But At What Cost?

March 18, 2015 1:11 PM

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The Atlantic's Jeffery Goldberg put it well yesterday: Benjamin Netanyahu "is pretty good at what he does" -- and that is win and survive. "With nearly all votes counted, Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party is set to emerge as the election's big winner with 30 seats. The Zionist Union trails behind with 24 seats," Haaretz says. But here is the follow-up question after Netanyahu's win: At what cost? His speech to Congress criticizing the Obama administration's nuclear talks, which ultimately turned out to be a successful tactic for him, brought his relationship with President Obama to an all-time low. His last-minute declaration that he opposes a Palestinian state, which appears to have rallied Israeli conservatives, creates an even shakier relationship with Western Europe and puts the United States in a huge box in trying to be the fair arbiter in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. And his warning yesterday that "Arab voters are coming out in droves to the polls," again an effective mobilization tactic, was tinged with race. (An American politician warning about blacks/whites/Latinos voting in large numbers wouldn't be well-received in this country.) So give Netanyahu credit -- he won another tough race. But he now has to pick up the pieces from the things that got broken in the process.

Yet Netanyahu isn't the only one who has to pick up the pieces -- so does President Obama and his administration. As the great 20th Century philosopher Rob Base said, "It takes two to make a thing go right" in a relationship. And it sometimes also takes two to make a thing go wrong. So President Oba...

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