I'm not a fool. Netanyahu is out to destroy Obama's outreach to the Muslim world. In that battle, I stand with Obama and have every reason to be frustrated with the direction Israel is taking. No more excuses. It's getting pathetic.It really is, but let's not get into semantics. Netanyahu, then, is all that stands in the way of Obama's rapprochement with Islamist masses. A paragraph earlier, Sullivan accepts that Netanyahu now represents the center of Israeli polity - the pragmatic, realist core of Israel's foreign policy - meaning that a change in leadership would not alter Israel's "frustrating" trajectory. But why? Personalities aside, why would the leader of a state that is in its seventh decade of attempting to achieve peaceable accommodation - normalization is the preferred term - with its Muslim neighbors shun such engagement? What would Israel have to lose from a Muslim world more accomodating to the interests of the Jewish State's greatest global ally? This, after all, is the ostensible purpose for Obama's "outreach" - to generate a dialogue that allows for equitably addressing legitimate grievances, secures each party's vital interests, and thus promotes peace. Right?
So long as American security guarantees to Israel are sacrosanct, and Sullivan (usually) agrees that the are, Israel has nothing to fear from, and thus no incentive to sabotage Obama's "outreach" to the Muslim world. We must critically examine Sullivan's basic assumptions. Either fundamental Israeli security is no longer an American interest - growing direct military assistance and stubbornly steadfast political support says otherwise - or Israel is not "out to destroy" the Obama's attempt at rapprochement with the Muslim world. It should not be controversial to add, that Israel is even attempting to accommodate strikingly naive, adolescent American maneuvering, as Obama himself admitted, to the very limits of the country's coalition government.
On substance, Obama has offered the "Muslim world" precious little, bargaining on a change in rhetoric and atmospherics to mitigate (continuing) American support for brutal, repressive Arab regimes, ongoing macro-economic stagnation and increasing popular Islamist identification, if not radicalism itself. American warplanes, let's not forget, are still killing (slaughtering, the Islamists would say) Muslims, many of them innocent, at a pace and scope - with recent expansions, under Obama's insistence, into Pakistan and Yemen - unchanged from Bush's "Global War on Terror".
Unable to pacify Afghanistan, cowed into submission by Iranian ambition, outmaneuvered and blackmailed into concessions by the Syrians, unwilling to support Lebanese sovereignty and watching helplessly at the dismantling of a pro-Western Turkey, just as Yemen erupts in sectarian tribal war and Islamist insurgency and no less than two of the region's American bulwarks - Egypt and Saudi Arabia - totter on the uncertainty of succession... Well, it seems Netanyahu has been a busy little bee, right Andrew? To whom else but Israel can one attribute such a rapid disintegration of America's strategic posture in the region, and after such a rousing call to "outreach" by an American president, at that?
How very pathetic, indeed.