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Remote-Control Diplomacy: US Backs Away From Strong Role in Middle East

World  (tags: world, politics, usa, middle-east, iran, news, israel )

- 1889 days ago -
As the US deals with its economic troubles and pays increasing attention to Asia, its influence in the Middle East is declining.

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Past Member (0)
Wednesday March 20, 2013, 6:10 am
Is this like leading from behind?

lee e (114)
Wednesday March 20, 2013, 8:12 am
No one can or should deal with mythic fundamentalists!

Kit B (276)
Wednesday March 20, 2013, 9:10 am

This is a bit of right wingy article. Many of us want the US to stop being policeman for the world. We have assisted Israel with both weapons and cash. We are supporting the struggle in Syria, with humanitarian aid. We helped Libya without interfering to the point of treating these people like children. No one can force democracy at the point of a gun. Each of the countries struggling with internal battles for a new government, do have support from the United States, just not with "boots on the ground". I hope that means we have finally learned that support for a country through diplomacy and humanitarian aid verses war is a more positive action than war. Or maybe this author wants to see more screw-ups like Iraq?

Kit B (276)
Wednesday March 20, 2013, 9:16 am

@John S...

For now and into coming decade or so, the most effective leaders will lead from behind, not from the front a phrase I've borrowed from none other than Nelson Mandela. In his autobiography, Mandela equated a great leader with a shepherd: "He stays behind the flock, letting the most nimble go out ahead, whereupon the others follow, not realizing that all along they are being directed from behind."

Leading from behind doesn't mean abrogating your leadership responsibilities. After all, the shepherd makes sure that the flock stays together. He uses his staff to nudge and prod if the flock strays too far off course or into danger. For leaders, it's a matter of harnessing people's collective genius. Doing so entails two primary responsibilities and they are not easy to get right.

First, leaders must ensure their organizations are willing to innovate. This is fundamentally about building community.

Second, leaders must build the organizational capabilities necessary for engaging in the innovation process. The three essential organizational capabilities are: creative abrasion (the ability to generate ideas through intellectual discourse and debate); creative agility (the ability to test and refine ideas through quick pursuit); and creative resolution (the ability to make decisions in an integrative manner).

pam w (139)
Wednesday March 20, 2013, 11:20 am

I'm weary of those who blame President Obama for not doing this or that to suit their personal agenda.

I'm also weary of those who expect the US to take charge of the world but then blame us for it.


Gene Jacobson (290)
Wednesday March 20, 2013, 11:33 am
"Under Obama, it has been difficult for professional diplomats to make the case for engagement and diplomacy, whether it is on Syria or Iran or on Afghanistan, Pakistan, or on Egypt. The larger problem is that the administration has come to view disengagement from the Middle East and a minimalist foreign policy as a good foreign policy. You can justify this in the context of economic problems at home or a pivot to Asia, but the reality is that just when the Middle East is changing, we are adopting a minimalist foreign policy that basically equates doing less with effectiveness."

I think he overstates the issues. And underestimates the effect of the last decade on Americans. I think we are going through another period of isolationism, not unknown in this country. We can't be all things to all people, nor do we need to be. One does not raise a child by doing everything for it to adulthood and then kicking it out of the house. Other nations need learn governance too. They need to learn to solve their problems on their own or in cooperation with their neighbors. Having us tell them what to do or worse, having us actively undermine their governments - which we are very much guilty of in our past - is not helping anyone. No country should be dependent on another in that way. We could have a one world government, that could work on a representative basis on global issues, modeled on our sometimes ineffective system, which though sometimes ineffective is still the best form of government the world has seen, in my opinion. Countries would operate like states in our union do under this larger blanket. But it would do so much to equalize conditions around the world, level the playing field, reduce or eliminate intergovernmental wars and coups. We have become a global society, it is time we acknowledge that what happens on the other side of the globe affects us too. But we can't get there with one country assuming all the power, or trying to. What it requires is statespeople willing to look at the long term best interest of Earth and all its people, not just some tiny fraction. It would require a more equitable distribution of wealth, so of course, the world's 1% will fight it with all they have. But it is also what would make us at home wherever we were and it is achievable, we lack only the will. It is something I think inevitable, even if a long way off, the planet, its inhabitants will not long survive if we don't agree to find global solutions to global problems including guaranteeing basic human rights for all of us. We have the resources, we just have to learn how to share them, be willing to share them, let altruism be our guide, not profit or power. Pie in the sky maybe, but in another thousand years, assuming we avoid extinction by climate change, it will be what the world will look like. These ideas are not my own, they've been written about and discussed by many, the problem is they have not been read by the people who need to read and understand them most, hold them dear and call them their own. Then we progress. Until then we are fragmented and killing each other all over the planet over nothing, words and old grievances. Humanity should be better than that. I think.

Roger Skinner (14)
Wednesday March 20, 2013, 1:51 pm
Seems to me, that ever since the modern state of Israel was established, American Presidents have been trying to deal with this issue. The thing is, there is really nothing the USA can do about it. This is a case of the irresistible force meting the immovable object. Both sides are so convinced that they are in the right, that no amount of discussion can convince them otherwise. Any supposed influence the US had was always an illusion. To suggest that the US influence is waning is to t=ignore the fact that we never had any influence to begin with.

Billie C (2)
Wednesday March 20, 2013, 3:16 pm
i don't care if we step away but don't ship their problems here by letting thousands of them in. keep them over there and let them fix their own countries. muslims can only fix other muslims and can't live with others. they don't want to they only want to change others into them.

Jason S (50)
Wednesday March 20, 2013, 7:14 pm
Good posting, thanks

Alexa R (319)
Thursday March 21, 2013, 12:50 am
Roger Skinner (5)
Wednesday March 20, 2013, 1:51 pm
Seems to me, that ever since the modern state of Israel was established, American Presidents have been trying to deal with this issue


Roger, anti-Semitism started even long before the modern state of Israel was established. Some even argue that the modern state of Israel was created in the hope of solving the problem of anti-semitism in EU, as none of the EU countries wanted the Jews in EU, but wanted to "sent them back to where they came from" ..


M B (62)
Thursday March 21, 2013, 8:09 am
Source : APN -- Americans for Peace Now

Submitted by Rabbi Barry Leff (2013)
To be read before Avadim Hayinu

Avadim Hayinu:
We were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt.

The Mishnah tells us that we begin telling the Passover story with our disgrace. That we were slaves.

Why? Why remember that we were slaves in Egypt?

So that we should remember, and not become oppressors ourselves.

Victims of abuse often become abusers themselves. The Torah commands us "No!" Don't be an abuser. 36 times the Torah tells us "do not oppress the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt."

Despite all those warnings, our national homeland, Israel, has become an oppressor to another people. Palestinians living in the West Bank do not have freedom of movement. Israel rules their lives with checkpoints, refusing to allow construction in Area C, subjecting them to arbitrary military law. They have no representation and no voice in the government that controls their lives.

Some Palestinians compare the Israeli Occupation to a Nazi regime. We know that's not true. We know that such a comparison is ignorant.

But what if they compare us to Pharaoh?

Pharaoh ruled over us with a harsh hand in Egypt. We must not do the same to others.

We were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt. We must not become Pharaoh in Palestine.

Submitted by Rabbi Rachel Goldenberg (2012)
To be read just before dividing the middle matzah

We now prepare to break the middle Matzah - this bread that carries conflicting interpretations - the bread of affliction and the bread of freedom.

As we divide the matzah into two uneven pieces, we remember our affliction.

On kibbutz, there were always a couple of old ladies who didn't eat much at the meal in the communal dining room, but who would line up afterwards to fill stacked containers with food to take home. They had survived the camps, places where if you come across a piece of bread, you do not eat it all at once. No - you take a little, and you save most of it for later.

Tears flow from the cracks in the matzah. As we divide the matzah into two uneven pieces, we remember our affliction.

But this matzah is also the bread of our freedom.

Today in the State of Israel our People have power. We have land, we have plenty. Yet, too often the tears of our affliction blind us to these realities. Israel grabs and settles territory out of fear that the enemy will return to decimate us. We are still victims.

As we break the matzah, we can break the habit of seeing ourselves as afflicted-ones. We can rise up from the degradation of occupation and eat our bread like free people!

Let's embrace the pshat (the simple, surface meaning) of the ritual of yachatz, to break our bread and share it with our neighbors. Let's divide the matzah, and take only what we need. We can let go of that wrapped-up piece, and we can let go of our fear, because we have faith that this is the only way to make it all whole again.

Submitted by Rabbi Esther Lederman (2010)
To be read after the recitation of the Four Questions/Ma Nishtanah

Tonight, we ask four questions. Two remind us of our slavery at the hands of the Egyptians- Matza and Maror - the bread of our affliction and the bitterness of our tears. Two remind us of our liberty-- the dipping of foods and reclining in our chairs. Echoes of slavery and freedom mingle at our seder table. We recline upon our cushions as we lick the salty tears of our enslavement.

Tonight, we ask four questions that remind us of our bitter past and joyful present. But what about our future? It is time to ask a fifth question: What will redemption look like?

Israelis and Palestinians, hearing each other's stories, facing each other's truths. Israel and Palestine, two states for two peoples. Justice for both, Security for All. Peace for the People. The People for Peace.

What will redemption look like? An end to death and terror, An end to checkpoints and blockades. Liberty for Palestinians, Secure Borders for Israelis, A New Map for the Middle East.

V'im lo achshav, eimatay? And if not today, then when?

Alexa R (319)
Thursday March 21, 2013, 11:25 am
monka blanke (66)
Thursday March 21, 2013, 8:09 am
Source : APN -- Americans for Peace Now

Submitted by Rabbi Barry Leff (2013)

Despite all those warnings, our national homeland, Israel, has become an oppressor to another people.


Monka, please explain: how is it possible in your opinion to equate standing-up-to-a bully to oppressing-the-bully?!? Makes 100% no sense to me ..! I'm certainly not going to 'lie-back-and-think-of-England' to use a wack example and say to my bully -- there you go, go ahead bully, do WHATEVER you like, even if you wish to harm me .. as long as I give you your freedom to do whatever it is you wish to do ..

In your opinion, would I at least be allowed to beg my bully to spare my life during the process? Or would that also insult him or oppress him too much in what he wanted to do to me? In other words, would that oppress his desire to kill me too much? My bully has already repeatedly state exactly what his desired harm against me is that he wants to do .. so it is not a case of surprise ..

Or must I insult and oppress my bully by not taking him at his word .. pretend that he did not mean the harm he repeatedly expressed?

Unfortunately for my bully and for people like you, I will NEVER lie-back-and-think-of-England, but instead I will protect myself and those I love against those who clearly and repeatedly express their intent to harm us!


Alexander Werner (53)
Thursday March 21, 2013, 7:00 pm
Monka, other people will link the Pharaoh in Egypt trying to kill Jewish boys in the Moses time to Arab extremists in Egypt, Syria, Lebanon and Palestine trying to kill Jewish boys (and girls) too.

So, Israelis have a good reason to commemorate Passover with absence of fear of those murderers and monsters because God is on their side.
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