The Inscrutable Barack Obama
Caroline Glick describes President Obama's trip to Israel as a "mysterious visit." To her, the administration policy in the Middle East is a riddle wrapped inside an enigma.
The is truth we don't know why Obama is coming to Israel. The Obama administration has not indicated where its Israel policy is going. And Obama's Republican opposition is in complete disarray on foreign policy and not in any position to push him to reveal his plans.
Barry Rubin, also based in Israel, believes the president does have a long-term strategic goal. He's decided to break with old American policy in the Middle East and throw his weight behind what he believed to be the coming wave of Islamic politics in the region. Rubin wrote that an analysis of documents showed that Obama's idea of a solution to the crisis in the region was to pick the other side on the grounds that it would win:
In other words, a popular revolt was going to happen (I’ve seen the cables from the U.S. embassy in Tunisia that accurately predicted an upheaval), but would it succeed or fail? The Obama administration concluded that the revolt should succeed and set out to help make sure that it did so. As for who won, it favored not just moderate Islamic forces — which hardly existed as such — but moderate Islamist forces.
Which didn’t exist at all...
So the Obama administration did not stand beside friendly regimes or help to manage a limited transition with more democracy and reforms. No, it actively pushed to bring down at least four governments — Bahrain, Egypt, Tunisia, and Yemen.
It did not push for the overthrow of two anti-American regimes — Iran and Syria — but on the contrary was still striving for good relations with those two dictatorships.
Equally, it did not push for the fall of radical anti-American governments in Lebanon and the Gaza Strip.
No, it only pushed for the fall of “valuable allies.”
In which case his trip to Israel is for the purpose of "managing the decline." Does this conclusively show what is on the president's mind? At least one Republican who is still asking pointed questions about Obama's Arab Spring policy is Senator Lindsey Graham. He believes on the basis of survivor interviews that the U.S. consulate in Benghazi was burned while the U.S. was trying to cork the terrorist genie unleashed when Gaddafi was overthrown. “We were desperately trying to control the anti-aircraft missiles, the manpads, that were all over Libya, that are now all over the Mideast.”
An even larger genie, Graham argues, is now being freed in Syria and is demanding a plan to secure the Assad arsenal. According to CBS News: "Amid unconfirmed allegations of a chemical weapons attack in Syria, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., is demanding a plan to secure chemical weapon sites in the country - even if it means sending in U.S. troops, according to Foreign Policy. Graham expressed grave concerns about the prospect of 'chemical weapons in Syria falling in the hands of extremists,' and said in an interview with Foreign Policy today 'Americans need to lead on this issue.'"
This suggests that Obama is at least partially afraid of the powerful forces he has unleashed. Thus, even if Rubin is right, the other side of the coin is a desire to keep things from going too far. And in this matter the president has to walk a tightrope.