Middle Eastern crisis requires careful approach

Published 1:13 pm Wednesday, November 21, 2012

President Barack Obama repeated over the weekend a past statement that Israel has a right to defend itself against hundreds of missile attacks that have been launched against it from Gaza. The danger in that declaration of support is that it allows room for Israel’s most right-wing elements to define the lengths to which they will go in the cause of “defense.”

And so, on a day the Israeli military carried out dozens of airstrikes while naval forces bombarded targets along Gaza’s Mediterranean coast, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu continued to talk about escalating the conflict with an incursion of ground troops into Gaza. A similar offensive four years ago left hundreds of civilians dead, many of them children, which is inevitable in an impoverished strip of land where large, young families are the norm.

While Netanyahu’s threat is troublesome, it is even more alarming that Hamas, the anti-Israel political movement that won elections in Gaza in 2006, continues to aggravate Israel and endanger Israelis by firing ever-more-powerful missiles ever deeper into Israel….

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Whether or not U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon can negotiate a cease-fire, it is going to become necessary for President Obama to take a position beyond his statement that Israel has a right to defend itself. That will be interesting to watch, given that Netanyahu injected himself to an unprecedented level in the 2012 presidential election, giving his endorsement to Obama’s losing challenger, Mitt Romney.

That said, the looming crisis should transcend recent partisan politics.

The (Youngstown) Vindicator


Romney still misses big picture as to his defeat

Clueless to the end and beyond, defeated Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney asserted last week that he lost the election because of the “gifts” President Obama gave voters in various demographic groups: African-Americans, Hispanics, young people, women. Mr. Romney’s condescending view of the democracy he wanted to – and almost did – lead is breath-taking.

In remarks reminiscent of his earlier denunciation of “47 percent” of Americans as freeloaders addicted to government handouts, Mr. Romney told campaign donors that the Obama campaign’s strategy was to “give a bunch of money to a group, and guess what, they’ll vote for you . Giving away free stuff is a hard thing to compete with.”…

Mr. Romney’s own proposed “gifts” to the wealthiest and best-connected voters in the form of tax cuts and gutted regulations were, of course, just good public policy. No political payoff there.

Mr. Romney may actually believe his electoral analysis, although it’s always hard to tell what he really thinks. But there appears a simpler, less sinister explanation: Mr. Obama was re-elected because more voters concluded that a second term for the President would better serve not just their interests, but also the nation’s. Even Republican officials are dissociating themselves from Mr. Romney’s narrow world view.

President Obama’s campaign assembled a broad coalition of voters who agreed with his agenda and positions on key issues. Mr. Romney lost because he chose to base his campaign more on division and fragmentation than on his positive message of economic growth and opportunity for all Americans.

The (Toledo) Blade