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Clinton Strikes Back at Israel

Israel's new government has adopted the position that it will not seriously engage the Palestinians until serious progress has been made on curbing the Mad Mullahs' nuclear ambitions. It's been pointed out that this makes a great deal of sense for Israel. The Palestinians are clearly a lower-order threat, lacking the means to immediately eradicate slightly less than half of the world's Jewish population. The Israeli populace realizes this, and it may well make it possible for Netanyahu to successfully confront this increasingly hostile administration, where his previous encounter with a Clinton failed.

Secretary of State Clinton has responded by taking a harder line, and invoking the need to get the other Arab states on board before confronting Iran:

Clinton noted that every Arab official she has met with "wants very much to support the strongest possible policy toward Iran." But, she said, "they believe that Israel's willingness to reenter into discussions with the Palestinian Authority strengthens them in being able to deal with Iran."

She said the Obama administration was seeking to coordinate the Arab and Israeli positions so the unusual dynamic of unity on Iran could be exploited.

She must realize this is nonsense on stilts. The only thing more frightening is if she doesn't. Seriously curbing Iran would have the effect of undermining its support for Hamas and Hezbollah, easing any progress there is to be had between Israel and the Palestinians.

Acutal unity on the dynamic of Iran would come from the Arab governments' realizing that a nuclear Iran poses a serious existential threat to them, not independent of the effect it would have on Israel. The Arab regimes - far from actually wanted a resolution of the Palestinian-Israeli issue - have repeated used it to avoid progress on all sorts of issues. That they should do so now shouldn't come as a surprise with anyone who's not suffering from extremely serious memory loss. It certainly shouldn't come as a surprise to a Secretary of State who tried to use her alleged foreign policy experience to sell her Presidential campaign.

What's going on here is serious doubt that the US has staying power in the region, something that Obama's prostrations - both figurative and literal - have only served to promote. He has clearly shown he has no appetite for confronting Iran over either its repression or its aggression, even as Iran continues to build up its ability to deter us from doing so.

The Arab states realize that Iran's possession of a bomb would be used to chase the US from the region, forcing a most unpleasant - and surely temporary - accomodation with a regime that has proved canny in pursuit of its religious agenda. Their linking their support for a hard line against Iran with the Palestinians is a semi-polite way of not putting themselves on what they believe will be the losing side.

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