This, then, is the paradox of Obama’s second-term policy toward the Middle East. He has abandoned his earlier effort to distance himself from Israel that he hoped would curry favor with Arabs and Muslims while, at the same time (he thought) advancing toward Israel-Palestinian peace. The strategy clearly didn’t work as Israel’s enemies showed themselves unready to compromise and not eager to pursue peace.
Obama’s shift here is a victory for Israel.
But Obama has not abandoned the pro-Islamist policy that has created a far more dangerous security situation for Israel and, in fact, made Arab-Israeli peace an even more distant dream.
In short, he is now offering to protect Israel more while, at the same time, he is the one who is doing just about the most to endanger Israel. Obama has strengthened the most extreme anti-Israel, anti-democratic, genocidal-oriented, and anti-American forces. His new foreign policy team includes the strongest advocates of this policy, men who are either blind or worse to the damage they are doing.
There will no doubt be a series of crises around this problem, especially regarding Egypt and Syria. During Obama’s second term, his bluffs will be called on Iran as well. And there is no shortage of other potential conflicts and ways in which U.S. interests will be seriously subverted.
Thus, Obama’s visit to Israel represents a real shift, a policy change. Yet Obama never talks about the ways in which his policy isn’t changing which are far more dangerous and important.
And thus one day, Obama might have to declaim, as did Mary Shelley’s main character, Dr. Frankenstein:
At these moments I wept bitterly, and wished that peace would revisit my mind….But that could not be. Remorse extinguished every hope. I had been the author of unalterable evils; and I lived in daily fear, lest the monster whom I had created should perpetrate some new wickedness.
Originally published at Rubin Reports.Barry Rubin
About the Author: Professor Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. See the GLORIA/MERIA site at www.gloria-center.org.
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