Mar 17, 2010 4:10 pm


I wrote that the absurd Obama administration outrage at Israel for planning to build 1600 apartments in Jerusalem in a few years can only be understood as a wish to distract Arabs inconveniently obsessed by Iran. Apparently, beating up on Israel is also an attempt to distract from the collapse of the administration's strategy to contain Iran with robust sanctions with the help of Russia and China. The plan has been to convince the Russians to help with Iran by selling out Poland and the Czech Republic. An isolated China would then fall into place.

Instead Russia swallowed happily the East European carrots and, as could have been expected by anybody who knows anything about Russia pervasive Anti Americanism evident to anyone who merely takes the time to Russian news for a week, Russia said NYET! Like Ahmadinejad, Putin, too, understands that it is better to be Obama's enemy than his friend.

As Hillary Clinton has been scheduled to leave Washington for Moscow, the problem for the administration was how to cover up the failed Iran policy? How to make it seem that relations with Russia have improved? The answer is simple, please Russia by focusing on the arms control as the Russian president contemptuously suggested and, of course, the Middle East peace process. So, this is the headline confronting us this morning: Clinton Visits Moscow to Talk Arms Control, Middle East Peace NOT Iran.

Ironically, try as the Obama administration may to ignore the problem of nuclear Iran, the disagreements between Russia and the US on arms control touch directly on the subject. To contain a nuclear Iran, the US needs to deploy defensive missile systems that are an anathema to Moscow. Hence, Russians doubt the possibility of agreement while the Americans talk of imminent agreement.

Is it possible that Washington is ready to give up even on containing Iran? I would not put it past the Obama administration. I can see it arguing that if we can just bring Israel to go away, we would not have to do anything about Iran, radical Islam or Al Qaeda. Hitler argued it is all the fault of Jews. Obama argues it is all the fault of the Jewish state.

Taking their argument at face value, Barry Rubin proceeds to take it apart by pointing out that an Israeli/Palestinian peace or even the elimination of Israel is not the ultimate goal of either Iran or Islamism. The Obama administration know that. It merely wishes to buy time and save face. It hopes that throwing Israel to the wolves would achieve both.

Plus ca change? Perhaps not. The American people know how to distinguish between their friends and enemies, between projecting weakness and strength and consequently they are suffering from an acute buyers remorse where Barack Obama is concerned. They seem ready to punish the Democrats for his sins in 2010. That does not mean that he will not be able to inflict serious damage in the next three years but it increases the chances of the free world, of which Israel is a vital part, surviving it as it ultimately survived the early years of the Roosevelt. That hope persists even though John Bolton is right and Obama, unlike Roosevelt does not put America first:

Mr. Obama is not merely heedless of America's predominant global position. He is also embarrassed enough by it not to regret diminishing it. In fact, we have achieved pre-eminence not simply to preen our American ego, but to defend our interests and those of like-minded allies. Ceding America's role in world affairs is not an act of becoming modesty but a dangerous signal of weakness to friends and adversaries alike. Israel may be the first ally to feel the pain.

Clearly, the best way to limit America's prospective pain, is to do everything we can to limit Israel's.

Even Israel's NYT agrees, U.S. anger over East Jerusalem row is excessive and has caused violence.

Obama: hard on Israel, easy on China

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