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Rubin Reports

Obama Visit to Israel: A Love Fest with Lots of Policy Complications

March 20th, 2013 - 11:51 pm

To listen to Obama you get the impression that he expects no progress in his second term. In fact, he reduced expectations pretty low:

And — and — and my goal here is just to make sure that the United States is a positive force in trying to create those opportunities as frequently as possible.

So this is Middle East policy in Obama’s second term: downplaying Israel-Palestinian issues; pushing for a new regime in Syria while disregarding the real dangers of producing a monster there; and trying to convince Israel to not attack Iran by insisting that all options are on the table, although his bluff will be called at some point.

On bilateral relations, this represents a gain for Israel, but it is still stuck in dealing with radical Arab regimes which U.S. policy is not going to confront — and which it even sees as friendly. Moreover, for the next year Israel will enjoy firm American rhetoric on Iran, but what if things come to a head? Obama’s hints and pledges could collapse like a house of cards once Tehran approaches a nuclear weapons arsenal.

Also, Obama now faces the situation of previous American presidents, a dilemma that he has long ridiculed.

The Saudis and Jordanians, along with some other countries, don’t care. But the Iranian, Turkish, and a number of Arab regimes (including the Palestinian Authority) are going to be outraged by what Obama just did and said. The Islamists will see this as a declaration of war — though of course they already viewed themselves as in a state of war with America. The Cairo speech will be spit upon; all the efforts to distance himself from Israel and to create a new orientation for U.S. policy have failed.

Obama is now — on matters directly regarding Israel — a typical American president. The idea that Obama made policy out of raw hatred against Israel should be put to rest. Nevertheless, the incompetence and the deluded strategy toward Islamists still remains, as does the dangerous situation for U.S. interests that Obama has helped create. Fireworks will no doubt occur during Obama’s second term.

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PS: Palestinian anti-Obama demonstrations showed the “gratitude” amassed for Obama’s previous support by branding him a Zionist, imperialist running dog. But one detail drew my close attention: the demonstrators sang a song called “America is the head of the snake.”

That’s the song then-PLO leader Yasir Arafat led in singing at the Palestine National Council meeting almost 45 years ago.

After 45 years of effort, and especially the last 23 years in which America tried to help create a Palestinian Arab state, it has made zero progress toward winning Palestinian support or recognition of America’s aid and efforts. The same story, of course, will be reproduced regarding Obama’s efforts to show his respect for Islam and his empathy for Islamism.

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Top Rated Comments   
Obama's whole performance in Israel has been predictably disgraceful, right up to lecturing Israeli students to "walk in the Palestinians' shoes" and referring to the Prime Minister in public as"Bibi" in a cheap effort to sound chummy but coming off as flip and disrespectful instead. This smug, insufferable egomaniac belongs in some forgotten faculty lounge, far away from the levers of power.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
So, in summary:

1)"I have no plan"

2) "you should have no expectations"

3) "their violence is no reason for your response"

4) "I hope things change...hey...hope and change, that's a good slogan!"
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Prof. Rubin, don't believe a single word of what O says.
This is the man who goes peacefully to sleep while an American Ambassador is being slaughtered, imagine HOW LESS he cares about anyone else.



1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (27)
All Comments   (27)
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Obama's whole performance in Israel has been predictably disgraceful, right up to lecturing Israeli students to "walk in the Palestinians' shoes" and referring to the Prime Minister in public as"Bibi" in a cheap effort to sound chummy but coming off as flip and disrespectful instead. This smug, insufferable egomaniac belongs in some forgotten faculty lounge, far away from the levers of power.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Taking out the Iranians does not require bunkerbusters or boots on the ground. The facilities are underground so they've half buried themselves already. Collapse the entrances and bury them alive. Go for the electrical infrastructure and bury them in the dark. Just shutting down the electrical system would take care of everything. Nothing works without juice. If the whole country goes dark so be it and so much the better.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I get the sense that Netanyahu was trying to steer the discussion in public in order to get PresidentPersonalPronoun to make a comment live that would ideally force him to extend support beyond the false bromides. There is no doubt that Bibi is a more intelligent man and politician than our President so if the Teleprompter wasnt around I do believe eliciting such a comment would be possible. While the President certainly would not be bound in such a case the whole exercise would surely be a no lose exercise for Netanyahu.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I know its been said many time before but the advice is as true today as it was back in 2008 when I first heard it - Forget what Obama says - watch what he does.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Netanyahu knows he is the weak sister in this relationship. He tried to intervene in the US election and failed, Obama intervened in the Israel election and succeeded (to a degree). Of course Netanyahu now needs to kiss and make up. Israel needs us more than we need them, exactly how US foreign policy should be. America first, our allies second, our enemies - dead - last.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Excellent, so in the service of your patriotism you overlook that the President has advanced the cause of the MB throughout the region. What counts is that he 'showed' Bibi?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
All we can say with any certainty is that there's a lot going on that we don't know about. Apologies for that understatement.
But, really...Obama now seems to've done a 180 and now seems to be all ...."Bibi and I.....[fill this space yourselves]..."

We must continue to rely on Barry Rubin to sort this stuff out for us.

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A personal question, though, keeps popping up on my mind that I'd like to toss out here, and that is, "Why is nothing...nothing...nothing mentioned anywhere about that infamous Syles-Picot Agreement being the creative-point....nexus?...of each of these presently so troublesome Muslim area "national" borders?...where previously there were no drawn borders for those nomadic Arabs?

Why are not the British and French called out in any of these current discussions?.....for their direct responsibility for today's tangled mess? Why are the English permitted to remain so coy about their duplicity in that Agreement and also their Balfour Declaration?

Why is everything George Bush's fault? What's happened to our attention spans?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
So, in summary:

1)"I have no plan"

2) "you should have no expectations"

3) "their violence is no reason for your response"

4) "I hope things change...hey...hope and change, that's a good slogan!"
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment

...permit me to add here that this is just ....obamataqiyya.....and he seems to've gotten pretty good at it.......very scary.

Very scary indeed that this Obama-eleon was elected twice.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Netanyahu should look to this president's covert hostility towards israel and Obama's treatment of him on a couple or three trips to DC and not fall for the charm offensive.

(Some of Netanyahu's generous statements towards Obama border on sycophantic.) I'm sure he (N) knows what he's doing, but I could do with a little more restraint and less gushing.

Just heard an excerpt of Obama addressing Jewish students, basically alluding that Israel's positions vis a vis Gaza/West Bank are essentially not "fair".

I wonder if Obama considers the intifada, against whose vicious tactics Israel has instituted practices to defend itself, "fair".
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Netanyahu is too wily to fall for anything Obama tries to pull. The PM can think rings around little Barry, so I'm sure there's a plan behind his smile. He has it all over Obama in age, experience, intelligence and statesmanship. No contest.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Plus, he's showing Barry up by the simple act of being a gracious host. Remember, the President treated Netanyahu with unmitigated rudeness on his visits to the U.S.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The problem is I do not believe the President knows what the word fair means. It is merely one of those buzzwords that got him a treat when he parroted them high in class.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"Fair" means nothing, and shows him to be the juvenile that he is. Has he never been told, "Life is not fair"?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"fairness" is what the community organizer in chief has hung his hat on in the past, continues to do in the present and will undoubtedly hang out there as his goal in the future.

fairness was what "fundamental transformation" was all about and why this limited thinker Obama is weirdly and eternally focused on "higher taxes on the rich

The fairness concept attaches to everything for the shallow Left, food distribution (it is so "unfair" when there isn't a supermarket in the neighborhood), climate (wealthy countries need to pay poorer countries reparations for using more than their share of resources and screwing up the climate)...ad infinitum, ad nauseam

I agree this president doesn't understand anything about genuine fairness, but, as a knee jerk buzzword with an emotional appeal to the uninformed and as a weapon of class warfare ("yeah, it's not FAIR that X is rich and I am poor") he will trot it out to his dying days.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The Left's obsession with "fair" reinforces my belief that the root of the liberal's world view stems from their perceived mistreatment or rejection early in life, their failure to accept, adapt, and successfully overcome, and therefore expect government to, in effect, do the bootstrap-pulling for them.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Yes, the Left, permanently stuck in immaturity...

http://www.libertymind.com/index.php?page_id=257

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Sounds like a green light to me - though god knows what was really said in private. Still I don't see Bibi in fact backing down on Iran if in his judgement he feels he has to attack. The American public from polls I'm reading support stopping Iran. We may be in for an interesting year with some surprises.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Any Obama speech tells us what he wants us to believe, and nothing more. Once in a while, an unrehearsed offhand comment actually tells us what he thinks.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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