Tidbits From Israel
By Ron Jager
“We’re eyeball to eyeball, and I think the other fellow just blinked,” Secretary of State Dean Rusk famously said about the Cuban missile crisis. In global strategic diplomacy, rule number one has always been Don’t blink. In recent months, President Obama has been doing a lot of blinking, forfeiting hard-won leverage and losing out on America’s interests in the Middle East. In global hardball, blinking is perceived as weakness and will always provoke a wider diplomatic conflict.
Obama’s inclination seems to be to support Muslim terror organizations—and not simply terrorists, but the descendants of the same Wahhabi organization that was trained and employed by the Third Reich in World War II, like the Muslim Brotherhood, al-Qaeda, Hamas, and others. The pro-Western coalition that has been the backbone of American influence in the Middle East based on Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Turkey, and Israel is slowly but surely crumbling, with Russia ready in the wings to take center stage and become the dominant superpower in the Middle East. Due to Obama’s bumbling and zigzagging, America has lost the Middle East.
America is no longer perceived as a reliable and credible ally, forcing pro-Western allies to fall in line with Russia. In recent years, Russia has dealt with the Muslim terror organizations based in Chechnya, implementing a brutal and uncompromising military response to the terrorists themselves and the communities that supported and harbored terrorists in their midst. Ground forces, airships, and special-operations forces unleashed their military might against Chechen terrorists and civilians alike.
Yet despite this uncompromising policy against Muslims, Islamic nations are welcoming President Putin with open arms. Egypt, a nation that threw the Russians out over 40 years ago, is welcoming it back, sending military and diplomatic missions to Russia and turning its back on Obama. The only nation that is sticking by America, the only nation that has not given up on America’s status as the world’s leading superpower, the only nation that represents American interests in the Middle East without question, is Israel.
Despite the shockwaves of Obama leaving behind destroyed relationships and empowering enemies, Israel, being a true ally of America, has not encouraged Russia’s role in the Middle East. Rather, Israel has taken steps that have fueled renewed speculation of behind-the-scenes links between Israel and the Gulf monarchies. Netanyahu, speaking at the UN, said that “the dangers of a nuclear-armed Iran and the emergence of other threats in our region have led many of our Arab neighbors to recognize, finally recognize, that Israel is not their enemy.” He added: “This affords us the opportunity to overcome the historic animosities and build new relationships, new friendships, and new hopes.” Israel, Egypt, Jordan, and the key states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (most importantly, Saudi Arabia) have discovered that they share the same core views on the nature of the regional threats to their own national interests.
The prospect of a nuclear Iran has forced the emergence of this quiet alliance between Arab nations and the State of Israel. Not the Palestinian Arabs, not the two-state solution, not even the imaginary “occupation,” has prevented this new alliance from taking root to fill in the strategic gap created by President Obama. Most likely, the nine-month negotiation period with the Palestinian Authority is about the time needed to conclude and put in place this new alliance. While the Palestinian Arabs are preoccupied with celebrating the release of murderers, they will soon find themselves out in the cold, with only the Iranians willing to support their deceitful political demands.
Just recently, Vladimir Putin knocked Barack Obama off the top spot on Forbes’ 2013 World’s Most Powerful People list. The magazine explained that Putin earned the number-one ranking “because he so frequently shows his strength at home and on the global stage,” citing his involvement in negotiations with Syria over chemical weapons and NSA leaker Edward Snowden’s asylum in Russia. This is the first time Putin has been at the top of the list.
Obama fell to the number-two spot out of 72 “heads of state, financiers, philanthropists, and entrepreneurs who truly run the world.” This is one of Obama’s few accomplishments, so to speak.
Obama has been described by Charles Krauthammer as a thoughtful and engaging man, being able to come across as charming in private as he can be on the big screen before large audiences. But let’s not ignore the recent phenomenon of labeling Obama as the first “bystander president,” a title that encapsulates much of what’s wrong with his presidency. He has caused a major strategic realignment in the Middle East, and America is out. He has more or less brought American influence to a dead end in the Middle East. Evidently, Obama’s lame-duck period has set in earlier than usual. Israel and probably Egypt and Saudi Arabia have no choice but to simply wait Obama out till he leaves office. v
Ron Jager is a 25-year veteran of the Israel Defense Forces, where he served as a field mental-health officer and as commander of the central psychiatric military clinic for reserve soldiers at Tel-Hashomer. Since retiring from active duty in 2005, he has been providing consultancy services to NGOs, implementing psychological trauma treatment programs in Israel. Ron is a strategic advisor to the Office of the Chief Foreign Envoy of Judea and Samaria. To contact him, e-mail email@example.com or e-mail www.ronjager.com.