Whatever Gets You Through the News Cycle
"When CIA Director John Brennan -- then the White House counterterrorism adviser -- laid out the Obama administration's new approach to fighting Islamist terrorism on June 29, 2011, he mocked conservatives who suggested that Islamist extremists were plotting to re-establish a caliphate across the Middle East," the Washington Examiner reminded its readers last month. Back then, Brennan was saying:
Our strategy is also shaped by a deeper understanding of al Qaeda’s goals, strategy, and tactics. I’m not talking about al Qaeda’s grandiose vision of global domination through a violent Islamic caliphate. That vision is absurd, and we are not going to organize our counterterrorism policies against a feckless delusion that is never going to happen.
So how are things working out in the Middle East these days? As the Washington Examiner noted last month in its headline, "Lack of intelligence: What CIA chief said is 'never going to happen' is happening in Iraq and Syria." And that was before Hamas launched its latest attacks on Israel. Between ISIS in Iraq, and Hamas's attacks on Israel, as Jeff Dunetz, the self-described "Yid with Lid" notes today, "The Only Difference Between Hamas and ISIS Violent Goals Are Their Names."
This Hamas goal was outlined by Fathi Hammad Minister of Interior and National Security for the Hamas government in Gaza who said in November 2013:We look forward to future victories, in which, Allah willing, we will liberate our land, our Jerusalem, our Al-Aqsa [Mosque], our cities and our villages, Allah willing, all this in preparation for establishing the next Islamic Caliphate. Therefore, brothers and sisters, we are at the brink of a period of global Islamic culture, whose fuel is Gaza, whose spearhead is Gaza, its Jihad fighters (Mujahideen) and commanders are Gaza, Allah willing…
And as the leftwing UK Guardian reported last month, "Isis announces Islamic caliphate in area straddling Iraq and Syria."
To be fair to Brennan, no doubt, his words sounded good at the time, and it got the administration through another news cycle, which is ultimately all it cares about anyhow. But to paraphrase Bill Clinton, he might want to put a little ISIS on his ego, as his reputation -- and that of the Obama administration's foreign policy as a whole -- are badly in tatters.
Oh and speaking of foreign policy reputations in tatters, as John Podhoretz writes in the New York Post, John Kerry and his staffers "have taken to whining — not sure there’s a nicer word — over how unfairly he’s being written and talked about in Israel:"
John Kerry fought in Vietnam, threw his medals away, served decades in the Senate, ran for president, did some windsurfing and then became secretary of state of the most powerful country on Earth.
He’s a big boy. But there are those who seem to feel otherwise, that Kerry is a fragile and tender reed in need of delicate care — people who work for and with him. Not to mention Kerry himself.
Over the course of the past year, on several occasions, Kerry and other staffers have taken to whining — not sure there’s a nicer word — over how unfairly he’s being written and talked about in Israel.
In January, after Israel’s defense minister was twice quoted speaking disparagingly about Kerry’s peace-process efforts and his nuclear diplomacy with Iran, Kerry actually called Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to complain.
This was an odd thing, given the relative power of Kerry and the relatively minor position of Moshe Ya’alon. Kerry could have brushed Yaalon’s words off as a giant brushes off a fly.
But it was so hurtful to Kerry that he made sure the world knew about it. His spokesperson, Jen Psaki, said at a public briefing that Ya’alon’s “comments were not constructive.
Perhaps Iowahawk has the best explanation for Kerry & Co's kvetch fest:
Apparently John Kerry thinks the Israeli media is state-controlled, like it is in Washington http://t.co/273hruD82w
— David Burge (@iowahawkblog) July 28, 2014