Sunday, April 4, 2010

Has Obama Given Up?

Greg Sheridan, in far-away Australia, reads the tea leaves and learns that Obama has reconciled himself to Iran's going nuclear; his wild over-reaction to Israeli building in East Jerusalem is a ploy to isolate Israel to such an extent it won't even dream of attacking Iran's nuclear facilities.

US President Barack Obama has decided to abandon any serious effort to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. He is determined instead to live with a nuclear Iran, by containment and, if possible, negotiation.

This is the shifting tectonic plate in the Middle East.

This is the giant story of the past few weeks which the world has largely missed, distracted by the theatre of the absurd of Obama's contrived and mock confrontation with Israel over 1600 apartments to be built in three years' time in a Jewish suburb in East Jerusalem.

Iran is the only semi-intelligible explanation for Obama's bizarre over-reaction against the Israelis.

I don't know if this is true - how could I? Except the part about how Obama calculated his over-reaction to Israeli actions which his administration had previously agreed to: that part everyone could see without recourse to classified documents and secret discussions. Still, it's as likely as any other interpretation swirling around.


Anonymous said...

the more I read of Obama doing politics the more he reminds me of the middle management types who came back fresh from "how to mediate 101" courses and were let loose on our office squabbles.

they invariably made things worse while trying to prevent impending catastrophe - they must teach terrible stuff at those institutes


4infidels said...

None of the stances that Obama has taken and none of the off-the-cuff comments he has made regarding Israel would be remotely controversial in the circles he has spent his entire life. In fact, what he is doing has passed as accepted wisdom to his friends and colleagues.

The problem for Obama is no longer on a college campus or at a dinner party full of radicals and pro-Palestinian activist with no real power to influence events. Now he is in a position where acting on a narrow view of the Middle East has consequences for the region and the world. And actually hurts the cause of peace, stability and, most especially, the chances for establishing a Palestinian state.

His next moves will likely be engaging Hezbollah and Hamas, which is something that surely seems like common sense in ObamaWorld, an idea that likely has been voiced for years among his closest friends. Right now, the only thing slowing down that engagement is that the rest of American, or a good portion of it, doesn't necessarily agree. So Obama needs to find a way to do what he has always wanted to do: marginalize Israel and reach out to Hezbollah and Hamas, while making it look like circumstances led him to these actions rather than an ideological outlook that made them inevitable.

4infidels said...

When it comes to Iran, Obama has no real strategy beyond reaching out and engaging in dialogue. Whenever there are wars, I always hear folks on the left saying that the two sides should talk out their differences and make an effort to understand one another, no matter how irreconcilable the differences nor how atrocious the actions of the aggressor.

For most leaders, dialogue with adversaries is a tactic to advance interests, build alliances or reach mutually beneficial solutions. It is certainly a more noble and preferred strategy to war. But at the end of the day, it is a means to an end.

IMHO, Obama has confused the means with the end. The goal to Obama is to talk, to show your goodness by being able to say you reached out and engaged your enemies in dialogue, that you tried to find peaceful solutions. He has never really thought about what the next move would be if those talks didn't achieve anything. His achievement is reaching out in a way that his evil predecessor did not, just as his friends never really can offer a solution of what they would do if, say, "tough diplomacy" failed to remove Saddam from Kuwait. It is one thing to argue that it isn't an American interest or worth American lives, it is another to pretend that all things can be worked out by dialogue.

Anonymous said...

I fear that in a very round-about way the present infatuation of the military brass with their counterinsurgency handbook as a remedy for all evils will support the Obama-ist Zeitgeist

on the other hand everything I have read on the possiblities of military action in Iran makes me hope that sabotage is what will help to do the trick until the strategists can come up with something that reads more doable.

Yesterday I looked at my little globe again because of the dire news from Iraq and I remembered the kind of robotic sounding interview a formerly strutting with confidence general Odierno gave the London Times after it had been made clear that Afghanistan was to start as the next focus way before he, Odierno, considered his job in Iraq as well done.

I got a bit consoled over what I tend to perceive as two messes in the making by realizing that establishing military bases in Iraq and Afghanistan the US gets Iran into a nice pincer grip geographically which of course the media constantly bewail as making the US vulnerable to Iranian threats
- but what if it turned out to be the other way around? like for example the bases there providing also a comparatively easy to be reached refuge for about to be exposed saboteurs and informers?


NormanF said...

Israel will have to do what it must. The US could live with a nuclear Iran.

Israel can't.