Monday, December 29, 2008

Change you can make believe in

Just so you know what you have to look forward to, Obama has, predictably, lined up behind the Bush administration in support of the Gaza attacks. He presents this as a deference to the outgoing president, but that is absurd. Obama has never been reluctant to speak on other issues, and even while pretending to defer, he clearly signals his support for Israel's action. That hoary old racist warhorse Ehud Barak certainly considers Obama a key supporter. His appalling AIPAC speech already made it clear not only that he considers Jerusalem to be the capital of Israel, but that he sees the defense of Israeli interests to be crucial to securing American interests in the Middle East. Obama has always stressed that the real need was not to defeat Iraq but to contain Iran, which he argues is both the major strategic threat to Israel and to the US in the region. He has even gone so far as to say he would support bombing Iran. Hamas and Hezbollah he portrays as mere extensions of Iranian influence, rather than as movements against Israeli aggression. As a result, they are seen as legitimate targets for military attack. Reflecting this position, Obama has appointed fervent supporters of Israel to most important foreign policy positions, and as for his VP - can you imagine what a lunatic like Joe Biden would make of Gaza? And it is important to recognise that in global terms, Obama's position is simply off the charts. Even David Miliband daren't support this latest aggression and is calling for a ceasefire (do you think he remembers what happened to the old boss after Lebanon?). Even the UN Security Council has issued a statement calling for a ceasefire and the opening of the Gaza border. Of course, all this is shrouded in obfuscatory language about Hamas 'provocations' and violence 'on both sides', but at least there is a recognition that Israel is engaged in an act of bloody adventurism. Obama's position recognises none of this, and as such is an extremist one. It is very likely to result in some early blood-letting, somewhere. Biden's creepy warning about Obama getting his mettle tested early on at least suggests this. So, prepare yourself for the worst - they certainly are.