« DSK as hubristic protagonist. | Main | President Obama’s Speech and the Peace Process –Nothing Will Change - By: Robert K. Lifton »

20 May 2011


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Norbert M Salamon

Dr. Nenner's Analysis is an excellent philosophical take on the recent non-realsitic speech of
Pres Obama. It well reflects on another analysis, which is more specific to different topics of the speech:

but both analyses agree that the speech was a non event - except possibly for the ill informed uneducated American masses.

Patrick Lang


Apparently Bibi said planeside in Israel that he "expected" Obama to walk back what he said in the speech. I take it that means that he confirms my expectation that he has come to discipline Obama. I hear that there is a major split in the Jewish-american community over whether or not an Israeli PM should be tolerated in such speech. Isn't the reality bad enough? pl


Obama is trying vainly to square a circle: He wants to promote peace and appease Israel. Impossible.

If you are a rational Isareli policy planner and you know that Obama says US support is "unbreakable" and Obama is silent when you shoot unarmed protesters, why would you stop building settlements?

Obama lacks the guts to punish Israel. Netanyahu has taken the measure of the man and slated more settlement units for construction.

The Palestinians need to move forward with unilateral recognition. The US will never, ever deliver anything.

Patrick Lang


I am inclined to agree. Jewish ethno-religious tribalism aka Zionism has such a death grip (maybe literally for both parties) on the US that US support for anything other than everything the tribalists want is impossible. I should add that the other side is not much more reasonable. If the Palestinians wish to be clever about this let Hamas recognize Israel. pl


Mr Lang,

I should add that the other side is not much more reasonable.
And that is the truly depressing part. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been called a 'deadly embrace'. Indeed. The nuts on both sides need and deserve each other. Just a darn pity for the all people standing in-between them.

Only folks like Hamas can justify the extremism of someone like Liebermann. If the Palestinians were all like Ghandi, he couldn't sustain his brutal postures.

If one subjects a peaceful movement to brutal beatings or gunfire long enough, they will turn violent sooner or later. Which then will of course be considered compelling proof they were terrorists all along. Voila. Which suggests that the right wing in Israel has an incentive in keeping at least a part of the Palestinians violent.

Bill H.

"they punctuate the moment and shape political imagery in the future long enough, and with a deep enough impression, to fend off the critical judgments of initiatives that never come, of half-measures that are never completed, of goals that fade further into the horizon."

This is as pretty a summary of Obama as I have ever read. Unfortunately, this is sufficient for the American voter. They thrive on the pretty words and promises, and never demand the actuality.


I'm sure he lacks the political will to handle this during his first term. I view the speech as an attempt to throw hope toward the Arab/Muslim countries. The time has come, it is in our Nation's best interests to resolve the Isreali/Palestinian conflict. Bin Laden is dead, if we can take the next step and resolve the conflict, what positive impact would that have on the Jihadists, Egyptians forming a new government etc. We should follow this up by getting the hell out of Afghanistan and Iraq. If he can't lead at least get out of the way and allow the EU and the UN to set/enforce the territorial boundries. Best thing the Palestinians could do is stay calm, form their government and force this issue.


Wonderful text, Dr. Brenner.

How about writing BO's future speeches, maybe we will listen again then?

Who wrote this anyway?

I do not need to read the whole speech, the passage Phil Weiss cites is quite enough for me. This stuck out.

It's interesting to watch these stylistic knots. Modernist, if so, then modernism is about all the things that can't be said, or openly expressed, but have to be carefully covered. Inspection must be scared of with scare terms like: populism. Could we say, like: Yes we can?

The problem with these "Arabs" is of course that they ultimately want war, want to sacrifice themselves and their children, whom they even use as human shields. And yes, there are many, many of them.

As Phil's headline suggests, what can he actually add in his AIPAC speech?


Bibi said planeside in Israel that he "expected" Obama to walk back what he said in the speech.

Are you suggesting, he thinks Obama didn't bend over far enough in Israel's defence, Pat?


I reacted negatively to this speech, believing it to be the usual nonsense. A friend of mine pointed out to me a few things, however.

One is the setting. I certainly don't profess to be in the know about anything, but I've been out here awhile and have had some form of connection with four embassies in the region. I have never met anyone who would remotely be called an Israel Firster. The rank and file State person I deal with does not support the Dennis Rosses of the world. Hence the setting.

Why give the speech at State? On the eve of the visit of the zionist PM, with Mitchell one of the first people to greet Obama after he left the podium? If what I have seen is any indication, there is no way that the majority of people in the Department of State support the death spiral of US support of zionist expansionsim. Insh'all-h.

You stay out here long enough and you look for rabbit holes in front of your house, if you catch my meaning. But G-d help me if Obama has not thought about the future and maybe, just maybe, considered what is best for America first. An intifada is coming.


"If the Palestinians wish to be clever about this let Hamas recognize Israel."

That's the ticket right there. The Israeli's have been lucky to have such an unsophisticated opponent as the Palestineans.

In fact, I think all the Arab States should just recongnize Israel at this point, so long as they return to the 67 borders, and sit back and watch the fireworks as the Israeli political system self-destructs.


Col: With Syria disintegrating and the September deadline looming, Hamas might very well do that. Once they've sat in the ministerial chairs, I doubt they want to be totally excluded.

If Abbass were smart he would be selling that idea to Hamas right now and telling European diplomats that a condition for Hamas recognition of Israel is a September recognition of Palestine.


Ditto to all of the above re the Israeli right-wing and Hamas. They remain the Hatfields and McCoys in this never-ending duel, and will never want to to be anything but the Hatfields and the McCoys. In this regard, their enemies are their supporters and their complaints are their best friends....


So what you're saying, Mr. Brenner, is that it was a speech? I agree with your analyisis of President Obama's stylistic strategy, but little else. The thing is, Obama will get the blame or the credit for whatever happens, no matter what. His best approach is to encourage at a distance. That he sees how future events can be shaped by encouraging a perspective to view the present is wisdom and strategy. The act of setting metrics and goals not only limits future flexibility but provides your opponents an opportunity to stymie you. Obama is better than that, and playing a high stakes game very well here.

I will come back to this later today, but I think the rough outlines of a very ambitious and novel strategy can be seen. Obama supports self determination, a radical change of US foriegn policy. He also is putting the screws to Israel and other ME states by continuing to encourage non-violent revolution. Make no mistake, Obama's ME policy is a revolutionary one. It is gutsy and leading the charge of change in the 21st century, not lagging behind.

Roy G

I've changed my mind about the speech. I still think Obama is too much about pretty rhetoric, however, calling out the '67 borders was as bold of a move as he could have made.

Still, despite the American people slowly realizing we are being used by the Zionists, critical mass is being ably delayed by the establishment mass media; here in San Francisco, today's Chronicle had a headline declaring 'Netenyahu Says Obama Endangering Israel,' which was their sole coverage of Obama's speech, no mention of which made the front page. No wonder those little old ladies support Israel.

Netenyahu Says Obama Endangering Israel:

Perhaps Obama has something else up his sleeve for his meeting with Bibi this AM. At any rate, notice has been served that he's not Bibi's bottom.


"Land Swap?" Somewhere I caught this "read the fine print" in the deal.
A robber steals $1000 from you. You call the cops. Cop comes and suggests that he can get the robber to give you back the $1000-if you give the robber $500 you still have in the bank. Great deal hah? You get at least $500 back and the robber gets away with $500 and a smile on his face. Kinda makes you fell like the robber and the cop were in on this "deal" all the time!

R Whitman

What does Hamas get in return for recognizing Israel. Will Israel in turn recognize Hamas as the legal elected government of the Palestine Authority?

Its a two-way street.


I'm as frustrated with Obama as everyone else but I do have a simple question. When Obama talked about him not being there to give that speech had it not been for previous non violent movements in the South to whom was he speaking? The Israelis? Of course not. So why this passage in this particular speech? Has he said anything similar in the context of the Middle East previously?


Dr. Brenner,

Born and raised as a naive nerd, my old age has not brought enlightenment but resignation. It is all intertwined.

From Jimmy Carter on, Corporatism has seized the Federal Government. We all have been fed increasing doses of spin until Americans have become totally separated from reality. The Obama Administration is a continuation of the Bush Administration; only the rhetoric is little less Texan. Thirty thousand Mercenaries will continue the American occupation of Iraq without a murmur. Rhetoric aside, American monetary support assures that the apartheid occupation and settlement of the West Bank continues. The drawdown of regular troops leaving around 10,000 anti-terrorism forces in Afghanistan continues the war even if the supply route through Pakistan is cut.

All this is perched on a fiscal system filled with monetary bets made with credit default swaps worth more than more than 10 times all of the goods and services in the world. Yet, like the Irish, Americans are expected to quietly acquiesce while our paychecks, pensions and wealth are stolen in a futile effort to pay off the Investors (the Oligarchs) holding these bets. To top it off, the House Republicans, are playing chicken with the teetering fiscal system when ending the wars and eliminating the Bush era tax cuts would solve all the federal deficit problems except for those caused by the crash of the deregulated Wall Street in the first place.


"but both analyses agree that the speech was a non event - except possibly for the ill informed uneducated American masses."

Posted by: Norbert M Salamon

As opposed to the well informed highly-educated Arab masses - living in the 13th century?
If it weren't for oil (and western money), the Arabs would still be looking for caves in the desert to live in.

Ken Hoop

Mr Brenner if Obama's leadership is best for
Muslim, Christians and Jews alike as you say, it is not because the Arab-Moslem world any longer regards the US as indispensible. It does not.


Encouraging from a distance is not leadership.
At best it is faint cheerleading.
As far as ME non-violent revolution, how can a revolution be non-violent?
Ask the Copts in Egypt about "non-violence."


If the Palestinians wish to be clever about this let hamas recognize israel.

Col. sir,

Surely you jest? 'Em ragheads hate probably everyone who's not one of 'em. I dunno 'bout the Christians in Palestine but...


One genuine thing about the speech is that it is nominally political suicide.

He is breaking new ground. No matter how you parse his speech, he is definitely on the wrong side of what are called here tribal Zionists. A lot of those tribal Zionists have very deep pockets with which they make every effort to control the electoral process in the US.

Where does Obama win the election with this speech? What's the constituency for this speech?


Ina few words; business as usual, as Dr. Brenner cogently states.

High sounding nominatives that will mean many different things to the uncritical listener.

What, precisely, is Obama advocating and willing to invest political capital therein? Nothing.

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo

April 2020

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
      1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30    
Blog powered by Typepad