Obama is a prisoner of the US election cycle
In “The Prisoner“, that compelling 1960s TV series, Patrick McGoohan keeps asking: “but who is Number One?” I was thinking of this after watching President Obama deliver his UN address in which he focused on the Palestinians’ statehood bid.
Obama is a prisoner. He is a prisoner of the US election cycle in which he has Republican party contenders to his right attacking him for his “naive” Middle East policies and his “appeasement” of the Palestinians. He has been accused by Republican contender Mitt Romney of “throwing Israel under the bus.” Nothing could be further from the truth.
But we are entering an election year, and so at the UN General Assembly, Obama joined in this senseless argument, highlighting America’s “unshakeable” commitment to Israel’s security. This speech was music to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s ears. In fact he thanked Obama at a press conference afterwards, as he was not in the General Assembly hall when the president spoke.
Obama now looks like Netanyahu’s prisoner too. Last May, the Israeli prime minister lectured Obama at the White House in what was a humbling moment for the US president. Now he can’t even be bothered to pay him the courtesy of turning up to hear him at the UN General Assembly. In answer to the question, who is Number One, I know that the answer isn’t Obama.
It could be that the answer isn’t even America. In Washington now there is a lot of talk about America losing its role as Number One in the Middle East (and indeed globally). America’s decline will have undoubted consequences in the region. Netanyahu, who has led his country towards international isolation, would do well to think about that before rejecting another good faith attempt by Obama to bring Palestinians and Israelis back to the negotiating table for serious discussions on a two state solution.Tagged in: israel, Netanyahu, obama, palestinians
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