Monday, May 18, 2009

Juan casts Bibi as Khrushchev

The title of this Juan Cole opus is "Obama-Netanyahu must not be Kennedy-Khrushchev." This parallel has been devised before. If Netanyahu is a "bully," does that make Obama the sickly introverted kid of the schoolyard?
It is the most fateful encounter of two world leaders since Kennedy met Khrushchev. And Obama absolutely must not allow himself to be cowed or misunderstood as timid by Netanyahu, who is a notorious bully and warmonger. (Bill Clinton complained that Netanyahu when last prime minister thought that he was the superpower). If Obama can cow Netanyahu, his Middle East policy may have a chance. If Netanyahu comes away thinking he can thumb his nose at Washington, the whole Middle East could be in flames by the end of Obama's first term.
Let's skip to the next bit:
Netanyahu's plan to attack Iran's nuclear facilities would fail, and would only cause Iran actually to seek nukes, which it is not presently doing according to US intelligence. I like Israelis, but they are understandably traumatized by all the things that have happened to them since the 1930s and have developed an unhealthy hysteria and tendency to shoot first and ask questions later. They were convinced that a US overthrow of Saddam Hussein would change the Middle East in their favor. It has not (Hizbullah in Lebanon has new friends in Baghdad, as does Tehran). Obama must impress on them that the answer to every problem is not a bombing raid. The good thing about having Rahm Emmanuel in the White House is that he will be able to phrase the instruction colorfully enough for it to be understood unambiguously.
Hmm, Juan feels that colorful phrasing prevents ambiguity. That explains a lot.

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

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