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Thursday, June 04, 2009

Amateur hour at the State Department

Today's daily press briefing at the State Department was given by Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs P.J. "this is my seventh day on the job here at the Department of State" Crowley. Even the fact that he is a Red Sox fan cannot redeem this sequence.
QUESTION: Well, as you know, I mean, the Bush Administration made kind of democracy in the Middle East, you know, a big cornerstone of its foreign policy, but a lot of people were disappointed with the results. I mean, how do you think that President Obama and this Administration is going to push ahead on issues of democracy in the Middle East? Do you think it’ll be more private, more bilateral, or --

MR. CROWLEY: Well, I mean, it’s going to be – obviously, what you’re seeing from the administration in its first five months is a return to high-level engagement in the Middle East, at the presidential level, when appropriate. We’ve had a number of our most seasoned diplomats put into positions where we can have dialogue, with Iran if they’re willing, with Israel and Palestine. George Mitchell will be going back out to the region in the next couple of weeks.

So I think, again, the speech in Cairo will be vitally important. I think much of the world will stop and listen tomorrow morning. But again, it is a speech that is part of a dialogue. It continues the President’s outreach that he began with the Nowruz message, with his trip to Turkey. We’re not going to solve all the problems of the region with one speech, but this is going to be an ongoing part of significant engagement in a variety of ways with the Islamic world to solve the challenges that we both face.
I haven't seen the video yet, so I cannot tell you whether the questioner was Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg. But what did his answer have to do with democracy? And how can he lump Israel with Iran and 'Palestine' (where is that country Mr. Crowley?) in a discussion about democracy? Ouch!

And then the Bush letter came up again. Mr. Crowley was no more forthcoming on it than was Mr. Wood earlier in the week:
QUESTION: On Israel, you’ve called on Israel and the Palestinians to abide by their Roadmap obligations. I was wondering if you thought that you and Israel share the same understanding of what Israel’s obligations are under the Roadmap. You may be aware that the former chief of staff of then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon published a letter – published an opinion piece which seems to suggest that they have a different understanding of what their Roadmap obligations are. And of course, there is this ongoing debate about the letter sent – exchanged between President Bush and –

MR. CROWLEY: I suspect there is an ongoing debate in this room, but not necessarily outside of this room. (Laughter.) I mean, we are focused on commitments that both sides have made in the Roadmap. The President and the Secretary have been very clear on the obligations that both sides have. We’ve had several meetings with Israeli officials in recent days. We do not believe there is any confusion about the nature of those obligations.

QUESTION: So is the U.S. Administration bound by the Bush letter?

MR. CROWLEY: We are focused on the Roadmap and the obligations that both Israel and the Palestinians have said that they will undertake, and we’re going to hold both of them to them – to that.

QUESTION: So it means you are not bound?

MR. CROWLEY: I would suggest that you keep focusing on the Roadmap.
These guys make Bill Clinton look like a straight shooter.


At 3:42 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

America is emphatic about Israel's roadmap obligations but is conveniently evasive about its own commitments. Even Haaretz's Gideon Levy, who insists Washington has already decided the fate of the revanants, can't bring himself to address the American duplicity. You would think the US would want to set an example for Israel to get the Israeli Jewish public on its side. It won't do that no matter how much journalists call the State Department on it.


At 3:50 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

We can see Roger Cohen's preview of Obama's speech Thursday in Cairo: an Israeli withdrawal to the 1948 borders accompanied of course by an uprooting of the revanants.

Baker's Ghost In Cairo

Its safe to say there will be no surprises tomorrow if Cohen is right and he hasn't been wrong so far about the Obama Administration's Middle East policy direction.

Read it all.

At 5:10 AM, Blogger biorabbi said...

I fancy myself a smart guy who voted For Obama. I was no fan of Bush and how he handled things.

I'm not a smart guy; I guess I'm an idiot. For I voted for Obama, believing with all my heart he would not betray Israel for "good press" in the arab world. I am more than saddened and, indeed, disgusted by his anti-Israeli positions.

In addition, although Clinton may have injected himself into the Israeli body politic on the side of Labor against Likud, he did not have as much baggage as Obama clearly does.

Sadly, by siding so blatantly against Israel, he actually is increasing the chance for war. By tacitly bowing toward Iran's nuclear ambitions, he increases the chance for not only war, but an arab arms race for a nuclear weapon. To be fair to Kuwait and Saudi, would you trust Obama to defend against Iran given his statements in recent weeks? Would I be in their shoes, I'd be contacting Mr. Khan in Pakistan.

I'm waking up to cold water in my face. The allure of Obama dissolved for me. He's not such a brain either! How does a speech and visit to two corrupt arab governments enhance America's stance in the Muslim world. At least, Indonesia makes a form of sense in stating we support a democratic government, but this is both sad and disgusting.

At 5:25 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Question for a lawyer.

If they are no longer contractually obligated by what they had previously agreed to ...

... why is the other party?

Seems wrong, in a legal sense.

The US is no longer willing to honor its commitments made under a previous administration.

So why is Israel having demands placed upon it to honor previous governmental commitments and understandings ... if those committments and understandings have effectively changed, regardless of whether or not they agreed to the change?

This isn't something non-kosher I smell ... its more like 150 day old fish.

At 7:27 AM, Blogger christine said...

why would you expect obama to honor any documents??????????contracts mean nothing to him..look at what he did to our auto industry......he didn't care about contracts,he stole from the millons of investors to give to hi cronies the unions.....he speaks we listen end of discussion.thats how he works.................

At 1:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

biorabbi said...

I'm not a smart guy; I guess I'm an idiot.


You and 70% of US Jewry.

At least you're ahead of the wave of those that need to snap out of their stupidity.

What in the world did you see in this faker, both as an American and as a Jew?


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