Sunday, January 04, 2009

Barack and the Middle East: Will We See a Change?

Some would suggest that the US has always been Israeli-biased. This article criticizes Barack Obama for remaining silent regarding Israel's recent bombardment of Gaza that started December 27th. But should we be surprised that the not-even-yet President hasn't been very vocal about his condemnations of Israel? Is it weird to see him hanging out with Ehud?

Ali Abunimah of the Electronic Infitada states: "It ought not to be difficult to condemn Israel's murder of civilians and bombing of civilian infrastructure including hundreds of private homes, universities, schools, mosques, civil police stations and ministries, and the building housing the only freely-elected Arab parliament."

Sure. Easy for you to say. You're right though. Someone should say something. Preferably someone who has a plan to do something about it. But you try walking into a gang fight and say "Hey, this just doesn't feel right" and see how easily you walk out. Now try to imagine you're soon to be President of the US and you do that. See what I mean? It takes a very careful Politician not to derail the trajectory of their campaign before they even take parliament. As Barack's spokesperson said: "There is only one president at a time." And anyways, when President's have condemned leaders like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (for his Anti-Semetic remarks) in the past, what has that done? Could you really call that a "change"? Last time I checked, Iran still isn't a pro-Israeli nation.

It just doesn't seem to be the best idea for Barack to sever ties with Israel before he even takes office. Or worse, get too entangled internally. Why should he further alienate America from itself or others? The US supplies Israel with it's weapons. What does it think they are going to do with them?? Perhaps this is more of a weapons proliferation issue in general that US foreign policy should examine more in-depth? Barack will get his chance to initiate that starting January 20th, 2009.

Hopefully, we'll see some major changes when Barack Obama actually takes the stage but until then, I don't think we can blame him for being so tight-lipped. I would hope what Obama has to say to all those Palestinian refugees screaming "Let my people go!" would be a responsive "Yes we can!" I would hope Obama would think of his daughters in the place of all the innocent Israeli OR Palestinian children being rocketed to death, even if he doesn't say so. The fact that he's keeping good diplomatic ties with Israel doesn't seem a bad political move* but maybe it is just too early to see him playing hop-scotch with Palestinian orphans. Or, (and here's a novel thought) he might have other priorities.

As this month's Times Person of the Year interview suggests, Obama has a long laundry list of to do's. Although, the top three main things that keep Obama awake at night are:
1/Nuclear Proliferation
2/The Economy
3/The Environment
(not necessarily in that order)

Should the list be amended? Do you think the Middle-Eastern struggle, which has been going on for as long as I can remember, should be this President's particular responsibility to solve?

*What if toppling the Hamas government is the only way to end rocket fire between the two nations? And at what cost?



Blogger iamnasra said...

Im not that sort of to talk about politics nor claim to understand it ..It is so painful to see many children dying and the world is not moving ...

11:57 p.m.  
Blogger sirbarrett said...

I recognize that this issue is probably much more complex than I can understand. Also, I am greatful to live in a peaceful country where I'm not proxy to rocket fire or ground troops. However, I think it's still important to talk about these things and hear others reactions. The Oslo peace negotiations have failed and now other diplomatic efforts towards a cease-fire seem to be nothing but words. Still, words seem better than silence since they are a gesture towards understanding. There can be no peace as long as there is misunderstanding.

11:15 a.m.  
Blogger Devil Mood said...

It just doesn't seem to be the best idea for Barack to sever ties with Israel before he even takes office.
But will he ever? I don't know.

Yes, I can see he's got plenty of problems to choose from. But I wonder if some President ever took this conflict into his priority for just a month wouldn't it be better than it is now?

7:14 p.m.  
Blogger Phronk said...

With such a complex issue, with good arguments supporting both sides, and the United States not directly involved in the conflict, why should they be involved at all? Maybe remaining silent is the best move.

5:03 p.m.  
Blogger sirbarrett said...

Devil Mood -I don't think he will damage ties with Israel at all. What I hope is that he doesn't favour them to the point of ignoring everything they do in Palestine.

Phronk -I definitely agree that the smartest thing Barack has done so far has been to keep his mouth shut on this issue. The question I'm still undecided about is what role the US has to play in the Middle East in the future. I wonder what business it has meddling in the wars between two democratically elected governments and their people, but then that's been their (self-appointed?) role in the past. If anything, I think it should be an EU effort, not solely a US one, to bring about peace and stability to the Middle East, but I'm cynical about the results...It seems like when two brothers start fighting and they want to keep fighting, you can break up the fight but you can't get rid of the grudge. Soon enough, they will be fighting again.

11:54 a.m.  
Blogger C.J.Duffy said...

I think it should be and I hope he does but, gonna sound cynical here, I will believe it when I see it.

11:12 a.m.  
Blogger sirbarrett said...

Apparently the other problem (or at least many see it as a problem) is of Iran having the power to build nuclear weapons in the next few months...This might cause some otherwise unlikely alliances in the Middle East.

2:38 p.m.  
Blogger sirbarrett said...

Israel might lose some of the world's sympathy, if their military keeps making stupid "mistakes" like blowing up schools and UN headquarters:

5:14 p.m.  
Blogger Middle Ditch said...

I'm with CJ. We wait and see.

2:02 p.m.  

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