Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Cantor/Bibi Meeting: What They Haven't Told Us

Politico reports on a meeting that took place Wednesday night between future House Majority Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA) and Benjamin Netanyahu. This meeting lasted over an hour and took place before Netanyahu's meeting with the Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, on Thursday. According to a statement released by Cantor's office, during the meeting Cantor told Netanyahu that the Republican Party would "serve as a check on the [Obama] administration and what has been, up until this point, one party rule in Washington."

Uh, yeah right. Like that little filibuster thing the Republicans have wielded for the last two years wasn't already a check on unified government?

Israeli sources told Politico that the meeting was "unusual, if not unheard of." Ron Kampeas at the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, writes:
I can't remember an opposition leader telling a foreign leader, in a personal meeting, that he would side, as a policy, with that leader against the president. Certainly, in statements on one specific issue or another -- building in Jerusalem, or somesuch -- lawmakers have taken the sides of other nations. But to have-a-face to face and say, in general, we will take your side against the White House -- that sounds to me extraordinary.
Well, I can. Sullivan's take on the January meeting is here:
The man who lost the last election reacts by directly undercutting the victor's foreign policy goals, and does so abroad in the very country Obama is trying to push toward change.

Lieberman, for his part, is effectively telling the Israelis that Obama does not control US foreign policy with respect to Israel, and that he will be prevented by Congress from exerting any pressure.
While it's true that Congress controls the purse-strings of government and can stand in the way of Obama trying to exert financial pressure on Israel, it is not Congress's job to exercise foreign policy decisions or to declare to foreign leaders that they will oppose the President.

But really, what the Cantor/Bibi meeting was about was Cantor urging Netanyahu to stand his ground, to bide his time until the Republicans can re-take the White House. So now, Israel's government is an extension of the GOP, and the spread of GOP insanity (that is to say, a departure from the reality on the ground about the U.S.'s changing role in the world) has penetrated (for now) its chief ally in the Middle East.

No comments: