Obama Defends Netanyahu Snub


‘With respect to PM Netanyahu . . . I talk to him all the time,’ Obama says, insists ‘unbreakable’ US-Israel bond still stable.

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Trillion-dollar war in Afghanistan achieved its goal, says Barack Obama


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Obama's Interesting Fourth Quarter


Paul R. Pillar

Israel Iran Palestinian Territories, Middle East United States

“My presidency is entering the fourth quarter. Interesting stuff happens in the fourth quarter, and I’m looking forward to it.”

– Barack Obama, December 19. 2014

One should be careful about drawing conclusions concerning the intentions and state of mind of a president based on when he takes certain major actions. The background to almost any presidential action involves a bureaucratic process within the U.S. government and, with foreign policies, negotiations or consultations with other governments. Sometimes a step is taken at a particular time because that’s when the processes and the negotiations happened to be completed. Sometimes timing is largely a matter of making room on a crowded plate with other issues demanding high-level attention. Nonetheless, President Obama’s actions over the past several weeks are consistent with the analysis that he has become a more politically liberated and thus more energized national leader since the mid-term elections, which were the last elections which will put anyone into national-level office while Mr. Obama remains president. If the president really has made such a transition, any American who would rather see broader pursuit of the national interest take precedence over a narrow focus on the next election ought to be pleased about that.

Mr. Obama is putting the lie to accusations that he is a timid and indecisive leader, and revealing such accusations to be merely a combination of general Obama-bashing and specific preferred policies of the accuser. Many of his opponents who call for more assertive U.S. policies overseas equate assertiveness with bombing somebody rather than, say, asserting the right for the United States to practice diplomacy with anyone it wants or getting in front of efforts to keep Earth habitable. Many who say that people and governments overseas yearn for more forceful U.S. action (whiny Gulf Arab monarchies with their sectarian objectives seem to be a favorite reference point in this regard) are merely pushing certain narrow agendas on salient topics such as the Syrian civil war, while refusing to recognize the far broader international approval that Mr. Obama’s recent actions have received.

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Elevating US-Israel alliance, Obama hails his role


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Obama vows response after FBI blames North Korea for Sony hack


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China lodges protest after Obama approves Taiwan frigate sale


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Obama and Castro hail historic breakthrough for US-Cuba relations – as it happened


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McCain blasts ‘abysmally ignorant’ Obama pick for State


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