27 March 2015

King Bibi - the one-eyed man in the land of the blind?

Since this post isn't going to be complimentary to our new/old PM, let's start with a disclaimer: Benjamin Netanyahu is absolutely right in his fight against the Iranian quest for nuclear weapons. Even without the nukes Iran is the hub of destructive overt and covert terrorist and expansionist activities in the Middle East and all over the world, pulling strings and sowing seeds of dissent. Nuclear Iran will become a major nightmare, and those who tend to reduce the problem to Israel only are due for a rude awakening. So yes, everything Bibi says about Iran is true. And this more or less exhausts the repertoire of good things to say about the subject.

Otherwise - but this blog was never too kind to various negative traits of Mr Netanyahu. While not being solely focused on Bibi, as some people are (Ben Caspit of Maariv comes to mind immediately, with his almost obsessive coverage of the "royal" family), nevertheless many unkind (but true) things were said here on the subject. Yes, the man is clearly focused on his political survival at any price, his personal vanity is exceeded only by that of his spouse and his adherence to truth, common moral and elementary decency tend to disappear if his political survival is endangered.

Oh, and on top of all that he is a very poor liar. But this is an established fact since times immemorial, probably since his affair with Ruth Bar. The affair has shown how easily Bibi breaks down when a bit of pressure is applied (after all there was no "in flagrante delicto" recording, and Bibi's public confession was for nothing, as it appeared).

I frequently used Ariel Sharon's characterization of Bibi's inability to withstand pressure, but it is time to document the quote, for instance from this Hebrew source (supported by video recording):
This man generally tends to panicking. Netanyahu is a jittery man that every time folds under pressure and loses his marbles.

I have seen him this way several times. Israel is a special country, here you have to manage the country and to stand up to most complex problems, you need common sense and nerves of steel. He is lacking both.
And the above is not the only occasion when Arik characterized Bibi in this way. So why this reference to the opinion of a man who wasn't without faults himself? Just because Arik's description of Bibi's traits appeared to be prophetic, and also because the traits have never before been taken to such absurd heights as in the last elections campaign. 

Starting with the (in)famous visit and speech in the Congress. As I said at the start of this post, the speech was necessary and a real case of speaking truth to power. But - and this is an important but - the timing and the botched arrangement of the speech have done nothing to alleviate the mutual dislike between the POTUS and Bibi. Rather the opposite - it is so close to hatred now as to be practically indistinguishable - indeed a fine diplomatic coup for a man who was for a very long time gainfully employed in various diplomatic roles. A fine outcome indeed, and the whole country will pay for it for a long time. But Bibi was sure it will be a feather in his hat as far as the coming elections are considered, and nothing could deter him from this act...

Is Obama delusional about Iran? Definitely. Are Bibi's shenanigans the way to turn the tide? Highly doubtful.

And then came the famous pre-election polls, showing a significant lead of the center-left Zionist Camp, and Bibi completely lost it - just as Arik diagnosed. His declaration of no more support for two state solution, aimed at the right wing voters, his alarm at (imaginary) buses the lefties use to bring more Arab voters to the polling stations, aimed at the Jewish population, his overuse of Iranian scarecrow - in spite of the polls showing that voters care more (much more) about the skyrocketing housing prices, his hysterical poaching of voters even from the friendly right wing parties... All that and more was a clear sign of panic. Come what may, Bibi was seeing his political demise, and it scared the crap out of him. Hence the results.

Theses days, after the Pyrrhic elections win, Bibi is feverishly - and not very successfully - mending the broken links, but at least one and most important link - that to the White House - stubbornly refuses to be mended, and there is no single lump payment that will mend it. We all shall pay the price - in many installments over the years to come.

And no, I am not saying that the current state of Obama-Bibi relationships is solely Bibi's fault - far from it, the POTUS (I am ready to bet) is only too happy to use (abuse) the situation. But Bibi has done a lot and more to give the White House sufficient reasons for this state of affairs. And a good part of this just because he broke down and lost his marbles and his common sense - as predicted.

It is a sad fact that a small and resource-less country that has nevertheless excelled in science, technology, agriculture etc, has dismally failed in one area - it failed to produce at least a few political leaders with gumption, vision and coolness to take on the many problems it is faced with. And no such leaders in view, unfortunately.

Too bad.

For desserts: Ashamed of Netanyahu, infuriated with Obama by David Horovitz.