Rahm Emanuel yesterday went before a large Jewish gathering to spin the Obami’s tale of the Middle East. It was Emanuel, we are told, who favored the settlement-freeze gambit, convinced that Bibi Netanyahu could be pushed from office or forced to capitulate. He had these people wired. He knew the Jewish community here — they’d back the president. Put the squeeze on Israel. Hmm. Didn’t work out. It seems that Israel can’t be bullied like a recalcitrant congressman.
He also weighed in on Afghanistan: based on his voluminous expertise in counterinsurgency strategy, Emanuel opposes the recommendations of the real gurus and argues for fewer troops. He remains “skeptical of the value of a build-up.” One imagines it is Nancy Pelosi’s troops on the left wing that he’s most concerned about. But he, along with Joe Biden, seems to be on the wrong side of that one as well. We learn that “Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton are coalescing around a proposal to send 30,000 or more additional American troops to Afghanistan.” And if reports are correct, the president is stumbling toward that option, despite Gen. Emanuel’s “skepticism.”
It’s not a impressive record. In an ordinary administration, a political operative who made hash of one major foreign-policy objective and impeded the decision-making process in another would be shown the door — or at least relegated to a job he is qualified to perform. Isn’t there a congressman or senator he can curse at? Doesn’t the Illinois Democratic party need help finding a Senate candidate?
Perhaps the Chicago pol and candidate-recruitment chieftain should stay out of foreign-policy matters before he does any more damage. And really, wouldn’t his sequestration be the first positive gesture the Obami will have made toward Israel?