To Read: John Vincour writes about how Europe has lost its faith in President Obama-
What's novel here is that in Europe, doubts about America's wisdom, strength and resolve are increasingly focused on the person of the president. Beyond the espionage, think of Mr. Obama's hesitations on Iran and turnabouts concerning Syria—or his role in lengthening the U.S. budget shutdown, or in providing America with a new but crippled national health program.
These days, and to varying degrees, the governments of France, Britain and Germany regard Mr. Obama as a problem. No longer expressed only in private, the notion represents a decline in the reflexive acceptance and respect that had cushioned European attitudes about his historic presidency.
Quote: "We, America, are not just hired lawyers negotiating a deal for Israel and the Sunni Gulf Arabs, which they alone get the final say on. We, America, have our own interests in not only seeing Iran’s nuclear weapons capability curtailed, but in ending the 34-year-old Iran-U.S. cold war, which has harmed our interests and those of our Israeli and Arab friends", Thomas Friedman making a point in the Times.
Number: 51, the percentage of Americans who don't believe that President Obama is a strong and decisive leader.
To Read: RAND's Dalia Dassa Kaye takes a look at the Israeli supporters of nuclear negotiations with Iran-
The most strident voices in Israel may be the loudest at the moment, but it's important to remember that many Israelis believe they should give the Americans a chance to strike a deal that would benefit Israel and effectively put a halt to Iran's ability to build a nuclear weapon. And they believe such a deal would be far preferable to the alternatives: a military strike or the acceptance of Iran as a nuclear weapons state.
As these difficult negotiations continue, Americans need to hear more from such Israeli voices to better understand the complex landscape in Israel when it comes to Iran.
Quote: “Practically speaking, [a deal] shuts the [Israeli military] option down… It doesn’t matter what we think about the deal. Israel won’t be able to do a thing”, Maj. Gen. (res) Giora Eiland, who served as head of the National Security Council under prime minister Ariel Sharon commenting on the possibility of a deal with Iran.
Number: 98, the percentage drop in rockets from Gaza since the last war, according to Netanyahu.
The Middle East
Headline: Egypt acts to end state of emergency
To Read: George Friedman views the US' negotiations with Iran as part of a larger power struggle between two rational players with a lot to win and lose-
The real negotiations will come after the nuclear and sanctions issues are addressed. They will pertain to U.S.-Iranian relations more broadly. Each side will use the other to its advantage. The Iranians will use the United States to repair its economy, and the Americans will use the Iranians to create a balance of power with Sunni states. This will create indirect benefits for both sides. Iran's financial woes will be an opportunity for American companies to invest. The Americans' need for a balance of power will give Iran weight against its own enemies, even after the collapse of its strategy.
Quote: “If Israel does not go back on its latest construction plans for the settlements, that will spell a formal declaration of the end of the peace process”, Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat quoting PA President Mahmoud Abbas.
Number: $2,500, the cost of equipping one Syrian rebel through a privately funded Kuwaiti initiative.
The Jewish World
To Read: TNR's Marc Tracy Believes that Netanyahu has crossed a fine line in his most recent appeal to US Jewry-
Israelis are routinely and rightly angered when non-Israeli Jews phrase their opinions about the direction of Israeli society in ways that imply that their stake and expertise is equal (or superior) to Israelis’. What Bibi did is essentially the reverse of that, except even worse, because he is not just any Israeli Jew, he is the most powerful Israeli Jew. If Netanyahu does not understand this, he should ask himself how he would feel if American Jews, who in aggregate almost certainly have a view of Israel to the left of his (the majority oppose settlements, for example), did vote in Israel.
Quote: “As a Jew – I understand that today, more than ever before, there is a chasm between the Jews of the United States and the religious institutions in Israel", Allan Dershowitz backing Rabbi Avi Weiss in his dispute with the Israeli chief Rabbinate.
Number: 98, the percentage of Orthodox Jews in America who marry Jews.