That the socialist French government of François Hollande just blocked a bad deal with Tehran, emerging as the hero of the Geneva negotiations, is on one level a huge surprise. But it also follows logically from the passivity of the Obama administration.
American foreign policy is in unprecedented free-fall, with a feckless and distracted White House barely paying attention to the outside world, and when it does, acting in an inconsistent, weak, and fantastical manner. If one were to discern something so grand as an Obama Doctrine, it would read: "Snub friends, coddle opponents, devalue American interests, seek consensus, and act unpredictably."
Along with many other critics, I rue this state of affairs. But the French action demonstrates that it does have a silver lining. more >>
In the spring of 2012, when I wrote The Last Israelis, I thought that the pessimistic premise of my cautionary tale on Iranian nukes was grounded in realism. I had imagined a U.S. president who passively and impotently reacted to Iran's nuclear ambitions, leaving it to tiny Israel to deal with the threat. But something far worse is happening: the Obama administration is actively making it harder for Israel to neutralize Iran's nukes, and more likely that Iran will develop a nuclear arsenal.
A few months after my apocalyptic thriller was published, The New York Times reported that "intense, secret exchanges between American and Iranian officials [dating] almost to the beginning of President Obama's term" resulted in an agreement to conduct one-on-one negotiations over Iran's nuclear program. In those secret talks, did Obama long ago concede to Iran a nuclear capability? If so, then the current Geneva negotiations merely provide the international imprimatur for what Iran and the US have already privately agreed. That might explain why France (of all countries) had to reject a Geneva deal that would have left Iran with a nuclear breakout capability.
An investigation by The Daily Beast also reveals that the "Obama administration began softening sanctions on Iran after the election of Iran's new president last June, months before the current round of nuclear talks in Geneva..." The report notes that Treasury Department notices show "that the U.S. government has all but stopped the financial blacklisting of entities and people that help Iran evade international sanctions since the election of its president, Hassan Rouhani, in June." more >>
Leon Panetta, former director of the CIA and former Secretary of Defense under President Barack Obama, defended the National Security Administration's controversial surveillance techniques, arguing that it is only following orders from the White House.
"Do you think this agency went too far," Bob Schieffer asked Panetta Sunday on CBS' "Face the Nation."
Panetta answered that NSA officials "do a great job," and after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, NSA has been gathering intelligence based upon the direction provided to it by the National Security Council, a White House office that oversees National Security matters. more >>
On the wall in my office hangs a map of the Entebbe airport in Uganda. The rudimentary map has just a few notations, written in Hebrew. It's not a travel map or an outline of the vendors at the airport; it is a diagram of the facility used in what is recognized as one of the first modern anti-terrorism operations conducted by the Israelis at the Entebbe airport in 1976.
The successful raid resulted in the rescue of 102 hostages that were held for over a week when their plane was hijacked by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a part of the larger Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). Three of the Israeli hostages and one commando were killed in the operation. The one commando was a unit commander Yonatan Netanyahu, brother of the current Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.
The map was a gift from one of the force commanders of the Entebbe raid, given to me back in the late 1980's when I had the opportunity to work with a number of Israeli anti-terrorist experts. My interaction with the Israelis taught me a lot about how people live and deal with neighbors who not only refuse to recognize their right to exist as a nation, but in many cases want to eliminate them and their people. more >>
Hundreds of attendees of the World Council of Churches' Tenth Assembly participated in a "pilgrimage of peace" taken in the 60th year since the armistice that ended the combat phase of the Korean War was signed.
An estimated 800 WCC participants joined the peace pilgrimage on Saturday, calling for the unification of the Korean Peninsula after generations of tensions between the North and South.
What's worse than the silence of Western Christians concerning the Muslim persecution of their coreligionists in the Islamic world? Answer: Cynically exploiting that persecution for a political agenda-in the case of a recent Daily Beast article, to excoriate the state of Israel and its supporters.
Titled "Why Won't the West Defend Middle Eastern Christians?" and written by Diarmaid MacCulloch, a Fellow of St. Cross College, the article touches on the persecution of Christians, but primarily as a springboard to attack American Christian support for Israel. Consider the following excerpt:
… one of the silences which I find most frustrating is precisely the lack of noise from Western Christians about the fate of ancient Christianities in the Middle East. At the heart of the problems in the Middle East is seven decades of unresolved conflict between Israel and Palestine... more >>