March 22nd, 2013

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Obama's RealPolitik in the Mideast

Of all the various clips that came out of the MidEast trip recently, the most telling was the news that Obama forced Netanyahu and Turkey's Erdogan to make nice. Specifically, he forced Netanyahu to make a full apology for the deaths from the 2009 Gaza blockade incident (not merely an expression of regret) and forced Erdogan to take the call and agree to accept the apology. It kinda went like this:

Obama: Bibi, do you have something to say to Tayipp?

Netanyahu: (looking down at his shoes sullenly) I'm sorry I killed your citizens when they were running our blockade.*

Obama: Tayipp, do you have something to say to Bibi?

Erdogan: I accept your apology and we can be friends again.**

Obama: Good, now lets all play nice together again. Look, I brought everyone new anti-aircraft systems to protect you from Syria and yummy aid dollars for treats!

Netanyahu and Erdogan: Yay!!!

*Even if it was totally your fault and our troops acted in self-defense.

**Even though your blockade is totally illegal and you acted in international waters, making these actions murder and not just excessive force.

This highlights the most important aspect of Obama's trip, IMO. This wasn't about kickstarting the peace process or any kind of hope and change thing. This was about the new Realpolitik of the MidEast. During the 1980s, one of the standard charges against Margret Thatcher was that she had made the UK "America's aircraft carrier." This is about making sure we have an aircraft carrier in the Mideast, and screw the peace process.

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