Thursday, November 08, 2012

Obama's First Trip To Middle East After Election Victory Won't Be To Israel

In response to Romney's trip to Israel during the summer, the Obama campaign announced Obama Expected To Visit Israel In Second Term:
The Obama campaign said in a conference call Monday that the president is likely to make his first visit to Israel in a second term, and denounced attempts by Mitt Romney's campaign to make political hay out of his failure to do so up to this point.
But did the Obama campaign say when Obama would visit Israel?

As it turns out, Obama would make his first foreign visit to Turkey:
The US Ambassador to Turkey said on Wednesday that US President Barack Obama who was re-elected on Tuesday for second term would make his first foreign visit to Turkey.
Turkish media outlets reported that Francis J. Ricciardone stated that Turkey would be the country for Obama's first foreign visit after US presidential elections.
While that article emphasizes the common interest that both Turkey and the US have in ending the massacre in Syria, Michael Rubin notes that an Obama trip to Turkey would be doubling down on Islamism, because Turkey is
a country which has witnessed under its increasingly Islamist government an unprecedented roll back of basic freedoms. The Turks are looking at Obama’s choice as an endorsement. They are probably right. On top of this, Ricciardone’s announcement comes right after Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced that he would soon travel to Gaza, in recognition and support of Hamas.
This is in addition to Turkey's mock trial of Israeli leaders in the case of the Mavi Marmara.

Obama's choice for his first Middle East trip following his election victory does make sense from the viewpoint of Erdogan being Obama's favorite BFF in the Middle East, but it is a shame that Obama did not choose to visit the Middle East's only democracy first instead of the country that is attempting to undermine it.

As Rubin concludes:
Votes matter. How ironic it is, therefore, that Obama chooses to embrace most those governments and entities where they don’t.

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