Associate editor and columnist for The Washington Post, David Ignatius, spoke Friday night at the U.S. Foreign Policy forum, offering some insight into America’s current condition and issues President Obama is facing.
One of the issues Ignatius was concerned with was the relationship between the United States and Israel.
“This president, without I think intending to, has ended up having the worst relationship with Israel than I can remember any administration having,” Ignatius said.
Ignatius attributes this to the idea that U.S. leaders thought they had to make a breakthrough on the Palestinian issue that has been present in Israel for years. The problem continued as Obama got politically weaker in 2009 and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu got stronger, according to Ignatius.
“From then on any forward movement on the peace process was impossible,” Ignatius said.
However, Ignatius believes that during Obama’s second term there could be a turn around in the relationship between the United States and Israel.
“I think one thing we’re going to see in the second term and we’re already seeing it is what I call an Israel reset, an effort to go back and start over again in this relationship,” he said.
Another issue that Ignatius thinks Obama will have to face soon, and is already facing, is Iran and its continuous efforts to build a nuclear bomb.
“People need to understand that if we can’t find a way to negotiate then we are on a collision course,” he said.
He then quoted a colleague from Harvard and said that the current nuclear problem with Iran was the ‘Cuban Missile Crisis in slow motion.’
“Unless something is done like what Kennedy did and took a diplomatic breakthrough to the Soviet Union, then we will collide,” Ignatius said. “However, we may have just seen a change in the story this past week. The Iranians do seem to be turning a bit under the sanctions Obama has put in place.”
Sticking to the subject of nuclear weapons, Ignatius also addressed the issue with North Korea.
“If you were going to list a problem where the U.S. has failed — not just this administration — it would be North Korea,” Ignatius said. “If nothing else, what you could say that what North Korea’s doing is getting other Asian neighbors more upset and more willing to talk to the U.S. about ways of containing North Korea.”