Of Red Lines, Paper Tigers and “Munich Moments”

Is Obama completely inept – or is he being diabolically clever? By drawing his “Red Line” so publicly, he has made it almost impossible to pull back from a military intervention in Syria, without losing face personally and completely destroying US credibility.  And yet, it is not Obama who will be blamed when the US is drawn into a conflict in which, whoever wins, the West will be the loser. It is Israel. Whether by accident, or by design, Obama has made sure of that. Obama has publicly linked Israel’s safety to the carrying-out of an American strike on Syria, thus making it difficult, if not impossible for AIPAC (American-Israel Public Affairs Committee) to oppose him on this.

Obama has managed to embroil Israel – and American Jewry – in a civil war in which we (and they) want no part.

Obama knows that AIPAC knows, that if the US loses its credibility over Syria, she also loses her credibility vis-a-vis Iran, in such a way that sanctions will have no chance of dissuading the latter from pressing on with her nuclear programme (if they ever did have any chance), leaving the military option as the only viable option. And if the US won’t use her military power against Syria, there is no reason to believe she will do so against Iran. But if America is dragged into a war in Syria, against the will of the majority of the American people (and, I might add, against the wishes of most Israelis also), the chances of persuading the US (and the rest of the world) to act militarily against Iran dwindle away almost to nothing.  So, either way, Obama manages to avoid taking action against Iran.

As for the so-called “Israeli/Jewish pressure for a strike on Assad”  – far from Obama being pressured by AIPAC, it is Obama who has sent AIPAC to lobby in Congress for an American attack on Syria. Israel has nothing to gain from such an attack. It would be “Out of the frying-pan, into the fire” – because the fall of Assad would mean the rise of an extremist Islamist government, tied to Al Qaeda,  in Syria – and all those chemical weapons which Assad may or may not have, would then be in the hands of Al Qaeda. In fact,  regardless of who used chemical weapons in “the attack in question”, it is quite possible that the rebels already have access to chemical weapons.

See: http://www.jihadwatch.org/2013/09/russia-says-its-compiled-100-page-report-blaming-syrian-rebels-for-a-chemical-weapons-attack.html




Nor will the blame be confined to Israel. The antisemites are out in force.  For example, The Centre for Research on Globalization – which has been accused in the past, not without reason, of Holocaust denial and of promoting antisemitic conspiracy theories – does not hesitate to scream: “Watching the scale of the Jewish pro war campaign should lead us to consider the possibility that Jewish politics (not just Israeli politics) is a grave threat to world peace.”

Obama also knows – and knows that AIPAC knows – that if the US loses her credibility, Israel’s enemies will be emboldened, being sure that a US which failed, despite its promises, to act against Assad after publicly labelling him the guilty party in the use of chemical weapons, is also unlikely to stand by Israel’s side in any future military conflict. In short – a USA which cannot be relied upon is bad for Israel. But a USA which attacks Syria and gets bogged down in what, we are now told, is likely to be a somewhat longer military campaign than originally anticipated, is also bad for Israel. In other words, whether the USA now goes ahead with a military intervention is Syria, or whether she does not – Israel is the loser.

If the US does attack Syria, Israel will be the one blamed for dragging America into another war. Israel has declared, on more than one occasion, that she has no interest in taking sides in the Syrian civil war. Yet respected newspapers such as the New York Times come out with inflammatory headlines such as: “Israel Backs Limited Strike Against Syria” . Now the New York Times is no friend to Israel, so let’s just see who their columnist Jodi Rudoren (well-known for her anti-Israel opinions) quotes to back her claim:Amos Yadlin, a former head of Military Intelligence (now retired from the IDF and holding no Israeli government position). Yadlin is entitled to his opinion, but he does not speak for Israel.

If Netanyahu is now supporting an American strike on Assad’s forces, it is not because Israel has any real desire for such a strike to take place but because Obama’s  “Red Line” (and Kerry’s even more preposterous “Munich Moment” comparison – as if one can compare a civil war between two, equally brutal, terrorist armies, and the invasion of a peaceful state by a megalomaniac dictator and his cohorts)  has pushed events into a situation where an American failure to act after promising to do so, given a certain set of circumstances now seems more dangerous than the alternative – bad as the alternative may be. Obama has actually left Netanyahu no choice. In fact – it’s a no-win situation for Israel, caused by Obama. Because if Obama fails to get the go-ahead from Congress, it won’t only be the US that lose face. As far as Obama is concerned, it will be Obama himself, more than anyone else, who loses face – and he is likely to try to “compensate” by acting the Strong Man and twisting Israel’s arm, to make more unilateral concessions which will only weaken Israel and which won’t lead to peace.

On the other hand, if Obama fails to win Congressional support, he may try to save face by touting himself as the President who, although pushed by the evil Zionist /Jewish lobby, respected the wishes of the American people and, guided by the principles of democracy, accepted the will of the People as expressed by Congress.

Like so many ordinary Israelis – and Americans too, no doubt – I am finding it hard to decide what is really going on here. So, I leave it to you.

Is Obama unbelievably inept – or diabolically clever?


About Shimona from the Palace

Born in London, the UK, I came on Aliyah in my teens and now live in Jerusalem, where I practice law. I am a firm believer in the words of Albert Schweitzer: "There are two means of refuge from the sorrows of this world - Music and Cats." To that, you can add Literature. To curl up on the sofa with a good book, a cat at one's feet and another one on one's lap, with a classical symphony or concerto in the background - what more can a person ask for?
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30 Responses to Of Red Lines, Paper Tigers and “Munich Moments”

  1. Pati says:

    Il est très intelligent……… et il est diabolique..
    je n’ai aucun doute……..

  2. Lateral Thinker says:

    I think you’ve summed it up remarkably well in this excellent analysis. It’s interesting to read your carefully considered and cogently argued comments in contradistinction to Kapo Dick’s anti-Israel distortions.

    • Thank you. But what do you think – is Obama an idiot or is he diabolically clever?

      • Silke says:


        I also don’t consider him to be very intelligent, smart, clever maybe, but intelligent aka self-thinking in the way I’d consider Shimona to be (sorry for fawning but it’s just an honest opinion) I’d say no – to me his greatest talent seems to be to know what people want to hear from him and deliver – at the beginning I’ve listened to him sometimes when he spoke freely – it seemed a pretty incoherent mumble from a man who once claimed (during his first campaign) that he could write a better speech than his best speech writer. Why then wrote during that first campaign more htan one reporter that he made one feel all warm and glowing while speaking while outside one couldn’t remember what he had said.

        Maybe in writing he can be coherent …

        But all in all I guess he is more a good pupil for grooming then a Sapere Aude man.

        Somehow I can’t help suspecting him of being eager to start his past-office-glamour-life and since by his judgment Israelis are not willing enough to take risks (translate they are cowards?) he is cross with the country.

        here he didn’t say it himself but what he says I find equally lopsided – but he has said it at other times.


      • @Silke –

        Thanks for the compliement 🙂

        “to me his greatest talent seems to be to know what people want to hear from him and deliver” – In other words – a politician through and through 😉

        I cannot forget that Obama’s close friend and mentor was the antisemitic Rev. Jeremiah Wright. “Show me who a man’s friends are and I’ll show you who that man is.”

      • Silke says:

        oh yes Jeremiah Wright – of course – still I think that Chicago-Lobby that groomed him is even more interesting

        as to saying what people want to hear – somebody recently said that Churchill portrayed the English to themselves as they wanted to see themselves

        yes of course to give to the largest number of people what they want to hear is a politician’s task but with Obama there is an extra bit that disturbs me and for which I apparently don’t have the language. Maybe that I feel manipulated but not in the game or without his caring about my consent.

      • Lateral Thinker says:

        For a long time I thought he was an idiot. Now I think he is diabolically clever.

  3. Silke says:

    the first I noticed screaming Irrefutable Evidence and Intervention must be was my special Turkish “friend” Davutoglu – and Kerry in his first speech to my ear channeled him almost to the last dot. Somehow then Turkish intelligence faded out of “my” picture and Israeli one became dominant. Wondering why sends me into bouts of imagining all kinds of paranoid scenarios

    like by pushing/forcing Israel to side with Turkey and pick up the tab a re-embracement of the two is hoped for


    like Davutoglu which IMHO tends like his master Erdogan towards the megalomaniac with his dreams of the new Ottoman union figured at that if he’d send the US and Russia at loggerheads he might be trusted with the mediation and thus be awarded a peace nobel

    btw according to at least one German media report Shimon Peres was endorsing a US intervention wholeheartedly. I haven’t seen Netanyahu mentioned but he is, according to German media always for the gung ho.
    another German media snippet mentioned that German surveillance had gotten hold of Assad commanders demanding to be allowed chemical attacks and he not giving the green light – which if true I find also very frightening, because that might foreshadow that soon nobody will have control of the depots of whatever.


    Of course I’m aware that I don’t know what’s what, still to read that even Chechens are meddling in Syria alarmed me – it was Chechens who massacred those children in Beslan –


    • @Silke – Peres makes a habit of butting in where he has no business to be, and he frequently says things diametrically opposed to Israeli Government policy. The Israeli President’s job is supposed to be a ceremonial one only (ie. a figurehead). Peres did more than enough damage with the part he played in bringing about the Oslo Agreements. He should content himself with that and not make matters worse by speaking out of turn.

      Re: the Chechens. That would certainly explain Russia’s support for the Assad regime.

      Re: Israeli-Turkish rapprochement – I doubt Obama had any such “benevolent” intentions.

      • Silke says:

        our current one Gauck tried it at the beginning also but whoever (Merkel?) ordered him back but he definitely strains at the leash as his last on Syria seemed to indicate to me.

        they should learn from Britain’s monarch ….

        as to Israel-Turkey I don’t suspect Obama but Kerry who seems more and more nuts to me – today he has said in the London Times at 1:32 pm

        Questioned as to the strength of the evidence against President Assad, Mr Kerry invoked his past as a public prosecutor in Massachusetts to say that he had sent criminals down for life on less.

        Since when do prosecutors send criminals down?

        from such a disordered mind weird schemes may pop

      • Silke says:

        as to Russia’s support your point is probably very valid but I keep thinking also of the times Russian desires were brushed away since the SU’s collapse – one thing I remember very clearly how one or more British specialists on Byzantine history were aghast at how some monasteries in Kosovo had been taken out of Serbian access and/or control and they said that disregard of Russia’s wishes would come back to haunt those guilty of the disregard.

        From all I gather I am convinced that the Orthodox Church has the longest memory of them all when it comes to grievances and that they prefer a very all or nothing attitude about them.

  4. Silke says:

    maybe the most revealing info about Obama is that one of his esteemed and high ranking Chicagoans once talked about damaging and/or protecting “Brand” Obama – as best I remember she had to leave because of that or shortly afterwards.

    But since for the last decades of my working life I worked in Intellectual Property I’ve often listened to the Brand-People of our department and therefore that careless remark gave me a very round picture.

    And though love of country may be part of the deal one shouldn’t forget how much money there is to be made from every successfully established clearly defined Brand. Within any such scheme, should it exist, Israel’s will to keep her citizens safe is definitely a hindrance.

  5. Chrissie says:

    I have long believed that Obama is inept. In his first Presidential Campaign, it was clear that he was a man from no where, with no past accomplishments, no money, and no political ability. What he DID have was a behind-the-scenes bankroller who made him what he is today-an inept President whose sole duty is to enable a U.S. slide into obscurity. What is worse is that he’s succeeding.

    I remember when we knew that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. I also remember seeing reports of those weapons being moved to Syria, with supporting satellite imagery. And now, we’re seeing those same weapons used on Syrians by Syrians acting as proxy for SOMEONE.

    I do not believe the U.S. should get involved, but Obama opened his mouth and Putin is answering back. And, yes, Israel is caught in the web, will-you or won’t-you. It’s very frustrating because the politicians aren’t the slightest bit interested in the will of the people and they’re not even hiding it anymore.

    • @Chrissie – who is the “behind-the-scenes” bankroller to whom you are alluding?

      “And now, we’re seeing those same weapons used on Syrians by Syrians acting as proxy for SOMEONE.”
      I should think it’s very likely that “someone” is Iran.

      Re. your remark about politicians – I don’t think they’ve ever been all that interested in the will of the people, once they are elected.

  6. ShimonZ says:

    the powerful act quickly, and discussion follows

    • That’s rather dangerous, really.

    • Katherine says:

      In this case although that sounds wise,we see that would have been an error,for Obama is talking to Iran’s leader which surely must be a good thing for Israel?Sounds like the act of the eagle.~Yet on whom should it prey?

      • That’s what Obama is best at – talking. He likes “talking”. But the “spiritual leaders” of Iran, who wield the real power, take a different line to the new president. And, in any case, it all depends on whether you can trust the Iranians. I believe this is merely a change of tactics, on their part and that they have every intention of carrying on with their nuclear programme. They are simply playing for time.

      • Katherine says:

        Whom do you trust?

      • Katherine says:

        Well,He was not much help in the Holocaust…………so really nobody at all except your own folk?

      • The question of “Where was God during the Holocaust” is, of course, highly charged. Of those who were in the camps and survived the Holocaust, many lost their faith. But, on the other hand, many emerged with their faith in God strengthened. So, I could say, as my father does:”Who am I to tell those who survived, but lost their faith, that God exists, after the things they saw and endured. And yet, who am I, to tell those who survived, with and emerged from the camps with their faith in the Almighty strengthened, that He does not exist?
        I suggest you read the autobiographical work “Out of the Depths” by former Israeli Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Israel Meir Lau, on this subject.

      • Pati says:

        Idem Shimona….. je ne fais confiance qu’au Tout Puissant…..

  7. Chrissie says:

    I think Peggy Noonan’s hit it right on the head.

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