CHARLOTTE, December 19, 2013 – Without realizing it, Barack Obama’s stumbling, inept efforts at foreign policy may have been the best thing to happen to Israel in decades.
Much like the slip-of-the-tongue blunder by Secretary of State John Kerry during the Syrian crisis, which resulted in the red-line being withdrawn and a trap-door escape for Obama, the president’s pro-Islamic approach to foreign policy may have made Israel stronger.
That does not mean the Middle East is less complicated, more stable, less dangerous or a walk in the park for Israel. To the contrary. Israel now faces greater challenges than ever before in its efforts to be an oasis in the desert of Islamic radicalism that surrounds it.
What Obama’s strategies do mean, however, is that by virtue of the fact that Israel must now become more resourceful to face its daily struggles in the region, it will also likely become more capable of handling those demands by themselves. Less interference may be a good thing for Israel in the long run.
Whatever Barack Obama’s motivations may have been to reject traditional allies in the region and generally throw U.S. support to rogue regimes, Israel has benefited by those actions. Though relations between the United States and Israel may be less cordial than they have been in the past, Obama has inadvertently given Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu greater control over Israel’s destiny.
The Middle East is a complex region. It is no place for an inexperienced academic with an Islamic upbringing and idealistic philosophies to be fine-tuning tribal alliances and differences that have been raging for fourteen centuries. While Netanyahu may not have all the answers, Obama doesn’t even have a clue. Consequently, Israel must counter current White House global initiatives in order to preserve its very existence. Obama’s bull-in-a-china-shop approach to international affairs has, therefore, made Israel less reliant on the West in general and the U.S. in particular for its very survival.
Whether Obama is naïve or incompetent matters little in the overall scheme of Middle East relations because the result is ultimately the same. Difficult as it may be to comprehend that Obama could destabilize an already unstable situation even further, the president has legitimized dysfunctional governments to a degree that has emboldened Islamic radicalism as never before.
Some observers may ask, if that is the case, then why have we not seen more terrorist activity in the homeland in recent months and years? The question is valid, but the answer is not complicated There is no need for violence. Terrorism comes in many shapes and forms. If done internally, which is far less visible, from an economic perspective, it may not be as dramatic but it is significantly more effective. Then why bother with bombs?
Five years into Obama’s rudderless administration, the world recognizes that no matter how bad things may get, the president believes he can talk his way through any situation. Diplomacy and statesmanship are usually a good thing, but Obama is neither a diplomat nor a statesman. Sometimes action is required. Not preferred, but necessary. Talk is cheap, so they say.
So long as he believes he has the upper hand, Barack Obama will talk with anybody or to anybody. It is only when he is on the short end of a debate that he pulls his head into his shell like a turtle while he figures ways to bypass the conversations he does not want to have.
Had the American people not had half a decade of listening to Barack Obama’s rhetoric, the words might still resonate today. That is no longer true, because we have come to recognize that those words are filled with half-truths, misrepresentations and lies. The words have lost their power.
Benjamin Netanyahu understands all of that. A prerequisite to success in Israel is to be intuitive. Netanyahu sees right through Obama’s so-called “transparency” and, while the news may be reporting a wedge between the U.S. and Israel, the fact is that the Israelis may have been given the gift of strength and independence through American incompetence
Bob Taylor has been traveling the world for more than 30 years as a writer and award winning television producer focusing on international events, people and cultures around the globe. Taylor is founder of The Magellan Travel Club(www.MagellanTravelClub.com).
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