As Mideast peace talks teeter again on the brink of collapse, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas are emerging largely unscathed in the eyes of their constituents.
Ukraine and its backers won support from little more than half the members of the United Nations General Assembly to declare invalid Crimea’s referendum to secede, as Russia wielded diplomatic and economic pressure for members to abstain or cast no ballot.
Ukraine reached a preliminary deal with the International Monetary Fund to unlock $27 billion in international aid as U.S. lawmakers passed bills imposing more sanctions on Russians linked to Crimea’s annexation.
“Down is up and up is down. I feel like we have passed through the looking glass and are looking back at a backwards world,” a military historian of the modern Middle East wrote in a recent note to me about the hectic diplomacy over Syria and Iran. “Where did all the realists go? It’s as though the Cold War never took place.”
For more than 15 years and more than any other world leader, Benjamin Netanyahu demanded sanctions against Iran to stop it from getting nuclear weapons. Now, as the sanctions are credited with weakening the Iranian economy enough to prompt a thaw between the U.S. and the Islamic nation, the Israeli prime minister is among the skeptics who remain unconvinced that anything significant has changed.
The historic conversation between President Barack Obama and Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani touched on the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program and New York City traffic and ended with “Khoda Hafez” from Obama -- Farsi for “God be with you,” an expression used as “goodbye.”