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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Media Expects Israel to Bail Out Obama

Obama needs a victory. Somewhere. After losing congress and returning from another useless international trip, that victory has to come from somewhere. Outmaneuvered on the home front, he desperately needs to regain his stature and upstage the new Republican congress with a major achievement. And it's clear now to even his dimmest media supporters that such an achievement won't come from another international tour.

His political status as the occupant of the White House, and his own personal celebrity, mean that he can hop on Air Force One and get a reception in most countries. But having cocktail parties thrown in your honor and actually being listened to are two different things. Internationally Obama has become a "party guest", whose attendance brings status and media attention, but who isn't to be taken seriously.

Cracking both the new congress and the world community is hard with no leverage. Most presidents have understood that their leverage came from representing American interests. But Obama has acted as if his charisma and genius would automatically make everyone listen to what he had to say. And it hasn't worked out that way. His personal qualities have made him into an international globetrotting party guest, not a world leader. And now that he needs to be a world leader, to impress congress, the public and the world community-- he's going about it in the same old-fashioned way. By going after the one country he still has leverage over.

Creating a Palestinian state is unworkable in practice, but politically necessary. Which is why numerous presidents, prime ministers and world leaders have thrown themselves into the task. The Muslim world has cynically stymied every call for reform or a crackdown on terrorism, with the claim that the real problem in the region is Israel. Unfortunately few American diplomats have been able to see through that puppet theater. And even more unfortunately, few have wanted to see through it.

Halfway into his term, Obama has discovered that his background in a Muslim country and his antipathy to America, haven't led to any diplomatic accomplishments on the ground. Afghanistan and Pakistan are sliding. The Saudis are pulling the strings. Iran has no interest in being reasonable. And nothing he does make any difference. But the message from the Muslim world is that everything will turn out right, if only he puts the boot down on that one tiny little non-Muslim country in the midst of that great desert of Islam.

Israel has been the obvious whipping boy for a succession of presidents looking to score a victory in the face of domestic unpopularity and no international achievements to their name. Behind it all is the shiny brass ring that the Muslim world keeps dangling in front of the west. The ring that promises an end to Muslim terror. No more instability in the region. A reliable flow of oil. Global harmony between the Western world and the Dar Al Islam. The ring is an illusion, but the need for it is real.

Obama needs a victory. And the media needs him to score a victory. And Israel has been selected as the basket.

Announcing a Palestinian state and the end of the conflict will show the world and Washington D.C. that Obama has still got it. That he's not yesterday's news or a wimp or nothing more than a glorified cocktail party guest. It will demonstrate that he still matters. The practical reality is that such a state is unworkable, not least because even the current territory under Palestinian Arab control is split between two warring factions. But the practical reality doesn't matter. The political reality does.

Obama needs to salvage his credibility in order to fight for the left's domestic agenda against a Republican congress. And the media desperately needs him to do that, not least because it reaffirms their worshipful presentation of him as the only hope for the salvation of the nation back in 2008. Taking on Israel, puts him into a fight against one of the left's favorite foreign targets. A tactic, which in their willful blindness they imagine will simultaneously cleanse America of its foreign policy sins and reconcile it with the Muslim world. Obama was already supposed to have accomplished both of these objectives. And now the road to foreign policy salvation lies through Jerusalem.

The problems are numerous, but generally irrelevant to the media. Abbas' refusal to even show up for the negotiations hardly merits any attention. Every setback is laid at Netanyahu's door. Old commitments between the two countries have been made contingent on Israel's willingness to ethnically cleanse his own people from his own country's capital city. The prom theme for the Class of 2012 is "sacrifices for peace". And as usual the sacrifices are human, and the peace is a mirage.

None of this is altogether new, just worse. After Brown's humiliating treatment, the UK got the message and went off on its own. Europe now generally ignores Obama, unless he shows up for a party. America's remaining allies south of the border are sitting quiet and hoping that Washington D.C. passes them by on the way to Chaveztown. But Israel failed to make the break early on. And its attachment to an alliance with the United States has once again proven to be its greatest weakness.

Netanyahu is still hoping to salvage some kind of understanding from the ruins of the peace process. But then a series of Israeli prime ministers have been just as committed to the delusional search for that grain of peace among the deserts of war. Instead of following England and Ecuador to the door, he's still trying to be reasonable in the hope that he can still redeem Israel's name and stop Iran. But being reasonable doesn't work with someone who has no interest in what you want. It just turns you into a doormat.

Obama doesn't like Israel. If Iranian nukes wiped out most of the country, his next phone call would be to find out what it will do to his popularity ratings. Unlike Bush, who at least genuinely believed what the Saudis were selling him, he's less interested in peace, than in upgrading his own image. He doesn't care what happens to the countries in the background of his photo ops, as long as he comes out looking good. His politics, his background in the Muslim world and his own interests have brought him to this place. The only restraining element on him comes from some of the former Clinton people in and around his administration.

Like him, the media does not like Israel. But the media is also full of self-proclaimed experts like Thomas Friedman, who eagerly parrot back the Saudi line, and seriously believe what they're told. Their immersion among left wing Israelis only feeds their bias toward Israel, just as a BBC journalist sequestered with Cindy Sheehan and her groupies would come away with the impression that America must be the worst country in the world. Like the entitled tourists that they are, they mistake their own personal encounters for objective reality.

Their politics and their orientalism dictate an ongoing hostility toward Israel. Their inability to separate the political from the personal, to report events rather than observations, turns that hostility into bias. And finally their personal investment in regime change in America, turns that bias into enmity. Anything that stands between Obama and success is the enemy. And must be beaten down.

After two years of failure, Israel is expected to bail out Obama's popularity at the cost of lives and land. The media's hate for the one country in the Middle East that isn't sending terrorists to murder Americans and their love for The One has overpowered all reason. And all that remains is a frustrated child's demand that he get what he wants now! Or else!

15 comments:

lemon said...

Obumbo is the biggest mistake voters ever made.
New Tutankamun of the world!! Tutankamun the inbred weakling , product of incest and lust.
Well the US will go down under Obama as he bows and scrapes to every petty dictator in the world. Its a disgrace to see him in action.
Israel needs to show Obumbo the sole of it's shoe.
As for Netanyahu, he is living in lala land. He needs to make Israel secure, not bow to foreign intruders. They need to be thrown out on their fat lazy behinds.

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

He's the worst mistake in American history. The one that didn't happen with Burr, but finally caught up with us.

Anonymous said...

There is a great danger with obummer and his ego.The arab world knows a tool when it comes along and he has been better than a swiss army knife. Sadly, thanks to mis-education, even young Jews in Israel are taking a pro-arab stance--believing the lie that if only the PA has their own state--while it is the Israeli arabs who are attacking Jews every day. The minute the USA declares a PA state (and obummer in some way, will) there will be a full out war--wait for it--the arabs all around us are; and they are ready...

Anonymous said...

Daniel and Lemon - Amen to everything you both said. Obama is indeed the worst mistake in US history.

Debra

Jace Carlson said...

I'm not sure why Israel allows itself to be dragged along like a bleating sheep behind American Presidents, especially those as openly hostile to it as Obama. Between the media and the vocal Left, Israel doesn't get a fair hearing, so why do they persist in trying to look like the "good guy" on the world stage?

The whole "Palestinian State" thing is a sham. 78% of Palestine is already under Muslim control (Jordan and Syria) and has been for years. The "West Bank" and "Gaza Strip" should be Israel's and they should have absorbed the population or forced them to leave. Now, the opposition is entrenched so deeply that there is no practical or physical way to remove them.

It is almost as if Israel allowed them to exist for the sole reason to have an ongoing political "iron in the fire" -- so they had something to point to when things got bad. "See, it's not our fault -- it's Hamas and the rest of the overfed population in Gaza that's causing the problem."

I realize that the world is out to get Israel. I've understood that since Carter inserted himself in the situation, got Menachem Begin and Anwar El Sadat to play well together, and then Sadat was assassinated for it. Even if the Muslim world succeeds in annihilating Israel and wiping it off of the map, they will not stop hating Jews -- so why does Israel persist in allowing them to make and break peace treaties over and over again? And why do over-inflated self-important U.S. Presidents insist on getting involved in a situation that cannot be resolved?

Anonymous said...

Realistically speaking, I don't see how there can ever be peace in Israel, since neither the `Palestinians' nor the other Arabs want peace. Israel keeps making concessions in the vain hope that something will come of their sacrifices one day, but they should have learnt by now that their enemies have no interest in any peace.

This US administration is being more a danger to its real allies than it is to its enemies. Let us just hope that Netanyahu does not get backed into a corner by Obama and his administration.

Is Obama really that stupid or blind? And in any case, by sacrificing Israel, what does he hope to achieve? It should be apparent even to the dimmest politician that more sacrifices will result in more demands and nor in any semblance of peace whatsoever, even for the smallest amount fo time.

Paul said...

Daniel, could you explain the Burr reference? Is that Aaron Burr?

"He's the worst mistake in American history. The one that didn't happen with Burr, but finally caught up with us."

And also, could you explain this reference?

"After Brown's humiliating treatment, the UK got the message and went off on its own. "

Who is Brown and what was the humiliating treatment?

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

Anonymous, and not just the Arab world either. Hu's arrival reminds us of that.

Debra, and let's hope it stays that way.

Jace, because Israel has become too dependent on American approval due to its isolation by the Muslim world and now the EU. And its leadership suffers from the same malaise as much of the First World does, a lack of courage, etc.

Anonymous, he hopes to appease the Muslim world by kicking Israel. It's not a new strategy, but he's taking it to a new level.

Paul, Gordon Brown is the former UK PM who received a rude reception from Obama on his visit. Aaron Burr was a former VP who had a plot to divide the United States.

Keli Ata said...

"There is a great danger with obummer and his ego.The arab world knows a tool when it comes along and he has been better than a swiss army knife."

Ain't it the truth?!

I think he'll definitely be a one term president, though. He's screwed too many Americans on both the right and left.


If only Israel would copy the Arab world in this regard--Arabs have no problems insisting on having Islamic states. Why Israel won't stand up and fight to remain a Jewish states I can't understand.

Anonymous said...

I believe that America can and will defend itself from islamisation because it does not suffer from the diseases of the old European countries who suffer from irrational post colonial guilt. and the barometer for this self defence is non other than the degree of support for Israel's own battle against the dark forces of Islam.
Australia is also in a similar position.
lucien

Anonymous said...

Here's part of a conversation I had with a fellow teacher today. She told me that her husband's father changed the spelling of his last name because the spelling was the same that German Jews used. This was in the 50s and there was so much animosity toward Jews that he didn't want to be mistaken for a Jew since he was a prominent lawyer. I made the comment that the animosity toward the Jews was making a come back in this country due to the hatred of Israel. I was getting ready to say something about our president not supporting Israel and she piped up and said that the Israelies had brought it all upon themselves because back in the 40s they just came in and took over the land claiming it was their promised land. I made a valiant attempt at defending Israel, however, she was done with the conversation and shut me out.
Debra

Irwin Ruff said...

Unfortunately in this case, I've been shown to be a good prognosticator. When he gained the nomination, I predicted that not only would he be a disaster for Israel, but also for the US. But the situation has deteriorated badly: Not only is the US an enemy, but so is nearly every nation in the world. One remedy, if it isn't too late to work is to reverse your statement: "[I]ts attachment to an alliance with the United States has once again proven to be its greatest weakness." About 2500 years ago the Kingdom of Yehuda was warned against relying on a "broken reed", at that time Egypt. Today the broken reed is the US. At that time also we had the equivalent of the left wing ensconced in the ruling class. It seems to me that we must apply the words of the prophet to today's situation: Israel must cut itself away from the rotten branch and overthrow the anti-Jewish leftists who presume to move the country into a left-wing Arab subject entity.

DP111 said...

One thing that Israel has never understood, is that America's influence with the Islamic world rests on the assumption, that it is the only country that has influence to extract concessions from Israel.

Two things follow from this

1. The more Israel gives away, the less it will have, and thus less influence it has with America.

2. The more America forces Israel to give, the less influence it has with the Arabs as well as Israel.

It is therefore not in the interest of America to force Israel to give anything.

If Israel shows its displeasure at the one sided concessions that America is demanding from Israel, and walks away, then America has no hand to play, and the Arabs know it as well.

Another thing. Obama is desperate to show the Arab/Muslim world that he is their true friend. The corollary is that he is no friend of Israel. There is no need for Israel to do any favours for a man who is not a friend of Israel. The more Clinton, Biden and Obama loudly protest that they are true friends of Israel, the more reason there is to be suspicious of them.

It is therefore necessary for Israel to sidestep Obama as diplomatically as possible.

Anonymous said...

Obama's background reveals an 'education' directed against the West and the book upon which Israel and both our nations are rooted in.

A good investigation to Obama's background is The Post American Presidency - the Obama Admin's war on American by P Geller with R Spencer. Obama's sympathies do not lie with Israel, they can't due to his upbringing and the choices he makes in his politics.

kate b

TBS said...

Ther's a good term in women's magazines for a "friend" who constantly undermines you while pretending to have your interests at heart: "frenemy".

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