They now understand how the rest of us feel.
While leading Israeli officials have publicly struck a tone of muted support for President Obama’s decision to seek congressional authorization for strikes on Syria’s chemical weapons delivery systems, in private, senior Israeli officials and foreign policy analysts are expressing grave disappointment with the conduct of their ally in Washington.
Well-placed Israeli sources told Fox News they “get it” as to why the president felt the need to cloak his planned military strikes in congressional legitimacy. But they regard the way he went about his decision-making in this instance as erratic, unnerving to them, and a bad omen for what the Israelis regard as the sine qua non of their foreign policy: the looming showdown with Iran over its nuclear program.
“The feeling is that something was wrong here, that this was not the way this should have gone down, that this is not the way a superpower should act,” said one former Israeli diplomat who has spent considerable time in the United States and enjoys close ties to the Netanyahu government. “We look at Syria, and we think Iran. … What conclusions should be drawn about how America will act in other circumstances? Here was a clear red line. It was breached a few times. This looks like a clever move; but America’s willingness to ‘walk the walk’ now is very questionable.”
Another senior official, presently in the Israeli government, told Fox News the president was right, in terms of domestic U.S. politics, to “look for cover,” and thereby force American lawmakers who would have criticized him for undertaking unauthorized action to “own it, too.” But this official said the Israelis, from their vantage point, see the Obama administration as detached from the Mideast and the president, in particular, as ill-equipped to shape events there.
“I can only compliment Obama for dragging everyone to his boat,” the Israeli official said. “‘You want war? Own it, too.’ Still, however, he’s a disastrous weak leader. … The Middle East is far less important for this administration and to real American national interests today than in the past. … The U.S.-Saudi alliance insures a continued supply of oil, and other than that, the U.S. doesn’t really care.”
Brutal. And entirely correct.