The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014


The best way to judge an executive is to examine his direct reports—the people he hires or appoints to handle major functions within his organization. As I have noted a number of times over the years, consultants often privately rate an executive on a scale of 1 to 10 — 1 being absolutely incompetent and 10 being absolutely excellent. There is an aphorism that follows. It identifies the competence of the direct reports that an executive hires—"3s hire 2s and 9s hire 10s."

I'm not personally convinced that Barack Obama has demonstrated executive ability, decision making, or competence that allow him to claim a grade of 3, but giving him the benefit of the doubt, the aphorism "3s hire 2s and 9s hire 10s" applies perfectly when many of his direct reports are considered. At the top of the 2s list is his bumbling Secretary of State, John Kerry.

The New York Times reports:
JERUSALEM — In an unusually pointed rebuke of an ally, the United States, Israel said on Wednesday that it was “deeply disappointed” by Secretary of State John Kerry’s remarks a day earlier that appeared to lay primary blame on Israel for the crisis in the American-brokered Middle East peace talks ...

In testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday, Mr. Kerry said that both the Israeli and the Palestinian sides bore responsibility for “unhelpful” actions, but that the precipitating event of the impasse was Israel’s announcement of 700 new housing units for Jewish settlement in an area of Jerusalem across the 1967 lines, in territory the Palestinians claim for a future state.

“Poof, that was sort of the moment,” Mr. Kerry said. “We find ourselves where we are.”

In what is being referred to here as the “poof speech,” Mr. Kerry laid out the chain of events that led to the verge of a breakdown.

Clearly stung by Mr. Kerry’s version and his focus on the settlement issue, Israel countered on Wednesday that it was the Palestinians who had “violated their fundamental commitments” by applying last week to join 15 international conventions and treaties.
So let me get this straight. The Palestinians do not recognize Israel's right to exist. Therefore, with their outrageous demand that they have "the right to return," they lay claim to the entire country, not just the pre-1967 borders. So ... any construction anywhere in Israel might be considered "unhelpful" as far a 'negotiations' are concerned.

And by the way, what makes the pre-1967 borders sacrosanct? Could it be statements by Barack Obama suggesting that those indefensible 1967 borders be the starting point for negotiations? That was something even the palestinians had dropped until Obama raised it to the level of a demand. This administration has done more the harm the relationship between Israel and the United States than any other administration in history.

It's rather sad that Barack Obama and John Kerry think so little of a staunch US ally that they continually lay blame for their own failures in Middle East foreign policy at the feet of Israel, that they suggest that the only democracy in the entire Middle East will be the target of sanctions should they not commit national suicide by agreeing to a peace with thugs who want to destroy them, and that they repeatedly disrepect Israeli prime minister, Bibi Netanyahu.

But then again, when a 3 and a 2 (I'm being VERY generous here) interact with a 9 or 10, they often feel very insecure and lash out mindlessly. Come to think of it, mindless action is the hallmark of this administration's Middle East policy.

UPDATE (4/10/2014):
Norman Podhoretz brutally dissects the through-the-looking-glass view (adopted widely by the left) that the palestinians are "victims" or "oppressed" and desserve the full supports of the "world community."  He begins with the following statement:
Provoked by the predictable collapse of the farcical negotiations forced by Secretary of State John Kerry on the Palestinians and the Israelis, I wish to make a confession: I have no sympathy—none—for the Palestinians. Furthermore, I do not believe they deserve any.

This, of course, puts me at daggers drawn with the enlightened opinion that goes forth from the familiar triumvirate of the universities, the mainstream media and the entertainment industry. For everyone in that world is so busy weeping over the allegedly incomparable sufferings of the Palestinians that hardly a tear is left for the tribulations of other peoples. And so all-consuming is the universal rage over the supposedly monumental injustice that has been done to the Palestinians that virtually no indignation is available for any other claimant to unwarranted mistreatment.

In my unenlightened opinion, this picture of the Palestinian plight is nothing short of grotesquely disproportionate. Let me leave aside the Palestinians who live in Israel as Israeli citizens and who enjoy the same political rights as Israeli Jews (which is far more than can be said of Palestinians who live in any Arab country), and let me concentrate on those living under Israeli occupation on the West Bank.
Podhoretz goes on relate the story of the palestinians in Gaza, given their own autonomy in 2005. The left hoped that a vibrant economy, some form of democratic rule, benefits to the average palastinan, etc. would result. It didn't instead, graft, corruption, violence, and dispair multiplied as Hamas thugs subjugated their own people.

He writes:
Speaking of Gaza, it can serve as a case study of the extent to which the plight of the Palestinians has been self-inflicted. Thus when every last Israeli was pulled out of Gaza in 2005, some well-wishers expected that the Palestinians, now in complete control, would dedicate themselves to turning it into a free and prosperous country. Instead, they turned it into a haven for terrorism and a base for firing rockets into Israel.

Meanwhile little or nothing of the billions in aid being poured into Gaza—some of it from wealthy American Jewish donors—went to improving the living conditions of the general populace. Which did not prevent a majority of those ordinary Palestinians from supporting Hamas, under whose leadership this order of priorities was more faithfully followed than it was under Fatah, its slightly less militant rival.

The palestinians are but one of dozens of dispossessed peoples on this planet. Why do they get an inordinate amount of attention, even after they have demonstrated repeatedly that their plight is of their own making?

Podhoretz concludes:
I for one pray that a day will come when the Palestinians finally let go of the evil intent toward Israel that keeps me from having any sympathy for them, and that they will make their own inner peace with the existence of a Jewish state in their immediate neighborhood. But until that day arrives, the "peace process" will go on being as futile as it has been so many times before and as it has just proved once again to be. Another thing that never changes: When John Kerry testified on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, it was the Israelis he blamed for this latest diplomatic fiasco.