The Test

Steve Clemons has a smart post on the Hamas-Israel mutual bombardment as the “test by crisis” moment Joe Biden was talking about before the election:

Part of what is going on today with Israel Defense Minister Ehud Barak’s unleashing of massive Israeli airpower against Hamas offices in Gaza is a test of Obama’s America. Hamas’s decision to end its “lull”, or temporary ceasefire with Israel, also has a lot to do with testing the U.S. and seeing what the outlines of Obama’s policy will be.

Barack Obama cannot afford to allow his presidency and its foreign policy course to be hijacked by either side in this increasingly blurry dispute.

I think that for a lot of people on the transition, the instinctive response to this is going to be to cause people to flinch from the idea of a serious effort at peacemaking. It’s a stark reminder that getting there wouldn’t just involve a nice meeting where you ask everyone to be reasonable. But I think you’d have to consider that kind of retreat to caution to be a flunking of the test.