Some readers understandably mock me for my occasional "meep meep" posts about Obama's shrewd sense of strategy. But I think the mockery is sometimes based on a misunderstanding. I do not now and never have believed that Obama is some kind of guru, capable of seeing far into the future, a Jedi president capable of foiling all enemies with cunning and foresight.
The, er, evidence does not exactly back this up. The errors of judgment and foresight are pretty clear - from letting Clinton win New Hampshire to Ben Nelson's months-long fiddling over health insurance to the collapse of cap-and-trade. My point is rather that he has a clear pattern of behavior that is acutely tuned to the longterm. He lets things take their course. Rather than tipping his hand early and decisively, he tends to hang back, aloof, distant, watching. Only when events have occurred that have proven the pointlessness of options he doesn't favor does he forthrightly present his own. And quite often, he almost seems intent on orchestrating such public failures of others' (and his own apparent) options - even at his own short-term cost.
And so on Israel, we have seen a laborious, frustrating, endless attempt to get the Israeli government to get serious about stopping settlements and work on a peace deal. The constant humiliations at the hand of Netanyahu, the contempt shown the US by Netanyahu's coalition partners, the massive bribes just to get Israel contemplating a minimal settlement freeze, the Pavlovian way in which Israel's reflexive supporters have done all they can to stymie any movement ... well, it's been an exhaustive experience, hasn't it?