As we come to the close of Pres. Obama’s second term and near the 2016 presidential election, it’s time to make a few predictions about the role Israel will play in the coming campaign and how U.S. foreign policy will play out in the region. To do this, I have to make a prognostication about who will win the election. At this point, I’d say the odds-on favorite to win is Hillary Clinton. To be very clear, I don’t support her and won’t vote for her (I support Bernie Sanders in the primary campaign).
If you look at every GOP presidential candidate, I don’t think any of them have the gravitas to beat Clinton. I don’t by any means think she’s a stellar candidate. She obviously has flaws and blind spots. She can be beaten–Barack Obama showed that in 2008. But I don’t think that will happen this time around.
So if Hillary wins, what are the prospects for Israel-Palestine? In a word, bleak. Even bleaker than they are today.
The truth is that while Barack Obama offered the best chance of changing the dynamic in the conflict and taking bold steps toward solving it–he wasted all his efforts. I’ve written about the reasons for his failures many times before here. Suffice to say, that the violence we are now witnessing is in large part the result of Obama’s failures in this realm. He had eight years to accomplish something and he did virtually nothing. A few stabs at piecemeal measures which Netanyahu parried easily. Then he was done. Spent.
Clinton will have none of the positive energy that Obama had in his first two years in office. She will not take bold stands. She will settle for the status quo, which means more and greater violence. Israel can continue its downward slide toward what looks more and more like fascism to me. Israelis can continue voting in more and more extreme governments safe in the knowledge that Clinton will, at best, make feeble protestations about preserving democracy and supporting two states. These ideas will become more and more laughingstocks.
If she serves two terms, it means eight more years of murder of Israeli Jews and Palestinians. It means at least two or three more wars in Gaza. It may mean a war against Hezbollah in Lebanon as well. Given the numbers killed in the past such wars, we can expect another 10,000 dead over that span of time. No, it’s not Rwanda. But must we wait till 800,000 die before Hillary Clinton will get off her ass and break out of her Zio-mindset?
Hillary, as almost all readers here know, is bought lock, stock and barrel by Haim Saban. He will not only contribute millions to her campaign (he’s contributed $2-million even at this early date in the 2016 campaign), he will draw other pro-Israel donors into the fold. He will be the Israel Lobby’s enforcer in Hillary’s camp. He will also get to lobby for cabinet posts and State Department staff assignments for the Zio-faithful. Look to Dennis Ross, Aaron David Miller, David Makovsky and the whole tired bunch of Zio-mats (Zio-diplomats) to rear their ugly heads once again, regurgitating the same tired concepts which failed in the past administrations in which they served. Ross, given his level of self-regard, may tout himself Secretary of State material (Lord help us!). Saban will certainly be his chief champion.
The one bold stroke Obama took which he will hand to Hillary on a silver platter is the opportunity for détente with Iran. If she continues his policy of engaging Iran and exploring the possibility of resolving intractable conflicts like those in Syria and Lebanon, in which Iran has a deep and vested interest–then she too may make a mark in the region, even if she fails on Israel-Palestine. But that is an open question. I don’t know if she has the courage, vision and political savvy to continue along Obama’s road.
I doubt anyone will ask me why I won’t vote for Hillary. It seems obvious. But in case anyone does want it spelled out, I think four or eight years of Hillary means more mass death in the Middle East.
‘If she [Iran] continues his policy of engaging Iran and exploring the possibility of resolving intractable conflicts like those in Syria and Lebanon ‘
How naive. Iran doesn’t want peace in the Middle East.
Iran wants long, protracted civil wars in the the Arab States. Not a full, ‘divide and conquer’ strategy, but a long term ‘divide and exploit’ strategy.
It’s the exact same strategy that Russia is using on it’s neighbors in the Ukraine, Georigia, etc.
Both countries are both, at their core, weak, and both are xenophobic. Those are the reasons for their ‘divide and exploit’ strategy.
I see both Russia and Iran acting in defensive postures. Russia in particular is trying to deflect an hyper aggressive USA neocon imperialism, which is both arrogant and naive. Iran is simply trying to preserve its theocracy and help other coreligionists in the shiah crescent from Iraq to Lebanon.
I don’t follow the ins and outs of Israeli shenanigans in the Middle East, but I bet they are encouraging divisions as much as possible. They also seem to be shortsighted, in the sense that Israel lobby pressures drive the USA into a very wasteful and counterproductive policy. I’m really afraid that future historians will see today’s USA as an overextended empire driven to collapse by its internal flaws.
As for Sanders vs Hillary, I’ll keep Hillary. I can’t stand her, but that’s the better choice. I may however vote for Marco Rubio to see if he can stop Obama’s policies in Latin America, which are failing badly as he encouraged human rights abuses and dictatorship when he got in bed with the tyrant Raúl Castro.
Looking in the mirror …
[need I say more?]
EU enacts labelling law due to illegality of settlements
[comment deleted: Off-topic. If you continue posting such off topic comments you could be moderated.]
Yeah, Right says
No, there is nothing hypocritical regarding the EU’s treatment of Northern Cyprus.
The EU (correctly) regards it as Cypriot territory that is under the belligerent occupation of Turkish armed forces, and does not recognize it as an independent state.
It therefore regards all of Cyprus – North included – as the territory of a member state of the EU, but with the privileges of membership suspended in Northern Cyprus for as long as that occupation continues i.e. products produced in Northern Cyprus *do* definitely get treated differently to products produce by Cyprus.
There is nothing wrong with any of that, but you really do need to understand that when the Anan Plan for reunification was put to a simultaneous referendum it was actually overwhelmingly approved by the Turkish Cypriots in Northern Cyprus i.e. that there isn’t a unified Cyprus today is not the fault of the citizens of Northern Cyprus, precisely because they agreed to that proposition.
Compare and contrast…
There is nothing to compare or contrast.
Thousands of illegal Turkish settlers now call Northern Cyprus their home, and now make up a majority of the population of Northern Cyprus.
These illegal settlers receive aid from the EU.
Everything else you’ve said that serves to justify this hypocrisy is irrelevant.
And what about the EU’s war crime of ‘pillage’ off the coast of Western Sahara?
Poor yea right. You have just bit into a Hasbara 101 deflection tactic. When Israeli’s position is indefensible then change the subject. Now you are engaging Hopper in a debate over Cypress!! Bing bing, Hopper has just scored a major debating point. You acknowledge that the problem is not Israel but it is Turkey.
OK. But maybe you and hopper can find the Cypress debating society to continue your debate.
Richard Silverstein says
@ Anonymous: Thanks for reminding me that Hopper’s comment was off topic, way off-topic. And indeed a perfect example of Hasbara 101 as you say.
In future folks, it’s best not to respond to off topic comments in this vein. These hasbaraniks are just looking for attention…and diversion.
I respond to Oui’s posted link, and I’m ‘distracting’?
Yeah, Right says
Hopper: “There is nothing to compare or contrast.”
Yes, there most certainly is.
Hopper: “Thousands of illegal Turkish settlers now call Northern Cyprus their home, and now make up a majority of the population of Northern Cyprus.”
Not sure about how the “settlers now make up a majority”, but the rest of that sentence appears to be accurate.
Hopper: “These illegal settlers receive aid from the EU.”
Annnnnnd, that’s where Hopper’s argument falls to the ground.
Cyprus was admitted to the EU in 2008, and therefore gains all the privileges and advantages that come with that members. But those privileges and advantages are denied to anyone living in “Northern Cyprus”, and will continue to be denied to them for as long as they insist on calling themselves “Northern Cyprus.
That situation is therefore quite analogous to the situation w.r.t. Israeli settlers inside the occupied West Bank i.e. while Israel is not a member state of the EU it does, indeed, have a privileged status w.r.t. that Economic Union, but those privileges do not extent to those Israeli colonists, and that will remain true for as long as they remain colonists.
Looks pretty spot-on to me….
Richard Silverstein says
@ Yeah Right: I know it’s tempting to respond to Hopper. But when he goes off into the weeds I urge you not to follow him there. As tempting as it may be to prove him wrong in this new diversion he’s introduced, it’s even more important (to me at least) to remain focused on the subject at hand: which is the Israeli-Arab conflict.
[comment deleted: off-topic. This being your second warning, if you post another off-topic comment you will be moderated.]
Yeah, Right says
I’m not sure I agree to that line of reasoning, Richard.
Hopper is saying that the EU is unfairly “singling out” Israeli settlements, and he points to Northern Cyprus for his evidence of the unfairness of that treatment of Israel.
I think it is quite “on topic” to point out that the core basis of his argument (i.e. that the EU is “providing aid” to Turkish settlers in Northern Cyprus) is factually incorrect.
A lie, in other words.
If his argued point of comparison is a lie then his argument is, likewise, a lie.
I do not believe that it is “off topic” to point out to him that the “evidence” that he produces in support of a claim for EU bias against Israel is….. a pack o’ lies.
You misunderstood the quote,”she” refers to Clinton ,not Iran.
The rest of your post is kind of interesting.
If you would replace the words “Iran” and “Russia” with “US”,you’re spot on.
Now it’s just another annoying attempt to rape history and truth,as usual.
Your arguments are pretty silly even for Hasbara,by the way.
Richard Silverstein says
If you’re not a native Israeli you could be a dead ringer for one. You haven’t a shred of expertise in the field. Know next to nothing about Iran. Don’t know Iranians. Know nothing of the country or its traditions. Yet you have somehow become a expert in the field. Capable of making vast judgments & generalizations about Iranian strategy and history. I don’t know who you think you’re fooling except yourself. You’re about as credible as a $3 bill.
Actually, it is Israel that wishes long protracted wars in the Arab states which weaken them & permit them no energy or financing to confront Israel. Not to mention that it is Israel that is “weak” and xenophobic. Not weak in military weapons. But weak in morality and political stability.
Thanks for allowing us to see the truth despite yourself.
“Know next to nothing about Iran”
I know that Iran has stirred up trouble in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. I know that Iran has a proxy mini state in far off Lebanon. I know that Iran has meddled in Iraq to the extent that Iran has a proxy running what’s still governable in Iraq, and I know that Iran is heavily involved in Syria , though less involved in Yemen.
All of the above mentioned countries are Arab States.
Why all the involvement in the affairs of the Arabs?
I don’t know about you, but I see an 800 lb gorilla in the room.
BTW. I forgot to mention Iran’s Palestinian proxy Islamic Jihad, and their former patronage of Hamas.
Richard Silverstein says
@ Hopper: And I know that Saudi Arabia is pummeling Yemen into oblivion, that Israel had its own mini state in southern Lebanon for decades, that it uses Gaza for a punching bag, that it is heavily involved in Syria. Not to mention the crimes of my own country in the region. Why all the involvement in the affairs of Arab states? I don’t know about you but I see several obnoxious 800 lb gorillas in the room.
Iran’s activities are largely the result of defending Shia Islam and in Syria and Lebanon. They are also largely the result of trying to counter Israeli aggression & interventionism in the affairs of other frontline Arab states.
Drop the nonsense about Iran being an evil, troublemaking state. It’s false & boring. Been tried before by propagandists better than you.
[comment deleted: do not repeat yourself in comments you publish. You wrote virtually the same comment earlier today. This violates the comment rules. Read them if you haven’t, and if you have read them again.]
what an odd claim…… many people do not think that iran’s intentions are peaceful…and saying to people espousing that POV that ” If you’re not a native Israeli you could be a dead ringer for one”.
do you have some kind of bias against Israelis?
Richard Silverstein says
@clayton: No, I have a bias against idiots…like you.
[comment deleted–commenter banned for major comment rule violations]
nessim dayan says
in as much as reagan was a complete nincompoop he instilled the strength to use the us military for ‘some’ purpose, However and after the Bush II disaster america is in retreat and navel gazing mode. America has lost its guts. it refuses to project it’s military. to pick and chose a fight in this world is synonym of cowardice.
it is high time for America to use its military not for empire building but for protecting its allies and bullies those allies who do not want to fall in line. it is time for america to use its military and budgetary armament to project its strength. democrats are peeing in pants to propose anything of that sort and republican are aching to EFFECTIVELY blame a president for wasting american lives. but you cannot make an omelet without breaking eggs and you cannot try to crush warlords into submission any other way. netanyahu is no different from a puppet warlord that needs to be put in his corner one way or another, if needs be bring the green berets to the west bank with the americans playing a head roll and lets see what excuse does puny israel have to refuse an agreement with the palestinians. it is with a position of force that order can be had and made. force does not equate shooting guns it equates to “blustering with the possibility of use force” any other way and america looks as it is now, a hunkered down coward of a nation unwilling to project guts.
in other words to be a smart putin, not by just words. a few soldiers in iraq is even worst than doing nothing.
to the victor goes the trophy. talking isn’t doing to be afraid of republicans bluster is not leading
Bit early to draw conclusions,methinks.
The Global Chessboard is rapidly changing,especially in the Middle East and the Caucasus.
How many countries are still under control and willing to obey the US in the ME?
What is Israel allowed to do ,with Russia all over Syria?
How long before The House of Saud will collapses?
Even Hillary becoming President is far from sure,she’s got many skeletons in the closet,and Russia(Geo-politically,intelligence) and China (economically) will have a say in this,if they want to.
The current situation will not be solved ,or bought,with a few hundred Saban/Adelson millons .
We’re in the middle of a reset,most of the powers involved in this fight(US/GB/EU/RUSSIA/CHINA) are not too crazy about Zionists/Israel anymore,and are certainly not gonna obey them,also because their populations are waking up to what 1897 Zionism and Israel is.
They have bigger fish to fry,Israel is becoming a sideshow,a nuisance.
And that’s what really is upsetting desperate 1897 Zionist whining attention whores.
Damien Flinter says
“Israel can continue its downward slide toward what looks more and more like fascism to me.”
You don’t think its full-blown fascism yet?
Methinks that $£id€ is well $£id.
○ Learning Curve of the Clinton Dynasty, 8 Year Drought for Palestinians
I agree that a Hillary admin will keep on doing the same old, same old. However it is hard to predict what is going to happen inside Israel. Israel is most certainly changing. The changes are gradual but the direction into increased racism, fascism is unmistakable. Most Americans are oblivious to this. However, realization, when it happens, will be sudden. This will create a political change in the US that will make it more difficult for any US president to continue to support Israeli war crimes.
” I think four or eight years of Hillary means more mass death in the Middle East”, I agree…so sad…so sad
” Israel can continue its downward slide toward what looks more and more like fascism to me. ”
You aren’t the first and won’t be the last Israel-basher to compare Israel to the Nazis, Apartheid, etc. Fortunately, most level headed people aren’t obsessed like you and don’t see it that way.
Good luck wallowing in your hatred and anger. Get some therapy.
Richard Silverstein says
@ Yehuda: I don’t need therapy. But you and your fellow Israelis need massive intervention and treatment. Perhaps even emergency commitment to an asylum to prevent you from harming yourselves and others.
I wonder who these “level headed people ” might be?
This is the harvest of only the last few days:
The State of Israel will become legal guardian of children,not the parents.
Leftists heckle Levin(Likud) ,call him “Goebbels”.
Bennett calls EU labeling anti-Semitism.
US agrees with EU labeling.
“Obama is an anti-Semite.”
Frist reading in Knesset: BDS supporters to be banned from Israel(that includes Jews).
Samaria activist takes on Jewish BDS supporters on Youtube.”Something bad is happening to some US Jews.
“If Reform Judaism is left out,US jews will drop support of Israel.”
“European Rabbi’s declare Open Orthodoxy “outside the fold”.
Culture(sic) Minister: “A-G is trash”.
It’s becoming a free for all.
Fascism comes from the Latin “fascis” ,and it means “Rod,a bundle”.
Judaism ,under 1897 Zionist control ,is now splintering up into innumerable amounts of little bundles.
And now TPTB have decided to drop Israel,Judaism will split up into these little bundles.
Untill almost no Jew fits into your definition of “level headed”.
The ultimate consequence of 1897 Zionist Fascism run by the kind of “level headed people” you’re talking about .
Why did this happen?
It’s what Orthodox European Judaism (another group being hated by most other Israeli Jews),has recognized for over a century:
“1897 Zionism is a political program to exterminate Am Israel”.
Eppur si muove.
Arie Brand says
Clinton must be aware that foreign leaders she will be dealing with if elected all know that as far as Israel is concerned she has been bought and paid for by Saban. Wouldn’t that prod her to show some independence? Also, she is 68. She might not count on two terms. Saban might come to regret his investment.
One keeps hoping.
Arie Brand says
At any case according to the Washington Post’s hawkish columnist Jennifer Rubin Clinton’s alleged pro-Israel stance leaves much to be desired:
Richard Silverstein says
@Arie Brand: You mean compared to Meir Kahane Hillary is anti-Israel? Jennifer Rubin is essentislly a Kahanist, so of course Hillary isn”t pro Israel enough for her.
Yeah, Right says
There is one thing I find very odd about commentary regarding US elections.
Hillary is a rather unexceptional example of a politician seeking the highest office, and it is taken for granted that she is up for sale and Saban has put in the highest bid.
All the Presidential candidates are, to the point where it is accepted by everyone that at this moment the Republican candidates are not so much campaigning for votes as they are campaigning for the support of *this* billionaire (say, Sheldon) or *that* billionaire (e.g. Paul Singer) or *those* billionaires (the Koch brothers).
But there are only so many billionaires, and once it becomes obvious that no billionaire wants to purchase them the candidate simply withdraws from the race because – let’s be honest here – continuing to stand becomes an exercise in pointlessness.
In short: everyone accepts that those who stand are whores, and the “campaign” at this point in time is all about whether (or not, as the case may be) they can find a Sugar Daddy willing to shove banknotes into their garter belts.
But, still, I wonder: how is that not the classic definition of an Oligarchy?