Our commander in chief is naïve. Foreign policy mistake after mistake have demonstrated an utter lack of comprehension of nonwestern thinking. From his speech in Cairo, a turn to the Arab world, to his “reset” with Russia (where they weren’t even able to use the correct Russian word in presenting this policy change), and now to his handling of the Israeli War with Hamas. Taking a step back, many Americans including our president believe that conservative foreign policy simply means having a xenophobic fear of others which prevents America from being a just and peaceful nation. I would counter that ultimately, it’s a matter of recognizing that value systems and views of the world do in fact vary across our globe, and failing to recognize this will be costly for America and the rest of the world because yes, the world is much better off with a strong America.
By constantly pushing for a cease fire, Obama has motivated Hamas and given them the delusion that they can win this conflict through diplomatic pressure brought down on Israel by the US and EU. They have in turn promised great results to the people of Gaza who are now asking what all the destruction has been for. Most such wars can be avoided when one’s adversary believes you are willing to use great force in response to any aggression. Hamas sees that the rest of the world is crying in indignation at the civilian deaths they all but design to occur, and so what matters most is the positiion the most powerful country in the world takes on this conflict. This will in turn determine to what extent Israel’s hands are tied with regard to responding to Hamas’ attacks. All of Europe and the Middle East can boycott Israel and it would only truly matter once the United States joins. Unfortunately, the White House and State Department have for many years now shown that their “unbreakable-bond” to Israel is developing fractures.
Now the White House has issued statements that the blockade of Gaza cannot continue. The effects of lifting the Gaza blockade while Hamas is still in power of the Gaza Strip would be tragic. One could easily see how the current arsenal Hamas enjoys would be magnified with a free port. Further, the idea that an international force could prevent the remilitarization of Gaza by monitoring a port in a newly unblockaded Gaza is laughable. Case in point, the hurried retreat of international forces in the Sanai Peninsula in 1967 simply upon Egypt’s request. More recently, we witnessed the exodus of peacekeepers from Syria when the conflict there became violent. Hamas would simply have to threaten these peacekeepers and Israel would find itself with a hostile military enemy in the strip again. What will be entering Gaza would make the years during Morsi’s presidency (when Hamas and Egypt enjoyed relatively good relations and an accompanying easing of smuggling) look like just a trickle. This is clearly understood by Bibi if not by Obama. Since such a situation seems to be what the White House and rest of the world will be perhaps inadvertently pushing for in the name of humanitarianism. The State of Israel will be left with but one option: completely removing Hamas and Islamic Jihad from the strip and then ending the blockade.
Such a move would be strategically prudent for multiple reasons beyond the immediate politics of Gaza. I have established that Hamas cannot be allowed to gain Hezbollah like resources made possible by the lifting of the blockade. Removing Hamas would also be critical in sending a message to two recipients. Most importantly, this is a message to Iran. Such a message would make clear that even if they believe they can fool the US and Europe into prolonging talks long enough or signing a deal that leaves their nuclear program intact, Israel will call their bluff and not tolerate it. That is the only hope in stopping Iran from getting nuclear weapons short of a military operation, and in the event that a strike is needed, a peaceful Gaza would ensure that Israel is not attacked from all sides.
Lastly, this is a message to those that wish Israel ill in the West Bank. Palestinians on the fence regarding “armed resistance” would see how the terrorist experiment played out in Gaza, and that at least for now, it is futile to try and form a military enclave in the West Bank. This should also open the eyes to some in Israel and the US as to the dangers of allowing the West Bank to turn into another Gaza. The people of Israel cannot forever count on miraculous comebacks to saves us in wars. It is immoral thus to demand Israel take such risks in the name of Palestinian political aspirations. One may believe that Palestinian sovereignty in parts of Judea and Samaria is what is just and needed for there to be peace. Yet no one has the right to gamble the lives of a nation on this remote chance. The greatest good in the world is the preservation of life.
To conclude, by having a very weak stance on Iran and now Hamas, Obama is pushing these parties and Israel towards a bloody conflict that may well have been avoided and thus spared both Israeli, Palestinian, and perhaps Iranian lives.