Daily Israel Report

Obama 'Would Abandon Israel Just Like South Vietnam'

American professor claims US administration consciously sidelining American foreign policy, bodes ill for Israel.
By Ari Soffer
First Publish: 12/19/2013, 2:37 PM

President Barack Obama
President Barack Obama
Flash 90

Recent months have seen the Obama administration face sharp criticism from the USA's traditional Middle Eastern allies over its foreign policy.

Almost all regional leaders outside of Damascus and Tehran have watched in horror as American pressure on Iran over its nuclear program crumbled, just months after the administration's "red line" on Syria rapidly blurred and disappeared. From Riyadh to Jerusalem, the US President's policies have been slammed and derided as weak and uncertain. 

Coming after the astonishing ease with which the Obama administration threw its long-time Egyptian ally Hosni Mubarak under a bus - and then subsequent proved woefully unable to decide whether it backed Morsi's Islamists or Sisi's military establishment as a replacement - the conclusion that Washington was either confused or lacking in conviction seemed a fairly logical one.

But according to one American academic, the Obama administration's apparently "confused" foreign policy is in fact a conscious attempt to sideline American foreign policy.

Speaking to Arutz Sheva, Professor Samuel Schneider, a Hebrew and Jewish World expert at Yeshiva Univeristy, maintained that Obama's foreign policy decisions since his election in 2009 are driven by an overarching agenda to champion American isolationism, and concentrate efforts on reshaping American domestic policy - along with the very face of the United States - instead.

Dr. Schneider highlights three major foreign policy decisions by the Obama administration which he sees as proving that Obama's policies are anything but "indecisive": the abandonment of Iran's Green Movement during the short-lived uprising in 2009, the decision not to intervene in Syria and the controversial deal over Iran's nuclear program.

"I don't think he's confused at all," he asserts.

"The 2009 elections in Iran were a fraud, and the intelligentsia and middle-class took great risks to demonstrate. They did so with the open expectation that the US - the 'moral conscience of the world' - would come to their aid," he said.

Yet despite the pressure on the new president to do so, he did not, and the "Green Revolution" was smothered by a fierce crackdown by the Islamic regime.

"It was the same thing with the Iranian nuclear program. Obama firmly withstood pressure coming from all over the place - the Republicans, the Israel lobby, Saudi Arabia, Israel and the Gulf States, even many European leaders" and implemented a compromise fiercely criticized by his opponents as overly generous. 

"With Syria as well, everyone, even some liberals, pressured Obama to take a stand," he added.

Pointing out that it took stiff determination to withstand such concerted pressure, Schneider dismisses arguments that a general war-weariness following the Iraq and Afghanistan invasions were to blame as falling short of the mark.

"Of course there is some fear because of the trauma of Iraq and Afghanistan. Lots of resources went into them with very little results. But it's not just fear of getting mired in another foreign conflict alone" which informs such decisions.

"The problem," he asserts, "is with Obama himself."

"He is a product of the 60's, determined to affect radical social change" and implement a distinctly left-wing brand of "social justice," through policies such as "Obamacare" and lax immigration rules. The president has shown equal determination to push through his healthcare reforms, despite its vast unpopularity, for equally ideological reasons he says.

"He is basically a socialist, and his priorities are economic recovery through socialist policies and social change; foreign policy simply isn't a priority for him - it's a distraction."

And that, he claims, bodes ill for Israel-US relations - which he sees as already flagging due to what he describes as a growing shift leftwards among young American Jews.

"He'll abandon Israel just like the US did with South Vietnam," he says of Obama. "Despite the rhetoric and pious statements about Israel being America's 'best friend' in the Middle East, in the long-run Israel just isn't important to him."

As for Secretary of State John Kerry's apparently earnest pursuit of a final status agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, Dr. Schneider dismisses it as a "cheap way of making the administration look like a peacemaker." 

"Kerry's shuttling doesn't cost any money, apart from a plane ticket. Compare that with Iraq or Afghanistan, you see how cheap it is - and it makes him look like a peacemaker."

It is also, however, a worrying sign that the Obama administration has chosen to take seriously the idea that the Arab-Israeli conflict is the root of all the region's problems.

"This mistaken belief that stabilizing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will stabilize the whole Middle East is a theory held by the Arabists in the State Department - but it is simply not historically true.

"Together with the Israeli Left, the administration is of the opinion that if Bibi would just give in to pressure everything will be fine and 'the Redeemer will come unto Zion'," he quipped.