Real Time Thoughts on Meet the Press (September 16, 2012)

U.N. Amb. Susan Rice and Bibi Netanyahu are here on Meet the Press to speak to the Obama administration’s foreign policy on Libya, Egypt and Israel. It’s the conversation about a video that really shouldn’t be a conversation about a video.

The roundtable is Andrea Mitchell, Bob Woodward, Jeffrey Goldberg, Congressman Keith Ellison and Congressman Peter King.

How much longer will these protests go on? Now that these protests have spread to more than 20 countries.

Susan Rice is saying this is a spontaneous response to a video; she seems to suggest it is nothing more. (This response is unconvincing.)

Given the American deaths over the course of the protests over many countries, the FBI is investigating. Susan Rice is saying that the first wave of the protests in Benghazi, Libya were spontaneous but then armed fighters, with agendas, came in and then caused the death of Christopher Stevens the recently minted Ambassador to Libya.

Given the hedging, what’s interesting is that Amb. Rice is insisting that those countries that host our diplomats have an obligation to protect them. This is a strong political point delivered on national and international discourse-air waves.

Gregory is saying that Egypt is getting $1 billion per annum. What is the benefit of this kind of aid if they and others, in Libya, can’t protect us?  After President Obama admonished President Morsi of Egypt, he scrambled to fix that relationship. Why do we think these folks are our allies. These partners push on these protests for domestic political purposes and on foreign policy grounds attend to what the U.S. gummint demands.

GOP presidential candidate Romney went on the offense with a charge against the Obama administration of “weakness”. What of that?

Well, this charge is vacuous says Amb. Rice. Keep in mind this president promised to destroy al Qaeda and that’s just what he did. Our friends and enemies need to see American leadership unified; Romney’s charges are irresponsible and not in the least helpful.

(Romney destroyed any credible he might have had on foreign policy. Or so that’s what I think.)

Onto Israel and Iran. Given how close Iran is, as Netanyahu argues, what is the administration going to do on Iran’s nuclear capacities?

Amb. Rice is saying that Iran’s nuclear capacity to develop weapons is not imminent. She is almost bragging that Iran’s economy has been destroyed, that is now in recession with a severely contracting economy. (It seems to me this is not a good thing. It is not a good thing that a people should suffer as a result of foreign policy mandates.)

Israeli P.M. Benjamin Netanyahu is speaking to David Gregory in a taped conversation.  Netanyahu is pushing the “Red Line” argument against Iran and Iran’s nuclear development.

David Gregory is pointing out that Netanyahu is upset with this administration. It is the P.M’s view that the administration is unwilling and unable to get nuclear weapons? Netanyahu is pointing to the argument that “Lookit, JFK put up a Red Line on the USSR and Cuba and it secured peace in the West. If Pres. Obama does no such thing, it would not help secure the administration’s stated goals to prevent Iran’s nuclear development.

To the P.M: is Mitt Romney a more credible individual to prevent Iran’s nuclear enrichment program? Netanyahu suggests that he will not be drawn into that partisan issue. But he seems ready and available to push Pres. Obama during this election cycle. (This might be because he thinks he has leverage on Pres. Obama only for the next 7 weeks, right until the moment he wins re-election.)

Why is containment not a reasonable option? Why does Iran fall outside the domain of rational decision-making?

Netanyahu is saying that Iran is dogmatic and irrational; the country is run by fanatics. And that the country itself is fanatical. (Oooookay, man. Assertion, after assertion!)

Gov. Mitt Romney has said that the Obama administration has thrown Israel under the bus. What of that? Is that something he accepts?

Though Netanyahu says he does not want to intervene in the U.S. elections, does it not mean that he has intervened in the election when Netanyahu stays silent on Romney’s assertion that Obama has thrown Israel under the bus? (Were it not the case, he would have condemned that kind of discourse.)

Pres. Obama has not thrown Israel under the bus? Netanyahu will not say one way or the other. That is apart from telling David Gregory that there is no bus.

Jeffrey Goldberg is saying that blaming President Obama for the events in Libya and Egypt. This, no matter what Liz Cheney wants to bark out)

Peter King is saying that Obama has been apologizing for America’s involvement in the Muslim world and that he is betraying his allies in the region.  (Why is Peter King such a douche?!)

David Gregory is pointing out that Netanyahu did not say that. King’s response is that he, Peter King, is saying that.

Andrea Mitchell is saying that Pres. G.H.W. Bush’s relationship with the then P.M. of Israel was much worse than Obama’s relationship with Netanyahu.

It is rather important, Mitchell is saying, that Romney needed to be silent on the Libya crisis until more facts were available on the ground. Peter King is saying that it’s okay to come out and say stuff without knowing the facts. If you didn’t how could you do international politics?

Bob Woodward is saying that the charge that Obama is weak on foreign policy won’t stick.  His work to roll up al Qaeda is a winning point.

Peter King is just going over the tired and tiring charge that somehow Obama is responsible for what happened and that he’s been weak on the Middle East.

Andrea Mitchell says that though Mitt Romney says that Obama will allow the Iranian government to develop a workable nuclear weapon whereas Romney won’t allow that, Romney misspoke and said that both he and Obama have the same red lines.

But, it is wrong to say

Goldberg is saying that though Obama is not blameless, he’s never seen an Israeli Prime Minister mismanage the U.S-Israeli relationship as badly as Netanyahu has done.  King just doubled down on the argument that Obama “has thrown Israel under the bus”. This charge was leveled by Romney, of course. But note, Netanyahu didn’t affirm that charge. Congressman Peter King did affirm it..

~ by Faheem Haider on September 16, 2012.

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