Unleashing the Lord of War

The Washington Post is leading the way this morning. The always-consistent George Will, who last week compared Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to Churchill, lectures the world for lecturing Israel over the Middle East peace talks. Who are they to criticize Israel about peace? Will argues Israel has long shown restraint and mentions the Palestinian territories’ “seemingly limitless capacity for eliciting nonsense from afar.”

David Ignatius looks more generally at the Obama administration’s diplomatic approach in the Middle East and Afghanistan, writing that the president needs a “patience-plus” strategy. Although he admires the administration’s restraint, patience, he says its diplomatic efforts could use a push. In the case of Israel-Palestine, President Obama should create a set of guidelines to “provide some coherence to the process” (although he does not specifically mention what those might entail). Other suggestions include “reminding the Iraqis” of the U.S. troops there (does he think they can forget?); “promptly” seizing opportunities for negotiations with Iran; and keeping the pressure on the insurgents in Afghanistan.

Congressman Ed Royce (R-CA) warns that Thailand is likely to set free “merchant of death” Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout (the inspiration for the Nicholas Cage movie Lord of War) in the face of intense lobbying and official condemnation from Moscow. Bout’s release has Royce quite concerned because Bout has the means to transport a nuclear weapon if the price is right.

In the New York Times, Pakistani author Daniyal Mueenuddin eloquently describes his own personal observations of the death and destruction caused by flooding in his country. He emphasizes that the natural disaster is not quantifiable by the death toll (which remains small compared to Haiti or the 2004 tsunami), but is “a problem that will not go away, and it is the entire world’s problem.” The Wall Street Journal seconds that conclusion and urges Washington to “massively expand” relief efforts.