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ETpro's avatar

Is Obama's trip to Israel poorly timed?

Asked by ETpro (34521points) March 20th, 2013

CNN was commenting on how Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush had timed their trips to Israel in order to push forward the peace process. They said that the Israeli Press is questioning Obama’s timing. Here’s an example. CNN pointed out that Jimmy Carter’s visit helped bring about the first peace accord with Anwar Sadat of Egypt. Reagan visited in… Oh wait, he never visited Israel. Nor did Gerald Ford or George H. W. Bush. Nixon made it to Israel, but more to duck out on the Watergate scandal coverage than to do anything substantive for peace. But you get the point, right?

The 1993 Oslo Accords fell apart, Camp David stalled in 2000, and the Road Map for Peace has never gotten off the ground. Now the Arab Spring casts Egypt’s continued compliance with the 1989 Camp David Accords in doubt. But still poor timing, right? What is Obama thinking, visiting Israel without a peace accord in hand? Shouldn’t we just ignore threats like the Iranian nuclear program and the Islamic Brotherhood now ruling Egypt. Shouldn’t we wait till the hard liners in Israel, who insist that the Palestinians will never have a state; and the Holocaust deniers of Hamas all make nice? Isn’t it just inconvenient that Iran is developing nuclear capacity with no Arab/Israeli peace accord in site? What can Obama do, though. No peace accord, no visit. Right?

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34 Answers

zenvelo's avatar

Obama visiting Israel communicates that, despite their hard-nosed, right-wing coalition sucking, anti-peace, Prime Minister, that the US is definitely interested in Middle East peace and would like to work with Israeli middle grounders.

Jaxk's avatar

Sounds like a good idea. I mean these presidential visits aren’t supposed to accomplish anything. If he gets a souvenir Yamaka, that good enough. Are Michelle and the girls going? Maybe he could use Kerry as his food taster and save us a buck. That way we could reopen the Whitehouse.

ragingloli's avatar

He is obviously wearing a hydrogenbombsuicidebelt to destroy Israel because he is a socialist muslim usurper from kenya.

mazingerz88's avatar

On the contrary, it is perfectly timed. What do you do after playing golf with Tiger Woods anyway-? LOL. Also, while the budget debacle continues at home, he gets to see the Holy Land, gets to perform his role as representative of Uncle Sam to both Israelis and Palestinians.

As @zenvelo correctly describes it, he is there to communicate. And there’s no better form of communication and expression of honest concern than actually being there. Would it make a difference-? Well…umm, btw, anybody know how the President scored against Tiger-?

zenzen's avatar

I think he missed us. It’s his third time here, and as he said when he landed, in Hebrew: “it’s nice to be back in Israel.”

Lowering expectations and taking his trip with a grain of salt helps much.

majorrich's avatar

Are there any good golf courses in Israel?

bkcunningham's avatar

Notice how Barack and BiBi are now BFFs?

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

It’s always worth talking directly to someone, even if you don’t agree with them. Looking someone in the eye and getting to know them is worth it.
@majorrich There are some nice courses but some of the sand traps are a bitch.

flutherother's avatar

That is a very cynical article. I think there will be some hard talking taking place behind the scenes about facing up to the new Middle East that has resulted from the Arab Spring. How should Israel and the US respond to the threat of Iran, to the chaos of Syria and how to meet the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people.

All these issues have to be faced and Israel and the US have to agree on how to do it. I think Obama is going to try to get Netanyahu to change tack on the Palestinian issue in return for an agreement on dealing with Iran with the long term aim of getting the west on better terms with the countries of the Middle East. There is no better time than now.

antimatter's avatar

I don’t think there will ever be a right time to visit Israel, lets face it that fight have been going on for ever and will never end. The right thing to do is to what America does best, invade and force change. They are like a bunch a kids fighting over the sandpit at kindergarten, they need authority figure and the best authority figure is good old American military force. The only thing that will bring stability to Israel is the Stars and Stripes. It worked in the past with Sudan Hessian and his country men.

bookish1's avatar

Uh @antimatter, you forgot the ~, right?

ETpro's avatar

@zenvelo Netanyahu, as the head of state of a major US ally, coming into the US election on the side of Romney was certainly unprecedented. I have to wonder how he would feel if Obama tried to intervene when he faces political pressure. I think it’s a tribute to Obama’s being able to set aside the petty that he can now go and great Bebe with a big smile.

@Jaxk Sorry. No Michelle, no kids, no Kerry. But I totally agree with your basic premise. There are things to deal with, and looking back at the long term good that came of “peace process timing” on previous Presidential visits to Israel, who in their right mind thinks this visit could be timed to produce lasting peace?

@ragingloli I didn’t even bother to link to that crowd. I’m sure Michelle Bachmann can provide a wealth of “proof” of that.

@mazingerz88 I don’t know how the Big O (the other one, not Oprah) did against Tiger. I’m sure he showed Woods how the game is really played, but for some strange reason the White House Press Corps wasn’t allowed to film the event.

@zenzen Hear, hear.

@majorrich Many.

@bkcunningham It’s certainly true that politics makes strange bedfellows. Those too set in their ways to adapt to that actually make lousy politicians. They’re great at slinging shit, but they can’t get shit done.

@Adirondackwannabe If I could give you two GA awards I would. One for the accurate observation about the value of talking face to face, and the second for that insightful description of the infamous sand traps.

@flutherother I think you are guessing very accurately, and that’s why I posted this question. Let’s get real.

@antimatter I don;t know how old you are. I turned 69 today, and in my memory, this has never been the case. The last time a US invasion actually turned out well was May 8, 1945. I was just over 1 year old.

Since then, if you exclude show invasions of third world countries without military forces, like Grenada, our attempts to introduce stable democracy at the point of a gun have all be spectacular failures. Korea, Vietnam, Lebanon, Iraq, Afghanistan and Iraq again for good measure.

The latest two, Iraq and Afghanistan have been multi-trillion dollar failures. Afghanistan hasn’t reverted back to the Taliban yet, but it will shortly after we leave. What are you smoking man. That must be some kick ass stuff.

@bookish1 Just in case someone else reads that and take it seriously.

mattbrowne's avatar

No, because the mindsets of Obama and Netanyahu are not compatible and won’t ever be compatible.

zenzen's avatar

@majorrich Just one. Caesarea.

@matt: The new government might sway Netanyahu – he seems easily swayed.

majorrich's avatar

@ETpro Many Happy Returns!

Is Caesarea worth flying to Israel…..Wait…Never mind :D

antimatter's avatar

To be honest I cant think of any good solution or think of a good response, some one will have to intervene. Some Israeli Jews pray for it, they are tired of peace treaties that wont last for ever, it’s like band aid in a leaking ship.

ETpro's avatar

@mattbrowne As Charles Dudley Warner said, “Politics makes strange bedfellows.” That’s pretty apparent at this stage of the visit.

@antimatter We saw that today in the reaction of the crowd to the President’s speech.

antimatter's avatar

@ETpro sorry about my previous statement but I have been in Israel so it’s safe to say I have and felt what they feel. It’s a sad sad story.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I see Turkey and Isreal have restored diplomatic relations, with Obama pushing Net guy. (I can’t spell his name) I guess it wasn’t bad timing.

mazingerz88's avatar

^^Netanyahu. Think “InterNET and Yahoo” : )

majorrich's avatar

There is a new Championship quality course in Syria. O’Bama will have to make a separate trip to play it though. It costs us more for him to do it that way. I was unable to find any good courses in Jordan, but I imagine there are at least a couple. Yee Haw Air Force One!!

Jaxk's avatar

@majorrich

Luckily, with the Cypress example, we don’t have to worry about how to pay for all this.

Jaxk's avatar

Make that Cyprus.

ETpro's avatar

@Jaxk Cypress or Cyprus. Who cares? The whole world has been wringing its collective hands about the horrible threat that an nation state with a GDP half the size of the annual income of FexEx might go bankrupt and thus lead to the end of the world as we know it. And yet we think Wall Street is sane.

Jaxk's avatar

@ETpro

It’s not about Cyprus, it’s the precedent. If you can’t trust the government to keep thier hands out of your savings account, what’s left? A mattress? While we’re all worried about whether our Social Security will be aroud for retirement, we now have to worry about our savings as well.

ETpro's avatar

@Jaxk Living in the USA, I don’t find what the government of Cyprus does or doesn’t do of much concern to me. I remain unclear about why the tiny island has such an impact on world finances.

I really don’t know what Cyprus had planned in their legislation, but I do know that they had been a dumping ground for savings from all over the world and Russia in particular because deposits there could go hidden from the governments hoping to tax those funds in their land of origin. Supposedly, their idea was to levy a small tax on those foreign deposits. It might have actually had merit if done right.

Jaxk's avatar

@ETpro

40% on anyone with more than 100K Euros is hardly a small tax. There is a lot of noise about it mostly hitting Russian gangsters but there are more people involved than that. Banks have been closed for two weeks pending this tax and it’s not clear how many of them will survive. The fears are that this could be a way to solve the financial crunch in other countries as well. If it creates a run on banks throughout Europe, we’re in deep shit. And of course, Obama wants us to be more like Europe so is it possible here as our debt races towards $20 trillion. If we lose confidence in our banking systems, we’re in a real mess.

ETpro's avatar

@Jaxk Cyprus is manageable even if they do provoke a banking collapse there. Italy’s another question, and they aren’t far behind Cyprus when it comes to the kimchi of their finances. Nor is Greece.

I have no idea what you’re talking about in claiming Obama wants us to be more like Europe. They chose austerity. We chose stimulus. Exact opposites. But partisan hate never ceases, and what do facts have to do with that.

Jaxk's avatar

@ETpro

The old ‘Austerity’ argument. That only works if you don’t look at what they are actually doing. Taxes are going up across Europe. I’m not sure how that qualifies as austerity but hey, let’s not get picky. Europe spends about 50% of GDP on government. We’re closer to 40%. So if you look at taxes and spending, Obama is trying to move us toward the European model. Higher taxes and higher spending. Don’t try to play with the words look at the actions of both. Everyone knows that Obama wants to move us towards the European socialist model. If you like that model go ahead and say so. But it’s failing all across Europe.

ragingloli's avatar

oh look, more “europe is socialist” nonsense. what were the odds.

ETpro's avatar

@Jaxk Facts are so damn inconvenient for right wingers, aren’t they? The deficit is down, not up, over the last 3 years. The deficit has gone down under every Democratic Presidency since the end of WWII and has gone up under every Republican Presidency. Bill Clinton had it absolutely right for the average working stiff when he said, “If you want to live like a Republican, vote like a Democrat.”

Here’s today’s real Republican message in a nutshell. Let’s say all America is populated by just 100 people. They get together for a party, and order a 100-slice pizza. The first guy reaches in and takes 80 slices for himself. Republicans are the party that says the whole problem is that poor guy didn’t get enough pizza.

majorrich's avatar

LOL!! Cyprus has 3 pretty good golf courses. O’Bama is almost certain to go visit.

Jaxk's avatar

@ETpro

Actually I love facts. You guys just don’t like to use them. Obama has deficits twice as large as any previous president for every year he has been in office. Here are the facts. I know, I know, you’ll scream but Obama inherited a recession. Well guess what, so did Reagan and Bush. The Fact is that EVERY Democratic president in the last 40 years has left a recession for the next guy. Facts are wonderful things if you use them. Problem is Democrats can’t seem to use them as they lie. Democrats have to manipulate the facts to come up with thier preconceived notion of what they should be. You’re entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts.

ETpro's avatar

I said the deficits have been shrinking, not that they are not large. We can thank Republican mismanagement of the economy for the Great Recession of 2007 which tanked revenues and required extra spending. That is what produced the deficit explosion. You’re, too, are entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts.

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