January 24, 2012 | 4:13 am
On the morn of the president’s State of the Union speech, James M. Lindsay of Foreign Affairs takes a look at Obama’s success and failures on the international stage.
“It is no secret that Obama’s relations with the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have been strained. The White House’s May 2009 call for a halt to settlement construction in the occupied West Bank backfired, and the administration eventually repudiated the idea. That mishandled initiative, and concerns over Obama’s response to Iran’s nuclear program, have given life to Republican charges that the president wavers in his support for Israel. GOP candidates now see an opportunity to pick up the votes and campaign contributions of Jewish Americans, who lean heavily Democratic.”
Writing for Bloomberg, Jeffrey Goldberg warns that geography, innate mutual hostility and patchy intelligence could lead to a devastating outcome for nuclear-armed Iran and Israel.
“An outright attack on Israel - - a country possessing as many as 200 nuclear weapons and sophisticated delivery systems—would lead to the obliteration of Tehran, the deaths of millions, and the destruction of Iran’s military and industrial capabilities. The mullahs know this. But here’s the problem: It may not matter.”
Ron Kampeas of the JTA examines the almost uniform responses of American Jewish groups to Andrew Adler’s extreme scenario of Mossad assassinating Obama.
“Is Adler an outlier for even contemplating such a scenario? Or is this the natural extension of some of the tougher anti-Obama rhetoric?”
The Economist explores the coming of age of Israel’s lauded technology industry.
“Israelis innovate because they have to. The land is arid, so they excel at water and agricultural technology. They have little oil, so they furrow their brows to find alternatives. They are surrounded by enemies, so their military technology is superb and creates lucrative spin-offs, especially in communications. The relationships forged during military service foster frenetic networking in civilian life. A flood of immigrants in the 1990s gave national brainpower a mighty boost. The results are the envy of almost everyone outside Silicon Valley.”
Iranian journalist Hooman Majd talks to Australia’s ABC about how Iranians are dealing with the international pressure, and what Iran could do in response.
” I think there’s a lot of sabre rattling. I think that it’s self defeating to close the Strait of Hormuz. I think it’s potentially a step towards war which I don’t think the Iranians really want to take at this point.”
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