So now what?

There it is: four more years of Barack Obama. What does it mean for Israel?

The bilateral talks with Iran run by Valerie Jarrett will continue. One can hope for the best, but it is very unlikely that an agreement will be reached that will include the effective dismantling of Iran’s bomb-building capability. It’s not at all comforting to think that Israel’s security will be in the hands of Jarrett, Obama’s Chicago fixer. One can speculate what Romney might have done differently, but that is not an option now.

It’s certain that the Iranian regime will not abandon the goal which will bring it geopolitical primacy in the region and for which it has striven (and its people have suffered) mightily, except if it is forced to do so by a credible threat of force. Will Obama make such a threat? What if the Iranians call his bluff? Will he be prepared to take action that would triple the price of oil, and destroy any chance of success for his domestic agenda? Will he be prepared to risk American lives in what would be called a “war for Israel?”

He will make a deal, a deal that will be satisfactory for the US and for Iran. For the US, it will have to appear as though the Iranian program has been derailed, or at least put on hold for the foreseeable future (a few years, in today’s world). For Iran, it will have to allow the regime to continue to put the pieces together to allow a rapid breakout as a nuclear power. It will naturally include a relaxation of economic pressure on Iran — the only thing more important for the regime than getting nuclear weapons is staying in power.

As far as Israel is concerned, nothing is as important as the Iranian question. It’s unlikely that a US-Iran deal will satisfy Israel, because Israel is not at the table. The question originally posed by Ehud Barak will remain: when will Iran enter the “zone of immunity,” when will it reach the point that no practical Israeli action can prevent the Iranians from obtaining nuclear weapons? The deal may change the point at which this occurs, but it will not change the logic of the situation.

The deal will bring prestige to the Iranian regime — it will be played as though Iran forced the Great Satan to blink — and will improve their economy, thus making regime change less likely. Obama may have succeeded in holding off an Israeli strike against Iran so far, but it is still almost certain to occur.

I doubt that Obama will do much about the Palestinian issue  the short term. He must understand by now that there is simply no overlap between Israeli and Palestinian positions of such things as refugees, Jerusalem and the continued existence of a Jewish state. On the other hand, there is a danger that unfettered by electoral considerations, he and his advisers will give free rein to their undisguised pro-Palestinian ideology, and  move even further in their direction. I think it’s harder to predict what the administration will do in this area, because it is almost entirely determined by ideology, and not perceived interests. The administration does not appear to see the fate of Israel as especially relevant to practical US interests.

I do expect continued pressure for ‘regime change’ in Israel. Obama apparently feels that PM Netanyahu is an obstacle, and will do his best to help the opposition. His poorly-hidden dislike and disrespect for Israel’s Prime Minister is remarkable, especially compared with his attitude toward other foreign leaders, especially Islamists like Turkey’s Erdogan and Egypt’s Morsi — not to mention his remarkable obeisance to the king of Saudi Arabia, one of the countries whose political ideology and human-rights behavior is about as far from American ideals as can be imagined.

In these areas, I think a Romney victory would have made a significant difference. Romney clearly understands the Palestinian lack of interest in coexistence — he explained it eloquently at one point — and apparently has a warm relationship with PM Netanyahu. He does not appear to share the academic leftist view that characterizes the Obama Administration, one in which Israel plays the role of a colonial power, and the main cause of conflict is Palestinian ‘rights’ rather than Arab rejectionism. But again, this is not an option now.

No, now the option for Israel is to expect very little from the administration, to prepare for the day that there is no alternative but to strike Iran, to assert its rights in the territories (in part by adopting the Levy report) and Jerusalem, to continue to insist on recognition of Israel as a Jewish state and an end to the fantastical demand for ‘right of return’ as conditions for any agreement with the Palestinians. Now is not the time for Israel to demonstrate flexibility in return for good will, because it will not get good will from this administration.

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One Response to “So now what?”

  1. Robman says:

    Israel must strike Iran’s nuke sites as soon as possible. There is no way Israel can wait four years, there is no way Obama is going to do this, and the longer Israel waits, the harder it will be to do.

    It is likely that the U.S. will tip off Iran to an impending Israeli strike. Therefore, weapons of such power must be used that even if given some warning, Iran cannot prevent the destruction of her sites.

    If this is not feasible, then we have to resign ourselves to a nuclear Iran, and the last reed of hope for preventing a regional nuclear war will be for the regime in Iran to be overthrown from within before they deploy a usable force of warheads.

    Meanwhile, if Israel does allow the “zone of immunity” to progress to the point where she can no longer unilaterally strike, but the U.S. still can, then there will be unbridled pressure from the U.S. to submit to a Saudi-style “surrender’ agreement with the PA.

    The best course for Israel is to destory Iran’s nuke sites if at all possible, as soon as possible, so as to deny the U.S. this leverage. In any ensuing war, Israel should also destroy the PA/PLO, in conjunction with asserting her rights per the Levy Report. You can’t sign a “surrender” agreement with a political entity that no longer exists.

    Concurrent with these actions, Israel and her supporters must make the case as strenuously as possible that Jordan is the real homeland for the Palestinian Arabs.

    Naturally, following the above-outlined policies will likely lead to very harsh reactions from the U.S. The U.S. will support the PA full bore in the UN, and cut off all aid and other forms of support, to include a full arms and trade embargo.

    For this reason, for all practical purposes, it must be assumed by the Israeli leadership going forward that the so-called “special relationship” between Israel and the U.S., for whatever that has been worth for the past four years, has now ended completely Israel must cultivate diplomatic, military, and trade relationships with other powers in order to compensate for this. China, perhaps using an already very active relationship with South Korea as a “bridge”, might be one avenue to pursue. China would likely reward Israel very mightily – such as with critical support in the UN to make good the loss of the U.S. as an ally – for access to Israeli military technology. Some years ago, Israel nearly sold China the Phalcon AWACS system, but was strong-armed by Bush into reneging on the contract. Then, Israel had something to lose. Now, Israel has nothing to lose.

    Some say that popular support of Israel by the U.S. body politic, and the support of the U.S. Congress, can restrain Obama and allow a U.S.-Israeli alliance to be maintained. That was true when Obama needed to run for re-election. It is no longer true. Obama – at many levels, but chiefly with respect to Israel – will soon reveal that due to the absense of re-election pressures, he does not give a fiddler’s fart about Congress or public opinion.

    Not only is the U.S-Israeli special relationship over, but I’d even go so far as to say the U.S. is over. Vic, I’d recommend you sell your house in CA and stay in Israel. Seriously. We’re done over here. Our country just died last night. We are now the ‘United States of Venezuela’ or the ‘Saudi States of America’.

    People can Monday morning quarterback about Romney and his campaign all they like, but to nit-pick in this fashion is to miss the larger point. By any reasonable, objective standard, Obama is the most failed president of modern times, and Romney, whatever his faults may be, was far more qualified for the job than Obama.

    The real problem is not Obama so much – he’s just a symptom, a puppet, a front-man – but rather the infrastructure that got him into power. Our media is hopelessly corrupt. Our educational system is rotten to the core. Actually, considering that Romney was not only running against Obama, but also the media, he put up a pretty good fight.

    It will take 20 years, minimum, for us to recover from what is going to happen in the next four, if we ever do. Apparently, things are going to have to get so bad that even our hopelessly insular and ignorant public cannot be fooled by our b.s. media into thinking things are OK with this parasitic “establishment” when they are not, as ultimately happened in the USSR. But look at what the former USSR has today. Is it democracy? Only a fool would think that.

    Democracy as our founding fathers constructed it, as they meant it to function, has died. As a coherent national power, we have been effectively neutralized on the world stage. The forces that installed Obama have done this to us as deliberately and as surely as the Germans knowlngly undermined Czarist Russia by inserting Lenin so as to get Russia out of WW1 and free up German resources for their Western front. This was done to us in order to get the U.S. out of the Middle East and to isolate Israel. That was their primary and immediate purpose. From there, Obama is going to burden us with so much debt and internal transfer payment obligations, that we can never regain our status as a serious power.

    I’m sure they’re celebrating like mad in Beijing. China is now the leading power in the world. I’d rate Russia #2; with all their problems, at least their leader is tough, serious, and pursues Russian interests without compromise wherever he can. We’re #3 at best if even that; what are we if we don’t have coherent leadership? What are we if our “leader” is a traitor who is willfully undermining our role in the world?

    Israel would do well to extricate herself from the U.S. as much as she can, as soon as she can. To remian tied to us is suicide.