Vail Valley Voices: Does the U.S. have any friends at all?
Vail, CO, Colorado
As I read about the current imbroglio between the U.S. and Israel, I can’t help but wonder who Obama has befriended internationally since he took office.
Israel is one of our most important allies. The ties between our countries have been strengthening ever since the U.S. supported Israel in their fight for independence in the mid-20th Century.
And now, we are squabbling with Benjamin Netanyahu, the Prime Minister of Israel, about a relatively minor issue. Granted, the Israelis embarrassed Joe Biden during his recent visit by announcing new settlements that may upset the prospects for a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinian government.
But perhaps the Obama team wasn’t prepared or was too presumptuous about its influence over the Israelis.
Keep in mind that Israel always reacts politically, diplomatically and militarily with one thing in mind- the survival of the Jewish state.
The Obama administration is miffed that the peace process may have been derailed. Here’s a news flash, the peace process in the Middle East has never been on-track. Iran’s nuclear arsenal and terrorist activity in the region are much more important than the construction of a few thousand houses on disputed territory.
How are America’s relations with other nations around the globe? I think, not great. Since taking office, Obama hasn’t made new friends or influenced people.
Iran has been a diplomatic nightmare for the administration. The maniac who leads Iran doesn’t think the U.S. has the guts to challenge his country’s development of a nuclear weapon. What could be worse than a nuclear Iran threatening and intimidating its neighbors with a weapon of mass destruction?
Well, there is one thing- the actual use of such a weapon against Israel or a hated Sunni regime.
The U.S. relationship with China, Russia and France is best exemplified by the reaction of these countries to America’s wish-washy response to the Iranian threat and a relatively tepid call for sanctions. There are a plethora of other issues on which these countries disagree with the U.S.
Normally, that wouldn’t concern me, except I really can’t think of any issues on which the countries agree with us.
In China, for instance, we have disputes relating to human rights, balance of trade (caused by the artificially deflated Chinese currency), North Korea, censorship, the Google conflict, Tibet and the Dalia Lama, and so on.
Even Great Britain has been critical of the U.S. Most notably, the Brits blame U.S. financial institutions for the current economic crisis.
The Middle East is the most unstable region in the world, and Obama has done very little to endear himself to the Saudis who are so influential in the area. It should be noted that radical Saudi groups have caused trouble in Iraq in reaction to Iranian interference. And, let’s not forget that radical Saudis funded the 9/11 terrorists.
Yet, the Saudis are the only significant stabilizing force in OPEC. Without their leadership, U.S. energy vulnerability would increase exponentially. Previous administrations have attempted to work with the Saudis, but there is little going on now that I’ve read about.
And finally, I should mention Obama’s Nobel Prize. What inspired the Nobel selection committee to choose Obama, and why did he accept it? Wow, what an opportunity lost to show some American humility! But, the Obama legacy team couldn’t let this moment slip through their fingers.
I guess Obama’s best excuse for so little progress on the foreign policy front can be attributed to his endless tilting at the health care windmill.
Sal Bommarito is a novelist and frequent visitor to Vail over the past 20 years.