Tuesday, May 19, 2009


David Ignatius: Why It's Different Now

David Ignatius is impressed with Barack Obama:

“The new president is not the poker-player sort of politician: When he decides to do something, he goes straight at it, laying his cards on the table face-up. That direct style is becoming an Obama signature, and it has subtly changed the dynamics of the U.S. dialogue with Israel.” Upping the Ante on Israel

Ah, yes; Change. Here’s what Mr. Ignatius didn’t like about the previous dynamics:

“This distaste for subtleties is probably part of what many Americans like about Bush -- he's not some fancy-pants diplomat talking all the time about "nuances." But the public should understand that however satisfying Bush's plain talk may be, it can be harmful to the nation's security.” A Handshake That Doesn't Help Israel

Great catch!
Great powers need flexibility. They should avoid taking public steps that unnecessarily limit their ability to maneuver in private. They should be cautious about marching up hills without being sure how they will get back down. They should never (or almost never) say "never." So President Obama's should be careful about an adversarial stance with PM Netanyahu, lest it make it harder to maneuver in Middle East diplomacy.

Selective principles are what make Ignatius so entertaining.
Thanks SD
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