Barry Rubin’s views on what President Obama will (and will not) bring to the table during his visit to Israel are likely correct. So are his perceptions of what the future holds. Here are a few excerpts. Please do read the entire article; it is excellent, as Mr. Rubin’s articles usually are.

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.

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.

. . . .

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.

The Region: What Obama faces in I… JPost – Opinion – Columnists.

02/17/2013 21:51
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

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.

So what does Israel want to tell Obama and what is he likely to offer or do? While it’s a bit early to discuss this, it is perhaps useful to prepare for various eventualities.


Presumably, Israel’s leadership will express a consensus view that its main concern is not who governs Syria but how they behave. There’s no sympathy in Israel for the Bashar Assad dictatorship, which has long sponsored terrorism against Israel. In addition, it is widely recognized that…

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About danmillerinpanama

I was graduated from Yale University in 1963 with a B.A. in economics and from the University of Virginia School of law, where I was the notes editor of the Virginia Law Review in 1966. Following four years of active duty with the Army JAG Corps, with two tours in Korea, I entered private practice in Washington, D.C. specializing in communications law. I retired in 1996 to sail with my wife, Jeanie, on our sailboat Namaste to and in the Caribbean. In 2002, we settled in the Republic of Panama and live in a very rural area up in the mountains. I have contributed to Pajamas Media and Pajamas Tatler. In addition to my own blog, Dan Miller in Panama, I an an editor of Warsclerotic and contribute to China Daily Mail when I have something to write about North Korea.
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4 Responses to

  1. Ruvy Kossover says:

    Dan, seeing as I live in Israel – as does Barry Rubin – I’ll bottom line all this for you. Netanyahu is and always has been an American sellout. Any “dispute” between him and Obama (another dancing boy) is pure publicity and BS. We face a war here, and war will come. WWIII already began with what you all call “the Arab Spring”. It will spread – and not necessarily here first, either. But expect the Chinese and Russians to try to bring down the American dollar first. Expect them to succeed.

    Obama is not that important in our history YET (he will be), and in the missile bombardment this country faces, it is likely that Netanyahu, his cabinet, and a good part of the Knesset and high court of injustice here will die, no matter what shelter they run to. That is what you should expect in the near future. The catch here is the meaning of the word “near”.


    • Thanks for your comment, Ruvy.

      I find Israeli politics, and those who engage in it, even less understandable than U.S. politics — which I find worse than puzzling — so please take the following as the comment of a blind man in a dark closet reflecting on the characteristics of a cat which may or may not be there. The cat may be out in the field killing mice or sleeping on the sofa elsewhere.

      It strikes me that Israel has been put in the position of subservience to the U.S. Israel seems to have been a willing contributor to, if not proponent of, that process. Now that PM Netanyahu has a slimmer majority in the Knesset than before and has to scramble for coalition partners who demand quite different things, I don’t know what he can do. If he tells the re-elected President Obama to perform an impossible act of self impregnation he will likely diminish his chances of remaining the PM. If he tries to charm Obama by seeming to agree with him but not acting consistently with that appearance, he might well have the same problem. What if he politely declines to obey Obama’s directives? Would that help? With those who care more about mandatory military service than settlements?

      Just reading what I do of the Israeli press, it strikes me that focus on Israel’s existential problem(s) is being diverted by attention to matter less crucial to her continued existence as a free, democratic Jewish state.

      What should the PM do?

      PS Did you read my bit of snark attempted satire about President Obama’s new Muslim Brotherhood bodyguards and his planned March trip to Israel? I find writing that sort of stuff the only potentially viable antidote for complete insanity, and it ain’t working very well.


  2. Asylum Watch says:

    My guess is that Obama wants Israel to do the dirty work, re: Iran, so whatever goes wrong can be blamed on them.

  3. Guillaume says:

    President O-bam-a will do what all his predecessors have done, kiss the PM`s ar-se, and apoligise for any wrongdoings he has done or said.

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