March 18, 2010

With friends like these ...

Robert Kagan argues that Israel shouldn't feel like it's been singled out.

Israelis shouldn't feel that they have been singled out. In Britain, people are talking about the end of the "special relationship" with America and worrying that Obama has no great regard for the British, despite their ongoing sacrifices in Afghanistan. In France, President Nicolas Sarkozy has openly criticized Obama for months (and is finally being rewarded with a private dinner, presumably to mend fences). In Eastern and Central Europe, there has been fear since the administration canceled long-planned missile defense installations in Poland and the Czech Republic that the United States may no longer be a reliable guarantor of security. Among top E.U. officials there is consternation that neither the president nor even his Cabinet seems to have time for the European Union's new president, Herman Van Rompuy, who, while less than scintillating, is nevertheless the chosen representative of the post-Lisbon Treaty continent. Europeans in general, while still fond of Obama, have concluded that he is not so fond of them -- despite his six trips to Europe -- and is more of an Asian president.

The Asians, however, are not so sure. Relations with Japan are rocky, mostly because of the actions of the new government in Tokyo but partly because of a perception that the United States can't be counted on for the long term. In India, there are worries that the burgeoning strategic partnership forged in the Bush years has been demoted in the interest of better relations with China. Although the Obama administration promised to demonstrate that the United States "is back" in Asia after the alleged neglect of the Bush years, it has not yet convinced allies that they are the focus of American attention.

(Note to the NJDC, instead of arguing that the current crisis between Israel and the United States isn't the worst between the allies in 35 years - there is clearly a crisis - just argue that this how President Obama treats all his friends. Thanks to the Hashmonean for the pointer)

That's because, as David Harsanyi points out the President has new friends he needs to cultivate.

Not long after President Barack Obama gave his conciliatory speeches to the Islamic world, he chose not to meddle in the sham election of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. In fact, he offered not a word of support for the men and women who took to the streets against that totalitarian regime.

Then, as "manmade disasters" continued to erupt spontaneously around the world -- including at a United States military base -- the administration held steadfast in using non-offensive euphemisms, lest anyone be slighted by our jingoist need to use words that mean something.

And when the president was given a chance to fulfill a campaign promise and acknowledge the genocide of 1.5 million Christian Armenians by Turks during World War I, he instead did everything he could to block the resolution.

These days, as Christian farmers are being slaughtered by Muslim machetes in Nigeria, outrage from the White House is difficult to find -- though it made sure to instruct our Libyan ambassador to apologize to "Colonel" Moammar Gadhafi after he offered some mildly critical comments about the dictator's call for jihad against Switzerland (true story).

I guess that alienating friends and forgiving enemies is the "smart diplomacy" we've heard so much about.

Crossposted on Yourish.

Posted by SoccerDad at March 18, 2010 6:01 AM
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Obama wants an America that is little more than an economic hub of the Muslim world. Period. Full Stop. As far as he's concerned everyone else can fry.

Posted by: Empress Trudy at March 18, 2010 1:01 PM

Obama blocks delivery of bunker-busters to Israel

WASHINGTON � The United States has diverted a shipment of bunker-busters designated for Israel.

Officials said the U.S. military was ordered to divert a shipment of smart bunker-buster bombs from Israel to a military base in Diego Garcia. They said the shipment of 387 smart munitions had been slated to join pre-positioned U.S. military equipment in Israel Air Force bases.

"This was a political decision," an official said.

In 2008, the United States approved an Israeli request for bunker-busters capable of destroying underground facilities, including Iranian nuclear weapons sites. Officials said delivery of the weapons was held up by the administration of President Barack Obama.

Since taking office, Obama has refused to approve any major Israeli requests for U.S. weapons platforms or advanced systems. Officials said this included proposed Israeli procurement of AH-64D Apache attack helicopters, refueling systems, advanced munitions and data on a stealth variant of the F-15E.

"All signs indicate that this will continue in 2010," a congressional source familiar with the Israeli military requests said. "This is really an embargo, but nobody talks about it publicly."

Under the plan, the U.S. military was to have stored 195 BLU-110 and 192 BLU-117 munitions in unspecified air force bases in Israel. The U.S. military uses four Israeli bases for the storage of about $400 million worth of pre-positioned equipment meant for use by either Washington or Jerusalem in any regional war.

In January 2010, the administration agreed to an Israeli request to double the amount of U.S. military stockpiles to $800 million. Officials said the bunker-busters as well as Patriot missile interceptors were included in the agreement.

The decision to divert the BLU munitions was taken amid the crisis between Israel and the United States over planned construction of Jewish homes in Jerusalem. The administration, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, has warned that Washington could reduce military aid to Israel because of its construction policy.

In 2007, after its war in Lebanon, Israel requested 2,000 BLU-109 live bombs from the United States. The 2,000-pound bomb, produced by Boeing and coupled with a laser guidance kit, was designed to penetrate concrete bunkers and other underground hardened sites.

Israeli ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren, was quoted as saying that his country faced its biggest crisis with the United States since 1975. A pro-Israel lobbyist said Oren was referring to the current U.S. embargo, which echoed a decision taken 35 years ago by then-President Gerald Ford after Israel's refusal to withdraw from Egypt's Sinai Peninsula. Oren has since denied the remark

Posted by: Sabba Hillel at March 18, 2010 5:30 PM

Israel is heading for a very lonely and dangerous place ,and is dragging America with it. With leaders ,who are yesterdays men, riding on WW2 buses with a destination which read 'armongeddon'.

America has suffered enough for its purblind support of the Jewish state. It will soon relies that Israel is a colonial state, is extremist by temperment, racist in practice and increasingly fundermentalist in nature. That Israel also has the capibilities to become a 'irrational' state at Americas expense as well as its own.

Q. What do you get when you cross a illegal settler with a bigot?
A. an Israeli foreign minister.

Posted by: sass at March 18, 2010 6:37 PM

Sir Obama is doing great work as the president of USA, Its good here this news.

Posted by: Soccer Tips at March 18, 2010 10:36 PM

The crux of the crises with Obama is that he and his administration expect blind obedience from Israel. That's an outrage!
There's a key phrase in a Maureen Dowd op-ed, "defiant Israel." American leaders don't recognize Israel as an independent country. To clarify where Ramat Shlomo is, here are pictures of the road leading to it.

Posted by: batya at March 19, 2010 12:02 AM

What do you get when you cross a keyboard with an uninformed bigot?

Posted by: mrzee at March 19, 2010 2:21 AM
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