A perspective on Obama’s speech on Thursday, from a Norwegian friend in Beirut…
– Monsieur d’Nalgar
Sent: Saturday, May 21, 2011 4:26 PM
Subject: Re: Obama’s speech
This comes to you from the noisy-as-ever Beirut. After days of dull, miserably hot weather, with the skies full of the dust of Gaddafi’s desert (occasionally dumped on us as muddy brown raindrops which dry as soon as they hit the ground), today has been perfect. Mid- twenties, blue sky and cooling breeze off the Mediterranean.
It’s two days since the shining-armored knight’s “Remarks on the Middle East and North Africa” and big surprise! I haven’t heard it mentioned by a single soul. No one puts the faintest hope of change in it, no one has the faintest confidence in the man, no one has the faintest interest.
The speech was sandwiched between his attending a reception in Honor of Jewish American Heritage Month on the 17th and his receiving Prime Sinister Netanayhu yesterday. With Bibi’s appropriately petulant remarks about “no return to 1967” today and the otherwise glib regurgitation of everything that has been said before, packaged in what the pundits appear to understand as an “academic lecture”, Israel should be rejoicing at the predictability of White House subservience to the AIPAC lobby’s campaign donors.
The speech had nothing to do with the Middle East and everything to do with demeaning, grovelling, pat-my-back-and-I’ll-pat-yours politics for pay. Whatever was meant by “the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps” and which could be interpreted in ways only transcended by Sykes-Picotian fantasies, was just so much water off the goose’s back. The increasingly emboldened Israeli right is not however, endowed with such imagination and therefore needed Bibi’s assurances. “Trust me guys, he doesn’t really mean it. It’s only a palliative for the bleeding heart goyim.”
While nothing seems impossible anymore in this world, I find it quite absurd that a Harvard graduate Juris Doctor, cum laude who has dabbled in civil rights litigation, should entertain the apparition of a two-state “solution” as anything else unless afflicted by softening of the brain or campaign pyrexia.
It was certainly no speech for us in this part of the world. We have other, more pressing matters like electricity rationing, the price of just about everything, transportation strikes, water (lack thereof), stratospheric real estate prices, no government, rampant corruption, the perigrinations of Jeffrey Feltman and assorted Iranian envoys not to mention threatening neighbors waxing more unpredictable by the day.
It was a speech for YOU. It would appear that your taxes will be contributing to the adolescent antics of your colony in the east for quite a while yet and Sir Lancelot is not about to do anything about that particular chunk of the deficit any time soon. (“Our commitment to Israel’s security is unshakeable.”) Israel was mentioned 31 times, Egypt (another chunk of deficit) 13, Syria 6, and Jordan twice. Lebanon, the perennial refuse dump of cluster bombs, bunker busters and home of the perpetually displaced, wasn’t mentioned at all.
Is it a wonder that we wonder when ‘they’ are coming next?