George W. Bush badly wants to keep his presidency relevant. Nobody seems certain why, but he found a sure fire way to do so: Inject himself into the presidential campaign in an address before the Israeli parliament marking the commemoration of the state's 60th anniversary.
White House press secretary Dana Perino barely earned her salary with a laughable denial of any implied swipe at Senator Barack Obama's foreign policy platform, as there is no mistaking what her boss was trying to do when he went right to the heart of Israeli security concerns mocking those who "believe we should negotiate with the terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along."
First, dispense with the nonsense: Senator Obama has never said that he would negotiate with terrorists.
What he has said is that he supported direct and unconditional talks with the leaders of Iran and North Korea. This was last July and in the past year he has expanded his argument maintaining that talks should be predicated on a "carrot and stick approach" that exerts pressure through a concerted measure of diplomacy backed by the force and support of international alliances.
Iran, the most contentious player in the extreme wing of the Arab-Israeli conflict through their patronage of Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza, is certainly a case in point.
Senator Obama advocates and has rightly pushed for crippling Iran's infrastructure through heavily backed economic sanctions, including mandates that companies based in Russia and France divest from their multi-billion dollar refinery operations should Iran continue on its present course: financing its Israeli terror operations by proxy; pursuing its nuclear ambition; supporting its Shiite alliances in Iraq.
Iran has no capability to fully convert its oil supply into refined fuel to meet national demands and without gasoline they can't do much.
It's a smart, tough, and effective means of directly managing a relationship to bring Tehran to the negotiating table, one that pales in contrast to the panicked talk of regime change channeled by an administration through indirect communication via the media that almost put US troops in the crosshairs of further attacks last year in a region that will remain on the brink of destabilization for years because of actions launched under our current president.
There is of course one significant problem that Senator Obama's approach faces. In the past seven years the US has so isolated itself through a "Doctrine of Preemption" no one will listen to us.