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Friday, May 20, 2011

Obama's Middle East Policy Speech: Still in Diplomatic Diapers

Although I agreed with much of what Obama had to say during his Middle East policy speech, which evidenced that he has learned, albeit belatedly, that Ahmadinejad and Assad are not to be trusted, his speech was a failure. Obama, who takes a scholastic approach to foreign policy and is indeed a talented orator, has yet to understand that if he wishes to accomplish anything in the Middle East, it will not come from soliloquies out of Washington.

The need to achieve progress in a quiet manner during discussions with partners is not entirely lost on Obama. Observe how Obama never once mentioned Saudi Arabia, despite its horrifying human rights record and discrimination against women. Obama realized that given current tensions with the Desert Kingdom, he was better off not aggravating King Abdullah from afar with condemnatory rhetoric.

However, although he had the good sense not to further alienate Saudi Arabia, Obama succeeded in embarrassing Israel's Netanyahu immediately prior to his visit to Washington. Indeed, tension has only grown since Obama told his aides on Friday that Netanyahu will never make the concessions necessary to achieve peace with the Palestinians (http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/obama-to-aides-netanyahu-will-never-do-what-it-takes-to-achieve-mideast-peace-1.362964).

Observe how Menachem Begin, an Israeli hawk, evacuated Sinai. Consider how Ariel Sharon, just as far to the Israeli right, evacuated Gaza. Likewise, my neighbor, Netanyahu, might have proven far more flexible regarding arrangements with the Palestinian Authority than Obama might have imagined, but this was before Obama shot off his mouth and placed Netanyahu on the defensive with his Likud supporters.

A two-state solution along the 1967 lines, coupled with land swaps and sharing of Jerusalem, is nothing new. Israeli prime ministers Barak and Olmert agreed to such arrangements, which were rejected first by Arafat and later by Abbas. Had Obama decided to wait until Netanyahu's arrival before delivering this speech and had discussed his ideas behind closed doors with the Israeli prime minister, he might have been surprised by Bibi's response.

Obama, however, likes to listen to himself and couldn't control his narcissistic impulses. A pity.

2 comments:

  1. Spot on.
    Obama fails to understand both Israeli politics and the Israeli psyche.

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  2. So, if only Obama had consulted Netanyahu before giving his Middle East Policy Speech( a speech that was pretty much down the middle,by the way) Bibi might have been open to making concessions to those who wish to see Israel wiped from the face of the earth? If you really believe that then you are the one in diapers.

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