Mostafa Zein
Dar Al-Hayat (Opinion)
November 24, 2009 - 1:00am

The neoconservatives in the United States were defeated, but they were victorious in Israel and for Israel. They achieved a single victory during the administration of President George Bush, who spread chaos in the manner of the nihilists, believing, stupidly, that it was the way to spread American values.

The revenge for other defeats began immediately, after Barack Obama won the presidency and made attempts to change imperialist rhetoric and adopt diplomacy instead of war to achieve Washington’s interests. The conservatives launched a fierce media campaign against “the black man in the White House.” They spared no method, from doubting his loyalty to the US and accusing him of coddling Islamists, out of loyalty to his roots, to inciting racism against him and mobilizing the Jewish lobby to punish him whenever he took a step toward calling for a peace settlement in the Middle East.

Then, Dick Cheney’s campaign began. He called Obama to stop “dithering” in Afghanistan because “uncertainty in Washington would have a negative impact on our friends and strengthen our enemies”, as he put it.

Last month, John Bolton wrote something in which he used the same language as Cheney. He accused Obama of weakness, hesitation and harming US interests, saying: “Obama is no Harry Truman. At best, he is reprising Jimmy Carter,” who represents a historical example of weakness and hesitation in taking decisions. Bolton blames Obama for halting the project for a missile shield along Russia’s borders, and stumbling as he tries to push the Middle East peace process forward “because he set a target for an end to Israeli settlement expansion, couldn’t meet it,” while the confrontation between Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benajamin Netanyahu ended by weakening the US president and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Bolton continued to list “mistakes,” from North Korea to Afghanistan, as well as Iran, summing it up by saying that Obama’s continued dithering and failure to settle matters would produce a huge abyss that the US would eventually fall into.

The neoconservatives are not alone in this American ideological struggle. Their allies are present to implement what they propose, in practical terms. Netanyahu, for example, has exploited every opportunity to weaken Obama. His famous meeting with him, in the presence of Abbas, was portrayed as a victory for him and for US and Israeli values. He rejected the demand to freeze settlements, even if for a limited period of time. He insisted on getting Jerusalem and the right of return for Palestinian refugees out of the negotiations. He halted indirect talks with Syria, unconcerned about Israeli-Turkish friendship. He launched a war of annihilation against Gaza. He tried, with his rejection of the Goldstone Report, Washington’s determination to support him. He won the bet. He turned George Mitchell from an emissary between Israel and the Palestinians to one between him and the White House, concerned only with maintaining this “favored son” and meeting his demands, even if this is at the expense of the initiative of his president and the reputation of his country.

Some are awaiting Obama’s reaction to this siege. However, everything indicates that he is retreating before the pressure. He decided to increase troop levels in Afghanistan. He no longer cares about playing a role in Europe. The peace process in the Middle East is no longer one of his concerns. He is no longer ready to hint at pressuring Israel in order to deliver on his promises.

In short, the specter of George Bush has returned, to dominate the White House. It sprang from the position of its sole victory in Israel and from the chaos of the Middle East to Washington, in the form of a black Democrat who carries out the policies of the neoconservatives.


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