November 21, 2017

From Cairo to Israel – Obama Making It Up As He Goes Along

This week’s winning entries look toward the Middle East with a particular emphasis on Israel and the White House policy moves that will result in a weaker ally for the lone Democratic nation over there.

Ralph Peters used wit and satire in his NY Post article, What Obama Taught Me. Referring to Obama’s fact challenged speech in Cairo, Peters adopts the Obama claims:

Salaam aleikum, dudes!

I thought I knew a little bit about the Middle East. Boy, was I wrong. Last week, President Obama set me straight. Here’s what our president taught me during his Middle-Eastern pilgrimage:

There is no more terrorism.

Wow, cool! No more security checks at airports, right? It’s unclear which side won, but it’s all over. Obama didn’t mention terrorism a single time in his star-turn speech in Cairo. Only a few “violent extremists” (our own troops?) remain at large.

[…]

“Islam has always been a part of America’s story.” Guess the Founding Fathers missed that one. But I’m assured that George Washington turned to his mullah in the dark days at Valley Forge, that Daniel Boone read the Koran around the campfire, and that al Qaeda stood by us at the Alamo.

Yeah, there was that misunderstanding with the Muslim Barbary Pirates, when they killed, kidnapped and enslaved American citizens for years – but who’s perfect?

There are “nearly seven million American Muslims.” Who knew? We all thought there were three or four million, max. Is this a preview of the predetermined results of our upcoming census?

You get the point, and it ain’t pretty when you start thinking about it.

Winning Council member Mere Rhetoric also took exception with Obama’s approach to Israel by demonstrating how the administration is  pretending to support Israel in public speak while working in a not so covert manner to undermine her.

The pro-Iranian academics and experts behind them – now safely ensconced in the White House – spent the last few years stewing on the sidelines in university departments and think tanks. Since they couldn’t spend all of their effort on vaguely anti-Semitic and academically indefensible polemics, they had plenty of time left over to craft an agenda for the next Democratic President. So after many conversations – no doubt punctuated by exasperated hand waving and outraged tongue clucking – this is roughly what they came up with:

The question is: if the Netanyahu/Lieberman government remains intransigent, what should Obama do? Are there usable sources of leverage that the United States could employ to nudge Israel away from the vision of “Greater Israel” and towards a genuine two-state solution? Here are a few ideas.

1. Cut the aid package? … [T]hat’s not where I’d start. Instead, I’d consider a few other options, such as:
2. Change the Rhetoric. The Obama administration could begin by using different language to describe certain Israeli policies. While reaffirming America’s commitment to Israel’s existence as a Jewish-majority state, it could start (watcher’s note, correction) referring to settlement construction as “unhelpful,”
3. Support a U.N. Resolution Condemning the Occupation.… If the Obama administration wanted to send a clear signal that it was unhappy with Israel’s actions, it could sponsor a resolution condemning the occupation and calling for a two-state solution.

After listing the possible approaches the White House could theoretically take Mere Rhetoric compares that list with what the administration is doing. Guess what, the theoretical lines up pretty well with the actual as MR demonstrates:

In order: the Obama administration has gone ballistic over settlements, a quixotic reason over which to detonate an alliance. At the UN, Susan Rice is gearing up to do what Susan Rice does. There are rumors of a massive downgrade in security cooperation, in the form of blocking Apache sales. Private pro-Israel groups have been forcefully told that they have to share space with objectively anti-Israel organizations like J-Street and the Israel Policy Forum.

The White House has been leaking to every reporter that it can find that it’s reconsidering loan guarantees. Even a billion dollar aid cut – which Walt hinted should wait until leftist Jewish groups diluted AIPAC’s base – has been floated.

So that leaves only cutting off purchases and wrangling the EU. Fearless prediction: reports of European pressure will leak before anything happens with weapons purchases. EU diplomats just won’t be unable to contain themselves.

Pretty amazing though. Obama’s close knit group of foreign policy advisers – who during the election promised to up the pressure on Israel after years of figuring out how to best do it – are upping the pressure on Israel. Almost as if, given the chance, ideologues will try to implement their agendas.

There’s never been anything insidious or mysterious about this. Obama’s foreign policy team is totally committed to the two dogmas of foreign policy faux sophistication: linkage and the “if Israel only…” fetish. They believe that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the source rather than a symptom of Middle East pathologies and they believe that it could be settled if Israel made more concessions. Ultimately, they think that the current level of US support for Israel is a net negative for American interests. They’re wrong, but fair enough.

Congratulations to all the winners in this week’s contest. Please pass them along and keep your eyes open for weasels everywhere!

Council Submissions

Non-Council Submissions

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