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Obama's policy is too consistent to be "visceral"

Reader comment on item: Obama, Kerry and Netanyahu Go Visceral

Submitted by Dan Simon (United States), Jan 1, 2017 at 20:30

The problem with the theory that Obama is lashing out at Israel out of pique is that his behavior is completely consistent with the rest of his foreign policy, which follows a very simple rule: accommodate and empower enemies, while alienating and undermining allies, at every opportunity.

This approach dates back to the New Left of the 1960s, which enthusiastically sided with the Soviet Union during the Cold War, arguing that US "imperialism" was the root of all evil in the world. It's also conventional wisdom among Obama's social class, and is in fact quite sensibly grounded in class interests: the "left" coalition led by academics, journalists, bureaucrats and NGO workers gains in relative domestic status compared to their main rival coalition--which includes the military, business, and the blue-collar working class--if American power abroad is diminished, its adversaries empowered, and diplomacy therefore a necessary substitute for economic or military power.

If the Obama/Kerry swipes at Israel were taking place in the context of an administration carefully cultivating strong alliances with pro-US nations in order to confront anti-US ones, then it would make sense to attribute these uncharacteristic outbursts to personal animus. But they are in fact completely of a piece with the administration's similar jibes at Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Honduras, and other enthusiastically pro-US countries, together with its enthusiastic outreach to avowed US enemies such as Russia, Cuba, and of course Iran.

When an avowed follower of New Left thinkers and ideas adopts a completely conventional New Left foreign policy, no psychological explanation is necessary.

Submitting....

Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

Daniel Pipes replies:

You make a good point but I argued something different: That Obama's lashing out as he has in counterproductive to his goals. In that sense, it's visceral, i.e., emotional.

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Reader comments (29) on this item

Title Commenter Date Thread
Obama would've done it even had Clinton won [158 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
AnonJan 12, 2017 17:44235303
The U.N. a useless organization [396 words]YJ DraimanJan 6, 2017 02:19235165
Another perspective on the Obama-Kerry-Netanyahu remarks [187 words]Bryan TaplitsJan 5, 2017 12:32235151
1I am somewhat surprised at all the commotion regarding the U.N resolution 2334 [442 words]YJ DraimanJan 4, 2017 11:38235118
Kerry blows his top [105 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
Menahem LesterJan 3, 2017 12:53235075
Netanyahu deserves the benefit of the doubt [207 words]Saul SteinJan 3, 2017 12:12235074
Posting - 1922, a joint resolution of both Houses of Congress of the United States unanimously endorsed the "Mandate for Palestine," [464 words]YJ DraimanJan 2, 2017 04:55235055
Obama's policy is too consistent to be "visceral" [255 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
Dan SimonJan 1, 2017 20:30235047
Pipes is Correct [504 words]Sigmund SilberJan 1, 2017 02:13235039
The U.N. did not create or re-establish Israel [359 words]YJ DraimanJan 4, 2017 13:20235039
Obama, Kerry and Netanyahu go Visceral [138 words]Frances WeingartenDec 31, 2016 12:12235010
The million person march that never happened [196 words]leonard okenDec 31, 2016 08:49235006
2Why an intemperate and uncontrolled Donald Trump? [114 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
MenachemDec 31, 2016 02:43234995
Good points, Menachem! [228 words]Michael S.Jan 2, 2017 11:45234995
7Trump and Putin Making Deals [347 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
RobertDec 31, 2016 00:29234994
2Time to call a spade a spade [128 words]PrashantJan 2, 2017 11:11234994
1"Intemperate and uncontrolled Trump"? [22 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
Brutus BalanDec 30, 2016 21:32234991
Obama ,Kerry and Netanyahu go visceral [50 words]OpensocDec 30, 2016 20:25234988
Netanyahu may have over-played his Trump hand [153 words]Michael SJan 2, 2017 13:43234988
Netanyahu may have over-played his Trump hand [1 [105 words]OpensocJan 4, 2017 07:53234988
Bright future? Hmmm. [241 words]Michael S.Jan 10, 2017 12:54234988
Obama, Kerry and Netanyahu go visceral. [165 words]WartyDec 30, 2016 19:25234987
Out of control response? [65 words]EdDec 30, 2016 18:50234986
Obama actually is consistent, he chose the Arafat rejection map [115 words]Ronald DolginDec 30, 2016 17:57234985
If the U.S. was conquered by various nations over a thousand years plus [137 words]YJ DraimanJan 2, 2017 04:49234985
I agree with Netanyahu. [350 words]Anne JulienneDec 30, 2016 17:05234984
Leaders of Nations. Their thinking about Israel. response to Anne Julienne [151 words]Anne- USADec 31, 2016 09:16234984
1Thank you, Daniel .. thank you, thank you .. [38 words]Anne JulienneDec 31, 2016 14:28234984
Trump negotiating [57 words]Allen F MackenzieDec 30, 2016 16:27234983

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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