We are left, as we so often are, to read chicken entrails and try to divine the purposes of the enigmatic Obama administration. Ask the question “Cui bono?” – who benefits from this? – and the honest answer comes back: “Blamed if I know.” I really can’t tell. It’s not us. We’re just going to look stupid: the Doofus wandering through a slapstick cartoon unaware of the mayhem he’s leaving in his wake.
It’s not Israel. As if he needs more on his plate, Netanyahu will now have to choreograph another diplomatic sidestep, one that affirms Israel’s ties to the United States and shores up our tattered global image to the extent possible. I’m sure Bibi will thank General Allen for all his good work, and wish him a Merry Christmas to boot.
It’s not the Palestinian Arabs either. They have no intention, for one thing, of suddenly being amenable to a deal they’ve already rejected more than once. If the U.S. has been drafting the security proposal in consultation with Israel, but not with the Palestinian Authority, I would expect the Arabs to consider that grounds at the very least for slow-rolling any resulting initiatives. If we find out that Valerie Jarrett has been negotiating a West Bank security proposal with the PA for the last year, unbeknownst to the Israelis (well, OK, the “unbeknownst” part is unlikely), I think we can mainly expect that Ben Affleck will direct the Oscar-winning movie about it all, ca. 2018. (I don’t see a role for George Clooney or Brad Pitt, but there’s bound to be something for John Goodman.)
This initiative seems so gratuitous as to defy even the conspiracy theorist’s logic. The only way I can put it in context is to cycle back to the non-deal Iran “deal,” which may not be an actual deal, but which has gotten the pundits in Washington and the capitals of Western Europe talking as if it’s an actual deal. Team Obama has a pattern of being gratified and requited by such responses, as if they represent something real and meaningful.
It’s hard to imagine being so insistently deluded and narcissistic: to imagine actually judging your impact by whether the pundits’ narrative reflects your intended themes or not, regardless of reality (e.g., that Iran isn’t going to change any of her behavior at all – see here, here, and here – and there is nothing to wait and “see” in the wake of the back-slapping and photo-opping in Geneva). But so Team Obama seems to interact with its world. The mainstream media share the blame here, of course (or the credit, depending on your perspective). The best I can tell, with the West Bank security proposal, the Obama administration is just trying to create a narrative again, one in which it figures, for a brief shining moment, as a superhero. Then it will be time to move on to the next narrative blast on the geopolitical New & Hot chart.