Accommodating doctor list
He has stirred hearts in the Middle East with talk of peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians. Machiavelli said for a prince it is better to be feared than to be loved.
And from October 1 he will be talking directly with the Iranians in pursuit of his talk of stopping Tehran from getting nuclear weapons. For much of his presidency, most of the world feared George W. For a brief, shining moment after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, America’s enemies feared Bush, while almost all the rest of the world loved him.
But the most instructive element of this episode is that even the Israelis, with all their intimate dependence on the Americans, don’t feel compelled to give Obama any serious face on this issue. Of course, should Obama finally decide to take real action on Iran, all this soft shuffle and endless sweet talk in advance may have helped establish his bona fides. The Daily Telegraph, a conservative but generally pro-American newspaper, carried a comment piece headlined: “President is beginning to look out of his depth”.
It’s too early to make that call, but I’m starting to get worried.
Yet the striking thing, almost a year into the Obama presidency, is how little substantial talk with these enemies has gone on and how what talk has gone on has produced absolutely nothing. The Iranians have made a kind of pantomime dance out of mocking dialogue with Obama.
He wants to talk about their weapons-based uranium enrichment and their flouting of International Atomic Energy Agency rules. They steal an election, bash, murder and rape their opponents into submission and deliberately miss Obama’s solemn deadline of September for starting talks.
So far Obama has courted popularity with America’s critics by himself criticising America’s past and by giving things away.He is mesmerising the Group of 20 with talk of global recovery.He is leading a policy review that talks of winning in Afghanistan and he will not send more troops in response to the request of the US military commander in Afghanistan, Stanley Mc Chrystal, without deeper talks.In the midst of a desperate scrape, Richie turned to Fonzie imploringly and asked: Why are my deadly looks, threatening flexes and strategic grimaces having no effect? For all that to work, once in your life you have to have hit someone. At some point, Obama is going to have to do something seriously unpleasant to someone.Obama’s one serious foreign policy initiative during the presidential campaign was to promise that he would talk productively to America’s enemies.Then Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad repeated his sick denial of the Holocaust.