Imagine that after Boris Yeltsin had been elected president of post-communist Russia in 1991, voters in Poland, a former protectorate of the Soviet Union, had elected that country’s veteran Communist Party boss Edward Gierek as their prime minister. Then imagine that, after taking office, Gierek had called on the new leader in Moscow to prepare for a renewed state of confrontation with the United States and the West.

A similar scenario played itself out in 2009 when Benjamin Netanyahu was elected prime minister of Israel only a few months after Barack Obama entered the White House. One of the major reasons for Obama’s victory in the presidential election was his strong opposition to the war in Iraq and a campaign promise to end that war. The American public was exhausted by the military adventures of George W. Bush, and was unwilling to continue paying the high costs involved in implementing the grandiose plans, concocted by Bush’s neoconservative advisors, to impose American hegemony and the so-called freedom agenda on the Arab world.

Moreover, the recession of 2008 and the huge increase in the federal deficit created in the United States a political environment in which it was becoming difficult to sell − both to the public and to politicians − plans for additional acts of U.S. military intervention in the Middle East. Americans were fed up with their government’s failed and costly attempts to pursue regime change and nation building in both Iraq and Afghanistan. The American voter wanted a president who would focus on economic and social problems at home, and Obama responded to their challenge.

And then Netanyahu, an ally of the neoconservative intellectuals and a circle of Republican hawks, begins showing up in Washington insisting that the Americans produce a sequel of sorts to the disastrous Iraq movie still unreeling. After all, one did not have to be a great strategic thinker to recognize that the strategy that Netanyahu was proposing for dealing with the Iranian nuclear threat would lead sooner or later to a major U.S. military intervention in the Persian Gulf.

But the strategy being pursued by Obama has been based on activist diplomacy and cooperation with global and regional powers, coupled with the use of military pressure, to advance American interests in the Middle East. These policies have focused on the need both to respond to the dramatic political changes in the Arab world and to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear military capability. At the same time, however, the Obama administration has also stressed its commitment to increasing U.S. engagement in East Asia as part of an effort to contain China’s rising power.

The criticism of the administration’s policies in the Middle East by such Republican spokesmen as presidential candidate Mitt Romney and Senator John McCain do not reflect the views of the American public. According to a recent study of public attitudes on foreign policy, undertaken by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, a majority of Americans both oppose a unilateral American military attack on Iran’s nuclear sites ‏(70 percent‏) and U.S. intervention in a war between Israel and Iran ‏(59 percent‏).

Indeed, most public opinion polls point to wide public support for Obama’s Middle East policies ‏(as opposed to disapproval of his economic policies‏), and to skepticism regarding the idea of U.S. military intervention even in Syria, which many Republicans support, not to mention in Iran. The foreign policy zeitgeist in the United States seems to reflect the Obama approach, and not the ideas being promoted by Netanyahu and his Republican friends.

That does not mean that if he gets reelected, Obama would refrain from increasing the threat of military action against Iran during his second terms. In fact, it is quite possible that the White House would eventually decide to strike against Iranian nuclear sites. But Obama wants to demonstrate to the American public, a public that is tired of fighting, that any decision to go to war would be adopted only after all other diplomatic options intended to bring about change in Tehran’s position had been pursued. And he is not going to allow Prime Minister Netanyahu to impose a veto on his foreign policy decisions.

From that perspective − and contrary to the views of some Israeli analysts − the main obstacle facing Netanyahu as he tries to impose his Iran policy on the White House, is not a lack of personal chemistry with Obama.

Netanyahu’s main problem is that the American public is not interested in buying his policies.

Leon Hadar is a senior analyst with Wikistrat, a geostrategic consulting firm.