Let’s imagine that it’s not breathtakingly stupid to embrace the woman who kissed Suha Arafat – right after Arafat ranted about how Jews poison Palestinian children – as some kind of Atlas holding up the US-Israel alliance. I mean it’s obviously asinine. But since large swaths of the Israeli media are fantasizing otherwise – eagerly helped by Obama boosters in the US – let’s imagine that Clinton actually is some kind of pro-Israel bulwark. Fair enough. But isn’t it a little weird how she seems to be having less than zero influence on Obama’s agenda?
Obama just announced that an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal will be at the center of his agenda. He’s even bringing back Daniel Kurtzer – who was firmly against the security fence that all but ended suicide bombings – to push Israel on concessions. And of course none of this is surprising given how Obama’s “main foreign policy sounding board” – the same guy who spent last year trying to detonate US-Israel relations – thinks that the peace process should be the US’s single most important foreign policy goal:
In a rare interview that he gave to Inside the Pentagon at the end of last month… Jones urged the new administration to keep up the negotiations begun in Annapolis, warning that, “If they don’t do that and they choose to start from ground zero again, then I think there would be a real tragedy, because there’s real momentum and real progress here.” He told the outlet that “nothing is more important” in the Middle East than a peaceful resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Don’t focus too much on the entirely predictable bait and switch, where hypothetical one-time offers at Annapolis become starting points for future negotiations. You might miss how the incoming National Security Adviser – with whom the President consults multiple times a day – is crafting global strategy around the myth that Israel is responsible for the length and breadth of Middle East instability. And his plan for keeping the peace once Israel is coerced into irreversible concessions? The kind of international troops who have done so much to prevent Hezbollah from rearming.
Now: when Samantha Power got dumped from the Obama campaign for calling Hillary a mean word – but not for advocating the invasion of Israel or talking darkly about “a domestic constituency of tremendous political and financial import” – I thought she’d eventually get brought back as Secretary of State. That was apparently an example of the “Obama paranoia” that Jeffery Goldberg obnoxiously lectured center-right Jews about. Instead Power will merely be functionally running the State Department over the coming months before taking her place as a “key adviser”. So that’s a relief:
Power is listed on Obama’s transition Web site as part of the team reviewing national security agencies. Her duties, according to the site, will be to “ensure that senior appointees have the information necessary to complete the confirmation process, lead their departments, and begin implementing signature policy initiatives immediately after they are sworn in.”… that could pave the way for Power to reemerge as a key adviser for the new president.
So Obama will formulate his policy by bouncing ideas off Jones and transmitting them to State via Power – the difference between the two being that Jones merely wants NATO troops standing in the IDF’s way. And if Hillary proves insufficiently enthusiastic about pressuring Israel then Susan Rice – waiting patiently in the wings as a cabinet-level UN ambassador – will be there to replace her:
Note Her Majesty nodding along at the beginning as Obama pointedly reaffirms that he’ll be the one setting policy. Lurking over her shoulder… is Susan Rice… who’ll end up instead as ambassador to the UN… (1) it signals to the public that he’s serious about “soft power” playing a vastly bigger role in his administration than it did in Bush’s, and (2) it signals to Hillary that if she steps out of line he has someone capable of replacing her without missing a beat. How capable? Maguire points out that while Rice is known for being hawkish on intervening against genocides, she had no problem with The One’s plan to pull out of Iraq notwithstanding the likely outcome.
I wonder if Rice will be able to find a different “genocide” where the US can intervene. And to think that a few weeks ago Olmert asked Bush to explain to Obama why it would be a bad idea to coerce and weaken the US’s key Middle Eastern ally. If only he had known that Hillary Clinton was going to be Secretary of State.
* MR Has A Question For Democratic Jews: Are You Fucking Retarded? [MR]
* Analysis: J’lem mostly pleased with Obama choices [JPost]
* Rosner’s Domain: Why Israelis are generally thrilled by Clinton’s appointment [Ha'aretz]
* Commentary: Obama earning Israel’s confidence [McClatchy]
* Conflict Zone [TNR]
* Obama: Iran and Israel-PA peace to top agenda [JPost]
* Considering Kurtzer [Ben Smith / Politico]
* Obama mulls ex-ambassador to Israel, Daniel Kurtzer, as special Mideast envoy [Ha'aretz]
* Thin line makes vast difference to life in israel [Calgary Herald]
* National Security Pick – From a Marine to a Mediator [NYT]
* Annapolis envoy likely to advise Obama [JPost]
* Annapolis As A Rosetta Stone For How Anti-Israel Bait And Switch Diplomacy Works [MR]
* Obama NSA Pick James Jones: Hey, How About Some International Troops In The West Bank? [MR]
* Obama Draws Line In The Sand: Invading Israel OK But Calling Hillary A Mean Name Is A Firing Offense [MR]
* Obama Shill Tells Jews To Get Over Their “Obama Paranoia” [MR]
* Adviser Who Insulted Clinton Has Role in Transition [WaPo]
* Reporter to Obama: Um, didn’t you belittle Hillary’s foreign policy cred during the primaries? [Hot Air]
* Obama’s Perfect Choice For UN Ambassador [MR]
* Obama Raises UN Ambassador’s Post to Cabinet Rank….. [Zippers]
* Sophisticated UN Diplomat: Yup, Jews Are Pretty Much Nazis [MR]
* Israel asks Bush to explain its ‘special relationship’ with U.S. to Obama [Ha'aretz]
* Former Peace Process Diplomats To Obama: Renewed Peace Process Guaranteed To Fail
* US Warns Israel Against Pre-Obama Attacks On Iran Or Hamas
* Obama Foreign Policy Team Pretty Much The Last People On Earth Who Think Engaging Iran Will Work