"No question — for America, Israel and the Palestinians, no deal is still better than a bad deal that blows up the morning after. What Kerry is trying to put together are decent, hardheaded deals, in which opportunities can legitimately outweigh the risks for all sides. His chance of succeeding on the Iran or Israel-Palestine fronts is very low, but I greatly respect his daring to fail."
And so, Friedman sings paeans to a man who called the murderer Bashar al-Assad his "dear friend." Friedman praises a man who cut a deal with Putin, which allowed Assad to continue killing Syrians with impunity.
Kerry's deal with Iran's Supreme Leader Khamenei? This "agreement to agree":
- allows Iran to continue to enrich uranium;
- permits Tehran to continue to build its Arak nuclear reactor, which is capable of producing enough plutonium for two atomic bombs each year;
- does virtually nothing to reduce the "breakout" time for construction of Iran's first atomic bomb;
- does not bring home American captives from Iranian prisons;
- does nothing to prevent Iranian human rights atrocities (e.g., hanging of homosexuals and stoning to death of women accused of adultery).
Perhaps it should also be added that Kerry's deal with Khamenei destroyed America's long-term alliance with Saudi Arabia. As Mohammed bin Nawaf bin Abdulaziz al Saud, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Britain, declared yesterday (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/18/opinion/saudi-arabia-will-go-it-alone.html?_r=0):
"We expected to be standing shoulder to shoulder with our friends and partners who have previously talked so much about the importance of moral values in foreign policy. But this year, for all their talk of 'red lines,' when it counted, our partners have seemed all too ready to concede our safety and risk our region’s stability."
President Obama of course shares with Kerry the "credit" for all of the above.
Israel? Friedman writes:
"But I fear for Israel. If Israel doesn’t stop the settlement madness, denying the Palestinians a West Bank state, it will fit the caricature of its worst enemies."
Apparently unbeknownst to Friedman, Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat has acknowledged that Israeli settlements have been built on only some 1.1% of the West Bank (see: http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/erekat-olmert-offered-palestinians-territorial-equivalent-of-west-bank-1.393484). This is the extent of Israeli "settlement madness" after 46 years?
Yes, Friedman is a moron, who unfortunately has the president's ear.