Saturday, March 27, 2010

What Bibi Taught Us—A Response to My Favorite Canine

Original Post What Bibi Taught Us By Cujo359, All rights and most wrongs reserved by Cujo359
 President Obama did one thing right this week. No, it wasn't signing the health care "reform" bill, or the "correction", or the "correction to the correction". No, it was reminding Israel's bombastic leader who the senior partner in our alliance is, as the Israeli publication Ha'aretz reports:

 Details emerging from Benjamin Netanyahu's visit to Washington remain incomplete, but the conclusion may nonetheless be drawn that the prime minister erred in choosing to fly to the United States this week. The visit - touted as a fence-mending effort, a bid to strengthen the tenuous ties between Netanyahu and U.S. President Barack Obama - only highlighted the deep rift between the American and Israeli administrations.
The prime minister leaves America disgraced, isolated, and altogether weaker than when he came.
 Instead of setting the diplomatic agenda, Netanyahu surrendered control over it. Instead of leaving the Palestinian issue aside and focusing on Iran, as he would like, Netanyahu now finds himself fighting for the legitimacy of Israeli control over East Jerusalem.

 Leaving Bibi to find his own way to dinner wasn't a bad touch, either. As Patrick Lang put it:
 Bibi was "dissed." Good, he needed the lesson. I think there will be more such lessons. Obama is a patient man. I now see that he favors the "ambush" style. Israeli hubris and arrogance favors an "adversary" who employs such method.

 They will not learn the lesson implied in this Ha'aretz editorial because to do so would require a basic change in the way they think [of] themselves in relationship to the outer world and gentiles. They carry this burden in trying to deal with difficult situations. In the same way they will continue down the road of trying to deal with the Palestinians by treating them as sub-humans. That road leads to a dead end.

 Lang spent some time as an observer of the Israeli Defense Forces. He comes by his opinions of Israeli society at least partly by observation. Netanyahu's treatment of Vice President Biden two weeks ago should convince just about anyone that at least when it comes to Netanyahu and his immediate circles, their attitude toward the rest of the world sucks.

 Something James Ala wrote last week seems prophetic in this context:
 It is clear by recent events that Israel is totally contemptuous of the U.S. executive. The last U.S. President that Israel paid any heed to was the big dog, Hillary’s husband.
 Big bad Bill got respect because he placed his foot up Bibi’s backside the last time the Likud leader got a bit too big for his britches. The WH at the time basically engineered the electoral defeat of Bibi back in the glory days of the 1990’s. Bill’s brass-knuckled brush back of the Israeli leader set the course for the near miss of Clinton’s Oslo efforts.

 Bibi will eventually learn his lesson. Americans have a lesson to learn, too. As Pat Lang also noted indirectly, this should remove any doubt people might have had that Obama is either weak or incompetent at politics. This was a move you'd expect of a competent leader of a world power when dealing with a lesser power that has become a troublesome ally.

 It should make clear that something I wrote some time ago is really true, Obama isn't going to do anything he either doesn't want to do or doesn't have to. Assuming that he's tentative or timid is a mistake, and it's one that quite a few people have made, particularly among progressives. In short, he isn't failing to do the right thing on health care or regulating finance because he's afraid to; he's refusing to do it because he doesn't want to, and no one has figured out how to make it worth his while.

 Perhaps if I keep writing this, with sufficient examples, people will pick up on this. I'm not holding my breath, though. As Bibi is proving by surviving repeated humiliations at the hands of American presidents, stupid dies hard. 

End of Post; begin response


This was a long overdue course correction by the Obama Administration. Let's drill down to where I believe BHO initially screwed up. That, of course was "natural growth." I can hear the groans from your Seattle stomping grounds all the way down here in the Bay Area of California: "not that again." I know that from time to time I latch on to the oddest things and just bang on, and on, and on, and on about them; blame it on the ADHD.

But for me certain events absolutely crystallize a central point about policy; they bring everything else into sharp focus. Thus my redundant, recurrent, repetition of the TSA watch list of over one hundred thousand folks. These things seem minor but they are incredibly illustrative of a much larger failure in governance. They are the canary in the coal mine.

When BHO expressed his support for natural growth he was for all intents and purposes indicating that he was a clueless sap to the Israelis. I am being harsh? Most likely; but as an observer of U.S. relations with Israel and observer of the slow corrupting effect of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands on the Jewish state I know bad policy when I see it.

Natural growth was tried before, and it was exactly when Bibi was last tearing around the landscape, causing mayhem and destruction. The results were, to say the least, non-salutatory. Thousands of new settlers where plopped down into immoral and illegal settlements, further fraying the trust that a two state solution requires.

But never underestimate the staying power of a terrible idea in the fever swamps of the Potomac. The chattering class of D.C. just loves ideas like "natural growth" because they are such great compromises for the elites of the Beltway. Natural growth is a solution that panders to all the inside baseball players that dwell in Ivory Tower think tanks and policy salons that pass for centrist thinking these days. The conventional wisdom loved natural growth, which is why Obama supported it. Obama is the most conventional of conventional wisdom thinkers. The man is incapable of a single original thought. He follows, in a lock step fashion, the nostrums muscular diplomacy, that is American Hegemony, which has been the hallmark of U.S. policy since the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Thus BHO gained praise from all the usual suspects whilst Bibi and friends could not believe their good fortune. They had a babe in the woods, a feckless fool, occupying the White House. And because Obama acted like a dim-witted neophyte he was treated like a dim-witted neophyte. Bibi flattened him, in the form of Joe Biden, like a semi flattens a unwary armadillo on a hot stretch of Texas highway. Bibi went out of his way in the insult; he basically backed his truck over the prostate form of Biden whilst giggling like a maniac.

Bibi is good for these kinds of things. He lost the top spot the last time because he pissed off the Big Dog and he found out exactly what kind of bite the Arkansas mongrel packed. Clinton basically ran him out of office. Thus, in one respect, you are not correct Cujo359, Bibi has zero learning curve. His learning curve is flatter than a Kansas landscape. Thus one more time a U.S. President has kicked him to the curb because Bibi didn't know when to stop.

Bibi did bring this on himself. By paying far too much attention to his fragile domestic situation he was distracted and ran into a political buzz-saw in D.C. Granted the scheduling of the Insurance Reform bill accidentally made sure it was Obama himself than put the hurting on Bibi; but the smack down was inevitable. The shabby treatment of the V.P., an insider's insider, guaranteed a harsh response. Bibi's chutzpah during Biden's grip-and-grin was jaw-droopingly stupid. The V.P. was one of the staunchest supporters in the Senate during his stay there. He was also the sin qua non of the Centrist Political Policy elite that run our foreign policy. This is man you do not cross without the aid of a large team of porters and some purpose-built equipment.

Bibi's daily double insult of the V.P. and the President had to be responded to. So in Cujo359 speak Obama now has a reason to respond. His dander is up; he has to defend the prerogatives of the office. Please note that BHO has been very forceful in defending the prerogatives of the office; it explains why he has supported all of W's Unconstitutional power grabs. Look for Bibi's political life to become rather short and painful. The long knives are out for Bibi; one hopes he has a dog because he has no other friends after the insult to V.P. Biden.