Thursday, April 11, 2013

Kerry, Obama and Eleven Dimensional Chess

Mike L.

{Cross-posted at Geoffff's Joint and Pro-Israel Bay Bloggers.}

From the earliest days of the Obama administration his followers have assured us what a smart fellow Barack Obama is, yet when it comes to the Middle East everything that Obama touches turns to garbage.

Today we have an article in the Jerusalem Post by Douglas Bloomfield in which he tells us this:
The State Department spokeswoman confirmed a Turkish newspaper report that Kerry wants Erdogan to play an active role in the peace process, and said Kerry asked Turkey to use its “significant influence with the Palestinians” to encourage Hamas to accept the demands of the International Quartet.
Turkey to play an active role in the "peace process"?  Turkey?  Really?

Bloomfield is skeptical:
Erdogan’s inclusion is bad news for Egypt, Fatah and Israel. Egypt resents Turkey moving on to its turf. Former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak felt he had a monopoly as the regional intermediary and told Erdogan to keep his hands off; his successor, Mohamed Morsi, apparently feels that way as well, plus now it’s an Islamist as well as national rivalry.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas knows Erdogan is a close ally of arch-rival Hamas and hostile to the secular nationalist Fatah. If anything, Erdogan is more radical than Abbas, and that’s the last thing the PA leader needs. Relations between the two men are said to be cool at best. Abbas also knows Hamas wants to overthrow him and take over not only the PA but control of the PLO as well.

There are few people who Israelis distrust more than Erdogan. Bringing him in is no way to win their confidence.
This must be another example of the Obama administration's fabled eleven dimensional chess.  Whenever this administration does something both counterintuitive and counterproductive (i.e., stupid) we're supposed to believe that it's actually some super-sophisticated move that the rest of us are just not bright enough to understand.  We're supposed to believe that Barack Obama is playing eleven dimensional chess with Sheldon Cooper and Stephen Hawking.  That's how intelligent the guy is.

Obama wrecked whatever potential that there may have been in the peace process through demanding total settlement freeze and he helped the Muslim Brotherhood come to power in Egypt.  Excuse me, but this is not the behavior of an intelligent individual, nor of an effective administration.  This is not eleven dimensional chess with Sheldon Cooper and Stephen Hawking.  These are not some super-sophisticated diplomatic ninja moves.  On the contrary.  What it really reflects is either stupidity or ignorance, or both, resulting in ineptitude.

And now we have Kerry wanting to bring Erdogan into the peace process?  In other words, Kerry thinks that it makes sense to alienate the Israelis and the Palestinian Authority for the purpose of courting Hamas?

I'm sorry, but this is yet another example of the Obama administration falling directly on its face when it comes to its efforts in the Middle East.  This move is not quite as dumb as demanding total settlement freeze, about which the administration (much to my amazement) actually does seem to have belatedly learned a lesson.  Nor is this nearly so horrific or treasonous as the administration's support for the rise of political Islam throughout the region.  It is merely a relatively small screw-up that will help blow the deal in the long run, but since there is virtually no hope for a negotiated conclusion of hostilities anyway, I suppose it hardly matters.

The point is that this administration, at least when it comes to foreign policy, is inept.  They do not know what they are doing and they have, in fact, made matters considerably worse.  Unless one is a craven sycophant of the administration, or of this president, we owe it to one another to point out these various mistakes and screw-ups, both large and small.  It does no one any good to pretend that a sow's ear is really a silk purse.  If Obama was half as intelligent as they tell us he is then he would not be making these profoundly stupid mistakes and his supporters would not feel it necessary to try and explain away these screw-ups as super-sophisticated ninja diplomacy.

It might be due to ignorance or it might be due to stupidity, but what it's not is effective.

Kerry should get out of the Middle East before the administration does even more damage than it has already.


  1. "t might be due to ignorance or it might be due to stupidity, but what it's not is effective diplomacy."

    It is if you're on the other side. And Obama is most def on the other side.

  2. See a Turkish view on this from al Monitor

  3. It may all be moot anyway when/if Turkey starts raving about Gaza and clearly standing 99% for the Palestinians and 1% for Israel. It's bound to happen and everyone can walk away confident in the knowledge it was doomed.

    Kerry's not bringing any new ideas to the table. He's just reapplying 10 year old paint. So we might be looking too hard at some deeper intent or inscrutable plan. There might not be one. Picture the scene: Obama and Kerry in the Oval Office

    "John, you have to get the Turks involved. Hillary pushed for us to be primary in this deal and that's a sucker bet. I need someone else to walk point on this."

    "But Sir the Turks HATE Israel and they don't support Abbas."

    "So what - the Arabs can't get their shit together. Let Turkey pick 'the strong horse' as they say."

    "Sir what do we do when Erdogan shoots his mouth off?"

    "John, the Jews take my shit, they'll take his. Get it done."

    "I'm on it sir.

  4. " Canada’s foreign minister did something this week that most of his Western colleagues adamantly refuse to do: he met with Justice Minister Tzipi Livni in her office at the Justice Ministry, which is located in East Jerusalem.

    Most Western countries refuse to let their officials attend meetings at Israeli government offices in East Jerusalem, lest this be viewed as recognizing Israel’s annexation of that part of the city.

    Nor was that all John Baird did: He also visited an Israeli army outpost in the Golan Heights to view the situation on the Syrian border firsthand and receive an intelligence briefing on Syria’s civil war. The Golan is another area many Western countries bar their officials from visiting, lest it be viewed as recognizing Israel’s annexation of the heights.

    A senior Israeli Foreign Ministry official said that Baird made both visits despite opposition from diplomats at Canada’s embassy in Tel Aviv.

    A nongovernmental Israeli source involved in Israeli-Canadian relations noted that Baird also violated the East Jerusalem taboo last time he was here, by visiting Jerusalem’s Old City with an official Israeli escort. “Baird recognizes the sensitivity, but he wants to set a precedent,” this source said. "

    No chess for Canadians; just good old checkers, but it works for me.

    1. The division of Jerusalem must be a red line.

      Under no circumstances should Israel even consider dividing the city.

  5. As Yaacovb Lozowick has amply's in here somewhere in postings from 2011 and 2012..start here:

    It is as impossible to divide Jerusalem as it is to levitate. It simply cannot be done.