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Vote Till You Drop

October 26th, 2008by Gershom Gorenberg · 1 Comment · Politics and Policy

The price of being a citizen of two countries, it seems, is that elections never stop. So even before the American election winds up in one final festival of long lines, hanging chads, and voter intimidation, Israel is about to begin a new national campaign. Unlike the U.S. vote, the Israeli one will provide over 27 choices, none even close to satisfying. It’s like standing in front of the convenience-store rack of junk food when all you want is a decent meal.

Before we get started with that local madness, let me offer a last word on the American fever. If you are still arguing with a relative who thinks that the McCain-Moosehunter ticket will be better for Israeli security, my new article at the American Prospect provides some talking points:

My friends are frightened of the shame of a mother or uncle staining the family, or the tribe, with the wrong vote — a vote purportedly cast out of concern for Israel. From where I sit, this would be a shame, because the reasons Obama is better for Israel’s security are the same reasons he is better for American security.

Start with McCain’s claim to greater foreign-policy experience. Despite that experience, he supported invading Iraq. Obama, of course, opposed it. Conventional wisdom notwithstanding, the war has had strongly negative consequences for Israel.

As a result of the first Gulf War in the 1990s, “Iraq wasn’t a serious threat to Israel,” explains researcher Shlomo Brom of Tel Aviv University’s Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies, formerly head of strategic planning in the Israeli Army’s general staff. On the other hand, Brom says, the second Gulf War has deeply damaged America’s stature in the Middle East, and “Israel, which is seen as being under American protection, is weakened as a result.” Moreover, by eliminating Iraq as a counterbalance, the war freed Iran from containment. From Israel’s perspective, the regional balance of forces has become much worse. Was this predictable? Yes, actually. Before the invasion in 2003, Israeli officials and experts warned Iran was a more significant threat than Iraq.

Read the whole thing here, and come back to SoJo to comment. Then write a quick email to Tina Fey and ask her if she does male impersonations. We need someone to spoof Bibi during the campaign.

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1 response so far ↓

  • 1 John Sterns // Oct 27, 2008 at 7:50 pm

    McCain has been running the sound bite that our enemies “won’t test me” to convey the strength and image he would bring to the White House. He’s trying to capitalize on a remark by Senator Biden that Obama will be tested by our enemies early in his administration.

    This is perfect for McCain – if your fear of terrorism didn’t latch on to the “pal around with terrorists” fud being pushed by Governor Palin, now the Republicans can tap your fear of being attacked again, and associate it with their Democratic opponent. “Vote for him if you want to be attacked”. Very subtle.

    But really, where is Senator McCain’s own foreign policy expertise? What is he going to do that will make our enemies “cease and desist” their efforts out of shear shock and awe of President McCain?

    McCain has served our country nobly but being a pilot and a prisoner does not make you a foreign policy expert.

    McCain is smart enough to listen to the generals and that is one reason he backed the surge, his primary (if not sole) Middle East policy credential.

    But how much credibility can he have with moderate friends and allies in the region after he capitalized on the “Obama is a Muslim” lies? If Colin Powell is turned off by that, I can only imagine what our Saudi and Jordanian friends think.

    If McCain is president, he will know how to increase pressure on Iran, but Iran knows how to take pressure. What’s really going to change there?

    So let’s see …

    I can vote for McCain, put in a maverick with a chip on his shoulder daring someone to knock it off, who won’t engage in diplomacy with our enemies and whose campaign is already alienating allies in the region.

    Or I could vote for the “new guy” Obama, who might be tested with diplomatic overtures as well as problems, and is equally capable of listening to good advice and acting upon it, with none of the Bush/Republican baggage and no need to show who’s the biggest maverick in the Middle East.

    If you really stop and think about it, Obama is the better choice for Israel as well as the United States.

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