Filed under: Foreign Policy, Israel, Middle East, Politics, Terrorism | Tags: "Peace Process", Israel, Obama's Middle East Speech
President Obama’s much heralded speech on the Middle East exhibited nothing so much as his failure to grasp the nature of the office of the presidency. He has never understood that he represents, not his own prejudices and ideology, but the American people—all of them. His personal interests must be subsumed in what is best for the country, its national security and its national interests.
The president clearly is consumed by the idea that the World hated us because of George W. Bush and the Iraq War, and Obama wants to make them like us again. Democrats hated George W, Bush, and assume that everyone else must hate him too. Obama was sure that he could succeed in creating peace in the Middle East when he managed the “peace process.” Liking each other is not the point. Nations have their own interests, and try to find ways to cooperate while securing those interests. America doesn’t need to be liked, we need to be respected. Trying to be “liked” is an exercise in futility. Trying to be liked is childish.
The “peace process” is complicated by the fact that the Palestinians are “Refugees.” Being refugees means they are underdogs, and that seems to mean that any amount of rockets, killings, suicide bombers, attacks and lies before the United Nations must be accepted as the natural protests of underdogs. The Israelis, of course, are in the wrong because they insist on defending themselves. Besides, the Israelis are rich and don’t live in refugee camps. That they have become a successful society due to their own hard work is beside the point.
There has never, in the history of the world, been a nation called “Palestine.” When Israel became a nation, their Muslim neighbors were invited to become citizens of Israel. Many did, and they are free Israeli Muslims who vote and fully participate in Israeli society. When the Arab nations of the Middle East expelled their Jewish citizens, Israel took them in. The Arab nations didn’t want the Palestinians, and have helped to keep them in refugee camps and urged them to blame Israel for all their problems.
If Israel’s Arab neighbors wanted peace, there would be peace. They don’t. They want Israel eliminated. President Obama doesn’t seem to know this complicated history, and assumes that the “Peace Process” depends on how much Israel is willing to give up. Israel has the ability to destroy any and all of its large neighbors, and in spite of constant provocation, has never attempted to do anything except defend itself. Hamas has it in its charter to destroy Israel.
The Arab states were unimpressed with Obama’s nice words about self-determination. Uprisings against dictatorial governments have been going on since January, and the “Freedom Agenda” has largely been nowhere to be seen. Months later, after all the dithering, they are not particularly interested. There’s a big gap between protesting in the street and wanting a despot overthrown— and democracy and self-determination. These are people who have never in history had any experience of democracy.
Iraq had a lot of help in founding a government, holding free elections and writing a constitution. They have an unbelievable number of political parties, and General Petraeus laughingly said it wasn’t exactly democracy, but “Iraqracy”— their beginning efforts to do it their way. And that is good. The administration has sanctioned Syria, but still believes that Assad is a potential reformer in spite of all evidence to the contrary. The Arab Middle East erupted beginning in January. A statement that the United States supports self-determination in late May is more than a little late.
It is not up to the President of the United States to determine the borders of other nations. In the 62 years since Israel became a nation, the Palestinians have never offered a single concession in the interests of peace in the Middle East. They are not interested in peace, they are interested in the destruction of Israel and its people.
For the President of the United States to side with the Palestinians is shameful step, and breaks with the policy of every president since 1949, and disdains a long-standing friendship in return for — nothing, nothing at all. He has created a weak and unreliable United States that is earning the contempt of the world.
A video of Bibi Netanyahu’s meeting with Barack Obama is available here.