I gotta admit, President Biden’s press conference brought a Gaelic tear of pride to my eye. The last time I saw an Irishman in elected office go off like that, it was back when I was growing up, when “Boss” Richard Daley was Mayor of Chicago. The biggest difference is that Biden has the sarcastic wit of a barracuda.
Special Counsel Hurd’s gratuitous remarks about Biden’s age and memory were infantile, cheap, and beneath a professional, and I think he’ll pay a price for that down the road, much as James Comey got his ass kicked for his nonsensical presser announcing he wouldn’t prosecute Hillary, but calling her lazy about her internet security. Fortunately, his gratuitous cheap shot about beau Biden gave Biden the chance to bloody his pug long distance, and it was a straight right.
But there was a Biden response to one of Hurd’s assertions that stuck in my mind, between it’s been toying with me for weeks now, Hurd’s bird cage liner report indicated that when he was interviewed, Biden seemed to have a very vague memory, and repeatedly said he couldn’t recall. They’re asking questions about 30 years ago, and Biden can’t remember. How many times did Traitor Tot say I can’t remember in his deposition bout events less than a decade old?
Turns out Biden was distracted. Not senile, but distracted. It turns out that they held the interview in the days leading up to October 7th, the date of the Hamas attack on Israel. Biden knew that something was up, and he was burning up the phone lines with Egypt, Qatar, the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Tel Aviv, trying to identify it so it could be stopped. And he’s spending 5 1/2 hours over two days answering bullsh*t questions about ancient history. Reminds me of President Obama wowing them at the WH Correspondents dinner while he was waiting for the raid to kill Osama bin Laden to be carried out.
But it was his description of the circumstances in the Middle East, because it’s been on my mind for weeks. Simply because I have nothing to do but sit here all day, and repetition is part of the media cycle, I’m starting to see a pattern here, and if I’m right, and it works, then Biden is likely to walk away with a Nobel Peace prize.
A large part of this is due to something as simple as professionalism. The problems in the Middle East have been around for ages. So who does El Pendejo Presidente turn to for his head peacemaker in the Middle East? His numb nuts Jewish son-in-law, who was more interested in stuffing their pockets with Saudi cash than bringing peace to the region. Who did Biden turn to? A Jewish American diplomatic savant who has more brains for breakfast than the entire Kushner family has all year long, and who honestly wants to make a positive difference.
Some of what follows is going to be a bit subtle, so hang with me here. One of the great advantages of spending 50 years in government is that there are plenty of opportunities to learn from the government’s mistakes. And one of the most frequent and tragic US foreign policy blunders has always been our insane love for regime change, even when dealing with allegedly friendly democratic countries. It never works, and the US always comes across looking more like the world’s bully than the worlds cop.
But there is a perfectly acceptable diplomatic way around that, especially when dealing with legitimate democratic countries. That method isn’t exert military pressure to force change. The more effective way is to use diplomacy to control the circumstances, conditions, and messaging on the ground to make the citizens put pressure on their leader to either straighten up, or get rid of the bum. And that’s what Biden and Antony Blinken are doing right now, in the Israel-HAMAS war.
In the days following the HAMAS raid, the US joined most of the rest of the civilized world in joining lockstep with Israel. Following his secret jaunt to Kiev to become the first US President to visit an active war zone, Biden followed that up with a visit to Tel Aviv while rockets were flying, which immediately made him more popular with the Israeli public than Netanyahu is. I’m pretty sure that in that manly bro-hug with Netanyahu on the steps, Biden was whispering in his ear, Don’t f*ck with me, Bibi.
Biden and Blinken immediately pledged their total support for Israel’s unconditional right to defend itself. But at the same time, both Biden and Blinken made public statements affirming that US support was based on a proportional response to HAMAS aggression, and not a WWII style blitaz that put innocent Palestinians at risk. The subliminal implications were crystal clear, You want to go after HAMAS, fine, but be prepared to take the casualties in your military. You aren’t going to depopulate the Gaza strip just so you can stand under a Mission Accomplished banner. You need us more than we need you right now.
Unfortunately, Netanyahu is nothing more than a far right Israeli version of Trump. I’ve taken to telling Teri that There’s nothing Netan about that ass clown, he’s pure Yahoo. Netanyahu has spent more than 30 years riding AIPAC influence and the large Jewish voting bloc to demand whatever he liked form the US, without having to actually make and keep any concessions of his own. Remember Netanyahu going through the GOP Speaker to address a joint meeting of congress when Obama declined to invite him. And Bibi has just kiept right on thinking he can steamroll over Biden too. He’s about to find out he’s wrong.
In medicine, if you have a feisty virus you can’t seem to control, you don’t bother to kill the virus, instead you put up a wall around it. And that’s exactly what Biden and Blinken are doing to the Netanyahu virus right now;
- Since the day he took office, Netanyahu has been historically unpopular. When Biden showed up to give Bibi a bro hug, and offer US military aid, he became immediately more popular in Israel than Netanyahu. Kind of like a rich uncle who shows up to bail you out
- Israeli’s themselves seem tortured about Israel’s overwhelming military response. Like Americans, Israelis honestly believe that what separates them from the terrorist animals is not committing atrocities in response to provocation. Biden is in tune with their own feelings
- It was Biden and Blinken, with Saudi support who opened the lines of negotiation through Qatar that led to a cease fire that led to the release of Israeli hostages. This is something Netanyahu absolutely hated, and the release of hostages was something his Blitzkrieg hadn’t accomplished. It was US diplomacy that brought home Israeli hostages, leaving Netanyahu looking like a schmuck
- It was Biden and Blinken who engineered the diplomatic surge that led to Egypt President as Sisi to open the sole Egyptian border crossing to the Gaza strip for humanitarian supplies. This played well in Israel, since Israeli’s hold no grudge to innocent Palestinians
- When that proved to be insufficient, Biden put direct pressure on Netanyahu to open the Israeli border checkpoints to allow for the flow of more humanitarian aid to the northern Gaza strip. Once again, under public pressure, including protests, the strong man had to bail
As I said previously, Netanyahu’s poll support in Israel has been underwater since he took office. But right now, with the brutality of his response to the HAMAS terror attack, and his complete inability to bring the hostages home, I have the feeling that his popularity numbers in Israel aren’t that much better than HAMAS’s. The Israeli’s are sick of this shit. Not just the current war, but some 40 years of war. They want a peace that doesn’t have them looking up at the sky every time they leave the house.
And they’re not the only ones. The longer this conflict goes on, the more dangerous the Middle east becomes. Iranian backed insurgents such as the Houthi’s and Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad in Iraq are starting to not only lash out at Israel, they’re targeting US forces as well. And while Iran is stull claiming neutrality, a frisky Iran could accidentally cause a widening of the conflict to a territorial conflict. Something nobody in the region wants.
A brief history lesson. It was the Arab states that grudgingly recognized and tolerated a maniacal Saddam Hussein government in Iraq, for the simple reaosn that Iraq kept Iran at bay in the region. That’s why the major concession George H W Bush had to make in return for leading Operation Desert Storm in 1991 was that the US would not attempt regime change in Iraq. Just push Iraw out of Kuwait, and put up a fence around them.
Which is where we are again right now. Only instead of putting a fence up around Iraq, this time the Arab states want to put one up around Israel. And it’s providing the Biden administration the chance of a lifetime.
And they’re jumping on it with both feet. Antony Blinken is piling up enough frequent flyer miles to travel for free on government planes for the rest of his life. Biden is burning up the phone lines, and he’s about to teach Benji Netanyahu a very painful political lesson.
The US is looking to broker a long term political deal. Egypt already recognizes Israel, Jimmy Carter got a Nobel Peace Prize for that one. Now the US is going to Bahrain, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and anywhere the can get to offering a deal. In basic form, the deal would have all of the Arab states recognize Israel’s legitimacy as a nation, and provide security guarantees. In return Israel would stop the Gaza invasion, and agree to negotiate an independent Palestinian state, with autonomy and security guarantees.
This is the Holy Grail of international diplomacy, and it’s in reach. But there’s just one small problem. Bibi Netanyahu. He is absolutely cirulently against a free and autocratic Palestinian state on what he views as Israeli territory. There’s just one problem he has. According to the polling I’ve seen, the majority of Israeli’s are actually amenable to a two state solution.
The real problem here is regional politics. When you look at the Israeli Palestinian conflict, you can sum it up in three simple words, Spaghetti. Meet. Wall. Israel has Bibi Netanyahu, who will never agree to a two state solution. In the West bank you have the Palestinian Authority, which is totally feckless and corrupt, and whom even the Palestinians don’t pay attention to. And if the Gaza Strip you have HAMAS, a terrorist organization Israel will never deal with. In a word, everybody’s gotta go!
Which is where the participation of the Arab states comes into play. In return for a brokered, Arab backed deal for a two state solution, they could demand and receive the dissolution of both HAMAS and the Palestinian Authority, and create a new Palestinian State government, with aut9onomy and security guaranteed. I can’t imagine the domination exhausted Palestinians not grabbing that lifeline with both hands.
Which leaves Israel. And Benjamin Netanyahu. Which is where the US engineered fence isolating Bibi comes in. The Israeli’s want peace, something they’ve never truly known for 76 years. If they can get Arab state guarantees of their national state, and security guarantees, why wouldn’t they take it? The obstruction is Netanyahu.
Since the second week of the war, reporting from Israel has shown that Netanyahu is being referred to as a wartime Prime Minister. He had to pull a power sharing agreement with the opposition in order to cerate a wartime cabinet. The general feeling I’m hearing in reporting is that once the conflict is over, he’s toast. There will be a vote of no confidence in the Knesset, and new elections. And with a new Israelu more moderate government, and guarantees of national security, and no Palestinian Authority of HAMAS, Arab state support could push this over the finish line.
Biden is no dotard, and he’s not senile. Hello, I’m 12 years younger than Joe, and I wouldn’t get on a bike without an ambulance next to me. One of the reasons the Democrats pushed Obama to make Biden his VP was Biden’s extensive foreign policy chops, something Obama was lacking. And Biden is making this play in the classic diplomatic style, under the radar, and cards held close to the vest. The money throws to the Arab states, along with the fact that the US now pumps more oil than Saudi Arabis gives him leverage. Stick a pin in this one, but don’t expect anything public until the fireworks. That’s Biden’s style.
I thank you for the privilege of your time.