Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

Obama is a genius, liberals are stupid

with 2 comments

USS LibertyI’m firing blind here, since I really haven’t kept up with any more than the gist of current  events the last day or two. However, Obama’s speech about the Middle East and Israel deserves a response. I in fact read it, I can see why people are getting excited. It contains some truly stirring progressive sentiments. Such as “And through the moral force of non-violence, the people of the region have achieved more change in six months than terrorists have accomplished in decades.” Can we stop with the tiresome Muslim=terrorist tripe now?

I digress. Sadly, in many places Obama’s speech contained eloquent weasel wording. It sounded liberal but it really wasn’t. My favourite example is where he claimed that of course there was no way for Israel to talk with Hamas since Hamas is officially calling for Israel’s destruction. And that the Palestinians needed to really think about this. FAIL.

OK, this isn’t too complicated, try to follow along. Here’s how Israel could negotiate with Hamas even though Hamas calls for Israel’s destruction: They agree on a suitable location, they make mutual security arrangements, they send a team of negotiators.  The negotiators arrive, they sit down at a table, they talk. Um, exactly the same as if Hamas agreed to their demand? So what, exactly, is impossible about this scenario? Bitter enemies throughout history have sat down and talked, it’s often yielded results. Insisting that your enemy make concessions as a pre-condition to talks is just a weasel word way to say you aren’t interested in talks, but want to put the blame on them.

And for those old enough to remember, when Yassar Arafat publicly humiliated himself by giving a press conference to repeat that yes, when he said the PLO recognized Israel’s right to exist, he meant that the PLO recognized Israel’s right to exist, what did that get him? Joke offers from Israel, that he was right to refuse. Israel basically offered the Palestinians permanent status as a subject people of Israel, but they could call themselves independent. Some offer.

So even though the Israeli war mongers and their apologists are up in arms about this speech, it means nothing. There will be no change in USA policy: Unequivocal support for Israel. If Hamas refuses to preconditions for talks, Obama will blame Hamas. If Hamas agrees to preconditons, Israel will make a joke offer, Hamas will refuse, and Obama will blame Hamas. It’s not that hard to understand.

So what was the point of Obama’s speech, if he wasn’t really signalling  a change in US foreign policy? Simple, he was mobilizing his base for the next election. This is what I meant by “liberals are stupid.” They, like conservatives, when they hear a leader espousing their viewpoint, are incredibly impressed. The thought and overwhelming evidence that the leader might be lying through their teeth for political reasons simply never enters their mind. This is Obama’s great discovery, liberals are so desperate for a voice in modern America, that one or two liberal speeches a year will make them fall all over themselves proclaiming, “See, he really is a liberal!”

No, he’s not. He’s a brilliant politician with unlimited personal ambition. And he will do whatever it takes to get re-elected. This speech will revitalize Obama’s base, and the people that hate him the most would have hated him no matter what he said. And when it becomes clear that no actual changes are afoot, the pro-war, big oil, and pro-Israeli factions will relax. In fact their shrill public protests aside, I’m sure they aren’t particularly worried.

Could I be wrong? Could Obama’s speech actually be signalling a real change in our foreign policy in the Middle East? Well, I think that’s about as likely as the rapture happening this Saturday.

Have a great weekend everyone.

(The above image is Public Domain under US copyright law as it was produced by a US government agency, the US Navy. It’s the USS Liberty the day after it was repeatedly attacked by Israeli forces during the Six Day War, causing the deaths of 34 Americans. Despite denials by both governments,  many credible people claim the attack was not a mistake. It remains “the only maritime incident in U.S. history where [U.S.] military forces were killed that was never investigated by the [U.S.] Congress.” If Obama wants to really signal a change in US foreign policy, he could start here.)


Written by unitedcats

May 20, 2011 at 5:35 am

Posted in Uncategorized

2 Responses

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  1. I haven’t actually read the speech, but I’ve seen it quoted as calling for Israel to return to pre-1967 borders. When does he do this? Under what circumstances? Is it just mentioned as “something it’s reasonable for Israel to put on the table during talks”, or recommended as a show of good faith, or what?

    Tom Dickson-Hunt

    May 20, 2011 at 4:24 pm

    • Well, 1967 borders with mutually agreed on swaps. He says it is the basis for a settlement, he certainly didn’t call for a unilateral withdrawal by Israel. I mean, the gist of it was that this situation has caused problems throughout the region for decades, the Palestinians have a right to a homeland, and that it was time to sit down and settle it. Not unreasonable unless you’re an “Israel can do no wrong, and never has” type.
      — Doug


      May 20, 2011 at 6:42 pm

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