By Alex Thorne

Over the weekend, The Washington Post ran a devastating exposé by Scott Wilson titled, “Where Obama failed on forging peace in the Middle East,”  that recounts how Barack Obama repeatedly demonstrated a complete lack of understanding, judgment and leadership when dealing with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the Middle East during his first term.

According to people who attended early meetings between Obama and influential Jewish leaders, the president was quoted as saying, “Don’t think we don’t understand the nuances of the current issues. We do.”  Yet Obama’s attempts throughout his first term in office to negotiate a peace agreement between Israel and Palestine met with failure due in large part to his unrealistic view of the issues dividing the two parties and the dynamics that govern the region as a whole.

Regarding Obama’s lack of leadership regarding his administration’s top Middle East advisors who where implementing Obama’s strategy, Wilson writes:

The way Obama managed the Israeli-Palestinian issue exhibited many of the hallmarks that have defined his first term. It began with a bid for historic change. But it foundered ultimately on his political and tactical misjudgments, on a lack of trusted relationships and on an outdated view of a conflict that many of his closest advisers imparted to him. And those advisers — veterans of the Middle East peace issue — clashed among themselves over tactics and turf.

Since Obama took office, the stakes in the Middle East have increased dramatically.  Obama’s failure with Israel and Palestine has larger consequences, as Wilson points out:

Obama’s inability to bring Israelis and Palestinians together is especially problematic today, as the Arab Middle East remakes itself and Israel, more isolated than ever, weighs a military strike against Iran. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is scheduled to head to Israel this week. And Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney is planning to visit later this month, injecting Obama’s record on the Israeli-Palestinian issue into the heart of a fierce campaign.

These failures had their genesis in a tragic miscalculation that started once Obama took office.  The Obama administration was borderline delusional in its belief that Obama’s historic election could change events around the world:

The approach captured the essence of Obama’s view of foreign policy: everyone gives a little, everyone gets a little. And several senior administration officials believed that Obama, after a historic election at home and rock-star popularity abroad, would be able to persuade traditionally recalcitrant Middle East leaders to agree.

And again, Obama’s misunderstanding of how Israel, the United States’ closest ally in the Middle East views itself,  is pointed out in this passage from the article:

For the small number of people who witnessed that still afternoon, the memory was indelible. It was also a miscalculation, a sign that the president knew less about the historic shape of the Israeli-Palestinian story than he thought. Some prominent Israelis and Jewish supporters said Obama, in his somber remarks at the gates of the camp, suggested that the state of Israel emerged as a moral response to the Holocaust. But most Israelis believe the state’s legitimacy is rooted in the Bible and Hebrew texts of its people, a central tenet of Zionist thought.

And finally, as Obama’s failures continued to pile up, the United States lost its political capital in the Middle East, complicating the Israel-Palestinian peace process:

Within days, Israel’s settlement freeze expired and with it the direct talks. After a year and a half of politically costly pressure on Israel, Obama had nothing to show for it, except far less capital to work with at home and a damaged reputation among the Middle East veterans directly involved.

“Around this time, an image was being created that it was pain-free to say no to the United States,” said a former Palestinian adviser to Abbas, who is known informally as Abu Mazen. “There was no sense of awe around the president — and that is essential to the peace process. That is what informed Abu Mazen’s thinking about Obama.”

Read the full Washington Post article here–>>


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