Call it the deadly Barama Triangle. Let's hope the president can swim his way out of it.
The rest of Barack Obama's presidency depends upon three extremely delicate situations, Sir: immigration reform, the discloser of state secrets and a Middle East peace agreement.
Signing into law an immigration bill, which cleared the first hurdle 67-27 last night in the Senate, is actually the easy part. Signs of a sea change abound in a legislative body that has not exactly been the president's best friend. Lawmakers in a group of eight are doing the hard part in crafting bipartisan legislation, pretty much while the White House watches and hopes for the best. That disengaged distance is hard to imagine in The Adventures of Bill Clinton, but that was another century.
Though he once briefly belonged to the clubby Senate, Obama never felt at home there. He was either AWOL on book tour or running for president. As a result, he failed to cultivate the friendships and working relationships with Democrats and Republicans alike that would ease the passage of landmark legislation. Senator Obama, cool to the core, never got into the thick of things.
So, sadly, gun control went down in the spring not because of his foes, but due to a handful of Democrats. "Friends" in politics sometimes need persuasion and sometimes they need a firm reminder of the consequences of voting against the president.
Lately, the president has run aground for several Senate Democrats shocked at the sheer scale of our domestic spying operation, as revealed recently. Even if it's legal, it is spooky, pardon the expression.
Now we come to the global mystery of just what continent National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden is sleeping on tonight. As The New York Times notes, the Obama administration is straining diplomatic relations on at least three continents in its manhunt for a young leaker who gave away the spy game to the nation and world. Do we need to be getting into a slugfest with China and Russia and our best frenemies in Latin America? Let Snowden, the leaker of our secrets, go, for his deed was done as an act of conscience. Let's not keep this global chase story droning day after day.
The morning newspaper reads like a John le Carre novel. What a plight for the president.
But giving up gracefully is not what the U.S. government does. No, that's not what we learned in Little League. We look a little like the superpower that can't shoot straight, as we conduct the search in vain. And it is an apt match for Obama's impersonal style, somehow, that an elusive, unknown 29-year-old man is causing such havoc for the leader of the free world.
The world ends not in fire or ice, but the Internet.
Then there's the third point of the triangle. The Middle East is a treacherous and watery grave for so many dreams, hopes and prayers for peace between Israel and the Palestinians. The brutal occupation of the Palestinians, how long can it go on without brutalizing Israel itself? For both sides' sake and fairness, there must be a two-state solution, and soon.
Obama never figured out how to wield U.S. power and influence over the prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, who is quite a piece of work. If anyone can get the job done, it's the new secretary of state, John Kerry. I admire his sense of urgency, his passionate focus on peace and his seasoning as a statesman. He's the real deal. As a diplomat's son and a Navy war hero, Kerry's a natural to navigate the straits to peace between Israel and the Palestinians. He may well hit the water right to make a peace agreement happen, the crowning achievement of his career.
Then there's arming Syria - don't get me started on that. That's the bloody abyss.
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