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Right Turn
Posted at 07:45 AM ET, 03/21/2011

Morning Bits

Unsurprising. “Liberal Democrats in uproar over Libya action.”

Unlikely. “By questioning Afghan war, [Haley] Barbour could change the GOP debate.” The Mississippi governor would first have to become viable, and then the Republican Party would need to undertake a wholesale conversion to isolationism. Neither is going to happen.

Unintelligible. The answer from Ben Rhodes, deputy national security adviser for strategic communications, to very simple questions from Jake Tapper. “How long do you see this going on? And what is the endgame? Are you guys prepared to have this happen and continue for years enforcing a no-fly zone and/or enabling others to enforce it? And is it possible that this could end with Gaddafi remaining in power?” In 280 words Rhodes can’t tell us.

Unclear what ingratiating ourselves with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has gotten us. “Crowds set fire to the headquarters of the ruling Baath Party in the Syrian city of Deraa on Sunday, residents said, as the wave of unrest in the Arab world shook even one of its most authoritarian states. The demonstrators also set ablaze the main courts complex and two phone company branches. One of the firms, Syriatel, is owned by President Bashar al-Assad’s cousin Rami Makhlouf. . . . Earlier, Syrian security forces killed a protester in Deraa, residents said, as the authorities tried to contain three days of protests demanding freedoms and the release of political prisoners.”

Unquestionable. Sen. John McCain on the State of the Union: President Obama “waited too long, there is no doubt in my mind about it. But now, it is what it is. We need now to support him and the efforts that our military are going to make. And I regret that it didn’t — we didn’t act much more quickly, and we could have.”

Unlikely to make an ounce of difference in liberal Jews’ perception of her. “Leading U.S. Republican Sarah Palin began a private visit to Israel on Sunday and planned to meet Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and tour holy sites. Palin started off her tour of Israel at the Western Wall Tunnels, accompanied by Likud MK Danny Danon.” But perhaps they can acknowledge she is a devoted friend of Israel.

Unimportant in the Libya decision-making. Peter Feaver spots “ a very curious missing figure, namely Vice President Biden. “I may have missed it, but I don’t think he figures in any of the accounts and, come to think of it, he does not feature prominently in the reporting on the issue for the past several weeks. This is very curious because, of course, the whole reason President Obama picked Biden as VP was for precisely these sorts of moments when the entire foreign-policy establishment is strained to the breaking point by the accelerated crush of world events. But Biden seems to have been a non-player in all of this.” But he’s “in charge” of the budget negotiations, you see.

By  |  07:45 AM ET, 03/21/2011

 
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