Diplomacy Boldness Without Vision

James Baker confronts the Israelis with unprecedented force, but his critics say he and his boss have no larger framework for America's foreign policy

The atmosphere in a congressional hearing room doesn't get much testier than this. Secretary of State James Baker III appeared on Capitol Hill last week to announce the Administration's terms for the $10 billion in loan guarantees that Israel is seeking to help resettle Jewish immigrants from the former Soviet Union. Taking a gamble no previous Administration has been willing to contemplate seriously, Baker laid out a blunt policy line to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Foreign Operations. Israel has two choices, he said. The U.S. would back the loans for five years with no strings attached -- but only if...