Obama’s first meeting after the speech was with Netanyahu, who praised his sometime-nemesis for his “principled position,” and for taking it “in this house, which has … automatic majorities against Israel.” It’s “a badge of honor,” Bibi said — adding, as he turned to Obama, “I want to thank you for wearing that badge of honor and also to express my hope that others will follow your example.” – O’s moment of glory is instantly tarnished by French diss
There are few people I respect more than Steve Clemons, though we’ve had our disagreements, whose foreign policy acumen is among the best on the progressive side. He proves again he’s a leading thinker, offering an unflinching take on the issue of Palestinians working for a sovereign state through UNGA, with a strong piece in The Atlantic that eviscerates Pres. Obama all the way to the bone.
Steve Clemons slams Pres. Obama and calls out his lack of courage to stand up for Palestinian statehood at the United Nations where it could really matter.
President Obama’s UN General Assembly speech shows that the President has lost much of his groove since Cairo and amidst the Arab Spring is telling Palestine to be patient, to stay seated in the back of the bus, until Israel and Palestine leaders decide to be responsible. Obama fails to understand that Israel and Palestine can never sell a deal internally without blaming outside powers for compelling them to do what is in their long term interests. It’s time for Obama to read up on “gaiatsu” and understand the practice and utility of “foreign pressure”.
[...] If this was 2013, Obama might be in a different groove — but by then Palestinian and the broader Arab temperature may be such that they ultimately decide the two state track is folly — and much like Turkey giving up on its European identity aspirations — decides to pull back and subject a recalcitrant Israel to never-ending harassment and violence, assuring that Israel ultimately becomes a state of hard-edged, security-demanding Apartheid, all while the Palestinian demographic edge inside Israel’s borders booms while the Israeli Jewish population growth slows and perhaps even declines.
Obama is assuring the further emasculation and perhaps final demise of Palestine’s moderates. Obama is also treating the Israelis and Palestinians as if they are on equal footing, equally able to concede to each other’s demands. What Obama doesn’t get is that a substantial portion of Israel’s population loves not having a deal and never wants one. They are OK with a peace process to nowhere — but that is not acceptable for the less-endowed, less-powerful Palestinian side. Hamas is in the rejectionist corner as well, seeing its fortunes rise as earnest efforts at peace go nowhere.
Steve defies American conventional wisdom, that it would be catastrophic to allow a vote on statehood through the U.N. Security Council and that “no good can come from it,” to quote Richard Haas, who heads the Council of Foreign Relations, a dinosaur organization.
The world watched Barack Obama lose a battle in the last two years with Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over Israeli settlement expansion in contested and occupied territories. This is like the Soviet Union having lost a war of wills at the height of its power with Cuba.
The client state trumped the President of the United States — telegraphing to many around the world that President Obama ultimately didn’t have the courage of his convictions and wasn’t able to deploy power and statecraft to achieve the outlines of what he called for in his lofty rhetoric. …
George W. Bush aided the rise of Hamas and assured their legitimacy through pushing elections when the Palestinians warned they weren’t ready.
Barack Obama stood up against the building of more and more settlements, only to back down because of domestic pressures and reelection concerns. Pres. Obama, after having offered so much hope and lofty words and outreach towards the Arab world, empowering moderates with what his presidency would mean to the greater Middle East and U.S. influence in the region, has failed to deliver on any measurable scale.
The last American president to put his own skin in the Middle East peace game, working to the last day in office, was Pres. Bill Clinton. Arafat spit in his face.
It’s now finally clear the American era of diplomacy in the Middle East is over.
TM Note: I just want to add that the point of emphasizing Steve’s analysis is that it challenges everyone to think of the situation in a new way, because what were currently doing isn’t cutting it. I haven’t a clue how this serious situation resolves itself completely, but Israel needs Palestine as badly as the Palestinians.
UPDATE: Rep. Keith Ellison has broken with Pres. Obama, as well as Democratic Party tradition, over the Palestinian state vote.