The Elder of Ziyon reports:
Michael J. Totten has a must read interview with Jonathan Spyer, an Israeli who has sneaked into Syria twice and who gives a fantastic, must-read analysis of what is happening on the ground there.
It has more wisdom and real reporting in one article than you will find in the New York Times in weeks.
But at the end of the interview, Totten asks Spyer about US policies in the region, and his answers go to the crux of the problem of President Obama’s Middle East policy – and, I would claim, his foreign policy altogether.
In general, I agree with the Elder, which is why I am posting about it here. (You can see the full Totten piece here, and the Elder’s extract plus comments here.)
Totten’s interview with Israeli Jonathan Spyer has this important quote from the Israeli:
So I think very few Israelis have confidence that he will act effectively to prevent a nuclear Iran. No coherent red lines, including an outlining of the consequences of crossing them, means the Iranians will keep on moving ahead.
Obama wants out of the Middle East, as he himself has made clear. He’ll do counter-terrorism from the air against small, extreme jihadi groups. In Libya, I think it was the Europeans and specifically the French who got that rolling, with the US following on, though of course inevitably doing most of the heavy lifting in the end.
And frankly I think many Israelis also have the feeling, which we haven’t had for quite a few years, that the man in the White House right now isn’t a deep friend of our country, that he doesn’t understand or isn’t really interested in the story of Israel and the Jewish People, and consequently lacks a grasp of the deeper moorings which I think should underlie, and have in recent years underlain, the alliance between the US and Israel.
The Elder’s conclusion is:
Spyer has perfectly encapsulated the flaws behind the president’s foreign policy, and he briefly describes how it will affect the Middle East. But the same short-sightedness is leaving our allies in Europe also without a reliable ally, as Obama is not interested in asserting American power – something that must be done, no matter how distasteful it is.
Because the alternative is a world without a leader, and nothing good will enter that vacuum. It will take literally decades to undo the damage already done to the American reputation in less than four years, and this is more important than the economy or any other domestic issue.
My query is: why? Why is Obama’s foreign policy so bad? And when I say bad, with the best will in the world I am trying to exclude Israeli interests. In other words, I believe Obama’s policy is bad for America, never mind Israel. So why is he following that policy? Is it his take on the world? Is it his advisers’ policy? Or is it a combination? What is the source? Who is
to blame responsible?
The related point is this: I know the policy is a bad one, you know the policy is a bad one, and the generally accepted view among the overwhelming majority of commentators is that it is a bad policy. So, are the majority wrong? Are we guilty of herd behavior? Is there a defense for the policy? Because if the policy is wrong, surely an intelligent man like Obama must know? Or is he so wrapped up in White House praise, that he cannot see reality? The worry, were I an American voter, would be that such apparent blindness is unlikely to be restricted to one policy. To put it another way, just how out of touch is this man with his electorate? Or will these chunky matters prove to be of little value as he rides back into town for a second term?
Unfortunately, Israel is on the front line so far as Obama’s foreign policy is concerned. And that is one reason why, if Obama loses the presidential election, few Israelis will be sorry. If he wins, few Israelis will be happy. Interesting times ahead.