The Obama Sopranos

Sometimes something obvious to everyone else comes as a shock to me. I’ve been writing all week (here, here, here and here) about  the sheer lack of logic in the Obama Administration’s linkage theory, the idea that forcing a Palestinian state into existence will give the US and Israel leverage in dealing with the Iranian threat, nuclear and otherwise.

I called it a blinding non-sequitur, a backwards strategy, and argued that it should be obvious to everyone that Iranian mischief, by way of Hamas and Hezbollah, supports and nurtures the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and that there will be no solution for Israel and the Palestinians until Iran and its proxies are dealt with — the opposite of what the administration is insisting. The road to Tehran does not lead through Jerusalem, I said, it goes in the other direction.

I tried very hard to find the logic, to understand the reasoning.

Stupid me. It is not a theory — an attempt to explain a phenomenon,  or a strategy — an attempt to approach a final goal by way of an intermediate one. There is no ‘reasoning’ involved. To use the language of philosophical logic, it’s not an argument, it’s a “performative utterance” .

In other words, it’s a threat.

Here is what Hillary Clinton, Rahm Emanuel, Joe Biden, James Jones, and who knows who else is saying:

Look, Israel, we know you’re worried about  Iran and the tens of thousands of missiles in Lebanon and Syria that they control, and we know that you’re worried about the atomic weapons that they will have in a year or two. We know that Ahmadinejad has threatened to whack you in the crudest antisemitic terms.

But see, those missiles are a lot closer to you than they are to us. And there are certain things that we want, like a Palestinian state tomorrow and an end to your own nuclear capability. So if you want our help, just roll over and give it up.

You wouldn’t want have an accident with those missiles.

Oh, and don’t go trying to take on Iran yourself. You want protection in this neighborhood, you buy it from us.

Even Tony Soprano couldn’t have put it more clearly.

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4 Responses to “The Obama Sopranos”

  1. ME says:


    Finally, you said something that is correct. And, like most of the other meaningful things that you write with respect to Israel’s strife in trying to convince the world and its strongest ally of the predicament posed by Islamic terrorists near its borders, some of your message gets lost in attempted fanfare.

    So, the correct point is that “Even Tony Soprano could not have put it more clearly.” The reason that is correct, is because Tony Soprano was a character on a television show and not the leader of Country. Additionally, since you took the extensive effort to paraphrase an entire presupposition about actions the US administration is apparently taking, rather than supplanting supporting evidence, with some standing power (reminder: Not yet the first 200 days of the Obama administration, and Israel just finished whomping the Gaza strip less than 200 days ago as well), nothing is clear from your paraphrasing.

    So, if you aspire to be like Tony Soprano, you have done a bang -up and near perfect job of colluding any potentially clear issues for actual resolution by the absence of support in your commentaries, over the past month or so, which appear to increasingly, appeal to emo.


  2. Shalom Freedman says:

    I agree that the American strategy is an idiotic upside-down one. But I also believe it is based on another kind of basic misperception, a very grievous Intelligence failing. They simply willfully and wantonly misread Iran. They fail to understand that Iran is not seeking to be their partner or friend or cooperative ally but rather to undermine the very basis of their civilization. To so willfully ignore all the evidence here, evidence present not only in the statements of Iranian leaders but in their whole pattern of action over the past thirty years is willful blindness. One can say that Zbiggy’ various associates in the Administration are as dumb now as he was then during the U.S. Embassy attack thirty years ago.
    What one hopes is that the negotiation with Iran will not be an ongoing game in which Iran twists the U.S. around its little finger but one which comes to a decisive non- agreement. Then we will see if President Obama has the kind of will and determination the Bush Administration did not have.

  3. DALevit says:

    I enjoy your posts, Vic, very much. I wonder about some (read: one) of your readers who look past the issues, preferring to challenge you at every opportunity. The hardest part for me is to let it go. But I’m not here to challenge someone I tend to agree with, nor, in fact, do battle with someone I’m having trouble agreeing with. The facts that anyone can easily read support just about everything you write — like this current article.

    What I am hoping, and it’s only my opinion, is that Obama’s track record so far, though short, and not very sweet, holds true, and he says a lot of things he is not able or willing to back up. Just yesterday I was reading about the large arms shipment from the USA to Israel at the onset of the Gaza operation, and I’m thinking that we are following a loose policy of “say one thing – then do another” and Israel has less to worry about from the US than they are supposed to have. If you consider the Arabs, and yes, I include the Iranians in that distinction for the sake of word space, and the way their minds appear to function, you lie to them, as they lie to us, and move ahead as you prefer. It’s foolish to try to deal honorably with a people whose basic philosophy includes lying, cheating, stealing from and generally f***ing with anyone who doesn’t wear a rag on their head – and again, I mean all the Arabs.

    Nothing the US has done, no carrot held out to any Arab country, no offers of friendship or fealty, has garnered the United States a scrap of change nor promises (that mean anything) in return, ala “reaching out to the Iranians.” Only Israel sits in the region, a true and staunch ally of America, outfitted with nukes and attitude, bravado and chutzpah, and, I believe – with God firmly on their side. When you think about it, the US can not afford to piss off Israel past a point we are quickly approaching. To underestimate AIPAC’s influence on American politics is just plain stupid, and I think, behind the mask, Obama is aware of this, as is, I’m certain, Mrs. Clinton. But, making it appear that the US is turning against Israel for the sake of the stone-age-mentality Arabs, can only keep them guessing, which is perhaps the best method we have of dealing with them. Judging from our lack of easy success in Iraq and Afghanistan, it may be the only method that works at all. I wish I believed that all was truly well between Obama’s America and Israel so I could sleep better at night and stop just dreaming about the building of the Third Temple. But starting with dippy Jimmy Carter, our stance has officially been riding the edge of enmity with Israel all along – and yet – we have never dropped over that edge to the wrong side yet. Lose Israel, we (meaning the Western World) lose the region entirely to lunatic fanatical Islamists.

    We must know that we will not win anything in Afghanistan and Iraq will become anything from another Lebanon to a State of the Republic of Iran. How can we turn against the only friends we have over there? And, no, I do not consider the Saudi’s to be friends, Bush’s hand-holding and Kissee-face with the Sheik, aside, the Saudi’s are the major supporters of terrorism for its own sake in the region, collaborating and colluding with the enemy all the way. In a way, the US needs Israel more than Yretz Israel needs the US. Surely the world, including the Arab countries, knows that. If Israel would stop sending money to support Hamas, and other sundry governments, real and imagined, and keep it for the safety and protection of its own citizens, they could start tapering off on accepting financial aid from the USA, and start feeling their oats again. I hope they can. I want very much to live there one day, and I would prefer it not be to the constant din of explosives and homegrown terrorists.

    Obama is pretty much just towing the line George Bush drew in the sand, and one thing that was never really in doubt was that George, bless him, understood the power of, and, yes, the romance of Israel and it’s place in the veritable power structure of the world. I feel safer that Israel has nuclear weapons – doesn’t everybody? Are we going to screw with them when we run away from North Korea with our ****’s in our hand? I doubt it.
    God Bless Israel! God Bless America!

  4. Shalom Freedman says:

    Barry Rubin says today (May 11) on his website something in the direction of what Mr. Levit has posted here. i.e. A lot of the U.S. action toward Israel is posturing so as to gain points in other places. Rubin is not worried about the basic relation between Israel and the U.S. which he believes is firm. He is concerned however about many aspects of U.S. policy in the Middle East especially in regard to Iran and Lebanon.