There really are so many other topics I would rather write about due to timing, such as the coming in of Elul and the preparations for Rosh Hashanah and the other coming holidays, but this is one topic that has been bugging me for a while now, and I just need to put my thoughts to writing.
It begins with a poll indicating that Israelis prefer Romney to Obama by a 2 to 1 ratio. It continues with Romney’s declaration that Iran must be stopped, after Ahmadinejad called Israel an “insult to all humanity”, while the White House merely condemned of Ahmadinejad’s rhetoric. It goes even farther with the declaration by Iran that they would welcome an attack by Israel. And it finalizes with the Chinese navy welcomed at Haifa’s port.
What do all these disparate points have to do with each other? Let me explain.
The fact that Mitt Romney is perceived in a better light in Israel than Obama, shows that the Israeli public sees a divide between their interests and Obama’s. Obama should not have any complaints about this. It is of his own administration’s making. With condemnations for building houses and for making a big deal of minor issues (for the US I should add) and other factors I have not included, the Obama administration has pushed the Israeli public away. Coupling various gaffes by Obama, particularly his “give me until after the next election” when he’ll have more “flexibility”, the confidence I have in the Obama administration strengthening the ties with Israel is non-existent.
Iran’s declaration that they would welcome war indicates that they have every intention of pushing forward with their nuclear weapons program. Ahmadinejad’s rhetoric has not died down either. The only factor that could deter an attack would be the economic sanctions pushing the Iranians to riot and overthrow their government. Riots have been tried already, twice, and put down with ease by the revolutionary guard. Needless to say, it appears that an attack is imminent and necessary. The Obama administration, however, refuses to make it clear that they are willing to attack, or let Israel attack, before the completion of this bomb.
Then we have the strengthening of relations with China. China truly respects Jews and their relationship with Israel continues to grow. Their non-interventionist positions will not be faulted by the Israel populace (perhaps it will even be respected) and, thus, the Israeli public will grow closer to the Chinese government as they put distance between themselves and the US administration. This will only grow more obvious as the Chinese economy will continue to grow and trade will greatly improve between the two countries.
The divide will not be so great at the end of Obama’s second term that Israel will no longer consider the US it’s greatest ally, but it will be enough that there will be a small group that will push to let China take that place. The president after Obama will have a lot of work to do to maintain the current relationship and prevent a further slide. If the slide does continue, the status of the relationship, I fear, will be equal to that of Israel’s current relationship with Europe.
I should add that I have not been very good at predicting Obama’s actions. In fact, my expectations are that due to the high level of support from the American people for Israel, the Obama Administration won’t be overly antagonistic towards Israel. What I’m putting forth here is a ‘worst case scenario’ where Obama’s decides, due to the comfort of his second term, to try once more to fix Israel’s problems instead of standing back and lending support from afar or, even worse, to cozy up to the Muslim nations around Israel through actively distancing the US from Israel. Needless to say, this will harm US interests far more than it will hurt Israel.