Wowy, zowy, Obama is doing his own thinking on the Middle East and here’s the even worse news: He’s taking advice from Tom Friedman and Fareed Zakaria. These pathetic tidings about the inner Barack Obama, who puts his very own twist on all things, particularly Arab and Muslim matters, and the other Barack Obama, who needs counsel from two political therapists, famous and even clever but not especially deep, come from the subtle and highly reliable journalist Mark Landler in The New York Times. These tidbits are not contradictory.
“… Syria Elicits Groans In Washington”
July 03, 2010
So says a headline in Wednesday’s New York Times. And the article by Mark Landler elaborates the cosmic kvetch brought on by the Obama administration’s courting of Damascus. I’ve written about this a few times myself. The courting of the Assad dictatorship was supposed to lure Syria away from its entanglement with the Ahmadinejad regime in Tehran. But the Senate Foreign Relations Committee refused to consider the confirmation of the president’s nominee, Robert S. Ford, as emissary to the Syrians. My friend, John Kerry, loyally subbed for the putative ambassador.
These Sanctions Are Neither 'Crippling' nor 'Biting.' They Are Feeble and Flaccid, Truly Obama's Sanctions
May 19, 2010
It used to be that the president sent out Ms. Clinton to do the retreat on Iran, and she's been doing it for about 17 months. Pathetically, actually, and with some embarrassment on her face. Now it's Susan Rice's turn. It's only fair. For our U.N. ambassador actually believes that the processes of the organization are more important than the results. So it was given to Ms.
Sometimes a journalist grasps an intricate situation and explains it in just one simple sentence. Here is what the distinguished Timesman John Vinocur has to say in today’s International Herald Tribune about Obama’s policy of sanctions: The United States’ notions of U.N. sanctions on Iran have devolved over the past months from crippling ones to ones that bite to the currently described smart ones, which, although packaged with the words tough and strong might not be hard-nosed enough to give the mullahs a half-hour’s lost sleep. Now what? As it happens, more of the same. David E.
"Russia Disses Iran Sanctions"
October 13, 2009
Well, that’s the way I read the headline in The Washington Post. “Russia Dismisses Iran Sanctions” was how it was actually written, followed by “Russian Foreign Minister: Threats of Iran Sanctions Won’t Work.” The dispatch is from Mary Beth Sheridan, a savvy reporter to whom I’m becoming attached. There are slight differences between the Post piece and the report in the Times, “Russia Resists U.S. Position on Sanctions for Iran,” by Mark Landler and Clifford J. Levy. Then there was “US, Russia: Iran No sanctions yet” in The Jerusalem Post.
Now that George Mitchell is Negotiating Between Israel and the Palestinians, Hillary Has Been Assigned the Irish. I Thought the Irish Question Had Been Solved ... by George Mitchell!
October 11, 2009
President Obama designated George Mitchell his special envoy to the Jews and the Arabs because he had experience with them. Of course, Mitchell's familiarity with the Middle East was the familiarity of utter failure. No matter. Obama couldn't have sent George Tenet again ... or, God forbid, Anthony Zinni.
The Israeli Prime Minister
September 26, 2009
The New York Times gave about six inches to Bibi Netanyahu's speech at the General Assembly, and this in an article he shared with Hugo Chavez who spoke for four times the duration allowed by the rules. This is a habit among tyrants, and Chavez is no exception. The same Times page carried a 24-inch piece about Gadhafi, not on his filibuster at the U.N. (which it covered more than amply on Thursday), but dealing with the dictator's appearance at the Council on Foreign Relations.
Insight And Inside News About Hillary And Her Boss
July 16, 2009
I've blogged twice in the last few days about Hillary and her fraught state. No, I don't mean her injured elbow, although I'm sure it gives her both pain and political cover. The fact is, though, that being sidelined a bit is not bad for her career. The foreign policy embarrassments of the Obama administration so far cannot possibly be attributed to her. There's a fascinating (and to me seemingly scrupulous) article by Mark Landler putting Mrs. Clinton's ups and downs into perspective.