Washington Babylon — May 13, 2008, 8:27 am

Obama, Hamas, and “Nuance”

Barack Obama recently severed all links with Robert Malley, an informal Middle East policy adviser, after the latter “confessed” that he had met with the Palestinian group Hamas. And in a recent interview, Obama said, “We don’t do nuance well in politics and especially don’t do it well on Middle East policy…It’s conceivable that there are those in the Arab world who say to themselves, ‘This is a guy who spent some time in the Muslim world, has a middle name of Hussein, and appears more worldly and has called for talks with people, and so he’s not going to be engaging in the same sort of cowboy diplomacy as George Bush,’ and that’s something they’re hopeful about. I think that’s a perfectly legitimate perception as long as they’re not confused about my unyielding support for Israel’s security.”

This prompted Luca Menato, my favorite correspondent from overseas, to write:

The problem, according to Obama, is that America doesn’t do “nuance well.” Is it possible that it could be a little worse than that?

Can you confirm for me that America really believes that it is reasonable that its leading presidential candidate can be politically blackmailed over an alleged link with a Palestinian faction whose number of armed militants is likely to be smaller than the number of known victims in the latest Chinese earthquake? Your great unwashed consider it appropriate that this paragon of personal independence and virtue ducks & dives and feels compelled to fire a colleague (Robert Malley) only because that person is accused of “talking” to a group that for all its many sins is in fact the legally elected representative for its sorry constituency. I wonder, if he had just admitted looking at pictures of Hamas, would he have just got a suspension?

All I can say is that America must truly be the most f****d up, insecure and paranoid superpower I’ve ever had a very bad dream about … Peace be with you, god willing (shalom, inshallah) …

Share
Single Page

More from Ken Silverstein:

From the November 2013 issue

Dirty South

The foul legacy of Louisiana oil

Perspective October 23, 2013, 8:00 am

On Brining and Dining

How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy

Postcard October 16, 2013, 8:00 am

The Most Cajun Place on Earth

A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits 

Get access to 164 years of
Harper’s for only $39.99

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

September 2014

Israel and Palestine

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Washington Is Burning

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

On Free Will

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

They Were Awake

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Post
“There was torture by the previous regime and by the current Iraqi regime,” Dr. Amin said. “Torture by our Kurdish government, torture by Syrians, torture by the U.S.”
Visiting His Own Grave © Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
Article
On Free Will·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“Philosophers have labored for more than two thousand years to explain consciousness. Innocent of biology, however, they have for the most part gotten nowhere.”
Collage (detail) by Frederick Sommer
Post
Introducing the September 2014 Issue·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

 
Where Israel and Palestine can go from here, Washington D.C.’s enduring legacy of racial strife, Edward O. Wilson on free will, and more
Criticism
The Soft-Kill Solution·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

"Policymakers, recognizing the growing influence of civil disobedience and riots on the direction of the nation, had already begun turning to science for a response."
Illustration by Richard Mia
Article
Israel and Palestine·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“If Israel believes it needs to make a wall eight meters high between us and them, let them have it eighty meters high. Under one condition: It has to be on the international border.”
Photograph (detail) © Ali Jadallah / APA Images / ZUMA Wire

Chances that an applicant to a U.S. police force in 1992 was found to be “overly aggressive” on psychological tests:

1 in 2

Engineers funded by the United States military were working on electrical brain implants that will enable the creation of remote-controlled sharks.

Malaysian police were seeking fifteen people who appeared in an online video of the Malaysia-International Nude Sports Games 2014 Extravaganza, and Spanish police fined six Swiss tourists conducting an orgy in the back of a moving van for not wearing their seatbelts.

Subscribe to the Weekly Review newsletter. Don’t worry, we won’t sell your email address!

HARPER’S FINEST

In Praise of Idleness

By

I hope that after reading the following pages the leaders of the Y. M. C. A. will start a campaign to induce good young men to do nothing. If so, I shall not have lived in vain.

Subscribe Today