Talk Is Cheap

 

Secretary of State Antony Blinken is one of the most unimaginative and naive men on the planet. I realize that he is only espousing the line of the Biden Administration, but first he advocates one strategy and then explains why it is impractical to implement it.

On his latest visit to Israel today, he gave a speech trying to put his discussions with the president and prime minister of Israel in the best possible light. That’s just good politics. But I continue to be exasperated at his insistence that a “humanitarian pause” must be implemented, when that strategy will only work to the detriment of Israel. First, I’m not convinced that we can know which Palestinians should be entitled to humanitarian aid. Do they have special identification cards? Do they have to take an oath on the Koran that they don’t support Hamas? How do we know that they aren’t at least sympathetic to Hamas and will transfer supplies, either voluntarily or with the threat of force, to Hamas? How will Israel prevent Hamas from re-arming?

Then, there is the question of how long a “pause” should be. Will there be several small ones? How long will they be? Hours? Days? Weeks? Who gets to make that decision? What if Hamas violates the agreement? What will they do when Hamas, subtly or obviously, steals supplies, including fuel? Will the humanitarian pause involve the release of hostages? How will that be assured and implemented? What if they extend the release of hostages in the middle of the process? Who has the authority to insist that they follow through? What if hostage corpses, not living people, are returned?

My biggest question is why the US believes it is entitled to “help” Israel negotiate any of these terms. How much power over Israel can they demand because of the arms they are supplying? What if the US and Israel reach a roadblock about any of these efforts? Who will be forced to cave in?

Two of the most foolish proposals presented by Biden are not a surprise, but extremely impractical. The first one is that the only solution after the war is over is a two-state solution. I believe that died on October 7. Besides, driving the Jews into the sea is not just a Hamas mission; it is shared by many Palestinians. When a reporter asked Blinken about the extremist ideology that could remain, even after Hamas is defeated, Blinken replied, “We’ll just need to come up with a better idea.”

I assume that Israel is going along with the U.S. interference for a couple of reasons. First, they might actually learn something in these discussions. Talking together also builds relationships and at least creates the illusion of cooperation. But ultimately, I expect them to keep talking for quite a long time.

Talk is cheap.

Published in Foreign Policy
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  1. Paul Stinchfield Member
    Paul Stinchfield
    @PaulStinchfield

    Susan Quinn: Secretary of State Antony Blinken is one of the most unimaginative and naive men on the planet.

    Naive? More like unprincipled. Machiavellian.

    • #31
  2. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Paul Stinchfield (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn: Secretary of State Antony Blinken is one of the most unimaginative and naive men on the planet.

    Naive? More like unprincipled. Machiavellian.

    I think you give him far too much credit…

    • #32
  3. Django Member
    Django
    @Django

    Paul Stinchfield (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn: Secretary of State Antony Blinken is one of the most unimaginative and naive men on the planet.

    Naive? More like unprincipled. Machiavellian.

    I read somewhere last month that even members of his staff consider him to be completely incompetent.

    • #33
  4. Hartmann von Aue Member
    Hartmann von Aue
    @HartmannvonAue

    Percival (View Comment):

    Seawriter (View Comment):

    Red Herring (View Comment):
    Did we pause WWII to get supplies to the German and Japanese citizens.

    No, but we won those wars. Folks don’t want Israel winning this one.

    Folks want the Israelis to win. The noisiest components of our Ivy stained future elites have all joined the Sturmabteilung.

    Yup.

    • #34
  5. Hartmann von Aue Member
    Hartmann von Aue
    @HartmannvonAue

    Seawriter (View Comment):

    DaveSchmidt (View Comment):

    Raxxalan (View Comment):

    BDB (View Comment):

    Seawriter (View Comment):

    Rodin (View Comment):
    He actually hates a lot of people.

    Does he really like anyone who is not a member of the Biden family? He has never shown empathy for anyone outside it.

    And appparently he really really likes some people in it.

    I know what you are alluding to and I have to say this ewwww, ick.

    Hunter??

    Ashley, I think. Shower buddies according to her diary.

    Yup. Substitute any Republican for Biden in your next thought experiment on media bias.

    • #35
  6. BDB Member
    BDB
    @BDB

    Paul Stinchfield (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    Seawriter (View Comment):

    Red Herring (View Comment):
    Did we pause WWII to get supplies to the German and Japanese citizens.

    No, but we won those wars. Folks don’t want Israel winning this one.

    Folks want the Israelis to win. The noisiest components of our Ivy stained future elites have all joined the Sturmabteilung.

    Academia seems to have a strong tendency to fall in love with totalitarian ideologies–even especially genocidal ones.

    FIFY

    • #36
  7. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    BDB (View Comment):
    FIFY

    I heard Ruth Wisse (I think that’s how her name is spelled) talking about the more recent anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism. She was asked about the reason for the elites overwhelmingly protesting. Her explanation was that the elites at the universities in Germany backed Hitler. Isn’t that interesting?

    • #37
  8. Red Herring Coolidge
    Red Herring
    @EHerring

    Old Bathos (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Old Bathos (View Comment):

    Blinken is a ridiculous man. But so is the entire Biden Administration. The lack of quality is uniform.

    We may miss a lot of opportunities by pretending the lack of quality is uniform.

    Tolstoy said, “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” I wonder if the same couldn’t be said about competent and incompetent administrations, and if the way to deal with them is to exploit those disuniformities.

     

    As a group they seem to be lazily informed by a vague adherence to the hard left and a hatred of American normals and a rejection of the values held by such people. Obama established the idea that American interests are tainted and unworthy and so we should defer to Iran and run away and shrink into the status of non-exceptional people we really are.

     

    Our professional diplomatic establishment sucks. Amateur diplomat Jared Kusher made more ME progress in two years than decades of “expert” involvement. The rush to undermine and dissolve the Abraham Accords by Team Biden (Team Obama’s second string) was motivated less by American or regional best interests but pique at their own fecklessness being exposed and a need to undo a Trump success.

    I read where there is open dissent in Foggy Bottom against what they see as a WH pro-Israel policy. (a) Where do they get off openly undercutting their President’s national foreign policy? Shut up or resign in honorable protest. (b) How the hell is a pro-Hamas/pro-Iran policy in the US interest? Those people suck. There always appears to be room for such people on the bloated faculty of the Georgetown School of Foreign Service or the Kennedy School at Harvard. Maybe they should be culled.

    Foggy Bottom has been wrong for decades.

    • #38
  9. Django Member
    Django
    @Django

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    BDB (View Comment):
    FIFY

    I heard Ruth Wisse (I think that’s how her name is spelled) talking about the more recent anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism. She was asked about the reason for the elites overwhelmingly protesting. Her explanation was that the elites at the universities in Germany backed Hitler. Isn’t that interesting?

    Jewish student confronts woman ripping down hostage posters | Fox News Video

    • #39
  10. Red Herring Coolidge
    Red Herring
    @EHerring

    Django (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    BDB (View Comment):
    FIFY

    I heard Ruth Wisse (I think that’s how her name is spelled) talking about the more recent anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism. She was asked about the reason for the elites overwhelmingly protesting. Her explanation was that the elites at the universities in Germany backed Hitler. Isn’t that interesting?

    Jewish student confronts woman ripping down hostage posters | Fox News Video

    Elites in Ivies also welcomed in the “Frankfurt School.”

    • #40
  11. Terence Smith Coolidge
    Terence Smith
    @TerrySmith

    I can think of 3 reasons why the U.S is pressing for a ceasefire pause.

    1. Weak incompetent leadership as noted in many of the comments above .  From 2021 the policy has been one of  “quieting things down” (aka: appeasement) and so far has been  a failure as Russia, China and Iran have all become more agressive.

    2. An inexplicable but  genuine hostility to Israel (esp. Netanyahu) and pro Iranian, pro palastinian  bias  among the agencies involved. Rhetorically, would Blinken dare to cross the “inter agency consensus” of how to proceed? Some would say that’s almost impeachable.

    3. Domestic political concerns. Among the most disturbing things about the Afghanistan debacle was the number of citizens, legal residents and green card holders that were stuck there. The Admin treated it primarily as a P.R problem to manage. So they minimized it, obfuscated the numbers and failed to take any real action as that would just draw attention to the failure. It kind of worked (except for the victims) as the issue just faded out.  In this case, I suspect Joe and company are again looking at the politics of it. While some have argued here its about the Muslim population in Michigan. I think it is more about not crossing the far more numerous young progressives in the country.  From day one Biden has prioritized them over all others.

    Of the 3, I think the third is most likely though the first is undeniable too.

    • #41
  12. BDB Member
    BDB
    @BDB

    Terence Smith (View Comment):

    I can think of 3 reasons why the U.S is pressing for a ceasefire pause.

    1. Weak incompetance leadership as noted in many of the comments above . From 2021 the policy has been one of “quieting things down” (aka: appeasement) and so far has been a failure as Russia, China and Iran have all become more agressive.

    2. An inexplicable but genuine hostility to Israel (esp. Netanyahu) and pro Iranian, pro palastinian bias among the agencies involved. Rhetorically, would Blinken dare to cross the “inter agency consensus” of how to proceed? Some would say that’s almost impeachable.

    3. Domestic political concerns. Among the most disturbing things about the Afghanistan debacle was the number of citizen’s, legal resident’s and green card holders that were stuck there. The Admin treated it primarily as a P.R problem to manage. So they minimized it, obfuscated the numbers and failed to take any real action as that would just draw attention to the failure. It kind of worked (except for the victims) as the issue just faded out. In this case, I suspect Joe and company are again looking at the politics of it. While some have argued here its about the Muslim population in Michigan. I think it is more about not crossing the far more numerous young progressives in the country. From day one Biden has prioritized them over all others.

    Of the 3, I think the third is most likely though the first is undeniable too.

     

    I’d say it’s each of them at 100%.  That’s right, 300%.

    • #42
  13. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Django (View Comment):
    Jewish student confronts woman ripping down hostage posters | Fox News Video

    Good for him. That kind of confrontation takes guts.

    • #43
  14. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Red Herring (View Comment):

    Django (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    BDB (View Comment):
    FIFY

    I heard Ruth Wisse (I think that’s how her name is spelled) talking about the more recent anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism. She was asked about the reason for the elites overwhelmingly protesting. Her explanation was that the elites at the universities in Germany backed Hitler. Isn’t that interesting?

    Jewish student confronts woman ripping down hostage posters | Fox News Video

    Elites in Ivies also welcomed in the “Frankfurt School.”

    They had a lot of Stalin fans too.

    You can always tell a Harvard man, and what you should always tell him is “Siddown and shut up.”

    • #44
  15. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    BDB (View Comment):

    Academia seems to have a strong tendency to fall in love with totalitarian ideologies–even especially genocidal ones.

    FIFY

    I wouldn’t say that of all of academia, but it is more of a problem in academia than in the general population. My theory is that when you’re the smartest person around, it’s tempting to think you’re smart enough to run the world, or worse, to remake it.

    • #45
  16. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    BDB (View Comment):

    Academia seems to have a strong tendency to fall in love with totalitarian ideologies–even especially genocidal ones.

    FIFY

    I wouldn’t say that of all of academia, but it is more of a problem in academia than in the general population. My theory is that when you’re the smartest person around, it’s tempting to think you’re smart enough to run the world, or worse, to remake it.

    Another problem is that there can be a gulf between being the smartest person at the university and being the smartest person in the political science department.

    • #46
  17. JosephCox Coolidge
    JosephCox
    @JosephCox

    “Secretary of State [Fill in the Blanks] is one of the most unimaginative and naive [wo]men on the planet”

    It has nothing to do with Blinken and everything to do with the role he fills. The State Department almost always gets it wrong, but never in interesting ways.

    • #47
  18. Paul Stinchfield Member
    Paul Stinchfield
    @PaulStinchfield

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    BDB (View Comment):

    Academia seems to have a strong tendency to fall in love with totalitarian ideologies–even especially genocidal ones.

    FIFY

    I wouldn’t say that of all of academia, but it is more of a problem in academia than in the general population. My theory is that when you’re the smartest person around, it’s tempting to think you’re smart enough to run the world, or worse, to remake it.

    People in academia have spent their entire lives there, all the while being told how smart they are. As a result, they tend to suffer from several related failings:

    First, they have no deep understanding of the wide world outside academia and no realization of how narrow is their knowledge and experience. Worse, they often do not realize this.

    Second, they overvalue their own (extremely narrow) knowledge and expertise, and come to think this qualifies them to make definitive pronouncements upon all sorts of matters. Worse, they tend to believe that anyone without an academic degree is unqualified to have an opinion and should shut up.*

    Third, the academic culture encourages an attitude of snobbery and arrogant disdain for ordinary folks, a belief that university professors are the most important people in the world and a feeling of resentment that not everyone holds them in the high regard to which they feel entitled, and that lowly people like carpenters and plumbers can make more money than them: This clearly shows that The System is unjust and must be radically reformed to put them at the top.

    * Western academics almost universally dismissed the views of Ayaan Hirsi Ali because she did not have a degree in Islamic Studies. The fact that she had lived in that culture and had experienced its problems first-hand meant nothing to these academic charlatans.

    • #48
  19. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Percival (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    BDB (View Comment):

    Academia seems to have a strong tendency to fall in love with totalitarian ideologies–even especially genocidal ones.

    FIFY

    I wouldn’t say that of all of academia, but it is more of a problem in academia than in the general population. My theory is that when you’re the smartest person around, it’s tempting to think you’re smart enough to run the world, or worse, to remake it.

    Another problem is that there can be a gulf between being the smartest person at the university and being the smartest person in the political science department.

    They all have the experience of being the smartest person in the room (even if they aren’t) and all the temptations that come with it. 

    • #49
  20. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    The Reticulator (View Comment):
    They all have the experience of being the smartest person in the room (even if they aren’t) and all the temptations that come with it. 

    It’s a kind of arrogance that is very difficult to get past.

    • #50
  21. Django Member
    Django
    @Django

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):
    They all have the experience of being the smartest person in the room (even if they aren’t) and all the temptations that come with it.

    It’s a kind of arrogance that is very difficult to get past.

    To paraphrase Clint Eastwood: The smartest person in the room should know his limitations. 

    • #51
  22. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Django (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):
    They all have the experience of being the smartest person in the room (even if they aren’t) and all the temptations that come with it.

    It’s a kind of arrogance that is very difficult to get past.

    To paraphrase Clint Eastwood: The smartest person in the room should know his limitations.

    Yup.  Some have a greater tendency than others to forget. 

    • #52
  23. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Django (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):
    They all have the experience of being the smartest person in the room (even if they aren’t) and all the temptations that come with it.

    It’s a kind of arrogance that is very difficult to get past.

    To paraphrase Clint Eastwood: The smartest person in the room should know his limitations.

    Yup. Some have a greater tendency than others to forget.

    You also don’t have to be the smartest in the room to know your limitations. Trust me, I know mine!

    • #53
  24. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    Django (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):
    They all have the experience of being the smartest person in the room (even if they aren’t) and all the temptations that come with it.

    It’s a kind of arrogance that is very difficult to get past.

    To paraphrase Clint Eastwood: The smartest person in the room should know his limitations.

    Know what you mean. I start worrying when I am the smartest person in the room.

    • #54
  25. Rodin Member
    Rodin
    @Rodin

    Seawriter (View Comment):

    Django (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):
    They all have the experience of being the smartest person in the room (even if they aren’t) and all the temptations that come with it.

    It’s a kind of arrogance that is very difficult to get past.

    To paraphrase Clint Eastwood: The smartest person in the room should know his limitations.

    Know what you mean. I start worrying when I am the smartest person in the room.

    If you are worrying, you are the smartest person in the room.

    • #55
  26. DaveSchmidt Coolidge
    DaveSchmidt
    @DaveSchmidt

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    BDB (View Comment):

    Academia seems to have a strong tendency to fall in love with totalitarian ideologies–even especially genocidal ones.

    FIFY

    I wouldn’t say that of all of academia, but it is more of a problem in academia than in the general population. My theory is that when you’re the smartest person around, it’s tempting to think you’re smart enough to run the world, or worse, to remake it.

    Another problem is that there can be a gulf between being the smartest person at the university and being the smartest person in the political science department.

    They all have the experience of being the smartest person in the room (even if they aren’t) and all the temptations that come with it.

    I have never been the smartest person in the room, even when dining alone. 

    • #56
  27. Paul Stinchfield Member
    Paul Stinchfield
    @PaulStinchfield

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Django (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):
    They all have the experience of being the smartest person in the room (even if they aren’t) and all the temptations that come with it.

    It’s a kind of arrogance that is very difficult to get past.

    To paraphrase Clint Eastwood: The smartest person in the room should know his limitations.

    Yup. Some have a greater tendency than others to forget.

    And many never learned in the first place. Would that professors taught humility to their students and especially to their grad students…but I might as well wish for a Moon made of Wensleydale.

    • #57
  28. Ray Gunner Coolidge
    Ray Gunner
    @RayGunner

    Old Bathos (View Comment):
    Amateur diplomat Jared Kusher made more ME progress in two years than decades of “expert” involvement. The rush to undermine and dissolve the Abraham Accords by Team Biden (Team Obama’s second string) was motivated less by American or regional best interests but pique at their own fecklessness being exposed and a need to undo a Trump success.

    Man, oh, man is this right!   And I think this is a good example of what lies at the heart of Trump Derangement Syndrome:  The elites’ fear that some schmoe like DJT could come along, bring a “common sense” approach to domestic and foreign policy, get great outcomes, and thereby prove them to be a class of parasitic, time-serving careerists.  

    • #58
  29. Paul Stinchfield Member
    Paul Stinchfield
    @PaulStinchfield

    Ray Gunner (View Comment):

    Old Bathos (View Comment):
    Amateur diplomat Jared Kusher made more ME progress in two years than decades of “expert” involvement. The rush to undermine and dissolve the Abraham Accords by Team Biden (Team Obama’s second string) was motivated less by American or regional best interests but pique at their own fecklessness being exposed and a need to undo a Trump success.

    Man, oh, man is this right! And I think this is a good example of what lies at the heart of Trump Derangement Syndrome: The elites’ fear that some schmoe like DJT could come along, bring a “common sense” approach to domestic and foreign policy, get great outcomes, and thereby prove them to be a class of parasitic, time-serving careerists.

    This.

    • #59
  30. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Paul Stinchfield (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Django (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):
    They all have the experience of being the smartest person in the room (even if they aren’t) and all the temptations that come with it.

    It’s a kind of arrogance that is very difficult to get past.

    To paraphrase Clint Eastwood: The smartest person in the room should know his limitations.

    Yup. Some have a greater tendency than others to forget.

    And many never learned in the first place. Would that professors taught humility to their students and especially to their grad students…but I might as well wish for a Moon made of Wensleydale.

    Many do.  But in many (not all, of course) it’s also compensated for by the idea that they know what’s best in politics.  It’s possible to be humble among your peers, family, and friends, and not so humble in other respects. 

    • #60
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