9:10 AM, Feb 26, 2015 • By ELLIOTT ABRAMS
The crisis between the United States and Israel has been manufactured by the Obama administration. Building a crisis up or down is well within the administration’s power, and it has chosen to build it up. Why? Three reasons: to damage and defeat Netanyahu (whom Obama has always disliked simply because he is on the right while Obama is on the left) in his election campaign, to prevent Israel from affecting the Iran policy debate in the United States, and worst of all to diminish Israel’s popularity in the United States and especially among Democrats.
Suppose for a moment that the Netanyahu speech before Congress is a mistake, a breach of protocol, a campaign maneuver, indeed all the bad things the White House is calling it. Grant all of that for a moment for the sake of argument and the behavior of the Obama administration is still inexplicable. Clearly more is behind its conduct than mere pique over the speech.
First comes the personal relationship and the desire to see Netanyahu lose the election. Recall that Obama became president before Netanyahu became prime minister, and it is obvious that the dislike was both personal and political before Netanyahu had done anything. Obama does not like people on the right, period—Americans, Israelis, Australians, you name it. Obama also decided immediately on taking office to pick a fight with Israel and make construction in settlements and in Jerusalem the central issue in U.S.-Israeli relations. Remember that he appointed George Mitchell as his special negotiator one day after assuming the presidency, and Mitchell was the father of the demand that construction—including even construction to accommodate what Mitchell called “natural growth” of families in settlement populations—be stopped dead. A confrontation was inevitable, and was desired by the White House.
Obama has overplayed his hand, in the sense that in poll after poll Israelis say that they do not support his Middle East policies. Historically, an Israeli prime minister loses domestic support when he cannot manage relations with Washington. This year may be the exception, the time when Israelis want a prime minister to oppose U.S. policies they view as dangerous. They may also believe that the Obama administration is simply so hostile that no prime minister could avoid confrontations.
I well remember how we in the Bush White House handled the poor personal relations between the president and French president Jacques Chirac. In 2004-2005 especially, the two men did not get along (arguing mostly about Iraq and just plain disliking each other as well) but we wanted to prevent their poor personal chemistry from damaging bilateral relations. So National Security Advisor Condi Rice in 2004, and then her successor Steve Hadley in 2005, set up a work-around. The French National Security Advisor Maurice Gourdault-Montagne traveled to Washington almost every month and came to the White House. There the French ambassador to the U.S., Jean-David Levitte, joined him for meetings with key NSC, DOD, and State Department officials. In 2005, Secretary of State Rice would come over from State to join Hadley and several of us on the NSC staff, and in the course of a half-day we would review every issue facing the United States and France. It was a serious time commitment for the American and French officials, but that is because we were determined to quarantine bad personal chemistry and prevent it from infecting the entire relationship—a goal set by President Bush himself.
Quite obviously, President Obama has no such goal. Israeli officials have complained to me for several years about the lack of contacts and communications with the White House. Susan Rice has determined that her job is to make bilateral relations worse, and has established no relationship with her Israeli counterpart Yossi Cohen. So the problem is not just bad chemistry at the top; it is an administration that has decided to create a tense and negative relationship from the top down.
3:10 PM, Dec 22, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
Secretary of State John Kerry used the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the devastating earthquake and subsequent tsunami in the Indian Ocean region as a reminder about climate change. The earthquake released huge walls of water that inundated a number of coastal regions in both Asia and Africa just before Christmas in 2004. Kerry recalls hearing the news:
9:31 AM, Dec 18, 2014 • By JAIME DAREMBLUM
The fiesta is over. Mexico, a remarkably important nation of some 120 million people—indeed, the world’s fifteenth largest economy—is descending into crisis. Students have been slaughtered en masse with the complicity of a corrupt police force. The country’s young president and his finance minster are embroiled in a corruption scandal. And the recent fall in oil prices—which looks set to continue—only portends further suffering.
'It's not an outbreak or an epidemic here.'6:58 PM, Oct 20, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
President Obama discussed the Ebola virus in remarks at Democratic fundraiser in Chicago this evening. Ebola "has been the only story here in the United States for the last couple of weeks," Obama said.
But the commander in chief, who's called Ebola a national security threat, added, "It's not an outbreak or an epidemic here."
Obama also ticked off some of the world hotspots and said, "So you have this sense of uncertainty overseas."
6:23 PM, Oct 18, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
On Friday, the White House announced Democratic hack Ron Klain as the point-man on the Ebola crisis. But despite his new role, which is being described as some as the Ebola czar, Klain was not in attendance at the White House meeting on Ebola on Friday.
At least 21 other White House officials, including the vice president, were either in attendance in person or via video conference. Including the White House communications director. But not
Here's the White House's readout of the meeting:
5:51 PM, Oct 16, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
The boss, with former Obama aide Stephanie Cutter, earlier today on CNN:
'Chances of an Ebola outbreak in the United States is extremely low.'
8:23 PM, Oct 6, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
President Barack Obama addressed the growing Ebola crisis today in the Roosevelt Room of the White House.
"As I’ve said from the start of this outbreak, I consider this a top national security priority. This is not just a matter of charity -- although obviously the humanitarian toll in countries that are affected in West Africa is extraordinarily significant. This is an issue about our safety. It is also an issue with respect to the political stability and the economic stability in this region," said the commander in chief.
11:31 AM, Oct 3, 2014 • By ADAM J. WHITE
If Mitt Romney had said in 2012 that a second Obama term would bring not just continued economic uncertainty, but also the re-emergence of international terrorist forces, Russia's invasion of the Ukraine, an illegal immigration crisis, a knife-wielding madman in the White House, a beheading in Oklahoma, and the Ebola virus in Texas, even the president's most paranoid critics would have told him to
Oct 13, 2014, Vol. 20, No. 05 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
How to introduce students to conservative thought? It’s hard. The colleges and universities aren’t interested. The media and popular culture are hostile. What if young Americans nonetheless become aware of the existence of such a thing as conservative thought? How to convey its varieties and complexities? Even tougher. You can write articles and put things online, but there’s an awful lot competing for young people’s attention these days.
But there’s good news nonetheless. Help has arrived. Its name? President Barack Obama.
8:21 PM, Sep 30, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
President Obama, addressing the ebola outbreak September 16, 2014 at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta:
9:10 AM, Sep 25, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
The Rio Grande Valley sector of the U.S. Border Patrol (USBP) is looking to buy 40,000 emergency Mylar blankets.
4:56 PM, Sep 16, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
President Obama talked about the spread of Ebola at the CDC in Atlanta today. He said it's "spiraling out of control," according to the pool report.
"It is getting worse. It's spreading faster and exponentially. Today thousands of people in West africa are infected. That number could rapidly grow to tens of thousands."
"And if the outbreak is not stopped now, we could be looking at hundreds of thousands of people infected with profound political and economic and security implications for all of us."
Here's the pool report:
'Children' being 'fed, clothed, cared for, taught' until 20s on taxpayers' dime.
3:36 PM, Jul 16, 2014 • By WHITNEY BLAKE
CNN reported last night that while Maryland governor Martin O'Malley doesn't want unaccompanied minors to be deported, he doesn't want them in certain parts of Maryland either.
12:34 PM, Jul 9, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
Democratic congressman Henry Cuellar ripped President Obama for being "aloof" and "detached" by not visiting the Texas border to see first hand the immigration crisis. Cuellar made the comments on MSNBC: