June 7, 2009

Quick Post: Predicting the Netanyahu Speech

Next week Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu, a national defense hawk, will be giving a speech on strategic direction for Israel. Will his position become more conciliatory because of Obama's Mideast trip and speeches?

Short answer - No. President Obama was overseas for 6 days and didn't bother to stop in Israel. Israel, unlike the United States is directly and immediately threatened by the prospect of a nuclear armed Iran (not that the US isn't endangered too). Netanyahu has been scolded to stop the settlements. The President has positioned himself as being a different President and more willing to impose on Israel to secure peace than any President since Jimmy Carter. Already Saudi Arabia is all over that opportunity, asking Obama to impose his ideas for a Mideast peace solution on Israel.

Obama's actions have not made existence any easier for Israel. Don't expect Israel to just roll over and suck up a beating because of an Obama pronouncement. This is not the US Senate Democrats or even the US Senate Republicans. It's a country that has always had to struggle for it's existence. It is populated by a people who are used to persecution and adversity. They are not going to be as moved by an Obama speech to take one for Team Obama just because he's said that Arabs have to recognize Israel's right to exist. They won't be swayed by the supposed messianic image as naive, insulated Americans have been.

No, don't expect Netanyahu to roll over and agree with Obama. His vision and strategic pronouncements will be very different. And if they aren't then we have to really start asking more seriously why Obama is getting his way on everything, domestically or internationally. That's not something most of us are prepared for at this point, because the answers are either not too obvious or just too sinister to contemplate.

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