by Barry Rubin
In the United States, about half the population and most of the policy elite thinks that President Barack Obama’s administration is a great success internationally. The other half doesn’t. A key reason for the first group’s attitude is its obsession with the highly visible popularity issue, the idea that
As we move into 2010, with the administration’s first, “learning,” year behind it, a turn toward learning the lessons of that experience is not yet visible. This is especially so on the two most high-profile
Originally, the administration suggested that it would raise sanctions against
This, then, is the way the Obama Administration views threats, which will make its adversaries see them as hollow. In a Brussels speech,
"You'll hear over the next six months a lot more about our efforts on sanctions."
Hear about them? Haven’t we been hearing about them for a year? And at the end of six months will we actually see them?
This all makes the following scenario quite imaginable:
Fill in the month; fill in the day; fill in the year: Iran Has Nuclear Weapons
Same month; same day plus one; same year:
Meanwhile, a parallel scenario is affecting the administration’s “peace process” policy. There are lots of stories in the media. Envoys zig and zag over the map. Meetings are held; plans are hinted at. But none of this matters. None of it.
Here’s the only thing that matters: Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas says he won’t even go to talks unless
Obama’s Administration is urging that negotiations restart based on the fantasy that all the tough issues will be quickly resolved. Resolve borders, security guarantees, recognition of a Jewish state of
Here's a basic aspect of the problem. While
Therefore, in July 2010, and by January 2011 for that matter, the administration is unlikely to make any progress.
Very possibly the administration will fool the American media by constant activity and claims that it is getting somewhere; somewhat possibly will it fool a large proportion of the American population. But people in the
Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal.
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