William Katz:  Urgent Agenda

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MIDEAST STILL BOILS – The president is in Asia, the secretary of state is similarly unavailable, traveling somewhere else, the UN ambassador is contemplating the nature of integrity, and the Mideast boils.  More rockets have been pouring into Israel today, and the Israelis continue to retaliate with air strikes.

The crisis highlights Obama's pathetic failures in the region.  We have not had a single success in the Mideast since he took office.  New regimes are more hostile to the U.S. than the old ones, yet we give these new regimes more support.  Iran continues to develop its nuclear weapon, with countries around Iran increasingly dismayed by our failure to stop Tehran.  As a result, some are cozying up to the mullahs, to hedge their bets.

Israel and Jordan remain American allies, but Jordan is beset by rioting, with no guaranteed future for its nominally pro-American leadership. 

The great loss is Egypt, whose pro-American government, which we acknowledge was dictatorial, was replaced by one run by the anti-American Muslim Brotherhood.  Egypt is the key to stopping the current violence between Hamas and Israel, since Hamas operates from the Gaza Strip, which is surrounded on three sides by Egyptian territory and on the fourth side by the Mediterranean.  But members of Congress tell us that Egypt has done very little to stop the fighting.

The next few days should tell the story.  We assume that Obama is trying his best to help work out a ceasefire, but this American president is so diminished that he seems to have no real influence.  And, although he has publicly backed Israel's right to self-defense, the Israelis don't really trust him.

What a mess our electorate has helped to create.

November 19,  2012