No, This Isn’t the Crisis

In the comments thread to James’s post about the recent Israeli offensive against Hamas in Gaza, a commenter wondered if that were the crisis that VP-Elect Joe Biden warned about. No, it isn’t.

Foreign policy has a way of overwhelming most American presidencies. Our constitution is written that way and Barack Obama’s presidency is very unlikely to escape from foreign policy however pressing domestic matters may be. We have fifty governors, 435 Congressional representatives, and 100 senators but only one president who’s tasked with the responsibility of being both Commander-in-Chief and Diplomat-in-Chief. Domestic policy is likely to be left to the tender mercies of Congress, the governors, and our state legislatures.

Whatever his preferences might be, whatever the circumstances at hand might be, and whatever the preferences of the governors and members of Congress might be the president will be stuck with foreign policy and it will occupy a great deal of his time.

Indeed, President Obama would be extraordinarily fortunate if he only had one world crisis to deal with during his first term. It’s far more likely that he’ll have a dozen and neither he, nor his advisors, nor we can imagine what they’re likely to be.

FILED UNDER: Middle East, The Presidency, US Constitution, World Politics, , , , ,
Dave Schuler
About Dave Schuler
Over the years Dave Schuler has worked as a martial arts instructor, a handyman, a musician, a cook, and a translator. He's owned his own company for the last thirty years and has a post-graduate degree in his field. He comes from a family of politicians, teachers, and vaudeville entertainers. All-in-all a pretty good preparation for blogging. He has contributed to OTB since November 2006 but mostly writes at his own blog, The Glittering Eye, which he started in March 2004.


  1. just me says:

    Not to mention that I can’t imagine anyone running for president since the 1970’s without the knowledge that at some point Israel and the Palestinians are going to get into it with each other.

    My whole life these two groups have been fighting and until one side agrees the other has a right to exist, I seriously doubt we will see it end.

  2. caj says:

    My hope is that PE Obama will have a different mind set in regard to dealing with this Israeli/Palestine conflict that what we have now.
    I think our constant siding with Israel over anything they do against the Palestine people sends the wrong message and I don’t know how that can ever put us in a good light as “honest brokers” in this situation, he said he will talk to “our enemies” as well as friends so I hope that will be the case here.
    We can’t dismiss talking to Hamas, after all they are the chosen leaders of Palestine whether we or Israel like it or not…..we can’t just keep saying they are “terrorists”, they have a right to be heard also….talks were held with the IRA by the UK and talks were held with Gen Gadaffi from Libya and both of those were known as “terrorists”.
    So the time has come for us to be bold enough to speak to Hamas and the Israeli side in a fair and balanced way to try and resolve this ongoing issue!!

  3. mike says:

    caj, you idiot. we don’t have to deal or talk with Hamas just b/c they are the “elected”/”chosen” leadership. just b/c the people choose terrorists for their own country and choose to let them decide their future does not mean we have to accept them. If another Hitler is elected again, do we just appease him? No one has a right to be hear if they target innocent – note the use of target – and not just collateral damage.

  4. tom p says:

    I actually read somewhere today, that the Israeli’s chose to attack now because they don’t know how Obama would react to such a situation. Isn’t it obvious by now? The whole world revolves around the US, and what we would/will do. And once that terrorist loving Obama gets into office, the world won’t be safe for democracy…

  5. caj says:

    No one has a right to be hear if they target innocent – note the use of target – and not just collateral damage

    Posted by mike | December 28, 2008

    I’m afraid you are the idiot here Mike…you choose to call them terrorists but the Palestinian people see them as defenders and leaders of their country!!!
    You also use the word target…as you see Israel as ONLY bombing targets with no human casualties…what a crock!!!!
    That’s the whole problem with some of us we only pick and choose who we like to deal with and at this moment in time we only choose to deal with Israel, it’s been that way for years and it’s about time that policy was changed!!!

  6. mike says:

    caj – i guess it is a matter of perspective – if the palestinians view their leaders and their leaders’ actions (in attacking Israel) as defending their country then the people assume the risk of a counter-attack – again, what do you expect Israel to do? Just take
    it b/c that is the elected government of their neighbors?

  7. caj says:

    I don’t understand how some people only see Palestine as the “murderer’s in this conflict…it’s almost like they regard the Palestinian people as less than human and killing them is no big deal!!!!!
    How do they equate the Israeli power of military might to the lesser capability of Palestine…not saying that whatever is used by either side does not kill or mame but there is no comparison in the strength.
    This constant idea that we have to feel sorry for Israel and their plight…does no one care about the hundreds killed by them, they fire at will whenever the mood takes them with no condemnation from anyone!!!!!
    Do we ever see Palestine amass tanks on the borders,do we see Palestine flying planes and dropping bombs of course not they don’t have that
    capability…yet we are supposed to support Israel with all their military might against what, some ground rockets!!!!
    This conflict has been too one sided for far too long in favour of Israel and it needs to be stopped.

  8. mike says:

    caj – if Hamas never attacked Israel with rockets, do you think any of this would be happening right now? I think that if Israel were left alone, none of this would be going on. We can talk to Hamas until we are blue in the face but it will not make a difference; they do not recognize the legitimacy of Israel and in order to get reelected they have to stoke the fire every now and then – which is exactly what they are doing – hence, the Israeli counterattack.

  9. HiItsNino says:

    I’m so sick of this conflict that I hardly pay attention anymore, but someone correct me if I am wrong: I seem to remember back in Sept the Palestinians complaining that the Israelis were stopping them from going to parts of Gaza that they previously agreed they would have access. Then around October there was some rock throwing and then sometime in November a small Palestinian kids was killed for throwing something at a soldier. Then things deteriorated more rapidly — the rocket launches started, checkpoints went up, etc,etc,etc.

    It seems to me that both side deserve no assistance from the US and we should just let them kill each other if that is what they want. I’m sick of being occupied by other countries problems. Lets get our own house in order or we may see our own ghettos turned into war zones, but then it will be too late.