Lame Duck Flambe

For those overwhelmed by the torrent of commentary surrounding the latest US abstention in the United Nations Security Council vote on Israeli and Secretary of State John Kerry’s tedious policy speech on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, I would suggest an appropriate dish for their weekend table:  Obama Duck. Obama Duck is an eight-year-old lame duck bombastically basted with empty rhetoric and failed visions, over-stuffed with hubris and self-importance, served on a bed of falsehoods. It will be, even when smothered with ketchup, inedible, and if ingested, surely to result in indigestion or, worse, extreme nausea.  It will also instill in those dining with much-needed Hope: hope that the next course can only be an improvement.

Barak Obama came to office promising change and hope. Tall, young and an extremely eloquent speaker he was a striking figure in comparison to his dowdy challengers. After several years the public realized that their lives had not exactly changed in the way that they wished and began to lose hope that their lives would improve. Obama promised hope, but when he could no longer bring hope, he brought Trump.

Obama promised hope, but when he could no longer bring hope, he brought Trump.

Obama’s administration is not yet over and it is probably too early to assess what his legacy will be. Even today it is hard to say what legacy Bill Clinton left for posterity. The comparison is extremely unfair in that Obama adherents can justifiably point out that Obama inherited an economy in shambles and the world where American soldiers were fighting in two unending wars in Iraq and Afganistan. Yet, great presidents, like poker players, are not judged by the cards they are dealt but by how they play them. And Obama is a lousy poker player. Just ask the Iranians.

Undoubtedly some, like Brett Stephens in the Wall Street Journal, will be quick to point out Obama’s foreign policy shortcomings: not supporting the Iranian opposition in the Green Revolution and supporting the Morsi government when Abdel Fattah el-Sisi overthrew it, upbraiding the Israeli government for approving apartments in Ramat Shlomo while turning a blind  eye to Mahmoud Abbas’s refusal to negotiate in good faith. Perhaps the most damning would be the Obama administration’s inactivity over the on-going slaughter in Syria. As if the Obama had stated that “the Aleppo tragedy happened on my watch and so I decided to watch and see it happen”.

“the Aleppo tragedy happened on my watch and so I decided to watch and see it happen” – Obama

The farce of the Obama Administration using its dying breath to devote so much energy on a crisis that is not a crisis about an “occupation” that is not really an occupation when so many other world-crisis are being ignored and have been consistently ignored for the last eight years is perhaps overwhelming.  Rather than be remembered for Obama’s real concern for American citizens or his message of equality, the public is getting another high-profile squabble with the elected leader of the US’s only democratic ally in the Middle East. After a full course repast with Obama as president, we are left with indigestion and a gassy speech from Kerry.

The world is in flames while Obama fiddles with his ally. Now that is a legacy for us to remember.

About the Author
Shlomo Toren has been a resident of Israel since 1980, and a transportation planner for the last 25 years. He has done demand modeling for the Jerusalem Light Rail and Road 6. He is married to Neera and lives in Shiloh.