READING THE TOP DOGS CORRECTLY

Two significant men are key factors in much of what is currently happening in the Middle East. While it is not always easy to get a definite reading on either man, I believe it is important to access them as clearly as possible. We’re talking about Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu.
In an election year, anything said about President Obama ends up in a political context with the assumption that I’m either promoting or denigrating the candidate. Hopefully, you’ll recognize the tendency and side step the temptation to interpret me in that light. What follows is a candid attempt at an evaluation of the man. While President Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize within months of his election, many observers believed the award to be questionable. In fact, Obama’s record has not been what would normally expect of a Nobel Peace Prize winner.
A brief reading of the historic record reveals the following: More military aggression than most presidents have displayed in decades. Not only was Osama Ben Laden taken out, but Al Qaeda’s leadership has been decimated. Drone attacks in Pakistan have not won friends in that government, but have made it clear that Obama isn’t backing down. Effective covert wars in Yemen and Somalia along with a three-fold increase in American troops in Afghanistan made it evident that the president had no problem in waging war. Obama was the first American president to authorize the assassination of a citizen when Anwar Al-Awlaki (born in New Mexico) was hit by a drone attack in Yemen.
Liberals who worked to elect Obama probably don’t rejoice in this record. Nevertheless, when Obama accepted the Nobel Peace prize, he articulated his position on war and made it clear that he was not a pacificist. He said, “For make no mistake: Evil does exist in the world.”
In a similar fashion, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also offers surprises. Politics in Israel can be wilder than what unfolds in America. On May 8, Netanyahu demonstrated what a clever and innovative politician he really is. Former political battles had been with Kadima party leader Tzipi Livni. Certainly Livni is a woman of significant capacity and drive. However, she had been forced from party leadership after failing to join the Netanyahu coalition following the last election. On May 8, the prime minister made a public appearance to announce that Shaul Mofaz, the current head of Kadima, had joined his government, creating a new coalition.
No one in Israel anticipated this engagement that signaled what a significant politician Netanyahu is. The prime minister’s surprise move brought enduring stability to his government, guaranteeing survival until the next scheduled election in October, 2013. Not only is perseverance and continuity guaranteed, Netanyahu has the firm grip to persue any policy he wishes sue. Say, for example, — bombing Iran. (Which Ehud Barak is itching to do!)
The point? Both men do not back away from conflict. Neither is afraid to strike and both are capable of recognizing the expedient military path. Political opponents should be weary of pushing either leader into a corner. Obama and Netanyahu now stand ready to take any road that best serves their country and their purposes without worrying about internal opposition stopping them.
Don’t let the American election environment with bizarre charges misguide you. Both men are capable, ready, and willing.

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Filed under Faith, Forgivness, History, middle east, Peace, Shrouded in Silence

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