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The Israelis are playing with fire…

7:35 am in Uncategorized by David Seaton

Nick Cook, 36, of Grand Ledge did two tours in Iraq and, as an Army troop commander, lost five soldiers. “For me, it’s very upsetting,” he said, “I watch what’s happening there. My first six months, it was very intense fighting in Baghdad, but then there was prosperity and good news. And to see that now on the verge of collapse, and knowing I lost five soldiers, it’s very hard. These kids may have died in vain.” (…) It also was a costly war financially for the U.S. The war will eventually cost U.S. taxpayers at least $2.2 trillion, including long-term care for wounded veterans, according to a 2013 study by the Costs of War project, based at Brown University’s Watson Institute for International Studies. Detroit Free Press

“If people don’t do politics, others will do it for you. And when others do it for you, they can steal your rights, your democracy and your wallet.” Pablo Iglesias – Podemos

The Middle East now has been torn apart by American invasions and attacks, and careless ideas about how to remake other peoples’ lives according to our own ideas about how they should live and behave and believe. It’s been like the Huns passing through: millions are dead, cities in ruins, the Muslims at war with one another. Iraq and Syria, and probably Jordan, as they exist today, and possibly Lebanon, may never recover from this. The Arabs will survive, and one day Palestine and ancient Syria and Mesopotamia will undoubtedly be reconstituted. Israel? It has existed as a modern state for little more than six decades, although it too existed in antiquity. Will modern Israel still exist at the end of this century? After all that has, and will, happen? I wonder what is the answer. William Pfaff

Through their actions, young American Jews can shape the way a Jewish state wields power. And how Jews behave with power represents a post facto referendum on the Jewish ethical tradition itself. We should tell them that if they believe Jews possess a special passion for justice, they must prove it. And they must prove it in Israel, because although justice is endangered in the United States and all over the world, only in Israel is the Jewish people’s honor at stake. Peter Beinart – Haaretz

Things change if people make them change.

Things have changed since the American people were encouraged to put Vietnam behind them and “move on”. The “gate keeper” function of  “mainstream media” which worked mightily to that end is, if not dead, very, very sick and not expected to recover… especially when confronting something as stubborn as Middle Eastern reality.

Unlike “manufactured consent” social media opinion  today is largely grassroots, village-like. It is a  sullen, brooding, self-confirming, bench tested, consensus, slow to build, hard to budge and in this sense “authentic”.

Many commentators discount the sullen power of public opinion, this is most unwise. Publicists and think tanks can spend billions trying to convince the public that the sky is green and the grass is blue, but to no effect, finally their efforts boil down to Redd Fox’s cheating wife, who, when caught in the act, tells her furious husband, “go on, believe your goddamn, lying eyes!“.

This is now the case of American public opinion and the Middle East. Liberal-Interventionists can whine and Neocons can howl, but Americans have had enough of the Middle East, they will not be easily dragged back there again to spend blood and treasure poring sand down a rat hole and will resent mightily anyone who tries to drag them back.

Netanyahu and the settlers should not press their luck much farther, if Israel negotiates a two state solution with the Palestinians and pulls back to something like the 1967 borders, I believe that Americans would still be willing and still be able to defend that status with decisive armed force and considerable soft power, but that is certainly not the direction things are moving. What I don’t think is that Americans will agree to sending their sons and daughters to die defending apartheid and ethnic cleansing or agree to pay for that out of their taxes. Time is running out.

Cross posted from: http://seaton-newslinks.blogspot.com/

The Iran deal

2:07 am in Uncategorized by David Seaton

Things may unravel but at least there is hope. Perhaps this is what is most threatening to Netanyahu. He has never been willing to test the Palestinians in a serious way — test their good faith, test ending the humiliations of the occupation, test from strength the power of justice and peace. He has preferred domination, preferred the Palestinians down and under pressure. Obama and Kerry have invited Netanyahu to think again — and not just about Iran. Nothing, to judge by the hyperventilating Israeli rhetoric, could be more disconcerting. Roger Cohen – New York Times

If a diplomatic solution to the Iran nuclear issue is blocked and war follows, Israel will be accused of dragging America into a conflict. But if Mr Netanyahu confronts the Obama administration through the US Congress – and loses – the fabled power of the Israel lobby may never be quite the same again. Gideon Rachman – Financial Times

High political drama is in the offing, it appears that the President of the United States has (with appropriate deviousness) lured Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu into a decisive political battle on a battlefield of the president’s choosing; with world political opinion on Obama’s side and the American people recently having firmly signaled the US Congress their strongest reluctance to any more military involvement in the Middle East.

Obama just might win this one.

At this point what I find most truly interesting about the Iran deal as how secretly it was worked up… and that the Israelis apparently were kept in the dark… This is leading to a direct conflict between the United States and Israel… If Obama loses this test of strength, nothing much will have changed, every US president who has ever confronted them directly, has been defeated by the AIPAC or had their careers ruined, (with the exception of Eisenhower, when he pinned their ears back during the Suez crisis), but if Obama wins, that victory will mark a sea change in American politics.

Cross posted from: http://seaton-newslinks.blogspot.com

Israel: the fiddler fiddles while the roof burns

10:31 am in Uncategorized by David Seaton

Samson pulls down the temple (in Gaza, no less)

Henry Kissinger famously wished that the Bible had been written in Uganda…

Israel has never been richer, safer, more culturally productive or more dynamic. Terrorism is on the wane. Yet the occupation grinds on next door with little attention to its consequences. Moreover, as the power balance has shifted from the European elite, Israel has never felt more Middle Eastern in its popular culture, music and public displays of religion. Yet it is increasingly cut off from its region, which despises it perhaps more than ever.(…) Some have likened Israel to the deck of the Titanic. That may not be right, but you can’t help wondering about that next iceberg. Ethan Bronner – New York Times

In this post I simply want to note my sense of foreboding, which this snippet from the New York Times encapsulates.

Readers of my blog will remember that I spent a very formative year of my youth working, living and loving in Israel… Henry Kissinger’s wish that Israel had been established anywhere but the Middle East fits my sentiments exactly. What a wonderful country it could have been if it had truly been “a land without people, for a people without land” instead of the result of an ethnic cleansing and ongoing repression and humiliation whose ensuing rage has awakened the world of Islam from its slumbers and united millions of disparate peoples in their thirst for revenge.

The energy, the vivaciousness, the creativity of a people central to the narrative of civilization, are day by day creating a massive tragedy for themselves and the rest of humanity.

Here is how the American Heritage Dictionary defines “tragedy”

A drama or literary work in which the main character is brought to ruin or suffers extreme sorrow, especially as a consequence of a tragic flaw, moral weakness, or inability to cope with unfavorable circumstances.

The NYT article gives a perfect description of the curious, Club Med world of its own, where the Israelis contemplate their navels in the shadows of a sun kissed “Götterdämmerung”, a word which Merriam Webster defines as:

A collapse (as of a society or regime) marked by catastrophic violence and disorder

I believe that it will be impossible for the world to assimilate or process what is about to unfold. It is difficult for me to express the heaviness of my heart.

Cross posted from: http://seaton-newslinks.blogspot.com

Obama’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem… yada yada yada

11:37 am in Uncategorized by David Seaton

The US is hoping that Obama’s positive first trip will reinvigorate peace efforts, though most settlers are not worried. They see the composition of the new Israeli cabinet as a reassurance that Israeli policy will move away from peace negotiations. Christian Science Monitor

Obama’s visit to Israel was strictly for domestic American consumption, because unless the president and Netanyahu took a decision on when to attack or not attack Iran or intervene in Syria’s civil war, which they could have done by telephone, his trip was strictly a public relations exercise, certainly it wont affect the “Peace Process” or lead to Palestinian statehood.

The much talked about “Two State Solution” is not stalled or even dead, it never existed: it and the “Peace Process” said to leading to the founding of a “viable, contiguous, Palestinian state”,  or even a Bantustan, was never more than a way of stalling, killing time, running out the clock. Israel has been waiting for a moment that now appears to be fast approaching: the disintegration of the Middle East as the west has known it since the end of World War One. In a short time all of the borders that were designed during the First World War by Britain and France  to suit western interests, will now probably become undefined, fluid if not gaseousjust as Israel’s own borders are.

You may not have noticed, but Israel’s frontiers have been undefined since 1967. The objective of the Israelis in avoiding the “Two State Solution” is  to not define them “prematurely”, before all the pieces on board start to move.  In times like these, the last thing the Israelis want is to be the only ones with firmly drawn frontiers when all other borders in the Middle East are going to be negotiable. The settlers are not an “obstacle to peace”, they are merely an excuse for Israel not to define those frontiers.

This Middle Eastern disintegration has been a long time coming and perfectly foreseeable by anyone as cool headed and long headed as the Israelis. The neocon led invasion of Iraq with its “real men go to Tehran” leitmotif, was itself a desperate, Hail Mary pass, attempt to control the events that are now taking place with that certain spontaneity of what looks like a historically driven process.

“What we’re seeing here is, in a sense, the growing—the birth pangs of a new Middle East, and whatever we do, we have to be certain that we’re pushing forward to the new Middle East, not going back to the old Middle East”. Condoleezza Rice – 2006

Just in case you don’t know what the “old Middle East” looked like, check this map… As you can see, it’s mostly about Turkey and Iran… Not many borders visible except theirs and Britain’s protectorates and today the British, who used to control Egypt, are no longer players… and as you may have noticed lately, America’s once smothering grip on the area is fading fast.
Map-ME-1914
At this moment Syria is literally disintegrating, spewing nearly half a million refugees into tiny, neighboring  Jordan, where the Palestinian majority is permanently restless and the influence of the Muslim brotherhood is growing. The Muslim Brotherhood controls Egypt and Hamas in Gaza is an offshoot of the Brotherhood; and then there is always Al Qaeda which is growing exponentially in the Syrian conflict. So much for the Sunnis

As to the Shiites: Iran besides working diligently on developing atomic capabilities is fighting a proxy war alongside Assad in Syria, is the major power influence in Iraq and is heavily arming  Shiite Hezbollah on Israel’s Lebanese border…

What could the Israelis expect to achieve as all this comes unraveled and the shooting starts?

Simple: they could ethnically cleanse Judea, Samaria, Gaza (and maybe Israel itself too while they are at it) all in the midst of the confusion of a military free for all.  Chaos with thousands of refugees simultaneously in movement everywhere… and when the dust settles, let the Palestinians establish their “viable and contiguous state” on the ruins of the Jordanian monarchy as a Sunni buffer between Israel and Shiite Iraq… if they so desire.

Who thought all this up? Ariel Sharon, I should imagine, who else?

Cross posted from: http://seaton-newslinks.blogspot.com

The Israeli elections

2:17 am in Uncategorized by David Seaton

“This is a government that will not be able to make decisions on anything — on the peace process, on equal sharing of the burden or on budgetary matters,” Emmanuel Rosen, a prominent television analyst, said early Wednesday on Channel 10. “The next elections are already on the horizon.” New York Times

All the cliches about Israel come to mind here: two Israelis mean three opinions, or the land of a hundred ghettos. In fact what you have is one of the west’s most unequal societies, a collective of people who range from what is left of the founding Zionist families, on through opportunistic Russian money launderers, to Yemenite and Moroccan sub-proletarians, none of them particularly religious, all seasoned with mostly American Haredim that “sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them”… nor serveth they in the Israeli armed forces, neither payeth they taxes either, by the way.

 

All of this mishmash directly connected to the masculine attributes of the US Congress.

 

I lived in Tel Aviv for a year and I loved the place, a sexy Mediterranean climate and beach filled with some of the world’s most attractive women, all with the energy of New York. I had to go to Jerusalem almost every other day (I was a budding paparazzo)… horrible place, filled with priests and rabbis and soldiers with guns. And I came to the following conclusion: If the Arabs ever declared peace on the Israelis and left them strictly alone, with no external enemies, the country would tear itself apart in civil strife and probably disappear in a very short time. All that is holding them together are their enemies…

 

They would be crazy to want peace.

 

Cross posted from: http://seaton-newslinks.blogspot.com

Palestine at the UN

12:24 pm in Uncategorized by David Seaton

Some commentators have said the UN vote, which, by a massive majority, gave Palestine observer status is meaningless… Meaningless?

Now, for starters, we finally are not talking about a stateless “PLO” or the “Palestinian people”, we are talking about “Palestine“, a country that now actually and officially exists as a sovereign state, although its territory is totally occupied and subjugated and slowly being colonized, by another state, Israel.

The Israelis, of course act as if nothing had happened, in fact to show their contempt for the UN vote they have authorized the construction of 3,000 settler homes in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, only a day after the UN upgraded the Palestinians’ status.

As always any body or anybody that backs Israel into a political or humanitarian corner immediately ceases to be “a credible mediator”, or “partner for peace”, that is the general hasbara line and always has been. Nothing new here, except it wont work anymore.

The significance of the UN vote is that as of now, the vast majority of the world’s sovereign states, with their vote, or with their abstention, have simply told Israel that it ceases to have that special status of political and moral immunity that it has hidden behind until now.

Even Germany abstained!

That is how much moral legitimacy Israel has lost; Germany dared to abstain!

Not important? To begin with the UN vote is a universal slap down of American hypocrisy and the US role in the pantomime “peace process”… It also drains a lot of energy from the march to war with Iran.

But, in my opinion the most important thing the UN vote does is to firmly underline the validity and continuing relevance of the post – six day war, UN Resolution-242, which most Israelis consider a joke.

Now the West Bank territories that are illegally occupied by Israeli troops and “settlers” are clearly the legitimate property of a people whose existence and rights as the citizens of a universally recognized, but illegally occupied, state have now been overwhelmingly validated by the “international community”…

This leads us to the point that most worries the Israelis: the possibility that the state of Palestine will take the state of Israel to the International Criminal Court in The Hague. And well the Israelis may worry: for decades they have been in flagrant violation of international law as an occupying power with hundreds of well documented incidents, each of which could lead to international arrest warrants.

The UN vote has made it clear that if Israel doesn’t change its ways, it is about to gain apartheid-South African-pos-Milosevic-Serbian status. This will certainly complicate things for them in dealing with their only friendly neighbors and major trading partner, the EU, both culturally and commercially.

Because Israel is about to replace apartheid South Africa as a universal pariah.

Not important? I cannot think of any comparable disaster in the entire history of modern Israel.

Cross posted from: http://seaton-newslinks.blogspot.com.es

Fatah’s corruption is the origin of Hamas’s power

11:14 am in Uncategorized by David Seaton

I posted the following to my blog on Wednesday, June 20, 2007 and reading it today, I find it rather prophetic… I wish all my old posts were this well aimed.


Fatah’s corruption is the origin of Hamas’s power – June 20, 2007

In contemplating the Hamas takeover of Gaza, observers seem to be missing something obvious: Hamas has just produced a de facto “two state solution”… history’s first example of a “free Palestine”. Gaza is now governed by the winner of what international observers considered at the time a “model” democratic election and they are untainted in Arab eyes by subservience to Washington. At the same time, on the West Bank, the “other” Palestine, is still effectively controlled by the Israelis and their “separation wall”, private roads, checkpoints and growing settlements, all of which makes president, Mohammed Abbas look like little more than an American puppet charged with protecting Israeli lives and property. In Gaza, as Tony Karon, a senior editor of Time Magazine and expert on Middle Eastern affairs wrote, “Having trounced Fatah on the polls, Hamas now moved to trounce them on the streets,” using what Jimmy Carter called Hamas’s, “superior skills and discipline.”

It wasn’t Palestinian religious fervor that opened the doors for Hamas, it was Hamas’s honesty and Fatah’s corruption. The strategy the “west” has decided to follow now is to strangle Hamas and fatten Fatah. This is difficult because Hamas needs very little to get by and Fatah’s proven capacity to engulf donor’s money uselessly is limitless. A basic principal is at work here that explains the fall of Fatah and the rise of Hamas: when public servants are honest and hardworking it is surprising how much can be done with little money, but crooked politicians are a literally a bottomless pit. If the United States, Israel and the hapless European Union, were intelligent they would shower money on Hamas, hoping to corrupt them in the same way they did Fatah during the “Peace Process”. Hamas’s strategy is simple, as Ahmed Yousef the political adviser to the democratically elected Palestinian prime minister Ismail Haniya, explained in the New York Times, “We have begun disarming the drug dealers and the armed gangs and we hope to restore a sense of security and safety to the citizens of Gaza. We want to get children back to school, get basic services functioning again. (…) Our sole focus is Palestinian rights and good governance.”

The “international community”, by encouraging the Palestinian split, are giving Hamas and Fatah each their separate, universally publicized, chemically pure showcase: one for Hamas to demonstrate disciplined sacrifice and another for Fatah to demonstrate feckless larceny. This may have the unintended result of publicizing the Muslim Brotherhood style of government all over the endemically corrupt Middle East: something that could destabilize the west’s “moderate” allies in the region.

Cross posted from: http://seaton-newslinks.blogspot.com.es/2007/06/fatahs-corruption-is-origin-of-hamass.html

Bibi Netanyahu and Israel’s primal fallacy

10:28 am in Uncategorized by David Seaton

(David Grossman) said he feared that Netanyahu and Barak would bomb Iran partly out of a perceived strategic Bibi-1need to back up their threats with action, but also because of what he sees as Netanyahu’s sense of historic responsibility to save the “people of eternity.” “He has this idea that we are the people of eternity, am ha’netzach from the Bible, and our negotiations, as he sees it, are with eternity, with the primal currents of history and mankind, while the United States, with all due respect, is just another superpower like Rome or Athens or Babylon, and we’ve survived them all,” said Grossman. “I’m afraid that this way of thinking might encourage Netanyahu to take the step” of attacking Iran. The Nation

David Grossman, along with Amos Oz, is Israel’s most prestigious writer and considered by many Israelis as the “conscience of the country”. He has given an interview in The Nation on Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s rush to war with Iran which is terrifying. I find Grossman’s insight into Bibi’s mind endlessly frightening and disturbing, Up til now I had thought that Netanyahu was a common and garden variety thug… now I think he might be seriously insane

If Grossman is right, that Netanyahu’s believes that Israelis are “the people of eternity”, and that Israel’s negotiations can only be with “eternity”, (whatever that is) this means that Israel is governed right now by someone who is crazier than any Ayatollah in Iran… Frankly that idea of negotiating with the “primal currents of history and mankind” has a certain weird, Nietzschean-Wagnerean ring to it: the distilled, national-mystical, vapors of fascism.

So Israel, so small and vulnerable, is now apparently ruled by a madman.

This takes me to what I call “Israel’s primal fallacy”.

That fallacy is the proposition that the Jewish people will only be safe when they are gathered together in a land where they are the sole inhabitants and depend entirely on their own power to defend themselves and  that land must be in the tiny, biblical Israel.

I think if you proposed to the Jewish people’s greatest enemy in history, the idea that half the Jewish people in the world should gather together in a very small area, a territory where they could be utterly annihilated in the space of a couple of hours, that monster would think it a brilliant idea: such a time saver.

Any infantryman will tell you that soldiers under fire should never bunch up, but rather spread out… that is a soldier’s rule one. Not having crazy officers might be rule two.

Israel is breaking both rules.

My opinion is that the two greatest defenses ever possessed by the Jewish people, going all the way back to the days when Moses led them out of bondage in Egypt, are:

One: The United States Constitution, whose rules seem to be holding up better than the Bible’s in the years since it was written.

and

Two: America’s immense spaces.

In short I believe that the “promised land” of the Jews is the United States of America, where Jews can be as Jewish as they want (see Brooklyn’s Hasidim) or as assimilated (see Noam Chomsky) as they wish and participate, à la carte, in  the mainstream of an amazingly varied human tapestry (see Walt Whitman) … all in perfect safety.

Even the West Bank settlers (most of whom seem to already be US citizens) could make a pilgrimage to what I would call “eretz yiArizona“, where they could keep their guns and try their luck at hassling Mexicans… America has something for everybody… if you don’t see what you want just ask.

Not only that, perhaps most importantly of all, the United States of America is probably the only country in the world that truly loves Jewish people, where they have actually created much of what the world knows and loves of America. What I am afraid of is that disasters flowing from the “people of eternity” mysticism could in any way sour that “promised land”.

 

Cross posted from: http://seaton-newslinks.blogspot.com

 

Why vote for Obama? Let me count the whys – 3

8:26 am in Uncategorized by David Seaton

Military sShare of US Budgetmilitary-cost-pie

 

Mr. Obama concluded in his first year that the Bush-era dream of remaking Afghanistan was a fantasy, and that the far greater threat to the United States was an unstable, nuclear-armed Pakistan. So he narrowed the goals in Afghanistan, and narrowed them again, until he could make the case that America had achieved limited objectives in a war that was, in any traditional sense, unwinnable. (…) Out of the experience emerged Mr. Obama’s “light footprint” strategy, in which the United States strikes from a distance but does not engage in years-long, enervating occupations. .(…) Faced with an economic crisis at home and a fiscal crisis that Mr. Obama knew would eventually require deep limits on Pentagon spending, he was also shocked, they said, by what the war’s cost would be if the generals’ counterinsurgency plan were left on autopilot — $1 trillion over 10 years.  New York Times

His steep learning curve, basically, is “why” number three. The president seems to have quickly learned an important lesson that other presidents have taken much longer to learn or have never learned at all, that is: the Pentagon has the knack of spending endless money, while achieving little or no results, over unlimited time. In fact that process: (endless x little or no x unlimited) would seem to be the object of their existence.

Over the decades since the end of the Second World War, much of American policy has evolved into “killing people and blowing things up”, which is essentially the job description of the armed forces and America has the largest, most powerful, armed forces in the history of the world. Many careers have flourished, uncountable dollars have changed hands, hundreds of thousands of people have died and millions have been displaced in a chain of military disasters.  The United States famously spends more on its military than the next seventeen nations combined: if it could cut that down to say, more than the next five combined, then perhaps, while also raising taxes on the one percenters, the US economy, its infrastructure, its public schools and its safety net could be restored to health.

Obama is the first president to fully realize that most of this mayhem could be executed just as well, (with less casualties on either side, and much more cost-effectively), simply by using toy airplanes instead of thousands of over fed soldiers at the end of infinitely complex, wasteful, frightfully expensive and vulnerable supply lines.

Is all this blowing things up and killing people, even with toy airplanes necessary? The unpleasant truth is that “yes” it is. Why?

In its desire to micromanage the universe the USA has made many enemies over the decades, but the last batch they have made are the first to have ever hit the American “homeland” (sinisterly Teutonic term) and it turns out that although the USA packs the world’s hardest punch, its jaw is made of glass.

No sooner did Al Qaeda manage to kill 3000 Americans in territorial USA, than the citizens of the United States were willing to lock the Bill of Rights in a drawer and misplace the key… nothing could be more cost effective than to make the Americans scrap their centuries old, “inalienable rights” using only 19 young Arabs carrying box cutters. The asymmetry between the cost and its effect means that it will be attempted again and again. Sooner or later one of these attempts is bound to succeed, it is just a matter of time

The reality is that any successful, new attack on US soil will spark a fresh wave of hysteria, which would probably destroy the presidency of whoever happened to be in the White House when it occurred. The steps the president has taken to keep another 9/11 from happening on his watch have probably taken more bloom off his rose than anything else. However that is the reality, politicians deal in reality and Obama is a politician.

The Financial Times compares Obama to Facebook’s IPO:

Mr Obama’s frothy initial valuation offers parallels. Having marketed himself as the man who would transcend Washington’s cynical ways, Mr Obama’s brand was quickly tarnished. It was one thing to promise and fail to close Guantánamo Bay. It was quite another to produce a new rationale for indefinite detention without trial.

Without defusing the Middle East and with it the world of Islam, it is certain that American civil liberties will continue to be degraded, with this or any other administration.

As Al Qaeda draws much of its support and recruiting from America’s tacit connivance with Israel’s continuing oppression of the Palestinian people, no plan to end the threat of Al Qaeda to the USA can have any hope of success without solving the Palestinian question. Although it may not be enough, giving the Palestinians a state of their own, thus defining Israel’s borders permanently, would do more to “drain the swamp” than having the Pentagon endlessly trying to re-engineer ancient cultures into American suburbs.

Solving the Palestinian question would require putting considerable pressure on the Israeli government. It is fair to doubt whether any US administration would have the chops to do that. Would Obama? I really don’t know.  What I do know is that Mitt Romney is a close friend of Bibi Netanyahu and would consult him before doing anything in the Middle East…   So far, I hear nothing from the Republicans but attacking Iran, increasing military spending, cutting entitlements, supporting the Israeli right à outrance and lowering taxes for the wealthy.

So retuning to my leitmotiv of this “count the whys” series, I have no trouble at all imagining a better president than Barack Obama, but I cannot imagine that Mitt Romney, who is the only candidate with any chance of replacing him, would be that president.

Cross posted: http://seaton-newslinks.blogspot.com

Another good reason to vote for Obama

8:20 am in Uncategorized by David Seaton

Bibi Netanyahu
Mitt’s friend, Bibi

The ties between Mr. Romney and Mr. Netanyahu stand out because there is little precedent for two politicians of their stature to have such a history together that predates their entry into government. And that history could well influence decision-making at a time when the United States may face crucial questions about whether to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities or support Israel in such an action. Mr. Romney has suggested that he would not make any significant policy decisions about Israel without consulting Mr. Netanyahu — a level of deference that could raise eyebrows given Mr. Netanyahu’s polarizing reputation, even as it appeals to the neoconservatives and evangelical Christians who are fiercely protective of Israel. In a telling exchange during a debate in December, Mr. Romney criticized Mr. Gingrich for making a disparaging remark about Palestinians, declaring: “Before I made a statement of that nature, I’d get on the phone to my friend Bibi Netanyahu and say: ‘Would it help if I say this? What would you like me to do?’“ Martin S. Indyk, a United States ambassador to Israel in the Clinton administration, said that whether intentional or not, Mr. Romney’s statement implied that he would “subcontract Middle East policy to Israel.” “That, of course, would be inappropriate,” he added. Mr. Netanyahu insists that he is neutral in the presidential election, but he has at best a fraught relationship with President Obama. For years, the prime minister has skillfully mobilized many Jewish groups and Congressional Republicans to pressure the Obama administration into taking a more confrontational approach against Iran. “To the extent that their personal relationship would give Netanyahu entree to the Romney White House in a way that he doesn’t now have to the Obama White House,” Mr. Indyk said, “the prime minister would certainly consider that to be a significant advantage.” New York Times

Something I’ve been meaning to do — and still don’t have the time to do properly — is say something about Peter Beinart’s brave book The Crisis of Zionism. The truth is that like many liberal American Jews — and most American Jews are still liberal — I basically avoid thinking about where Israel is going. It seems obvious from here that the narrow-minded policies of the current government are basically a gradual, long-run form of national suicide — and that’s bad for Jews everywhere, not to mention the world. But I have other battles to fight, and to say anything to that effect is to bring yourself under intense attack from organized groups that try to make any criticism of Israeli policies tantamount to anti-Semitism. But it’s only right to say something on behalf of Beinart, who has predictably run into that buzzsaw. As I said, a brave man, and he deserves better. Paul Krugman

Krugman’s unusually harsh critique of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government is sure to elicit howls of protest from Israeli spokespersons and American Jewish organizations – more so, perhaps, as they come on the eve of Israel’s Independence Day. It is also sure to further inflame the continuously deteriorating relationship between the Israeli government and the New York Times, considered by many to be the most important newspaper in the world. Last December, Netanyahu declined an offer by the Times’ to pen an article for the paper’s opinion pages, citing the newspaper’s alleged anti-Israel bias. Haaretz

As you may have noticed the Middle East is on the boil, and how to stabilize the most important oil and gas producing region on earth is a  priority for everybody, everywhere, now, with the world economy teetering on the brink of a great depression.

After supporting tyrannical Arab regimes for decades, invading Iraq and botching up the occupation and never missing a chance to kowtow to the Israelis, America’s credibility at present is as low as a snake’s abdomen. Except for killing people and blowing things up, nobody is expecting much from the USA these days in the Middle East.

There is one thing that has worldwide support and universal approval,  something, which would at least give the USA a minimum of credibility and that something would be to finally “solve” the Palestinian problem and give them a state of their own… and the six and seventh year of a second term American president would make that something look doable.

Now cynics among you will point out that all the versions of that proposed state that the USA has ever put forward added up to miserable little unarmed bantustans cut up by Israeli security roads, without control over the water under them and without sovereignty over the airspace above them… And I doubt if even the most “liberated” version of Barack Obama would ask for much more than that. And even something that mild and decaffeinated would probably justify his heretofore absurd Nobel Peace Prize and refurbish his tattered image as “The One”.

Why should this be such a huge problem?

Because, even such a pitiful, Swiss cheese, scrap of a state would finally and unambiguously establish the frontiers of Israel and put paid to the dream of Eretz Yisrael Ha-Shlema (greater Israel).

And in my humble opinion, it is the fear of that, and not the fear of a nuclear Holocaust that is behind Netanyahu’s hysterical push toward war. He is trying to create a damned if you do and damned if you don’t scenario for Barack Obama to see if he can derail his reelection and get himself another first term president to manipulate at will.

From the point of anyone who influences politics by funding politician’s election campaigns, first term presidents are to be greatly preferred to second term presidents who wont need any more funding. Obvious, right?

All of this is as good reason as any not to vote for Mitt Romney and to give Barack Obama a second term.

Cross posted from: http://seaton-newslinks.blogspot.com