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Old 02-18-2013, 11:55 AM  
Direckshun Direckshun is offline
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President Barack Obama: Enemy of Israel

Psyche.

I think it's pretty clear that hewing the Likud line is not what's best for either the United States or for Israel. Both parties should be acting in their own best interests, and forge a coalition that supports each other rather than marching lockstep with whatever Israel wants.

The next four years are going to be really turbulent for Israel. They're going to be challenging. The CIA and Israel are no doubt in a covert operation to neuter Iran's ambitions. Israel is also struggling with how to resolve the crisis of Palestinian autonomy.

Under the past four years, it has genuinely seemed like Israel's course of action is to try to rope the US into a series of overt attacks on Iran while totally discarding the two-state solution in a nationwide lurch towards apartheid of the Palestinian people.

With Obama's victory over a 2012 GOP platform with called for unconditional support for everything Israel does, a narrow victory for the Likud in 2013, the US pulling its focus away from the Middle East as oil independence grows and our wars come to an end, and of course now a Defense department which will be run by people who openly, frequently disagree with Israel, the American tether Israel has relied on is now tightening, and it seems Israel will have to at least crawl back to the mainstream.

I don't know if the two-state solution lives anymore, I really don't. But an apartheid of the Palestinian people and a war with Iran just became dramatically less likely.

http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com...-to-get-medal/

On Israel trip, Obama to get medal
Posted by CNN's Ashley Killough
February 18th, 2013 10:59 AM ET

(CNN) When President Barack Obama visits Israel next month, he'll be awarded the Presidential Medal of Distinction, Israeli President Shimon Peres' office announced Monday.

Obama, the first sitting U.S. president to receive the recognition, will be awarded the medal for making "a unique and significant contribution to strengthening the State of Israel and the security of its citizens," according to a release announcing the news.

He'll receive the award at a dinner at Peres' residence in Jerusalem, slated to be attended by senior figures from Israeli public life and the Obama administration. The award is given to "private" individuals and organizations that have made "outstanding contributions to bettering the world."

Previous winners of the award include former Secretary of State Dr. Henry Kissinger, the Music Director of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Attorney Uri Slonim, and Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz.

It's not the first time the two presidents have exchanged awards. Obama bestowed Peres the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, last year at the White House. Twelve others also received the award in 2012.

The Medal of Distinction comes as Obama makes his first trip to Israel as presidenta trip expected to receive wide attention in light of the Obama administration's at-times turbulent relationship with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Despite getting off to a rocky start with Netanyahu by pushing for a comprehensive freeze of Israeli settlements, Obama's vocal support for Netanyahu through the November crisis with Gaza and U.S. financial support for the "Iron Dome" anti-missile program, could pave the road for greater trust in the relationship, and more flexibility from Netanyahu when it comes to the disputed Iranian nuclear program.

And in his State of the Union address last week, Obama said when he travels to the Middle East, he'll deliver a message signaling that the U.S. will "stand steadfast with Israel in pursuit of security and a lasting peace."
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Old 02-18-2013, 12:03 PM   #2
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Old 02-18-2013, 12:03 PM   #3
Direckshun Direckshun is offline
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On cue.

http://thehill.com/blogs/global-affa...in-second-term

Lawmakers welcome Obama's 'new emphasis' on Middle East
By Julian Pecquet
02/18/13 06:00 AM ET

Lawmakers are applauding what they see as President Obama's “new emphasis” on the Middle East in his second term after Secretary of State John Kerry confirmed this week that he would be headed there ahead of the president's trip in March.

The twin visits are a tacit acknowledgment that the troubled region's problems — the civil war in Syria, Iran's nuclear ambitions and the stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace process — continue to dominate U.S. foreign policy. Lawmakers say the timing, coming after elections in both the United States and Israel, is ripe for Obama and his top diplomat to visit both Israel and her neighbors and set the tone for the next four years.

“If this signifies a new emphasis on the region. I think it's a good thing for the country,” said Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

“We have to be careful in our haste to finally wash our hands of all these wars [in Iraq and Afghanistan] that we continue to be focused on [in] the region," he said. "So I think the emphasis on the Middle East will have to be there. It's the core of where Islamic terrorism comes from. We obviously have a stake in that. Israel is our staunch ally. We have a stake in her well-being, and we also want to make sure that Iran is not a nuclear power.”

The trips represent somewhat of a break from the first term's much-vaunted “pivot to Asia.”

Hillary Clinton went on a weeklong tour of Asia for her first trip abroad as secretary of State “to convey that America’s relationships across the Pacific are indispensable to addressing the challenges and seizing the opportunities of the 21st century,” she said at the time.

But Kerry is expected to travel to Israel, the West Bank and several more Middle Eastern and European nations later this month. Obama, for his part, is making his first trip as president to Israel and also visiting the West Bank and Jordan in March.

“Whatever we do in [Asia] should not come, and I hope will not come, at the expense of relationships in Europe or the Mideast or elsewhere,” Kerry said during his confirmation hearing. “It can't.”

Kerry made his goals clear from the get-go, calling Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas the weekend before he started his new job.

“The secretary underscored his personal commitment and that of President Obama to support Israel's security and to pursue a lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said about the calls.

And at a press conference with Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh this past week, Kerry said working with U.S. allies to find a way to get President Bashar Assad to step down in Syria would be a main goal of his trip.

“When we finalize the components of my trip and you’re aware of what I’m doing,” Kerry told reporters, “I think one of my purposes will be to try to see what can be done with respect to [Assad's] calculation [that he can stay in power] and how we might be able to affect it.”

Rep. Gerry Connelly (D-Va.), the No. 2 Democrat on the Foreign Affairs Middle East subcommittee, said the trip comes at a “very logical point in time.”

“The president is freshly reelected, convincingly. The Israelis have had their elections. And I think it's a useful time to sit down together and reassess where we are in the Middle East peace process and where we are on the Iranian nuclear challenge,” he said.

He added that for those who had doubts about the president's commitment to Middle East issues, this “clears it up.”

“Especially when it comes to a presidential trip, you invest time where there's opportunity and where there are challenges that have to be addressed,” Connelly said. “I think there's a recognition that both of those are in play.”

However, the White House has sought to temper any expectations of a breakthrough in peace talks.

“We have here obviously a second term for the president, a new administration and a new government in Israel, and that's an opportune time for a visit like this that is not focused on specific Middle East peace process proposals,” spokesman Jay Carney said last week.

“I'm sure that any time the president and prime minister have a discussion — and certainly any time the president has a discussion with leaders of the Palestinian Authority — that those issues are raised. But that is not the purpose of this visit.”

Engel said that was the right approach.

“We should be prodding the Palestinians to sit down and talk without preconditions, and if that happens then we can try to facilitate talks,” Engel said. “But I'm not for pressuring either side into what they should negotiate.”

He said Obama is unlikely to want to spend too much political capital up front “because so many people have done that before and they've gotten burned.”

The White House is simultaneously refocusing its attention on trans-Atlantic ties with the start of negotiations on a Trade and Investment Partnership with the European Union (EU). Obama announced the start of the talks during his State of the Union address, after the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) that he touted in his first term took longer than expected.

“The rebalancing [towards Asia] that President Obama is engaged in does not and will not come at the expense of any relationship in Europe whatsoever,” Kerry told reporters before meeting Thursday with European Union High Representative Catherine Ashton. “In fact, we want more engagement with Europe, and we think Europe can be more of a partner in those efforts, which is one of the reasons that President Obama is so firmly committed, as he said in the State of the Union message, to a trade and investment partnership initiative with Europe.”

Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.), the top Democrat on the Ways and Means Trade subcommittee in the last Congress, said the push for an EU trade pact represents an acknowledgment by Obama that the shift toward Asia hasn't been as smooth as he'd hoped.

“There are a lot of us who think it won't be easy to solve the Asia problems, and not as quickly as [Obama had] thought; he thought he was going to have [the TPP] done by the election," McDermott said. "I think it's reassessing how much you can get done. So let's move forward on a couple of things, not put all our eggs in one basket.”
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Old 02-18-2013, 12:05 PM   #4
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25 threads on the main DC page, Direckshun has started 10 of them.

You should add at least three more so you can bump it up to more than half.
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Old 02-18-2013, 12:07 PM   #5
Direckshun Direckshun is offline
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Originally Posted by frazod View Post
25 threads on the main DC page, Direckshun has started 10 of them.

You should add at least three more so you can bump it up to more than half.
Wouldn't that be fun.
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Old 02-18-2013, 12:09 PM   #6
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"Lawmakers" and they quote Engel, Connolly, and McDermott. Three of the most virulent, incompetent and useless back bench party hacks of either party in either chamber. I guess, as a technical matter, they qualify as lawmakers but a more accurate description would have been Democrat Loyalists.
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Old 02-18-2013, 12:11 PM   #7
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Obama is no enemy to anyone. That's why he won the Nobel Peace Prize. Duh!
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Old 02-18-2013, 12:14 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Prison Bitch View Post
Obama is no enemy to anyone. That's why he won the Nobel Peace Prize. Duh!
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Old 02-18-2013, 12:19 PM   #9
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Obama is no enemy to anyone. That's why he won the Nobel Peace Prize. Duh!
ANNNNNNNNDDDDD...drone strike.
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