Thursday, October 01, 2009

Netanyahu: Leader Of The Free World!

I don't see it either--nothing against Bibi.

But that is what an editorial from the Washington Times is suggesting:
Israel is looking like the new leader of the Free World. The previous leader, the United States, resigned this role last week at the United Nations to take the position of global community organizer. This was made plain by President Obama in his speech, titled "Responsibility for Our Common Future," in which he heralded "a new chapter of international cooperation." By contrast, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivered a blunt and forceful call to action in the central challenge facing free people today. This is the struggle of "civilization against barbarism" being fought by "those who sanctify life against those who glorify death."

Mr. Obama's address was the predictable mix of criticism of the past policies of the United States, self-praise for correcting said policies and vague calls to united action on matters of collective interest. It sought to ingratiate rather than offend. But Mr. Netanyahu chastised the United Nations for its "systematic assault on the truth." He spoke truths that Mr. Obama would never whisper regarding the regime in Iran, which is "fueled by an extreme fundamentalism" and an "unforgiving creed." Mr. Netanyahu rebuked those members who countenanced Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's diatribe before the same world body, rightly calling it a "disgrace."
Read the whole thing.

But the editorial undercuts its own argument. The basis for the argument is the relative performances of Obama and Netanyahu at the UN. The Washington Times is impressed with the content of what Bibi said, while being dismayed with Obama's message.

But it's not the message that makes the leader.
First of all, the leader has to--lead; he has to indicate a path and show the way. Fair enough, Netanyahu did do that in his speech at the UN--we'll give The Washington Times that.

But the other component that defines a leader is that people have to follow, and you didn't get that at the UN.

Netanyahu drew applause only when he talked about the need for a Palestinian state and when he finished his speech.

The day before, President Obama also drew heavy applause when he declared that "America does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements." Obama called for Palestinians to end their "incitement of Israel" as well, but that line did not trigger a response from the audience.

Which one do you think the world is ready to follow--especially since following Obama's lead involves so much less work, especially since he is joining more than leading.

At this point, the world is not ready for a leader.
When the time comes, and the world is ready for one--a leader just might appear and be recognized. Who knows, maybe it could be Netanyahu.

But not today.

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Anonymous said...

Winston Churchill was ignored for years while Neville Chamberlain was selling out Europe. So, in that sense, your comment is correct.
At the same time, however, Netanyahu has great support in Israel, which was not the case for Churchill in England.
It's unrealistic to expect any support at the U.N. - I think that goes wthout saying.
The real question is if Netanyahu will pull the trigger on Iran or is he just another crap Israeli politician who gives nice speeches.

Kae Gregory said...

I agree with you. The great leaders imo, can be distinguished not only by their daring but also by the absence of pragmatism in their decision making. Bibi, again imo, is nothing if not pragmatic. His U.N. speech was truly courageous given the venue and made many of us proud, but it remains to be seen how external influences will color a truly consequential decision that he might have to make.

Daled Amos said...

Churchill was a 'channeller'--he took his in the direction they wanted to go (victory)--his challenge was to do it successfully, marshaling resources both physical and psychological.

Netanyahu's problem is that he has to take his people in a direction that the people themselves are not necessarily united in favor of.