The man with blood on his hands would be President Obama, who departed from decades of American policy under several presidents — both Republican and Democrat — and refused to veto a United Nations Security Council resolution rebuking Israel for land settlements, which the Jewish state hopes to use in a land swap to secure a lasting peace.
The president’s action, or rather lack of action, is nothing less than treachery. The man presents himself as a great friend of Israel, but his long knives cut deep in a malevolent farewell gesture of contempt for the only democracy in the Middle East. Coming from the United States, Israel’s most reliable friend for so long, this was the unkindest cut of all.
Secretary of State John Kerry’s speech on Wednesday was the second.
On January 15, stage 3 will commence in Paris. At France’s lame duck President Francois Hollande’s international conference, the foreign ministers of some fifty states are expected to adopt as their own the anti-Israel principles Kerry set forth in his speech.
The next day it will be Obama’s turn. Obama can be expected to use the occasion of Martin Luther King Jr. Day to present the Palestinian war to annihilate Israel as a natural progression from the American civil rights movement that King led fifty years ago.
Finally, sometime between January 17 and 19, Obama intends for the Security Council to reconvene and follow the gang at the Paris conference by adopting Kerry’s positions as a new Security Council resolution. That follow-on resolution may also recognize “Palestine” and grant it full membership in the UN. More at Town Hall.
US president-elect’s White House transition team has been “aggressively” pursuing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to attend the inauguration ceremony in Washington, DC later this month, the New York Post reported on Sunday.
Netanyahu’s tense relationship with outgoing US President Barack Obama was exacerbated in recent weeks, after the White House publicly clashed with Israel over its West Bank policy and later declined to veto a UN Security Council resolution condemning settlements.
Speaking to reporters outside his Mar-a-Lago estate on Thursday, Trump lambasted the UN for condemning Israel, saying that “horrible places, that treat people horribly, haven’t even been reprimanded” by the international body.
There have been ugly interregnums before; transitions from one presidential administration to the next defined not by cordiality and a transcendental sense of patriotic purpose but bitterness and spite. Few modern transitionary periods have looked as ugly, however, as this present transition has from the start. Save the occasional public niceties, the outgoing Obama administration and the incoming Trump administration are engaged not in a ceremonial passing of the baton but in conflict.
For the most part, however, transitions are typified by unfailing regard from the outgoing executive for the preferences of the new president, and an incoming administration that seeks to convey a sense of deference toward the current president. No one benefited from this tradition more than Barack Obama, who successfully lobbied the outgoing George W. Bush administration to cede control of the allocation of TARP funding in 2009. That kind of esteem and admiration has not characterized the process as Donald Trump prepares to take over for Barack Obama.
The clear rancor between the current administration and its successor was evident on the faces of the West Wing staffers who gathered behind the president in the Rose Garden. Captured in an iconic photograph, the scowling, fearful, shocked Obama administration members projected spleen. It was a sentiment that would only be confirmed in anonymous quotes and leaks out of the outgoing administration regarding the Trump Team’s utter confusion. More at Commentary.
It is possible that President Obama actually believes that his 11th hour Mideast madness at the UN — stealthily coordinated with the Palestinians, according to Israeli PM Bibi Netanyahu; initiated by the U.S., according to the Egyptians — will foster peace in the Arab-Israeli conflict. This is so delusional that if his belief is in fact honest it is arguably even less flattering than if he knows better and is lying. In the cynical realism that is much the fare of international diplomacy being dumb is more of an insult than being stupid — hence the famous quip, oft attributed to France’s Napoleonic era foreign minister Talleyrand, “worse than a crime, it was a blunder.” More at The Spectator.
When Samantha Power demanded to know at a meeting of the Security Council yesterday whether Russia, Iran and the Syrian government were “incapable of shame,” America’s United Nations ambassador crystallized the horror of the world about the siege of Aleppo, in which the Assad regime and its foreign allies are committing unspeakable atrocities against civilians. But her question could be just as easily posed to her boss, President Obama. If those carrying out the slaughter in Syria are unimpressed by her eloquence, it is because they know they would not be in a position to wipe out Aleppo were it not for Obama’s acquiescence to their actions.
Power’s Pulitzer Prize winning book, A Problem From Hell: America and the Age of Genocide, outlined the “responsibility to protect” doctrine, or R2P, in which she put forward the idea that the world had an obligation to step in to prevent the kind of mass murder that was committed in the former Yugoslavia or Rwanda.
The ascension of Power to high office was, in theory, an opportunity to put into practice the R2P principle that she had championed. But yesterday’s speech was a requiem for R2P. Obama and Power have not merely flopped on the world stage; the catastrophe of Libya and the subsequent refusal to act on Syria as the worst human rights disaster of the 21st century unfolded has completely discredited a doctrine that was never even implemented. Read more at Commentary Magazine.