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Thursday, June 11, 2009




Making friends with elephants

Last updated: June 13, 2009

June 11, 2009


Barack Obama may be just an innocent abroad or cunning and sophisticated manipulator, but there are a few basic principles that Israelis should keep in mind when dealing with the USA. The first of them postulates that when you are a mouse who made friends with an elephant, you should never forget who is the mouse and who is the elephant. Having your friend carrying you back and forth day and night on his back in order to keep you amused is no reason to assume that for their survival elephants are critically dependent on somebody continuously sucking their blood.

Occasionally you may find your friend getting irrational and throwing himself into water and insisting that you do the same on the grounds that aquatic lifestyles are infinitely superior to life on land from ethical and ecological points of view. On those occasions you should do just this even if such adventure is carrying significant risks of your friend drowning himself and you due to the sheer mass of his gigantic body. Surrender yourself to the river and try going effortlessly with the flow, there is still a chance you can make it to the other shore. The alternative is to simply find yourself trampled a whole dozen of centimeters deep into the ground.

Now when it comes to Brack Obama himself, we should consider two things: his vision and the methods. When it comes to the vision, I have embedded below a short video that in my view perfectly catches the vision. Those Israelis who still feel confused and unsure about the new president are strongly encouraged to start by viewing the video at least ten times before they proceed to memorize every Hebrew word of it. The next stage of practice involves forming small discussion groups of from five to ten individuals to debate the contents of the video. The recommendation regarding the size of groups is based on my experience that less than five tends to undermine the main advantage of group study as a form of collective intelligence while more than ten creates chaos and erodes the quality of discussions. I guarantee that by assiduously studying the contents of the video and vigorously debating them, 99% of people will be perfectly capable of mastering the full depth and complexity of the philosophy of the new American president.



Here are the English lyrics.

So what's about the methods? The new administration was pretty consistent in its style until now and so some idea of what is waiting for us in the future can be gathered from examining Obama's past moves. First of all, this is a very comprehensive president who is thinking big and only big. The man seems to have little patience for quarter and half measures - he wants to tackle it all and do it all away with comprehensive programs the style of the cap and trade scheme.

Barack Obama also seems to be in a sort of hurry to do it now without delay or maybe he is just impatient. This comes together with a certain lack of interest in details. Many times it looks as if for Obama the important thing is to start the process. He is plainly betting on working out technicalities on the fly. The same cap and trade was surrendered to the politicians and, as it makes rounds through various stations of the political system, it has already taken such a downgraded and diluted form that even many skeptics were left disappointed. Whether Obama just does not care or doesn't bother with details is hard to know, but he may well be waiting for his chance to start tightening this thing once it's finally out.

Experts are often wondering about how Obama is planning to pay for his massive projects while simultaneously cutting the US enormous deficits. No satisfactory answer was provided until now besides the expectation of a swift and robust recovery of the US economy. This suggests excessive optimism as an outstanding personal trait, unless the man is even more cunning than his adversaries suspect, because the alternative explanation is that Barack Obama is now concentrating his efforts on getting it all started. But he may well be keeping higher taxes and painful spending cuts up his sleeve. My bet is that he is a very optimistic idealist.

When it comes to the Middle East, the combination of all these sums up into way more than the two state solution. It should be something the style of the Saudi peace plan - a comprehensive program of regionwide stabilization. It may happen to be absolutely unrealistic. There should be expected a significant pressure on all sides to start moving on almost immediately. However, once the process started, the US may retreat into the background, letting the sides to figure out the technicalities between themselves. This may prove to be a terminal mistake.

The important detail to keep in mind is that, despite the image of an ultra liberal for unknown reasons still cultivated in some circles, Barack Obama may well be pretty tough and in some respects a conservative person. This is a very unusual president with the most bizarre personal history. Trying to think him in regular categories may completely miss the point. Israelis have been already let to feel the rage, but neither the Arabs nor Persians should draw any wrong conclusions from this. The Persians in particular should think twice before implying that they liked the talk but want to see some action first, since the action may well come in the form of clouds of B-52 strategic bombers swarming over Iran's nuclear installations.

In his address to the Muslim world Obama said the US commitment to Israel is special and unbreakable. This is important. However, on another occasion Obama said that in the past the US was not always telling Israel when Israel was wrong. Basically, Obama's message is very simple and clear: We are your friends, but we have other commitments and our own interests too. And sometimes our understanding of what is good for you differs from yours, and we know better. And we have ways to make you do what we think you should do. And you should better start doing it yourselves.

The bottom line is that Barack Obama may be a messiah and savior or he may be about to plunge this region in chaos for decades to come, but, whatever it is, this is not the right moment to cross the American president on his grand ambitions. Trying to get the best out of it is a correct way to handle this situation. The best can be a permanent US military base in Israel, or an explicit permission to ransack or reoccupy the West Bank if the two state solution and evacuation of settlements ends with massive rocket fire from across the border. American pressure is a good excuse to come with to the settlers and start dragging them out of the West Bank. It's equally important to forget not to build more fences and fortify the already existing ones. What is not a correct approach is standing on the way of a one-hundred-tonne raging beast.


PS

It's well known that prolonged exposure to Arik Einstein music involves undeniable dangers of harmful personality transformations and permanent brain structure damage. Some victims who spent more than their share of time listening to Einstein were later observed listening to bird songs in the morning and contemplating flowers for hours in parks and gardens. Another clip is provided here for those folks just in case immediate intervention is needed to erase harmful side effects of the previous video. The following next eight minutes of techno music will cure your soul of Arik Einstein's decadent influences and completely restore you back to sanity.

Ellen Allien - GO ( Marcel Dettmann Remix)




June 13, 2009

Actually I have changed my mind about some elements of my scenario. Regarding this one...

When it comes to the Middle East, the combination of all these sums up into way more than the two state solution. It should be something the style of the Saudi peace plan - a comprehensive program of regionwide stabilization. It may happen to be absolutely unrealistic. There should be expected a significant pressure on all sides to start moving on almost immediately. However, once the process started, the US may retreat into the background, letting the sides to figure out the technicalities between themselves. This may prove to be a terminal mistake.

The certain lack of attention span and tendency to fail to notice the existence of trees in a mass of forest I suspect this administration of, will be probably expressed as an attempt to push the region into rapidly adopting a hastily crafted solution that will contain within itself seeds of its own destruction.

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