Morning Joe | November 15, 2012
>> good morning, it's thursday, november 15th . you're looking at a live picture of times square , new york city , just getting going. with us on set, msnbc contributor, put that in quotes, it's up for debate what he contributes, mike barnicle , richard haass , chairman of deutsche inc., donny deutsch and cohost of "the cycle," s.e. cupp. it's not really new.
>> it's old now.
>> you know what i contribute? i contribute some insight into the growing ego mania that is young willie geist .
>> the 37-year-old sexiest man on earth?
>> oh, wow, we're doing this 40 seconds in, huh?
>> "people" magazine.
>> getting it out of the way. there he is. willie geist listed as the sexiest 37-year-old man in america.
>> i'm titillated.
>> it's not just me saying it anymore, it's documented.
>> where am i? am i on the right show?
>> later today --
>> this is why i got up early?
>> later this morning, we are going to have the new editor of "people" magazine here, helen keller .
>> that's cruel.
>> ba dumb bum.
>> long setup. way to go. donny's on there, too.
>> donny's on the list, too.
>> what was it, "50 shades of grey."
>> i was in the decaying category. sexy and decaying. sexy men with gray hair.
>> it was like the silver foxes.
>> what's interesting --
>> and joe in there, too, in your category.
>> send kitchen appliances . microwave ovens.
>> there is a little quid pro quo .
>> they have a supplement of the 90-year-olds.
>> were you on that?
>> i'm on that list.
>> that's just in the regional papers, though, up in the boston edition.
>> let me ask you a question. i felt a little objectified personally.
>> kind of like a piece of meat, flesh.
>> arm candy stuff.
>> why is it always about the looks?
>> especially being part of this literate algonquin-type show.
>> boo hoo .
>> a little levity before we get to some really tough stuff.
>> yeah, we've got serious business. there's much more on the general petraeus situation, but we've got breaking news this morning. it's changing by the minute out of israel . this morning israeli tv reporting three israelis were killed in rocket strikes in the southern part of the country. this comes as the israeli military has launched an aggressive new campaign to cripple hamas after repeated rocket attacks. as many as 750 this year, they say, launched from gaza into southern israel . last night president obama spoke on the phone with prime minister benjamin netanyahu acknowledging israel 's right to defend itself but also urging him to not have civilian casualties. this youtube video showing an air strike yesterday killing the top military commander of hamas . it was part of a widespread campaign against targets that the israeli military says it will broaden in the coming days. this morning defense forces dropped leaflets over gaza warning residents to stay away from hamas operatives. on twitter, a clear message from israeli defense forces . quote, we recommend that no hamas operatives, whether low level or senior leaders, show their faces above ground in the days ahead. president obama also spoke last night with egypt president mohamed morsi about working together to preserve peace and security in the region. tension between israel and egypt 's new islamist government has increased since the attacks with egypt recalling its ambassador to israel in protest. richard haass , also an emergency meeting of the u.n. security council last night. sift through this for us. how big is this? how significant is this in the middle east right now?
>> well, it's big for lots of reasons, because it's not happening in isolation. one is you have the largest military clashes between israel and hamas in, what, four year now, and it's not going to stop. at times it doesn't matter in the middle east exactly why things begin. over the last few months there have been hundreds of rocket attacks, now this, then retaliation. it just happens. second of all, it's happening in the absence of anything political. there's no dialogue going on whatsoever between israelis and palestinians . this can't substitute for this. thirdly, egyptians withdrew their ambassador. since 1967 and really since not long after that when sadat, the relationship has been peaceful. it's been codified by treaty. it is the basis of peace in the middle east to the extent it exists at all. what this shows is we can no longer take that for granted. now that you've had the political change in egypt , you can't insulate these things. they're all connected. also, what might be the most significant thing in the middle east this week is what's happening in jordan , the other country in the middle east that has a signed peace treaty with israel . there you see riots against the king which suggest it's not inconceivable that the monarchies, these upheavals would now be spreading to places like jordan . so israel now faces a crisis with the palestinians , tremendous uncertainty with egypt , uncertainty on its border with jordan , civil war in syria , probl problems with hezbollah and lebanon. not to mention iran . there's no port in the storm. this is now the new middle east .
>> and richard, doesn't that make syria all the more important, you know, golan heights took mortar fire from syria , israel really doesn't want to get involved. you know, spread itself thin in syria , and i think that's why international action on syria is so important right now.
>> it's one of the fault lines in the middle east . i think if you're an israeli, it's not the one at the moment that keeps you up at night the most.
>> i still think the palestinian is the closest. then you've got egypt which is the anchor of israel 's security. and i think actually the israelis are most worried about jordan . the israelis are not central to the dynamic in syria . syria which began as a civil war and spread into the proxy has the potential to become a regional war. just when the thought the middle east can get worse, it can.
>> what's your assessment of pretty much the fact that a good portion of the top level of the united states diplomatic/intelligence apparatus, general petraeus , secretary clinton, perhaps, leaving, where does that leave us in terms of, you know, the overlap in the middle east ?
>> underneath them, you've got thousands of people who are following the intel, and you've got ambassadors in the embassies and all that. you are going to have something of a transition, but i actually think, mike, this goes way beyond who's secretary of state and secretary of defense. i actually think we're up against large historical forces in the middle east . and i don't mean this as a criticism or disrespect of hillary clinton or leon panetta or even barack obama . these are tectonic plates that are moving in the middle east . and the idea that who the president decides to appoint as secretary of state is going to make a material difference in these things, no.
>> does anyone have, do you think, does anyone have any real sense of where egypt might go in all of this?
>> i think egypt , look, it's quarter to a third of the arab world . cairo is one of the historical centers of the arab world . we don't have a good reading on where these guys are going, the muslim brotherhood . i'm not sure they necessarily do. we don't know how much to take literally what they say and write. they've got their internal politics, the party, the government. there's issues between them and other forces in egypt . they came into government fairly narrowly. but they're clearly trying to deepen their base. so everyone's watching really closely what they're doing with the rewriting of egypt 's constitution, how these people want to consolidate power. what they say in the middle east , it's one thing to win an election. that's the easy part. are they willing to lose an election, to set up a political dynamic where there's a level playing field ? i don't think we know the answer.
>> whenever we're talking israel and hamas , you have to think about iran and its role. some of the long-range missile sites they bombed yesterday in those 50 strikes had bombs supplied by iran . how do they figure into this whole picture?
>> they were historically, iran and syria , were the principal supporters of hamas . actually in recent weeks, you've seen a slight weaken of that bunt, qatar has moved in to some extent in part because hamas is somewhat alienated from iran and syria , given their problems over there, the syrian civil war . but again, what it shows is that you can't look at any of these things in total isolation. all these fault lines -- again, use the fault line analogy. when things vibrate along one, almost geologically they then tend to vibrate along others. and the scary thing about the middle east , there's a lot going on, and there's very few diplomatic circuits to begin with. the concern has got to be that all of these things start affecting one another. and it's unlikely to have a happy ending.
>> a lot of talk about strained relationship between netanyahu and obama, kind of forced lovers at this point to a new degree as it kind of tightens around israel ?
>> look, it doesn't help. this is a strained relationship, bibi netanyahu was criticized for tilting towards romney. thor what's odd, the day-to-day military intelligence relationship between the united states and israel has arguably never been closer and more intimate. it really is tight. so the kinds of issues we've had in the last 24 hours , which is quite traditional, my hunch is that's okay in that scenario where the united states and israel can coordinate. what's also going to happen is this is now going to spread to the u.n., not just this emergency meeting of the security council , but the other palestinians in the west bank , the quote, unquote, more moderate palestinians . they want to increase their political status , move to something like statehood. and real question then is how does the united states and israel manage this. and it will make it much harder against this backdrop because again, there's a diplomatic vacuum. and people are going to look for ways to try to fill the vacuum in ways that israel and the united states don't want. and what the administration is hoping is it doesn't force us into the position where we have to isolate ourselves and veto something simply to make sure that israel isn't isolated. again, this is going to be tough to manage.
>> israel said itself yesterday this is an ongoing campaign. certainly much more on this throughout the morning.