If Obama Could Get Away With It then He’d Just Never Talk Foreign Policy At All
I find Eldad’s arguments about Obama’s speech (which we published at NRB today) very compelling:
The Obama speech was clearly wordsmithed to keep Zionists as happy as possible while he slipped in a major US policy change. As far as I can tell, this is the first time that a US president has announced that the solution must be based on the so-called “1967 lines” as opposed to the previous position that the borders must be determined through negotiations.
Now, this has been the Israeli position–or at least the Labor and Kadima position–since 2000, and it is hard to ask the US to be more righteous than the Pope. But it is still a change in policy and it makes it much more difficult for Jews to believe that they will continue to have free access to their holiest sites.
On the other hand, he did have quite a few good things in the speech in regards to Israel. (Of course, my speech for him would have been better!)
It’s not surprising that this would be Obama’s approach. He’s in campaign mode and is trying to walk a careful tightrope to avoid alienating either his anti-Israel leftist base or the more centrist, pro-Israel Democrats who he’ll need to get elected again in 2012. There’s really no politically coherent foreign policy position for Obama to take, hence the only option available to him is to both stick Israel with this “1967 lines” shift while acknowledging that the “Palestinians” need to accept Israel’s right to exist.
If Obama’s foreign policy looks incoherent it’s because it is by design. He knows there’s no way to reconcile his base with the mainstream of the country so he doesn’t attempt to. Instead he just slogs through these irritating foreign policy questions until he can get back to where his heart’s really at — socializing the whole country step by step. Stanley Kurtz’s analysis in Radical-In-Chief very much applies here.
Full text of the speech here, btw.