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By Micah Halpern

Wednesday June 3, 2009


Let it be known that, first and foremost, the Obama Doctrine for the Middle East is a doctrine for and about the United States. It is the personal wish list of this president of the United States.

President Barack Obama and his team of advisors, envoys and mediators are acting in the best interest of the United States and of the United States only. The people who conceived of and the people implementing the Obama Doctrine do not have a mutual interest - or even a partial interest - in what benefits Israel.

True, they would be saddened should something catastrophic happen to Israel but the ultimate security of Israel is not primary in their minds. Israel's safety and Israel's security is purely in the hands of Israel. Right now, the United States will not move a dingy, a toy soldier, or a paper airplane to assist an Israel in crisis.

The intent of this new doctrine is to resurrect the status of the United States, to reshape the power base of the United States and to reposition the influence of the United States in the Arab and Muslim worlds. The Obama Doctrine for the Middle East is a classic replay of geo-politics.

Barack Obama wants to even out the playing field. And in making things even the special relationship between Israel and the United States is automatically diminished. Significantly diminished. And the Obama Doctrine is already in play.

The historic foray into the Middle East embarked upon by the Obama entourage visits four Middle East countries - and Israel is not one of them. The trip to Israel would have been an easy sashay over the Egyptian border, the most significant stop on the trip. Instead, Israel is being snubbed, ignored, diplomatically reprimanded.

The rationale is that a broader US coalition in the Middle East will make for a safer Israel and that a safer region is a safer Israel. The logic is that if, in the long run, Israel will be safer, who can argue with the means through which this happens. Stating his thesis even more pointedly, Obama asserts that only good friends can be so brutally honest with one another. His objective is to apply pressure on the Israeli populace to force their prime minister to buckle under US pressure and to accommodate this new doctrine. Obama is dangling the special Israel/US relationship in the faces of Israelis assuming that they will care so passionately about the relationship that it will override the traditional skepticism that has been so ingrained in the Israeli psyche and that has kept their nation alive until now.

The fact is that there are more Muslims and more Arabs than there are Israelis and Jews in this world. In the end, the Obama camp will cast aside shared values, issues of mutual benefit and past special relationships for the sake of the massive numbers represented by the Muslim and Arab states. It is a quotient somewhat familiar to those students of history and diplomacy who watched the United States cast off a relationship with Hong Kong in favor of a new relationship with Mainland China.

When the inevitable danger befalls Israel in the near term, Israel will be prepared. But Israeli military superiority cannot last long because the qualitative edge that Israel holds is often due to the weapons received from the United States. Will it happen before or after the fall of the Obama Doctrine, I cannot say.

But the Obama Doctrine for the Middle East will, inevitable, fail.

It will fail because Hamas will overpower Fatah and take charge of both the West Bank and Gaza.

It will fail because Israelis will not support Obama over Bibi if only because of the Holocaust mentality and Masada complex which is part and parcel of the Israeli nation.

It will fail because, despite Obama, the Arab world will not trust the United States.

It will fail because Arab leaders cannot believe the naivete of Barack Obama regarding Iran and they cannot believe that the president of the United States will move ahead and try to befriend Iran over the Arabs.

No matter how charming and how powerful his speeches are, no matter how powerful or poetic his rhetoric, the Obama Doctrine in the Middle East will fail. I just hope it doesn't take too many casualties along the way.

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4 June 2017 12:13 PM in Columns

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