The Price of Taking the United States for Granted

Filed in National by on March 17, 2010

The story and repercussions of Israel’s insult to Vice President Joe Biden and the US by announcing hugely controversial expansion of East Jerusalem settlements right as the VP visits doesn’t seem to stop. Allan Loudell has been following this and has up a blog post that he has been updating as the story develops:

If Israelis wanted to peek at the FUTURE world – dominated by now emerging Third World powers with no particular religious / historical affinity for the State of Israel, and in which the United States is not always or necessarily the centerpiece of the diplomatic world – they got a glimpse.

It should have been frightening, especially against the still escalating rift between the United States and Israel.

Long-held assumptions are evaporating. There was a time when U.S. conservative talk-show hosts reverently quoted the words of General David Petraeus, the head of the U.S. Central Command.

That love affair may be ending: General Petraeus has questioned – out loud – Israel’s value as a “strategic” ally of the United States. He questions whether unilateral Israeli moves, and intransigence on the peace process, threaten U.S. lives.

That’s huge. It’s more than just about Obama.

I think that Allan is on to something here and even more I think that Hillary Clinton and President Obama are deliberately capitalizing on it. Mrs. Clinton’s 45 minute call to Netanyahu reminding him “who the junior partner in this relationship” is (thanks to John Cole at Balloon Juice for that) may have hit the necessary reset button here. One that reminds the Israelis that we are on their side and we are committed to their security, but that license to do what they want with impunity is pretty much up. Netanyahu was reported to be thinking that the Obama Admin was weakened, so he could do what he liked. And apparently the Obama Admin capitalized on this situation to remind Netanyahu of the US’s seriousness here. General Petraeus told Congress this week that the persistent hostilities between Israel and the Palestinians is not in the long term security interests of the US which — as Allan notes — is occasionally said by senior officials and often shouted down. It is tough to know where this will go — Netanyahu is expected in the US this weekend — but if it results in Netanyahu forgetting any strategy of taking the US for granted any time soon, that looks like progress to me.

Make sure you go over to Allan’s place to read his entire piece. I expect he’ll be updating this as events unwind.

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"You don't make progress by standing on the sidelines, whimpering and complaining. You make progress by implementing ideas." -Shirley Chisholm

Comments (8)

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  1. Delaware Dem says:

    I would have loved to be a fly on the wall as Hillary Clinton reemed Bibi a new one for 45 consecutive minutes. Israel needs to be reminded on which side its bread is buttered. Israel would not exist but for the United States. It is the junior partner in its relationship with the United States, not vice versa. It is high time Israel realizes there are consequences to their actions, and it is time Israel treats the United States with respect.

    If Israel wants never ending war, if Israel wants no peace process, if Israel wants to be an apartheid state governing the West Bank and Gaza, fine. Then it can return all accepted funds and military equipment donated to it over the last 60 years by the United States. The bill should total over several trillion. I want my money now.

    And for the neoconservatives and otherwise braindead Republicans out there who will now attack me as being somehow anti-semetic or pro-terrorist, I would invite your punk ass to say that to the face of your former hero, General David Petraeus, and to the whole of the United States military. You flying keyboardists, who view war in the Middle East like a game of Risk, do not care about American lives, and you obviously care not about America if you are going to defend Israel against America.

  2. Delaware Dem says:

    Further, the AIPAC crowd and those would deem any criticism of the government of Israel as anti-semetic need to realize there many Jewish people here in America, and many Jewish and non-Jewish Israeli citizens disagree with the actions of the Likud government in Israel. To make the anti-semetic charge further reveals your complete and total ignorance of all things everywhere.

  3. Joanne Christian says:

    If ever a time for Passover……

  4. PBaumbach says:

    My understanding (from an npr report) was that the announcement about the new housing came from a cabinet (interior?) secretary not in Netanyahu’s party (but within his coalition), and was a gambit to push Netanyahu to a more hard-line position (a goal of that secretary’s party). The followup point is that if Netanyahu stood up against this, he would in effect destroy the coalition (and his support for being top dog). Did anyone else hear this?

    From the sound of it, N has more problems than Pelosi.

  5. anononthisone says:

    The problem is that many on the wacko-religious right WANT Israel to succeed to the point of rebuilding the temple, triggering a colassal war and ultimatly the end times. The big concept is called “premillenial dispensationalism” and WAY too many folks on the right buy into it.

    If you think I’m crazy and fringe for talking about this, just google the term.

    more information here:

  6. anononthisone says:

    I’ll add that Bush administration officials such as Douglas Feith were avid supporters of Israel and also believers in this stuff, at least to a degree.

  7. Phuny says:

    The announcement of the planning of new housing construction in Israel’s Capital (the first shovel won’t hit the ground for three years) is a convienent excuse for Obama to turn on another of our long standing Allies.

  8. Jason Z says:

    This quote might be a little long, but I believe most would agree with Petraeus’s statements on Israel.

    –A credible U.S. effort on Arab-Israeli issues that provides regional governments and populations a way to achieve a comprehensive settlement of the disputes would undercut Iran’s policy of militant “resistance,” which the Iranian regime and insurgent groups have been free to exploit. Additionally, progress on the Israel-Syria peace track could disrupt Iran’s lines of support to Hamas and Hizballah. Moreover, our development of a cooperative Regional Security Architecture, which includes a regional network of air and missile defense systems as well as hardening and protecting our partners’ critical infrastructure, can help dissuade aggressive Iranian behavior.–

    There are only a couple references to the conflicts involving Israel in the official statement, but I think this passage reflects the overall tone. The instability there is obviously not helpful to our interests, but it is categorized in a list with all of the other destabilizing factors. This statement also mentions “partners” in a “Regional Security Architecture.” Considering that Israel is a historic partner in the region (as affirmed by President Obama), Petraeus obviously sees them as a strategic military asset.

    The New Republic has a great article, although I agree some of its points are refuted in other pieces. Yossi Klein Halevi puts much more blame on President Obama than anyone else I’ve heard, and I don’t think TNR, or Halevi, is hard right-wing.

    Hillary is walking back her “reeming,”
    ‘Clinton told reporters in Washington that the United States has an “absolute commitment to Israel’s security” — a shift in nuance compared with her characterization Friday of the United States as a “strong supporter” of Israel’s security. She also hailed the “close, unshakable bond” between the two countries, in contrast to her comment Friday that “our relationship is durable and strong.”‘

    Question: Did Petraeus only read his written remarks? I can’t seem to find a transcript of his testimony beyond the official release. Off to now to dig…