Netanyahu and Obama

Israel and United States officially meet again (yawn) to discuss Mid-East politics. Each is represented by recently installed leaders, though “Bibi” has been Prime Minister of Israel in the past. Mr. Netanyahu was also much reviled by the “leftist” fellow-travelers of Barack Obama if I recall anything about his previous tenure. The fractured political condition of Israel, essentially a mixed political economy with limited concepts of individual rights, is about as far down the socialist path as perhaps President Obama aspires for the United States. Benjamin Netanyahu however, is viewed as a “right wing” politician with a fairly no-nonsense approach to Israel’s national defense: one of the few legitimate roles for a proper government. So what was the crux of the formal meeting between the two states’ leaders in Washington?

Israel’s concern is with the lunatic regime of Iran. As it is for United States. Nobody really believes that Iran is seeking nuclear power capabilities for peaceful purposes, though actions of the world nations thus far suggest otherwise. “Why can’t we all just get along?” seems to be the prevailing attitude. The champion of Western politicians with an emolient tone these days is surely Barack Obama, who seems confident of his own ability to soothe any fractious groups around the world. I’d like to see him engage Hamas, Iran’s proxy war-mongering faction in Gaza, toward a “two-state solution” for Palestine and Israel. Hamas can’t even get along with the rest of the Palestinians.

Benjamin Netanyahu I think just wanted to make it clear that dealing directly with the Iranian threat is his priority. Many fear that Israel will act unilaterally to take out Iranian facilities just as it did with airstrikes in 1981 against Iraq and more recently in Syria in September 2007. Israel has according to some sources been working on plans to strike  Iranian reactors since at least 2005. Since Iran’s representatives have made the objective of “wiping Israel off the map” as clear to the rest of the world as it is possible to do, Netanyahu’s position is understandable. Some short notice to United States before the attacks are carried out may be Israel’s only concession to Barack Obama, who like many would still like to see some “peace process” being carried out. The history of engaging Iran diplomatically has not been, to say the least, encouraging. Does President Carter and the 1979 hostage “crisis” ring a bell? Some sources say that the Carter model is part of the current consideration for organizing talks with the mullahs, those beacons of reasoned discussion in Iran.

As for the Israel/Palestine matter, the acrimony between Jews and Palestinians is older than dirt. In modern times it certainly can be traced to the creation of the Jewish state after World War II in 1948. And there is the hint of the problem. The clash has always been based on ethnic or religious considerations and is therefore irreconcilable. If President Obama were to look to the history of United States and its founding principles of individual rights and the separation of State and Religion he might find a clue to helping out in the Middle East. The only way to have a chance to resolve the Mid-East question is through a property rights approach. As long as ethnic or religious considerations are part of the attempts to find peace in the Middle East, or anywhere else, there will be no solution but perpetual war and terror.

Copyright 2009 Edward Podritske

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