When Benjamin Netanyahu humiliated U.S. Vice-President Joe Biden two weeks ago with his settlements announcement it was just one more calculated effort to both expose Barack Obama as a weak president and to increase Netanyahu's own geo-political power. Unfortunately for the Middle East, Obama, and the world in general, the brinkmanship seemed to work. The immediate U.S. response to this deliberate humiliation was half-hearted, weak and confused. The balance of power within the U.S.-Israeli alliance appeared to shift overnight. Obama is the classic ditherer -- faced with someone bold and daring, he simply can't find the moral outrage or courage to stand up for his principles.
Related rabble.ca story:
John Kerry's inspired peace process since July between the Israelis and Palestinians is "worse than going nowhere," and so "the big question becomes what to do next," argues the Ramallah based Palestinian-Canadian human rights lawyer, Diana Buttu.
"There might be an extension to the talks, but that extension is actually going to be a bad thing, not a good thing. The longer negotiations go on, the worse the situation gets on the ground" she told rabble in a recent interview.
"The international community has been putting a lot of emphasis on the Kerry talks; the Palestinian people are not. They are recognizing it for what it is, which is a sham and a process to allow Israel to build more settlements and buy more time," Buttu continues.
Amid rumors that the Obama administration might try to cut an emissions deal with Canada in order to justify approval of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, leaders from 25 U.S. environmental groups -- backed by millions of members and at least 75,000 individuals willing to engage incivil disobedience -- warned the president on Tuesday that such a deal would be considered nothing less than a bitter betrayal.
In a world in which what's happening is analyzed and dissected, chewed up and spat out, before it even happens, there is, in fact, a surprising amount of surprise.
Consider recent days. With the U.S. poised to strike Syria for its government's alleged and apparent use of chemical weapons, suddenly we learn that the British House of Commons has denied the British government authorization to join the U.S. in the strike, a virtually unheard of event. No one, at least on this side of the pond, seems to have told the Obama administration that a possibility was actually a probability.
As President Barack Obama's attack on Syria appears to have been delayed for the moment, it is remarkable that Secretary of State John Kerry was meeting, on Sept. 11, with one of his predecessors, Henry Kissinger, reportedly to discuss strategy on forthcoming negotiations on Syria with Russian officials. The Kerry-Kissinger meeting, and the public outcry against the proposed attack on Syria to which both men are publicly committed, should be viewed through the lens of another Sept. 11 ... 1973.