Friday, November 5, 2010

Stanley Kober On Why the US Should Break Its Word

Brand-new Huffington Post blogger Stanley Kober has written the latest article about the whole Israel peace process phenomenon. He really doesn't say very much in it but I wanted to share it because he doesn't say much except that the US should break its word to Israel. Specifically:
"At that time, President Bush put U.S. prestige and power behind several Israeli negotiating positions, for example, that a final agreement would not involve the return of Palestinian refugees to Israel and that Israel would not be obliged to return to the armistice lines of 1949."
This doesn't seem like a particularly controversial point of view in my (not unbiased) eyes, but even so Mr. Kober is insistent that President Obama not be held to his word. Even though, in my understanding, it is usually the case that promises made by Presidents are usually honored by their successors. I could be wrong though. Anyway, why does Mr. Kober believe this?
"First, this kind of presidential statement misconstrues the power of the presidency. Although we have become accustomed to presidential control of foreign policy, the Founders had a more constrained view of executive authority. [He continues with further details.]"
Quite frankly, this reminds me of when AZs claim that America should not be allies with Israel because of George Washington's warning against "entangling alliances," while overlooking America's many other alliances. The truth is that the world, and America's role in it, has changed. Nor when the founders were making these decisions about the future of America, were they expecting to be dealing with peacemaking between two nations that didn't exist yet.

Mr. Kober continues with his point by asking the question:
"As Netanyahu evidently realizes, a presidential letter cannot bind a succeeding president, which is another way of saying it cannot bind the United States. That is why Netanyahu wants President Obama to renew the assurances. But what is the value of the commitment if it must be renewed with every new U.S. administration?"
This might be a good point, except what happens when it is reversed: What is the value of a commitment if it can be revoked after four years? Just imagine if America agreed to defend Poland from the Soviet Union under Bush but then as soon as Obama entered office he said, "Good luck! We're out of here." The damage that would be done to America's credibility would be far worse if America is perceived as unreliable or schizophrenic.

As for the rest of the article, I should give credit where credit is due. Mr. Kober makes reasonable comments such as that it is foolish to believe that the US can solve the problems of these two nations; they need to be the ones to do it themselves. So this really isn't that problematic of a blog post (especially by HP standards) but I did want to demonstrate it as yet another blow toward closer American/Israel relations.

1 comment:

  1. The US not keeping past commitments to Israel is one reason why Israel is not inclined to do favors for a weakened Obama any time soon.


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