The always spot-on Patrick Seale writes (via Gulf News) of how the aggressiveness of US Sec of State Hillary Clinton's recent pronouncements against Iran and Syria offers little hope of resolving the ongoing crises with both countries. Seale opens with:
Does US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton want confrontation and war in the Middle East or dialogue, reconciliation and peace? Her pronouncements and policies during her visit to the region suggest impatient belligerence. She seems intent on spreading mayhem, to the puzzlement and anxiety of many of the locals, as I discovered on a visit which coincided with hers.
He proceeds from there (read the rest here) to detail Hillary's belligerence, and how it achieves nothing in terms of progress towards pacifying the region.
Seale might also have suggested, though, that Hillary's tone might be due just as much to the approach of the fully fledged electioneering season, with Mitt Romney steadily emerging as the GOP's presidential candidate. Gingrich is toast. So is Santorum, whose only possible role at this point is as self-appointed sanctimonious standard-bearer of the hyper-Christian-conservative Right. To channel Glenn Close, they will not be ignored, even if it means scrambling the GOP convention in Tampa, dividing their party, and ensuring an Obama victory in November.
Nonetheless, Obama's advisors know that they dare not simply dismiss Romney's chances against Obama. Romney has already pumped himself as the steadfast adversary of Iran and its allies, more than ready to launch a military attack against them if only because of Iran's putative existential threat to Israel. Hillary's statements work to the effect of pre-emptive strikes to dullen the impact of Romney's attacks on that front.
Expect more of the same right up to November . . . especially if future reports on job creation are as lukewarm as was today's.