You ain't seen nothing yet
By Jonathan Rosenblum
Obama and the inevitable (?) state of Palestine
|Actual snap (not photoshop-ed) of Obama and Abbas |
sitting under portrait of Arafat
A few months back, President Barack Obama told an interviewer that he would rather be a great one-term president than a mediocre two-term president. As a glimpse into the President's mind, that remark is entirely credible, and it should be very frightening to anyone who cares about the future of Israel.
Obama has always viewed himself as a world historical figure. Even the job of president of the United States does not fully comport with his ambitions, and many observers have remarked that he often seems bored by the humdrum demands of the job. The aspect of the presidency that has always appealed to him most is the adulation of large crowds, and that adulation has almost certainly peaked.
The first two years of the Obama presidency, it must be conceded by both friend and foe, have indeed been transformational. The huge increase in the national debt and the passage of Obamacare will affect every aspect of life in America for years, if not decades, to come. But as "great" as the first two years of presidency have been, there will be no such domestic triumphs in the two years to come: no cap-and-trade; no new major federal entitlements; none of the paybacks sought by unions for their huge manpower and financial support. The overwhelmingly Republican House ensures that.
The only frontier left for Obama's vaulting ambition is foreign policy. And here the most obvious candidates for his attention are Iran and the Arab-Israel conflict. Nothing will so determine history's verdict on the Obama presidency as whether Iran achieves nuclear weapon capacity. Yet there are few indications that President Obama would ever exercise the military option to prevent that outcome. He has never fully articulated to the American people how dangerous a nuclear Iran would be for America and Europe - not just Israel. It is far from clear that he is convinced that some form of Cold War-type nuclear containment is not possible with Iran. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton has spoken of the United States spreading its nuclear umbrella over its allies, as if the United States were assuming the inevitability of a nuclear-armed Iran. The administration was slow in putting any sanctions regime in place, and failed to seize upon the widespread citizen unrest after the stolen elections in 2009 to increase pressure on the regime.
That leaves the Arab-Israel conflict as the most likely place for Obama to seek to make his mark in the international sphere. From day one, the Obama administration made the Arab-Israel conflict its number one foreign policy priority, something it would have only done if it felt that there is a real chance of reaching a resolution. At a March 2009 meeting, White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel told the ADL's Abe Foxman that Israel's moment of truth had come. "This president is determined to make peace between Israel and the Arabs," he said.
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