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Bibi Netanyahu is Forcing Obama to Decide Between Iran and Palestine

November 18, 2013 The problem is not so much that Benjamin Netanyahu and Barack Obama don’t like each other. The problem is they don’t trust each other. Which explains the Israeli prime minister’s fulminations last week in blasting, from afar, a temporary deal being negotiated in Geneva that would have frozen Iran’s uranium-enrichment...

Everyone Is Posturing on Iran (and Everyone Wants a Deal)

November 11, 2013 Benjamin Netanyahu is posturing on Iran. The Israeli prime minister is fulminating over a prospective nuclear deal and appears to be threatening to scuttle the already-stumbling talks with the Palestinians if Secretary of State John Kerry agrees to ease sanctions on Iran. Ever since he first met then-candidate Barack Obama...

Why the U.S. Should Try to Reach a Grand Bargain With Iran

November 6, 2013 Of the multiple negotiations Secretary of State John Kerry has started in recent months, it's difficult to say which of them looks more impossible. Is it the Geneva peace conference on Syria, which has been pushed back because, well, neither side has any real interest in talking? Is it the...

Get Over It: America and Its Friends Spy on Each Other

November 4, 2013 "All history teaches us that today's allies are tomorrow's rivals." John le Carré With the French saying they are shocked—shocked!—to discover that America is spying on them, and the long-monitored German chancellor, Angela Merkel, reportedly in a state of outrage, this may be a good time to explain why it...

Pakistan Signed a Secret 'Protocol' Allowing Drones

October 23, 2013 The Obama administration's aggressive drone program in Pakistan came under renewed attack this week, with Amnesty International suggesting that the United States is engaged in war crimes and visiting Prime Mininster Nawaz Sharif describing the strikes as a "major irritant" in relations. But what is obscured by the public dispute...

Is John Kerry a Better Secretary of State Than Hillary Clinton?

October 15, 2013 "The big Kerry arm." That's how some of his Senate staff used to describe John Kerry's approach to negotiation. It's reminiscent of what Lyndon Baines Johnson used to do to his Senate colleagues: a little light physical pressure to drive home a point. You can bet that at some point...

How Obama Botched a Chance for Peace in Syria Last Year

October 4, 2013 Despite Secretary of State John Kerry’s frenetic efforts, preparations for the “Geneva II” peace conference on Syria’s civil war are already foundering. The rebel movement has become increasingly radicalized against Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad and more fractured. A newly confident Assad, meanwhile, has somewhat relegitimized himself as a signatory to...

We Negotiate With Terrorists, Why Not With Congress?

October 1, 2013 As the shutdown drags on, the most popular meme among Democrats is to portray the House Republicans as political terrorists with whom one cannot bargain as a matter of principle. President Obama himself drove home the harsh analogy in remarks in the Rose Garden on Tuesday that revealed his apparent...

Why the United Nations Is Suddenly Relevant

September 24, 2013 When it comes to make-believe foreign policy, usually nothing beats the annual meetings of the U.N. General Assembly. Each September, member nations of the organization that President Obama recently decried as "paralyzed" each get to perform, sometimes antically, at the podium. And absolutely nothing gets done. That's especially the view...

Obama's Diplomatic Coup

September 13, 2013 Never has Winston Churchill’s epigram looked so apt as right now: “Americans can always be counted on to do the right thing,” the eloquent Briton reportedly said, “after they’ve exhausted all the other possibilities.” Barack Obama at first tried just about every possibility in dealing with Syria but the right...

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