One shudders to imagine what noxious vapors swirled through the skull of French President Nicholas Sarkozy as he told Barack Obama that Binyamin Netanyahu was a “liar.” No-one has told the truth more clearly than Netanyahu: as long as the Palestinians cannot bring themselves to pronounce the words “Jewish State,” there won’t be a peace agreement. Where, pray tell, is the lie? Were he less diplomatic, Netanyahu might have added that with Egypt plunging into chaos, and likely to repudiate its peace treaty with Israel, and Syria in civil war, and Iran and Turkey vying to support the overtly (as opposed to de facto) terrorist wing of the Palestinians, the problem of a peace agreement with the beleaguered and unpopular Palestine Authority is moot.
In fairness to Sarkozy, he used the word “liar” advisedly. What does it mean to be a “liar?” Tell the Emperor he has no clothes, and he will scream, “Liar!” Tell the Heaven’s Gate cult that space aliens are not coming to meet them up on the comet, and they will shout, “Liar!” Tell a schizophrenic that the CIA did not implant a radio transmitter in his brain, and he will shout, “Liar!” Tell a trusting wife that her husband is cheating on her, and she will shout, “Liar!” (Tell Hillary Clinton that Bill is not cheating on her, and she also will shout “Liar!”). And tell a European politician that the world has changed such that the European political class no longer has a reason to exist, and he will scream “Liar! Liar!” until his lungs collapse.
Egypt is about to turn into Somalia-on-the-Nile, with unlimited leakage of weapons to Hamas in Gaza. That makes an agreement between Israel and the Palestinians about as probable as the return of the Pharaohs. The simple inattention of the world community to Egypt’s impending catastrophe astonishes. Last week we learned that Egypt’s liquid foreign exchange reserves were down to about $13 billion, about two months’ import coverage in a country that imports half its caloric consumption. A huge current account deficit due to the collapse of the tourist industry and workers’ remittances is partly to blame, but billions are leaving the country each month in capital flight.
On May 27, Sarkozy hosted the leaders of the Group of 8 industrial nations in France. The G8 promised $20 billion in aid to Egypt and Tunisia, and Sarkozy said that the amount might double. Since then, the subject has dropped out the news. If aid to Egypt was on the agenda of the Group of 20 meeting in Cannes Nov. 3, where Sarkozy called Netanyahu a ´ ¨liar,” it went unreported by the whole media. Last May’s emergency package evidently has been forgotten, because the Europeans are too busy figuring out how to bail out Italy and their own banking system, and Obama doesn’t want to defend a massive new foreign aid package in the 2012 elections.