September 6, 2011

Gates Labels Netanyahu as Ungrateful, Dangerous

We are no fans of Robert Gates, but the truth is the truth. Read Jeffrey Goldberg's full article at Bloomberg:

It was an extraordinary scene: President Barack Obama, sitting impassively in the Oval Office in May as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lectured him, at considerable length and at times condescendingly, on Jewish history, Arab perfidy and the existential challenges facing his country.

What was extraordinary wasn’t the message -- it was not an untypical Netanyahu sermon. What was notable was that Netanyahu was lecturing the president live on television, during a photo opportunity staged so that the two leaders could issue platitudes about the enduring bonds between their nations.

That display of impudence left the president and his team feeling unusually angry. Shortly afterward, Obama’s chief of staff, William Daley, called the Israeli ambassador in Washington, Michael Oren, to communicate the displeasure of the White House in a reportedly heated way. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who watched her husband battle Netanyahu in the late 1990s, also expressed anger and frustration about the prime minister within the administration.

Nothing in Return

But it was Robert M. Gates, the now-retired secretary of defense, who seemed most upset with Netanyahu. In a meeting of the National Security Council Principals Committee held not long before his retirement this summer, Gates coldly laid out the many steps the administration has taken to guarantee Israel’s security -- access to top- quality weapons, assistance developing missile-defense systems, high-level intelligence sharing -- and then stated bluntly that the U.S. has received nothing in return, particularly with regard to the peace process.

Senior administration officials told me that Gates argued to the president directly that Netanyahu is not only ungrateful, but also endangering his country by refusing to grapple with Israel’s growing isolation and with the demographic challenges it faces if it keeps control of the West Bank. According to these sources, Gates’s analysis met with no resistance from other members of the committee...


  1. Netanyahu recognizes that gratitude is not necessary towards an Israeli subordinate, The US Government. Half of the Forbes´s 400 are Jewish, AIPAC is easily one of the most powerful lobbies, and Israel has "attack dogs" in the US media who go after anyone in any influential position who speaks out against Israeli policy.

    Democracies in most countries are designed so that the wealthy can maintain control over polity. These same mechanisms have been shrewdly leveraged by a foreign power (and those citizens whose country of primary loyalty is a foreign power), making a mockery of the theory that states do what they believe to be in the national interest. The US policy vis à vis Israel is plainly inimical to the interests of the US, and it is not an overstatement that the corruption of the US government by Israel and by parasitic rentier financial interests will destroy this country.

  2. You raise many good points. Private interests have overwhelmed public interests, historically and contemporarily. This problem has contaminated all areas of U.S. foreign policy and spread to America's domestic core.