Friday, March 6, 2015

It's All About Us
     The speech by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to a joint session of congress has produced a great deal of commentary by politicians, policy makers, and pundits in the United States.  Virtually all of this commentary has focused on a triangle of Israel, Iran, and the United States.  The fact is that the negotiations on Iran's nuclear program in a structure referred to as P5+1.  Sitting across the table from Iran is not only the United States but also Britain, France, Germany, Russia, and China.  All of these sovereign nations have their own perceptions, interests, and motivations which are not necessarily fully aligned with those of the United States.
     None of these politicians, pundits, and policy makers have raised the possibility of these other nations embracing the negotiated framework agreement and the United States declining to do so.  Only Britain among them has consistently supported American positions.  France and Germany have differed with the United States on several important issues in this century.  Russia and China have obvious reasons to disagree with American positions.  Russia is currently the subject of economic sanctions imposed by the United States and China seeks to exert its position as a diplomatic peer of the United States.  It is possible that America and Israel (and likely Britain) could find themselves isolated from the rest of the community of nations on this issue.
     When the myth of the "exceptional nation" collides with realpolitik and the interests of other sovereign nations.....myth loses.

Monday, March 2, 2015

     In a 19 January blog entry I noted that the United States planned to arm and train moderate Syrian rebels to fight ISIS.  The US has already given weapons such as TOW missiles to the Syrian rebel group Harakat Hazm.  Unfortunately, yesterday Hazam was pushed from its headquarters in Aleppo by an al-Qaeda affiliate after having been pushed from its former headquarters in Idlib.  As a result of these defeats Hazam has decided to dissolve and the al-Qaeda backed al-Nusra group that defeated them has taken possession of the US provided TOW missiles.  If military planners developing the strategy to "disrupt, dismantle, and destroy" ISIS are not alarmed by this development they are overwhelmed by wishful thinking.