One morning, Mr. Israeli woke up to a new trend. Or, to be more accurate, a new problem – U.S. President Barack Obama. He read in the newspaper – with pleasure, it should be pointed out – statements condemning the American president’s weakness and hesitation. On the radio, he heard our commentators decry the failures of American policy in the Middle East, from Obama’s Cairo speech calling for reconciliation between Islam and the West, to his mumbling statements on the coups against former Egyptian President Mubarak and then the Muslim Brotherhood, and, most recently, his hesitation over what to do about the butcher of Damascus.
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Mr. Israeli agreed with every word. When he heard our military correspondent say that everything is ready for an American strike against Syria, but that Obama has yet to give the order, he felt both pride and sorrow. One the one hand, the experts adopted his position that a hesitating president is a weak president, and that’s a reason to be proud. On the other, when it comes to an American president, it means it’s almost the end of the world, and that’s bad.
In the evening, when Mr. Israeli changed channels to watch the “Big Brother” finale, the light returned to the eyes of our military commentator, who declared that the axe has fallen, and a U.S. strike is imminent. Now, that same commentator, who has seemed despondent of late, has returned, ready to lead the flock of commentators into battle. Mr. Israeli was relieved.
The next morning, Mr. Israeli eagerly dove into his newspaper. It’s impossible, read one of the articles, that 70 years after World War II, the world will stand idly by during a genocide. That article made him a little curious, and he started to ask himself if that idleness is anything new. Didn’t the Khmer Rouge massacre two or three million people in Cambodia? And what about Rwanda? Was Idi Amin just playing pick-up sticks there in Uganda? In any case, thought Mr. Israeli, the Middle East and Africa are two different animals. In Serbia, Kosovo and Croatia, it was mostly Muslims who were killed.
Three days pass, and when Mr. Israeli hears U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry state that the “use of chemical weapons in Syria should shock the conscience of the world,” and that President Obama considers it a “moral obscenity,” Mr. Israeli wakes up. The leader of the free world has woken up, Mr. Israeli tells himself, with a degree of satisfaction. Moreover, the commentators assure that the attack will come, and add that the attack is obligatory, America has no choice, because it must not stand idle as chemical weapons are used against innocents, because it must do something when reality gets out of hand.
After reading that last bit two or three times, Mr. Israeli wholeheartedly agrees, and begins to wait for the obligatory American attack on Syria. At the same time, he worries that it might be too little too late, and might even happen over the coming holiday. But he has to admit that over the last week, maybe longer, he has undergone a metamorphosis - he has gone from being a fierce critic of Obama, to a conditional fan – the condition being an attack.
Then comes the twist. The stupid Americans dug up the Iraq War, and some of the feisty things Obama said in opposition to it. The English, the French, and the Germans are chickening out like they always do. And the United Nations, well, what is there to say about the United Nations? Our commentators are still claiming that there will be an attack – but maybe there won’t be, and Mr. Israeli doesn’t like the uncertainty. As of now, if he had to rate Obama’s performance, he would put the American president even lower than Finance Minister Yair Lapid.