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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Are Obama and Netanyahu "Frenemys?"

As Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu gets closer to next week's trip to Washington DC and his meetings with the Obama administration, alarms are being sounded all across the mainstream and blog media. Frightful headlines are asking; Will Obama Force Netanyahu into dangerous concessions by threatening to cut off aid---or worse? Will Bibi force Obama's hand on Iran? The answer to each of those questions is NO. Although you will still see disagreement between the two governments, even minor ones portrayed as a major breach.

The posturing going on between the two is necessary for political reasons which have nothing to do with the upcoming meeting. It’s almost as if they are "frenemies" a person who is your friend but seems like your enemy.

Barack Obama needs to appear to push Bibi to satisfy his liberal base, by making a clean break with the Bush administration. Bibi needs to appear obstinate to satisfy the "right wing" leaning parts of his coalition. Barack Obama and Bibi Netanyhu's position on the Palestinian Issues and on Iran are closer than you think.

Both Barack Obama and Bibi Netanyahu believe in a two-state solution, Obama has said it publicly, Bibi has danced around using the words but everything he has said, including that he will honor previous agreements, displays that he believes it.

On the other hand, both leaders realize that they shouldn't "hold their breath" waiting for an Israel/Palestinian peace. Obama needs to look the part of a Middle East peacemaker, but doesn't really think it’s possible. That was proven when he named former Senator George Mitchell as his special envoy to the region. Mitchell failed once before in the region, and despite the glory, was not the major player in the Northern Ireland peace process. If Obama was really serious he would have appointed someone like Richard Holbrooke, who was appointed as a special envoy to Iraq and Afghanistan the same day Mitchell was appointed. Holbrooke has a reputation as a forceful mediator who will "knock heads" to get his way.

Granted Obama's outreach to Iran is naive and will not help either the United States or Israel live in peace, but keep this in mind; neither Netanyahu nor Obama will accept a nuclear Iran. Obama will not spend much time with his outreach to Iran if there is no reciprocation. Just look at how fast the US renewed sanctions on Syria when despite the President's attempt at engagement, terror sponsorship continued.

As far as Israel attacking Iranian nuclear facilities, no matter what any leader in the world says if Biniyamin Netanuahu believes that Israel is in imminent danger he will attack. Obama realizes this and knows that he cannot stop it. Biden and Gates have both said that an Israeli attack would not be appropriate; this is a public/ political stance. So far there has been no threat or strong-arming of Israel about an attack. In fact the only demand that Obama has made is he wants to know about an attack beforehand.

So what will really happen next week? Look for more reports of a schism but understand that it is all political fodder. Look for minor concessions by Bibi on the Palestinian issue and by the US on Iran. This is not to say that these "frenemies" will not eventually become real enemies, but not now. For now, they need each other and this is just a political dance.

1 comment:

Carol_Herman said...


You ask about "Frenemies?" But these men are politicians. They must get elected in the political arena.

This gives them SPHERES OF INTEREST. Just as the "new cold war" has also produced "spheres of interest."

And, building on America's biggest mistake; Maliki went to Iran, to fight both the Americans and the sunnis. And, HE WON IT!

So, there's something new worth debating. Do you need America throwing her weight around, when she can do so much damage even to her own interests? Dubya was a brainless twit. And, the GOP is now hanging on the ropes.

I'd say the same about Livni. But what can you do? In Israel they keep pointed to her one seat margin; and then? Believe it or not, Bibi was asked to form the government. HELLO.

What's ahead, I do not know. But if you think Israelis are freaking out, you have no idea what's happening in Riyadh. Where their fortunes got sunk on 9/11. And, it's aftermath. In all its plundered glory. So they paid Bush and Cheney off? And, they've robbed Americans at the gas pumps? What has "caring" have to do with this?

Netanyahu holds popularity cards. Not just Israeli ones. But those belonging to Obama, too. Since he'd have to be pretty stupid not to recognize what happened to every single American president after Truman. (Need help? One stinker after another got exposed.)

But the exposures seemed to be based on different criteria.

And, you have to ask yourselves, why would Obama want to wear Jimmy Carter's mantle? He wasn't good for the democratic party, ya know.

And, Obama can lose, ahead, just as easily as Dubya did. Tossing away his legacy.

Or? Obama can approach all the disasters, and notice that "time has healed some wounds." In other words? With the new "spheres of influence popping up; you not only discount china and russia. You notice that India is emerging as a player, too. And, she went to Israel for help! (It's a local neighborhood.) And, the saud's are afraid they can, ahead, lose it all.

Maybe? That's Obama's joker.

I'm not in charge. I'm not responsible. But I do vote. And, you'd be surprised how the ballot boxes (here and there) work to clear out elected garbage. When people see the politicians naked. And, grubby.

"Frenemies" isn't the right word. Politicians seeking a way out of Dubya's really screwed up mess? Yup.

Okay. Point out that Obama picked up Dubya's cards in the "we're still at war in the Mideast," department. And, guess what? Petraeus has been sidelined. And, a new guy (whose experience is counter-terrorism; and special forces) has just moved up a notch.

You think Ehud Barak is blind?

Here, I'd beg to differ.

As to the "news?" So much garbage. Some idiots with pens thought they'd make Livni a player.

Wanna bet that Kadima fails before Bibi loses mileage?