Do you remember Robert Malley? Yes, that (Jewish) fella who makes a living counseling Israel to accede to every Palestinian demand. The one who first was an Obama adviser and then wasn’t...and then maybe was again. Well, he turned out to not to be. Instead, he is, according to today’s New York Times, Middle East and North African program director of the International Crisis Group, a very pompous self-characterization.
The Times piece is by Mark Landler which means it is accurate. And accurate on a weighty topic: “U.S. Faces Risks and Advantages in Bid to Save Talks.”
Apparently everyone now regrets that the president and his siren, Hillary Clinton, made not building in the settlements the key to our entire Middle East policy. The basic objection to this is the crucial issue (or one of the really crucial issues) of where the territorial lines will be drawn. If Israeli settlers build here and not there will have no effect on the prospective borders. None.
I know that David Axelrod got hysterical about private Israelis doing teeny-weeny bits of construction in East Jerusalem, and that the secretary of state made another one of her efforts to replace Joe Biden on the 2012 ticket. But savvy folk were running away from the issue. After all, if the Israelis didn’t suspend construction, how could the Palestinians proceed with the negotiations. The Palestinians were trapped...well, by Obama’s hubris.
Here’s Malley’s wisdom on the matter: “The original sin was putting so much emphasis, an issue we couldn’t resolve...We’ve spent the whole year trying to undo the damage of that step.”
Look: the president is not smart on foreign policy, not smart at all. Why doesn’t he just stick to domestic matters on which his wisdom may, at least, be debatable.