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Is the Obama White House out of its effing mind???

October 30, 2014

I discovered one of my absolute favorite blogs in the history of the universe over the weekend, a discovery that illustrates just how flaky I can be and also what a tremendous analyst the author is.   At least in the eyes of this virgin blogger.  The XX Committee has quickly become go-to material every morning and today’s post is a good opportunity to show off why.

Discussing what will henceforth and for all time be known as “Chickenshitgate,” XX Committee rock star John Schindler lays the smack on a senior official in the Obama White House.  This official is either completely off his rocker or is such an unapologetic narcissist that he’s willing to publicly embarrass a major ally while completely undermining long-standing treaty negotiations that have one month until completion.  What’s this anonymous commenter’s weapon of choice?  Name calling, aimed at Israel’s Binyamin Netanyahu.  Seriously.  From The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg via The XX Committee:

“The thing about Bibi is, he’s a chickenshit,” this official said.


Over the years, Obama administration officials have described Netanyahu to me as recalcitrant, myopic, reactionary, obtuse, blustering, pompous, and “Aspergery.” (These are verbatim descriptions; I keep a running list.) But I had not previously heard Netanyahu described as a “chickenshit.”

Got that?  A former Israeli special forces officer who has probably killed more bad guys with his bare hands than I ever did with a Nintendo controller, who heads up America’s only genuinely reliable friend in the region and is despised in its neighborhood – oh, hi there almost-nuclear Iran – is a “chickenshit.”  Ok then.  Carry on.

Bizarrely, White House officials signaled to Goldberg that they think Bibi is basically a wimp… who’s afraid to actually bomb Iran. Why on earth the White House wants that message out there, in the middle of negotiations with Tehran, I simply cannot fathom.

Yup.  Right when the world thinks it’s on the verge of getting Iran to finally agree to some kind of nuclear deal, this official kicks the legs out from under the consequences of not signing on.  The best part is that while the words are plenty bold, this bare-knuckle brawler seems to have forgotten to tell Goldberg his own name. #ToughGuy.

Anyway, Dan Drezner, another idol in my Pantheon of All Things Awesome, theorizes that our brave-but-anonymous name caller may actually be trying to allay Iranian concerns about possible Israeli actions after a nuclear deal is reached:

The one thing this kind of trash-talking does is send a signal to Iran about the U.S. commitment to a nuclear deal… Netanyahu’s persistent and bellicose rhetoric towards Tehran would also have to be a source of concern for the Iranians. If they cut a nuclear deal, they want it to be implemented and they want the shadow of military action lifted.


Since congressional approval is now off the table, dissing America’s closest ally in the region serves as an imperfect substitute.

Given that we have yet to hear anything resembling tough talk aimed at those who, you know, deserve it, this doesn’t paint the administration in real flattering tones.  It’s one thing to try to make nice to the countries you’re trying work with.  It’s entirely something else to kick around your friends in some playground attempt to make the bully like you.  Obama and his team can do better.

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