Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Does Obama actually have any thoughts of his own?

[Originally posted at NOW Lebanon]

It’s remarkable how often US President Obama manages to argue all sides of a given debate simultaneously while never disclosing an inkling of what his own thoughts or convictions may be.

Sunday’s speech to the leading component of the Israel Lobby, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), was exemplary in this respect. While claiming that “we all prefer to resolve [the issue of Iran’s nuclear program] diplomatically” and denouncing the recent “loose talk of war,” he was quick to add that Israel had a “sovereign right to make its own decisions about what is required to meet its security needs” and that Washington’s policy was “to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon [using] force [if] necessary.”

In other words, we don’t believe that Israel should bomb Iran, but we do believe that they can do as they please, up to and including bombing Iran. Not since he vetoed the Security Council resolution condemning the same settlements he condemned in Cairo has Obama shown such a magnificent facility with doublethink.

Precisely because it made such little sense, reactions to the speech varied wildly. American liberals were delighted: “Obama Sticks It To Bibi at AIPAC!” tweeted MJ Rosenberg, Senior Foreign Policy Fellow at the left-leaning Media Matters Action Network. Zionists were disappointed, with Jennifer Rubin of the Washington Post describing it as “preposterous […] dead wrong […] extraordinary and in many ways devastating.” And yet, Palestinians too were unhappy: “We could not believe that an American president is out there proving that he is good for Israel,” said senior PLO official Hanan Ashrawi, adding, “Shielding Israel from accountability is certainly not in the service of peace.”

Indeed, Obama curiously made no mention of a “sacrosanct” Palestinian “sovereign right” to security; nor did he assert that Palestine “must always have the ability to defend itself, by itself, against any threat;” and nor was there any mention of “the unbreakable bonds” between America and Palestine. These rights, and these privileges, appear to be the exclusive property of the Israelis. Such are the methods by which America designates itself the “honest broker” of the “peace process.”

Remind me again why anyone in the Arab world is looking forward to this man’s reelection?

No comments:

Post a Comment