Of all the advice to Obama to reverse his brand of Carterism, the best might simply be to shut his eyes, and every time he gets angry and is about to say something about Israel, stop, and think first to substitute the reset vocabulary he has used with Putin in the past. And vice versa: Imagine Russia is “Israel!” and Putin “Netanyahu” each time he wants to see red and reset reset. The ensuing rhetorical adjustments would do our relations with each country a lot of good. Long ago he also could have warned Putin that time was running out for him, that he was now isolated from the world, and that our patience was limited, and cheered up Israel with an assurance of reset and flexibility in the future.
(But then again, that advice would work on a number of levels as well: If the president thought “Tea Party,” “Ted Cruz,” or “NRA” for China or North Korea, the accustomed Obama invective about the former might finally be directed at the latter. And if the president just equated Iran’s efforts to get the bomb with those of citizens to obtain semi-automatic rifles, or the plight of the Ukrainians with Skip Gates’s suffering at the hands of the Cambridge Police (i.e., a “stupidly” acting Putin), we’d be way ahead, (or if a snubbed democratic leader were only an autocrat or hereditary monarch, he might earn a bow . . .)