Thursday, June 24, 2010

Soccer Dad

Soccer Dad


Posted: 24 Jun 2010 04:23 AM PDT

Remarks by the President at the Site of the 10,000th ARRA Road Project

Now, these projects haven't just improved communities. They've put thousands of construction crews -- just like this one -- to work. They've spurred countless small businesses to hire because -- these are some big guys here, so they got to eat -- (laughter) -- which means that you got to get some food brought in -- or the local restaurants here benefit from the crews being here at work. It means that instead of worrying about where their next paycheck is going to come from, Americans across the country are helping to build our future -- and their own futures.

Now, as my friend Joe Biden -- who has done a great job overseeing the Recovery Act -- would say, this is a big deal. (Laughter.) And I think it's fitting that we've reached this milestone here in this community, because what you're doing here is a perfect example of the kind of innovation and coordination and renewal that the Recovery Act is driving all across this country.

GRAPH-ic proof that it's not all that it's cracked up to be.

Are unintended consequences surprising?

Submitted 06/24/10

Posted: 24 Jun 2010 04:23 AM PDT

This week's Watcher's Council submissions are posted.

Council Submissions

Non-Council Submissions

Read. Enjoy. Be informed.

Si vis pacem, para bellum

Posted: 24 Jun 2010 04:18 AM PDT

One of the memes coming out of the administration and eagerly parroted by the press is that Israel is a strategic liability for the United States. The reason, of course, is because Israel is too aggressive (and, thus, does not make peace with the Palestinians.) The advantage to this narrative is that it puts the onus of peacemaking on Israel. The disadvantage is that it isn't true and it absolves the Palestinians and, more generally, the Arab world from coming to agreement with Israel.

Lee Smith takes a different tack. (via memeorandum)

Once regarded as a U.S. aircraft carrier in the Eastern Mediterranean, Israel is now perceived, correctly or not, as a strategic liability. Before the flotilla incident last month--an event that, yet again, earned Israel the opprobrium of the international community--there was the Gaza war in the winter of 2008 to 2009, an inconclusive battle that ended with Hamas still in control and with the Israelis ultimately having to face the Goldstone Report. In July 2006 there was the Second Lebanon War, popularly understood as a Hezbollah victory--or as its Secretary General, Hassan Nasrallah, describes it, a divine victory. But perhaps Israel's largest strategic blunder was its 2000 withdrawal from Lebanon. Even while Defense Minister Ehud Barak continues to defend the decision he made as prime minister, the facts are clear: Israel abandoned its ally in the South Lebanese Army, made its citizens vulnerable to Hezbollah rockets, and effectively rewarded terrorism as a negotiating tool. Now Hezbollah has 40,000 missiles and rockets.

Smith's interpretation is the opposite of the conventional wisdom. Israel, if it is a strategic liability, it is because it has been too passive. But here he lays blame for Israel's failure on the West.

It is peculiar that most U.S. policymakers and bureaucrats do not believe that the United States has an interest in pushing back against an Iranian asset in the Eastern Mediterranean and going after a terrorist group that operates inside U.S. borders. But the fact is that if Israel has become a strategic liability, U.S. policymakers--from the Clinton Administration through the Bush and Obama Administrations--have helped make it one, forcing Jerusalem to accommodate terrorists and the states that support them, thereby putting our own interests and citizens under fire. Now, instead of asking how we can ensure that our ally wins its next war with the Shia militia, the question in Washington's halls of power, its think tanks, and dining rooms is: How do we deter Israel from going to war against Hezbollah?

Barry Rubin makes a similar point in regards to Israel's recent decision to allow more goods into Gaza.

With the accusatory headline Adviser to Israel's Netanyahu questions Mideast peace effort, new Iran sanctions the Washington Post reports on a major factor this perverse state of affairs (via Daily Alert Blog):

"The creation of a Palestinian state remains the choice of many," Arad said. "But in the process, have you failed to notice that the more we lend legitimacy to a Palestinian state, the more it comes at the expense of our own?"

Arad described the Palestinians as "major actors in the delegitimization of Israel" and questioned Israel's decision to back talks on Palestinian statehood. "In trying to make peace" via the indirect U.S.-led talks, "we are embracing an adversary who is conducting a very effective battle against us internationally," he said, though he added that Israel still aspires to peace with the Palestinians and Syria.

It really is quite astonishing that even after all the Israeli concessions of the past (nearly) 17 years, Israel's is still considered every bit as much an occupier as it was in 1993.

It's like the West has adopted a series of premises:
1) Peace is an absolute good.
2) The only way to achieve peace is through a peace process.
3) The only way for their to be a successful peace process is to keep the Palestinians happy.
4) Anything Israel does that makes the Palestinians unhappy upsets the peace process and threatens peace.

Of course what's missing from this progession is that we have a Palestinian leadership that is committed to the peace process - as it yields them political and financial rewards - but not necessarily to peace which entails responsibilities they do not wish to assume.

Nearly two years ago the New York Times reported, A West Bank Ruin, Reborn as a Peace Beacon.

. In the article, the Times's Jerusalem bureau chief, Ethan Bronner wrote about the renaissance going on Jenin. I noted at the time:

Do you notice what's missing? Well how about Operation Defensive Shield that destroyed most of the terrorist infrastructure that existed in Jenin? Somehow acknowledging that killing terrorists helps bring peace seems to be beyond his understanding.

The slavish devotion to the chimera of the peace process ignores one important component of peace: defeating those who oppose peace. It's not something that the Palestinians have ever done. Israel did it and made it possible for there a limited level of success in Palestinian state building. So even as the world demands that Israel make more and more unproductive concessions to further the peace process, they fail to acknowledge the actions Israel took that made any chance of peace possible.

Oslo, instead of making peace, made it possible for Arafat to create a "suicide factory" in the areas under his jurisdiction.

Though few are willing to acknowledge it, the best way to peace in the Middle East is by allowing Israel to defeat its enemies and not by insisting that Israel strenghten them.

Crossposted on Yourish.

Quick takes 062410

Posted: 24 Jun 2010 03:10 AM PDT

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