United States President Barack Obama’s speech about the Iran nuclear deal at American University on August 5 marks a decisive feature in his Obama Doctrine that one might venture to call and consider “de-Zionising the American empire”.
Does this speech, and a whole array of presidential remarks before and after it, mark a pivotal departure from past US policy towards Israel? And if so, what would that imply for the region at large?
Geoffrey Aronson, among many other observers, has already made the poignant remark that this speech marks a significant turning point in the US-Israeli relationship.
Israeli commentators, however, have been far more emphatic in their concern about what it could mean.
In an article aptly titled, “Obama isolates Netanyahu as head of warmongers,” Barak Ravid has signalled the deep anxiety contingent on such a break.
“The most worrisome part of Obama’s address”, Ravid told his readers, “was his reference to the Israeli government’s opposition to the nuclear agreement. What he said is liable to be seen in the not-so-distant future as a real turning point in the strategic relations between Jerusalem and Washington”.
Love or loathe
In yet another anxiety-ridden piece, Chemi Shalev warned, “Love or loathe Netanyahu, Obama’s payback speech was unsettling.”
But in what sense was it “unsettling”? Indications are that the Obama Doctrine, of which I wrote about soon after the Iran nuclear deal was reached in Vienna on July 14, 2015, may entail a particularly significant component of treating Israel like any other client state – like Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Pakistan, etc.
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