Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Will Obama Hold A Grudge Against Israel and Netanyahu?

The Times of Israel addresses the question Will second-term Obama get back at Netanyahu? Not a chance, says US ambassador:
US Ambassador Daniel Shapiro ruled out the possibility that President Barack Obama will harbor ill will towards Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the latter’s perceived support for Republican nominee Mitt Romney in the US presidential campaign.

Shapiro spoke at a panel held at the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) at Tel Aviv University Wednesday morning, shortly after preliminary results published in the US indicated Obama’s victory.

“Anyone who knows the president understands that this is not how he thinks,” Shapiro said, adding that talk of revenge against Israel for Netanyahu’s political preferences was “ridiculous.”

“The president is a strategic thinker; his policies are not governed by emotion,” he said.
Does anyone seriously believe Shapiro's argument?

Does anyone seriously believe that Obama has not shown signs of being vindictive?
Then why is it that the Obama administration has excluded Fox News from news conferences?

And of considering the way Obama has mistreated Israel and Netanyahu, it absurd -- bordering on insulting -- to make believe at this point that Obama is not capable of being vengeful and in fact has been vengeful when it comes to Israel.

On the other hand, Peter Beinart attempts to cobble together an argument for Why Obama Won't Take Revenge on Bibi:
Even if Obama is no longer worried about reelection, virtually every Democrat in Congress still is, and it’s Congress where groups like AIPAC have long focused the bulk of their energy and wielded the bulk of their influence. If Obama launches a diplomatic initiative that leads him into conflict with Netanyahu, it will be the Democrats in Congress, especially the ones who run the Democratic Congressional and Senatorial Campaign Committees, and thus spend their time raising money for the 2014 midterms, who will make their displeasure felt. And given how much of Obama’s second term fate depends on Democrats controlling the Senate (and not falling further behind in the House), he won’t easily be able to ignore them. What’s more, if Joseph Biden and/or Hillary Clinton have any desire to make their own runs in 2016, they’ll be nervous about an American-Israeli clash, and the President will not want to undermine their chances.
One question is: if considerations for Congressional elections were so dear to Obama's heart, why did he spend the first 2 years of his term pressuring Israel and criticizing it publicly?

Second question: if Obama believes he has a chance to achieve something for his record, does anyone really think he will put Biden and Clinton first?

Bottom line: Obama has been vindictive in the past when it comes to Israel -- and the only thing that put a stop to that was not consideration of Congressional election but rather bipartisan pressure from Congress.

It is that pressure alone that can be relied upon should Obama again decide to allow his personal feelings trump constructive foreign policy.

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