Ed's Blog

"Some people know everything, but that's all they know."

WITH ALLIES LIKE BARACK OBAMA WHO NEEDS ENEMIES

obamanetanyahu

Approximately 14 million Jews exist in the entire world. Forty-two percent of them live in Israel. Forty percent of them live in the United States. This only partially explains why U.S.-Israel relations have been so tight over the years since Israel became a state in 1949. The plight of Jews in the Holocaust and Jewish-Americans staunch support for Israel also are major factors. Still, negative anti-Israel attitudes are not uncommon among Americans. Working in the Department of Defense for 23-years, I encountered many people who believed Israel didn’t deserve the treatment it received from the U.S. Government, reflecting similar segments of public opinion. Until President Barack Obama came along, however, no U.S. president had been so outright anti-Israel.

It’s possible to argue persuasively that there are several reasons for this. Barack Obama ascended to the presidency believing that his “magic” could cut through the decades of intransigence in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Then he came face to face with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who took office three months after Barack Obama. Like most Israeli prime ministers, Netanyahu was a no-nonsense pragmatist undazzled by Barack Obama’s proclaimed “charm and brilliance.” He didn’t ask “How high?” when Obama said jump. Their relationship was strained from the outset. Netanyahu understood that President Obama was competence challenged and that the president’s policy approach to the problem was flawed.

Another popular explanation is that President Obama is pro-Muslim and anti-Israel. From his apology tour in 2009 to his support for the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt to his over indulgence of Iran to his rejection of the term Islamic-jihadist terrorism, he has demonstrated his affinity for the Muslim world on numerous occasions. Is it any wonder that so many Americans, as many as 40 percent in one survey, believe he is a Muslim?

Finally, I have no doubt that President Obama truly believes that Israel settlements are the main roadblock to peace and although his principal purpose in abstaining from the vote on the UN resolution condemning them may have been to stick a finger in Netanyahu’s eye, he likely believes that ultimately he’s doing Israel a favor.

Ever since the Camp David Accords achieved through the efforts of President Jimmy Carter, the prevailing rationale behind U.S. policy toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the belief that a negotiated settlement is possible by Israel trading land for peace, and even though this almost happened when Yasser Arafat was leading the Palestinians, it remains a distant mirage. When the peace process fell apart because Arafat couldn’t accept the best deal from Israel he was ever going to get, it proved that Palestinians have no intention of living side by side with Israel in a “two state” solution.

Indeed, however, President Obama may have done Israel and incoming President Elect Donald Trump a favor. By allowing the UN to remove whatever bargaining chips Israel had by declaring all Israeli settlements, including those in Jerusalem, as illegal, he destroyed any incentive Israel had for a negotiated peace. The Palestinians, emboldened by the UN will no longer seek a negotiated settlement trading peace for land. The UN says they don’t have to.

It’s time to stop believing that Washington, D.C., can discover the magic formula for peace. It should stop pouring U.S. taxpayer funds into the Palestinian National Authority, reduce U.S. funding for the UN and make it abundantly clear that the United States has Israel’s back by providing the military and economic assistance necessary. The UN, with President Obama’s help, has destroyed any chance for peace between Israelis and Palestinians for at least another generation.

Filed under: National Security, Politics, , , , , , , ,

OBAMA’S DISREGARD FOR THE NATURE OF ISLAMIC TERRORISM

muslim_extremism

President Obama’s fundamental disregard for the nature of Islamic terrorism, no doubt, has Islamist-jihadists around the world cheering.  (Read the full column at EWRoss.com)

Filed under: Terrorism, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

WHY MUSLIM TERRORISTS WANT TO KILL US AND YOUNG MUSLIM MEN WANT TO BECOME TERRORISTS

Tsarnaev brothers

In the aftermath of the Boston bombings, media coverage has been full of people telling us we have to better understand why Muslim terrorists want to kill us and some young Muslim men living in America want to become terrorists, suggesting something about America is at the root of the problem.  (Read the full column at EWRoss.com)

Filed under: Terrorism, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

CHUCK HAGEL AS SECRETARY OF DEFENSE

hagel

Whatever your views on Secretary of Defense designate Chuck Hagel, if the Senate confirms him, the likelihood that he will leave Defense four years from now better than he found it are extremely low. Discussions about Sen. Hagel’s personal views on gays, Iran, Israel, and other issues aside—after all, the White House makes policy, not the Pentagon—he will have little going for him and enormous challenges to deal with as he assumes office.  (Read the full column at EWRoss.com)

Filed under: National Security, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

JOURNEY TO AN UNKNOWN DESTINATION

Ross's Luncheonette Swissvale PA 1949

I spent some time over Thanksgiving playing around with my photo collection in Windows Movie Maker and I thought I would share with you what I came up with. HAPPY HOLIDAYS  (Watch the YouTube video here)

Filed under: Movies-TV, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

FIFTY YEARS OF MIDDLE EAST POLICY ON VERGE OF COLLAPSE

Fifty years of U.S. Middle East policy is on the verge of collapse. On all sides countries inimical to its interests or hostile to its existence surround Israel. At the same time, the Islamist-fundamentalist movement is gaining influence and power while U.S. leverage in the region plummets. Iran is on the verge of building nuclear weapons as it supplies ever more deadly weapons to Hezbollah and Hamas. It’s not clear what will reverse these trends at this stage, but strong U.S. leadership and action is needed now more than ever.  (Read the full column at EWRoss.com)

Filed under: National Security, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

MILITARY VICTORY IS NOT AN OUTDATED CONCEPT

Deep cuts in the U.S. defense budget will have a negative impact on U.S. national security. Equally, if not more worrisome, are the effects of the strain we are putting on our warriors by endlessly placing them in harm’s way with no clear victory they can tell themselves was worth their sacrifice. (Read the full column at EWRoss.com)

Filed under: Military, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

DON’T CONFLATE THE MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD WITH THE EGYPTIAN ARMED FORCES

Critics of President Obama are condemning his administration’s decision to waive legislative restrictions related to Egypt’s democratic transition and allow Egypt’s annual Congressional appropriation of $1.3 billion in military assistance to go forward. There is much about the Obama administration’s Middle East policy to criticize; but in this case it made the right decision. (Read the full column at EWRoss.com)

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MILITARY STRIKE ON IRAN RAPIDLY BECOMING ONLY OPTION

Recent media stories tell us of an internal Israeli government debate over attacking Iran’s nuclear weapons program as the International Atomic Energy Commission’s (IAEA) prepares to release its report that Iran could soon have its first nuclear weapon. Taking out Iran’s dispersed nuclear-weapons-related installations—many of which are deep underground—is a difficult task; and Iranian retaliation on Israel and U.S. forces in the region could set off a destructive and costly war. Nevertheless, military action by Israel and or the United States is rapidly becoming the only option left after sanctions and covert action have failed to do the job. (More)

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U.S. MILITARY ASSISTANCE TO PAKISTAN: There’s a Lot of Explaining to Do

Pakistan Soldier

Image by Nokes via Flickr

U.S. military assistance to Pakistan has been much debated since U.S. Navy SEALs killed Osama Bin Laden not far from the doorstep of the national military academy in Abbottabad, Pakistan, and only a short drive from downtown Islamabad. It’s inconceivable, many knowledgeable people believe, that the Pakistan government, or at the very least its Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) organization, didn’t know Bin Laden was there. How can we continue to give Pakistan billions of dollars in military assistance each year if they are knowingly harboring our worst enemies?  (More)

Filed under: National Security, Terrorism, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH: The Washington, D.C. Three-Ring Circus

The Political Circus

Image by m.gifford via Flickr

Listen to Ed’s Audio Blog:

Ladies and Gentleman, children of all ages, welcome to the greatest show on earth—the United States federal government, Washington, D.C., three-ring circus. I’m not talking about the three branches of government. I’m talking about the star performers—the aerialists, the jugglers, the clowns, and, on the track around them, the people riding elephants. All of them were in top form last week in the showdown over the government shutdown, but who knows what thrills, spills, and laughter today’s performances might bring.  (More)

Filed under: Politics, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

OBAMA AND ISRAEL – Time for a Reset

Is a US Central Command (CENTCOM) briefing team from General David Petraeus, rather than Israeli construction in East Jerusalem and Vice President Joe Biden’s embarrassment in Israel, at the heart of the current rift in US-Israel relations, or is it just an excuse?

Read my full column at http://ewross.com/Obama_and_Israel.htm

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ATTITUDES TOWARD ISRAEL

Do President Obama’s attitudes toward Israel simply reflect his own biases or do they reflect a shift in broader American attitudes toward Israel? It’s a fair question to ask.

Writing in US News & World Report, John Farrell points out that, “It has been more than 60 years since the victors of World War II agreed to the establishment of a Jewish state in the Middle East. The members of the great generation that fought and won the war are mostly gone. I bet that 100 times as many Americans could name the judges on American Idol as could identify David Ben-Gurion or Harry Truman.”

Farrell has a point. While support for Israel remains strong among older Americans whose attitudes have been shaped by events long past, there is a growing segment of the population that doesn’t share them. Indeed, Barack Obama himself is in that group. Islamic influences on him as a child aside, there is little in his experience that fostered positive attitudes toward Israel or Israelis.

For most of the 30 odd years since the Camp David Accords, and especially since the First Intifada, Israel hasn’t been seen as a nation struggling for survival but as party to on-and-off negotiations about land, refugees, and issues few Americans really understand or appreciate. When violence breaks out between Palestinians and Israelis the media tends to show Israeli solders killing Palestinian civilians while it shows Palestinian youth throwing rocks at Israeli soldiers.

While the American people, since 9/11 the victims of Islamic terrorism themselves, have gained a greater appreciation for what Israelis have experienced for decades, I’m not sure this has increased support for Israel. Increasing numbers of Americans buy into the argument, as General Petraeus apparently has, that solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is essential to changing Islamist-Jihadist attitudes toward Americans. Israel, therefore, becomes more an obstacle to peace than an ally.

Read my other sidebars at http://ewross.com/Sidebar.htm

Filed under: Uncategorized, , , , , , , , ,

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