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Monday, December 13, 2010

A positive pattern?

Jennifer Rubin chats with Senator Joe Lieberman (I-Ct), who sees a 'positive pattern' in a couple of recent moves by the Obama administration.
This past week, the Obama administration finally gave up its effort to induce Israel to offer up a 90-day settlement freeze. Lieberman said he has no particular insight into why the administration finally woke up. He simply said, "There are smart people in this administration and they realized they were in a bad position." He observed that when you are in a hole, the first thing is "to stop digging." His was blunt in his criticism of the administration's Middle East policy. He said that focusing on a settlement freeze "was a mistake," putting both Israelis and the Palestinians in a position in which they could not give in. He recalled that past administrations never demanded a settlement freeze while they conducted far-reaching talks. The entire endeavor -- giving up so much for a 90-day freeze and putting the Israeli prime minister in the position to give up items on "unrelated matters" to his coalition partners (an apparent reference to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's support for the so-called loyalty oath) convinced Lieberman "this was going nowhere good."

In the administration's shift from pure "engagement" to a tough sanctions policy, and in giving up on its flawed settlement freeze strategy, Lieberman sees a positive pattern. "When they try something that doesn't work, then [they realize] it's time to try something else."
Well, yeah, but....
One might hope, however, that the Obama team would learn at a more rapid pace.
My thoughts exactly.

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