By BARRY RUBIN
So what does Israel want to tell Obama and what is he likely to offer or do on his upcoming visit?
US President Obama, PM Netanyahu at White House Photo: REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa
We are told that President Barack Obama’s visit to Israel in late March will focus on Syria and Iran.
The US government will talk about the prospects for democracy in Syria, how the Muslim Brotherhood there is going to be moderate and pragmatic, and how the aim of US policy is to use the Brotherhood to restrain the Salafists.Like the government in Egypt, which continues to become an increasingly repressive and potentially dangerous regime controlled by the Muslim Brotherhood? The interests of Israel and the United States
may not clash, but since the Obama administration isn’t pursuing real American interests, that doesn’t help matters. The United States will help install in Syria a regime that is likely to be hard-line anti-Israel (as opposed to soft-line anti-Israel) that might well form an alliance with Egypt and Hamas, try to destabilize Jordan, and give help and weapons to anti-Israel terrorists.
Iran Presumably, the US delegation and Obama will emphasize their optimism about negotiations with Teheran and express wishful thinking that the June election will result in a more moderate government after President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad leaves office. In other words, they will preach hope and patience.
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Obama will continue to deny that his strategy is one of containment. That will go on until Iran gets nuclear weapons and Obama switches to an open containment strategy. It might be too early to discuss – and Israel might not want to do so lest it reduce potential US support for an attack – but it is important to understand that there’s “good containment” and “bad containment.” On that point I need say only two words: Chuck Hagel. He will likely be US secretary of defense. Want four more words? John Kerry, John Brennan. They will be secretary of state and CIA chief. The problem of terrible ideas meeting terrible incompetence.Surely, the Israeli government recognizes (a) that the Obama Administration has plenty of support in the U.S. while perhaps unintentionally setting up hostile Islamist nations to attack her, (b) that President Obama's lack of interest in foreign policy parallels his lack of regional knowledge and (c) that ideology coupled with ignorance rather than reality guide what he does both domestically and internationally. Messrs Hagel, Kerry and Brennan will almost certainly tell him what he wants to hear by parroting his views rather than challenging them.