he’s got your back, and in precisely those words, what more can you ask for? Yet as I read Obama’s interview with Jeff Goldberg in The Atlantic, then his speech to the AIPAC convention, and finally reports of his meeting with Netanyahu, I felt increasingly uneasy. True, Obama went farther than he ever has in reassuring Israel of his commitment to stopping a nuclear Iran. He explicitly mentioned the military option. He upheld Israel’s right to defend itself.
Amid growing tension about Iran’s nuclear program and the possibility of an Israeli strike (with or without advance notice to the United States), President Obama sat down for an interview with The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg. When discussing the potential for a U.S.-led assault on Iranian nuclear facilities, Obama said, “I think that the Israeli government recognizes that, as president of the United States, I don't bluff.” Wait, really? Put aside dangerous geopolitical friction for a moment.
David Gelertner's unhinged rant in the Weekly Standard raises a lot of interesting questions, mostly centering around the apparent lack of editing at the magazine, but the most interesting of which involve race. The piece, which begins by accusing President Obama and his supporters of not loving America and ends with accusing liberals of "indescribably low and dirty attacks," makes a few telling observations about race. Gelertner celebrates "the all-but-eradication of race prejudice," which is a useful summary of conservative thought.
The mainstream media is under attack, not just from market forces but also from critics. Sometimes those critics make good arguments. Sometimes they don't.
-- Meet 2012's Ron Paul. -- Jeff Goldberg on building in Jerusalem: Netanyahu "is making a strategic mistake." -- Howard Gleckman on the Erskine-Bowles plan.
I'm a little late to the latest turn in the Park 51 controversy, but let me point out the flaw in the argument that Howard Dean has made explicitly, and President Obama implicitly. The argument is that Faisal Rauf has every right to build a Muslim cultural center near Ground Zero, and his intentions are probably good ones. But his goals, admirable though they may be, have failed. Rather than bringing people together, he is driving them apart. So he should build the center elsewhere. I don't think this argument is wrong per se.
-- William Galston offers an alternative way to lower unemployment. -- Jeff Goldberg points out that opponents of the NYC mosque are playing into Bin Laden's hands. -- Kevin Mattson argues the Democrats should forget populism.
One of the odd things about people with very left-wing views on the Middle East is that they're obsessed with the political influence of American Jews yet almost completely unfamiliar with the actual beliefs of the subject of their obsession.
Jeff Goldberg has the analytic scoop: I've been on the phone with many of the usual suspects (White House and otherwise), and I think it's fair to say that Obama is not trying to destroy America's relations with Israel; he's trying to organize Tzipi Livni's campaign for prime minister, or at least for her inclusion in a broad-based centrist government. I'm not actually suggesting that the White House is directly meddling in internal Israeli politics, but it's clear to everyone -- at the White House, at the State Department, at Goldblog -- that no progress will be made on any front if