Sunday, January 4, 2009

My mistake: Obama apparently has spoken on the Gaza issue...

... at least if it's true that a picture is worth a thousand-word-presidential-elect press release.

I will (seriously) stop suggesting that President-elect Barack Obama has not voiced an opinion on the current crisis.


Waldo said...

Gratifying as it may be to whack on the guy, some things bear keeping in mind:

1. We have a head of state who is also head of government. A figure of politics who is at the same tine supposed to be above politics.

2. He'd be a pretty dim fellow to not pick and choose his issues at a time when he has no real power to affect them, a la FDR in the winter of 1932-33.

3. To the extent one can comment on things and man the bully pulpit while waiting to take over, domestic issues are easier, given the constitutional vesting of foreign affairs as the province of the president. Domestic stuff one can talk with Congress about without treading on the outgoing's authority quite so nakedly.

4. Given the sheer volume and variety of shit the outgoing is leaving the incoming on Day 1, maybe a little garden variety prayer- by us all, for us all- and for the new president is particular, would be a good thing. We should want our presidents to succeed, and in fairness ought to give them the chance to be sworn in before romping on them with both feet.

Steve Newton said...

1--Hasn't stopped the President elect from commenting on a wide variety of other foreign policy items over the past two weeks,

2--Not really true of FDR--read Barry Karl, The Uneasy State, and get back to me. FDR said lots, most of which was calculated to leave HH hanging out to dry. Not a good example.

3--Then why did Barack Obama, two weeks ago, say at variance with the current administration that he planned to consider formally placing the US nuke umbrella over Israel? Can't have it both ways.

4--I haven't romped on anything garden variety; I have romped on a situation bordering very closely on genocide IMHO, and that's a completely different moral imperative than a stimulus package.

I can't really accept the idea that Barack Obama is a victim here--unless I've suddenly acquired powers I don't know about.

Dominique said...

Steve - I'm not sure why you're surprised at Obama's spinelessness in terms of this issue. He has never shown an ounce of real courage in his entire political career. What would lead you to believe he would start now?

BTW, I don't know that I fully agree with your statement about it the invasion being a genocide. There are two sides and both seem to be a little bit wrong and a little bit right. Either way, I think the Palestinians have been much more aggressive in their genocidal goals than Israel. Israel seems to attack only when attacked, albeit with way more force than is probably necessary. Can the same be said for Hamas?

It's not a secret that Israel is armed to the hilt. Yet the Palestinians keep poking the bear. What would you suggest Israel do to make them stop?

Steve Newton said...

I said "bordering very closely on genocide"--we obviously can't know until a certain line is crossed, but there are lots of disquieting implications.

As for your second question: what do I think Israel should do? I will be the first to admit that I don't have any amazing answers, but I submit that isn't especially germane.

I'm not in charge of the largest military force in the region (Israel) or the world (US), so I have neither the intelligence assets, the communications assets, or the diplomatic contacts to know what they know.

What I can point out, however, is that what Israel is currently doing in Gaza is way out of whack and unlikely to ever give them the peace they say they want.