The Obama-Netanyahu Meeting: Assessment and Implications

(Washington Institute for Near East Policy) Robert Satloff - President Obama did his best to provide a dramatically improved backdrop for U.S.-Israeli relations during Prime Minister Netanyahu's July 6 visit to the White House, compared to the climate of the strained April visit. This included strikingly specific commitments on key issues important to Israeli security. Obama seems to have recognized that the punitive spirit ran counter to the deep well of popular support for strong U.S.-Israeli relations in the American heartland, in key parts of the Democratic Party, and on Capitol Hill, garnering him little political advantage in the process. No less important was repairing the strategic implications of public discord. For Israel, the appearance of distance from Washington is a blow to Israeli deterrence and welcome news for its adversaries. For America, shabby treatment of one ally is a signal for others to take cover. In his post-meeting statement, President Obama articulated in stunning clarity the U.S. acceptance of Israel's policy of nuclear opacity (neither confirming nor denying its possession of nuclear weapons) and what is effectively the "Israeli exemption" to membership in the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. The writer is executive director of the Washington Institute.

2010-07-09 09:13:10

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