Surprising only if you haven’t been paying attention. “[T]he share of Republicans who sympathize more with Israel has risen from 68% to 73%; 44% of Democrats [do] . . . which is largely unchanged from April (46%).”
Only if by “strain” you mean obliterate. “Mideast crisis strains Clinton legacy.” As does the collapse of Iraq, Benghazi and fruitless Iran talks.
Only President Obama thinks he is hitting “singles” and “doubles.” In the real world: “Amidst this turmoil and moral ambiguity, some U.S. allies are now openly challenging Washington’s policies in the region. Qatar and Turkey, for example, have emerged as stalwart champions of Hamas in recent years. … Qatar, meanwhile, recently negotiated on behalf of the Taliban in the Bowe Bergdahl prisoner swap. And Turkey helped Iran evade sanctions to the tune of at least $13 billion,and perhaps more if you believe Turkish news reports that a Turkish-Iranian network did another $100 billion in illicit business transactions. Such activities have rendered Turkey and Qatar frenemies of the United States — neither friends nor enemies. But Washington is still eager to keep them. Why? Because the White House has less and less leverage in the Middle East, and it has even fewer real friends. The absence of a strong U.S. proxy in the region to broker a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas is perhaps the most recent example of this trend.”
Only an itty-bitty amount of sanctions relief? Iran has actually done pretty well thanks to President Obama: “Iran has received significant relief – both direct and indirect – and it is experiencing a modest, albeit fragile, recovery as a result. While the Iranian economy remains under pressure, its stabilization and improvement in key areas has enhanced Iranian negotiating leverage. We fear that this has made it more difficult for Washington and its partners to reach a final agreement that peacefully prevents Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability.” Read the whole thing.
Dealing only with Iran’s nuclear program is a grave mistake. House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.): “Iran’s support for terrorism has empowered Hezbollah, propped up Assad in Syria, killed American troops in Iraq and created havoc on Israel’s border. Iran has even attempted to carry out a terrorist attack on US soil. Such a regime that continues to threaten the U.S. homeland, our allies, and our interests must not be allowed to develop a nuclear weapon.”
Only outside the administration do people understand you don’t “end” wars. Israel gets it: You win or lose them. “There were a few stated ‘war aims’ for Hamas, and the first was freeing terrorists who were let out of prison in exchange for the kidnapped Gilad Shalit but recently re-arrested by Israel. That’s not in the Egyptian proposal. Second, Hamas also called for opening the passages to Gaza, and the Egyptians have promised to do that. But Hamas knows that it is at the tender mercies of Gen. (now President) Sisi and the Egyptian army, which hates them and the entire Muslim Brotherhood. Once the ‘international community’ turns its attention elsewhere, those open passages will get clogged once again. … If they continue to attack Israel they will assure that Israel has further international sympathy for its military responses. Of course things could still sour badly: further Hamas attacks, a lucky hit, an Israeli ground invasion that brings out all the moralists to attack Israel again. But as of [Tuesday] morning, Hamas has lost this war.”
Only in an election year do they decide to distance themselves from the president. “Vulnerable Senate Democrats have voted consistently to confirm President Obama’s judicial nominees, and it could come back to bite them on the campaign trail. Republicans are focusing on those votes for appellate and district court judges to rev up their base voters ahead of midterm elections that are going to hinge on turnout.”