Saturday, March 20, 2010

What's motivating Obama in Israel rift?

Obama’s war on Israel -Caroline Glick

[E]ven more important than its usefulness as a tool to divert the public’s attention away from the failure of his Iran policy, Obama’s assault against Israel may well be aimed at maintaining that failed policy.

Specifically, he may be attacking Israel in a bid to coerce Netanyahu into agreeing to give Obama veto power over any Israeli strike against Iran’s nuclear installations. That is, the anti-Israel campaign may be a means to force Israel to stand by as Obama allows Iran to build a nuclear arsenal.

For the past several months, an endless line of senior administration officials have descended on Jerusalem with the expressed aim of convincing Netanyahu to relinquish Israel’s right to independently strike Iran’s nuclear installations. All of these officials have returned to Washington empty-handed. Perhaps Obama has decided that since quiet pressure has failed to cow Netanyahu, it is time to launch a frontal attack against him.
[Jerusalem Post]


LHwrites said...

I would like to see some documentation of this. I believe the US would like to coordinate any attacks, and that they would like Israel to wait until it is clear and verified that the threat has been created and no other strategy has worked. I don;t believe the recent pressure is tied to Iran. I believe, misguided or not, that the US belief is that any building in settlements in the disputed (by Palestinians) areas is a provocation that is just not necessary right now. They probably think "you can wait a while to build---and if you end up giving in then you will be glad you did not start building anyway". Whether the US is right or not, I believe one issue is about showing progress in the peace process, or at least that our ally is the party holding it up, and one is securing a solution to Iran that will not polarize the nations of the world to choose sides if an attack appears too early or unjustified.

Bruce said...

It's how Ms. Glick reads the tea leaves. I tend to agree, but the full article conceeds that this is speculative.

You may have too much faith in President Obama's determination to keep Iran from going nuclear. There are many signs that he is in the "containment" camp [we'll reluctantly let Iran go nuclear with the intention of containing the damage]...certainly many of his adivsors are.

Bruce said...

Here's another view, similar to Ms. Glick's:

Shaming Israel Hurts American Interests in the Middle East
-by Lee Smith

The new catch phrase in the Middle East is strategic realignment. This means the balance of power is shifting from the U.S.-backed regional order to the axis of resistance. The Obama administration has blundered by jeopardizing not Israel's stature but our own regional interests and the Pax Americana that has been ours over the last 35 years. Our position in the region depends on every actor there knowing that we back Israel to the hilt and that they are dependent on us. Should any real distance open up between Washington and Jerusalem, that will send a message that the U.S.-backed order of the region is ready to be tested. And that's exactly what the axis of resistance is seeing right now.

The recent U.S.-Israeli contretemps is not about progress on the Palestinian-Israeli peace process. It is about Iran. The Obama administration has all but announced that it has resigned itself to an Iranian nuclear program and that it is moving toward a policy of containment and deterrence. In rattling Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's cage, the Obama administration was warning Israel not even to contemplate an attack on Iran. The writer is the author of The Strong Horse: Power, Politics, and the Clash of Arab Civilizations. (Slate)

LHwrites said...

It is similar. I am not sure it is accurate. I admit it seems possible that the Western world is contemplating a nuclear Iran. This would be unfortunate to say the least. I still feel it is because we have used up our chips invading a nation, ousting and hanging its leader (dictator or not) and finding our supposed provocation was mistaken, and indeed, fabricated. Therefore, though unfair, the world and Israel may pay for the sins of the past. How do we justify attacking or invading other Muslim nations for supposed weapons of mass destruction when we failed so miserably to get it right last time---and in fact brought down the one nation that was able to keep Iran in check. Saddam Hussein would never have let Iran become nuclear. In that, interestingly, he had the same vested interest as Israel.

Bruce said...

True that Iraq's recent history makes it more difficult to justify hitting [or allowing Israel to hit] Iran. However, it is not impossible. A President with balls could make a sober assessment of the facts and evaluate the threat independently. In fact, his inherent pacifism would lend credence to a warrior posture. "Containment," on the other hand, will place President Obama at the Chamberlain table, joining the fool who allowed Hitler growing room.

LHwrites said...

You are quite right that it is not impossible, and perhaps it might even be in the works. I do not think they will telegraph everything that may be unpalatable in advance. A case could even be made on the world stage, but sadly things will need to develop much more than this for that to occur.