In past conflicts between Israel and its enemies, there came a time when the United States would call up Israel and essentially order them to stop their offensive against Hamas, the PLO, Hezbollah, etc. Of course, that’s back when the U.S. took some pride in its influence in the world, and where American power had some credibility. You really don’t have the feeling that Obama can ring up Israel and tell them when to stop their Gaza operation. Maybe if he’d enforced his “red line” in Syria, or taken meaningful steps against Putin, MH 17 might not have been shot down, folks in the Middle East would take his phone callsl and Iran wouldn’t be able to demand a five-month extension of the nuclear talks. Memo to Barack: this is what happens when you seek deliberately to reduce U.S. influence: you have less influence when you really want it—and when the world needs it. Meanwhile, is there any excuse for keeping Harry Reid around, except for comic relief?