Just when you thought he was shifting gears he pulls out a zinger.
You have to hand it to US President Barack Obama. He is relentless. Just when you thought he was shifting gears – easing up on
His recent courtship of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu led some Israelis and supporters of
In the past week alone, two prominent commentators – Aluf Benn from Haaretz and Ehud Ya’ari from Channel 2 both wrote articles claiming that Obama’s
And in Ya’ari’s words in an article in the Australian, “The foreign policy team of US President Barack Obama is undertaking a reassessment of its policy all over the Middle East, including
Both claimed the administration has resolved to cooperate with
The basic notion informing both of these nearly identical articles is that the Obama administration’s foreign policy is fundamentally pragmatic rather than ideologically motivated. Both Ya’ari and Benn, like many of their fellow commentators on the Left, argue that Obama’s decision to invite Netanyahu to Washington and treat him like an ally rather than an enemy is proof that when stripped to its essentials, his foreign policy is pragmatic.
After a year and half in office, Obama recognized that his previous view of the
Yet before the ink on their proclamations had a chance to dry, Obama demonstrated that their enthusiasm was misplaced. Late last week the administration decided – apropos of nothing – to upgrade the diplomatic status of the PLO mission in
From now on, the PLO will be allowed to fly its flag like a regular embassy.
Its representatives will enjoy diplomatic immunity just like diplomats from states.
Indeed the PLO delegate in Washington Maen Areikat claimed that the administration’s move equates the PLO’s diplomatic status in the
Some in the media have claimed that this is a symbolic act and essentially meaningless.
But this is not true. While this step does not constitute
TO PUT this move in perspective, it is worth comparing the PLO’s new status to that of the
When asked to comment on the move, White House spokesman Thomas Vietor said, “This decision reflects our confidence that through direct negotiations, we can help achieve a two-state solution with an independent and viable
Like the decision itself, Vietor’s explanation signals that the Obama administration has not embraced pragmatism over ideology. Vietor could never have made his statement if it had.
Any pragmatic analysis of the situation leads to the clear conclusion that there is little chance of the Palestinians agreeing to a settlement anytime soon. Just this past week Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas escalated still further his already unacceptable preconditions for direct negotiations.
Now in addition to his absurd demand that
These are demands that no government in its right mind would accept in direct negotiations, let alone as a precondition for them.
And any pragmatic
Indeed, for any pragmatic
In line with this, if the
But then, an administration that is willing to recognize a Palestinian state outside the framework of a peace agreement is an administration that is motivated by ideology and not by pragmatism. Moreover, it is motivated by an ideology that is fundamentally opposed to a strong democratic
This is the case because there is no Palestinian leader – not the
OBAMA’S DECISION shows that he has not allowed reality to interfere with his perception of the absence of a Palestinian state as the most urgent problem he faces in the
That threat has been spelled out clearly in recent weeks by top
Brig.-Gen. Massoud Jazayeri told the Iranian media, “The presence of Petraeus in
Then there is
As CIA Director Leon Panetta said last month, sanctions on
This understanding would be sufficient to convince a pragmatic administration that force must be used to prevent
Obama recently ended his public support for appeasing
Since 1979 the Swiss Embassy in Teheran has represented US interests. According to Ledeen, last week the Swiss ambassador submitted a request from US congressmen to meet with their Iranian counterparts. The Iranians rejected their request out of hand.
What this means is that the Obama administration – now working through congressional proxies – is still trying to cut a deal with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Ali Khamenei.
All of this makes clear the sort of leader Obama is. He is a pragmatic politician and a radical ideologue all rolled into one. The pragmatic politician understands that going into the congressional elections in November, he has to convince the
As an ideologue though, even in the midst of his charm offensive he couldn’t resist the urge to attack the Jewish state, so he signaled that he will recognize a Palestinian state that does not recognize it. And as an ideologue, he can’t stop begging the Iranians to love him.
The desire of commentators like Benn and Ya’ari to believe that the
But their wish is unsupported by facts. We can only hope that Netanyahu has not been similarly fooled.
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