Wednesday, January 23, 2013

What'd I tell you?

Image from Ask the Mighty Italian Moustache.
At +972, Ami Kaufman notes that the Knesset will be a little less fascist than it was before the elections, and with lots more women and social activist types, so that's to the good, and that the biggest losers are American political consultants:
Stan Greenberg: The polls at certain points had Labor well over 20 seats, yet they ended with a mere 15 seats (99% of the vote counted). A mere two seats more than the all-time low that Ehud Barak was responsible for. It takes American genius to only get two more seats after the social protests that should have boosted Labor sky high, if they had played their cards right.
Arthur Finkelstein: According to reports, Finkelstein (who left the country just days before the election) was the architect of unifying Likud and Yisrael Beiteinu, worth 42 seats back then. They’ve dropped to 33, maybe less (99% of the vote counted).
You read it here (for example here) that Netanyahu was a lot weaker than he looked, and knew it, so we're a winner in the prediction stakes, and I suppose his continuing weakness will help the IDF, the Mossad, and the indispensable President Obama keep him from invading Iran, so they're winners too.

Wild man Tom Friedman, Mystax Mysteriorum (Mustache of Mysteries), has an idea on that score:
Rather than negotiating with Iran’s leaders in secret — which, so far, has produced nothing and allows the Iranian leaders to control the narrative and tell their people that they’re suffering sanctions because of U.S. intransigence — why not negotiate with the Iranian people? President Obama should put a simple offer on the table, in Farsi, for all Iranians to see: The U.S. and its allies will permit Iran to maintain a civil nuclear enrichment capability — which it claims is all it wants to meet power needs — provided it agrees to U.N. observers and restrictions that would prevent Tehran from ever assembling a nuclear bomb.
He assumes, I think, that the offer has already been made and rejected in secret. He might get a big surprise! I know if I were his Supreme Leadership I'd be suspicious of such a proposal made in secret—I'd remember what happened with North Korea in 1994—but I'd jump on a public one if the U.S. put out a credible timetable. Friedman's a fool, and it's a fool's idea, but sometimes that's just what one needs, as when the mustached psychotic of Broadway and 79th stops you on the sidewalk to tell you to tie your shoe.

Another foolish idea from Mr. Mystax is this:
On Israel-Palestine, the secretary of state should publicly offer President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority the following: the U.S. would recognize the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank as the independent State of Palestine on the provisional basis of the June 4, 1967, lines, support its full U.N. membership and send an ambassador to Ramallah, on the condition that Palestinians accept the principle of “two states for two peoples” — an Arab state and a Jewish state in line with U.N. General Assembly Resolution 181 — and agree that permanent borders, security and land swaps would be negotiated directly with Israel. The status of the refugees would be negotiated between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization, which represents all Palestinians inside and outside of Palestine. Gaza, now a de facto statelet, would be recognized as part of Palestine only when its government recognizes Israel, renounces violence and rejoins the West Bank. 
Or, as his alter id Really Tom Friedman puts it,
In the future we’re all going to speak languages we can’t understand and we must begin with strife in the Middle East. Or North Africa. It works if you just speak loud, simple English. Like: “NO ONE. KNOWS WHAT. JUDEA. AND SAMARIA. ARE SUPPOSED. TO BE. MAYBE THE ROMANS DID.” Or: “I’M SORRY. ABOUT YOUR. GRANDFATHER. YOU CAN’T HAVE. THESE OLIVE GROVES. ANYMORE. BECAUSE SOME HASIDS. FROM LONG ISLAND. LIVE THERE NOW.” 
This time I like the version published in the Times, with the formal recognition, better. In fact it kind of takes my breath away. If Serious People are starting to think like this, perhaps the hopey-changey has really arrived.
Image from Mouse Medicine.

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