Opinion: Netanyahu Fantasized About a GOP President, Our Cruel God Gave Him Trump

Opinion:  Netanyahu Fantasized About a GOP President, Our Cruel God Gave Him Trump 

In place of the deep discussions on history and philosophy he dreamt of, Netanyahu should keep it short and simple.

Chemi Shalev | Haaretz – Alternative Views NOT Alternative Facts

This week, Benjamin

Benjamin Netanyahu

Benjamin Netanyahu

will round out his 4000th day as prime minister. He spent most, if not all of them, fending off a Democratic president who, he believed, was out to do him harm. Which is why Wednesday was to be one of the happiest in his life, the day he would be received royally at the White House, make himself comfortable in an Oval Office armchair, smile at the cameras, silently thank God and finally have the time of his life.

Netanyahu must have fantasized about his first meeting with a Republican president like Mitt Romney, Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush and even Newt Gingrich. There would be great chemistry between the two leaders, as well as deep understanding and wall-to-wall agreement. The American would gaze at Netanyahu with admiration, and might seek his counsel about the war on terror or reviving the economy.  

Then, over an expensive Cuban cigar, they would discuss The Clash of Civilizations or the tax estimates of the Laffer Curve, compare and contrast the latest biographies of Alexander Hamilton and Abraham Lincoln, spend a moment near the bust of Winston Churchill to sing his praises. At the lavish State Dinner, over a glass of pink champagne, the president would invite Netanyahu and his wife to spend the weekend at Camp David, as befits such a most favoured foreign leader.

But der mentsh trakht un got lakht, as Yiddish speakers know: Man plans and God laughs, and in this case, it was cruel laughter indeed. Donald Trump may look like Netanyahu’s dream come true, because he is a Republican billionaire who hates Muslims, leftists and the media, but in actual fact he is a nightmare in waiting, a wish that’s gone haywire.

This is not the president that Netanyahu was yearning for. Trump doesn’t read books, is uninterested in precedents, couldn’t analyze history if his life depended on it. He doesn’t admire Lincoln or Churchill, despite reinstating his bust, and certainly not Netanyahu, but only himself. His view of the world is flat, so Netanyahu’s deep dissections will be lost on him, and his vocabulary is limited, so Netanyahu will have to talk to him slowly and with simple words.

Instead of grand global visions and anti-terror campaigns, Netanyahu should be fretting about the world blowing up tomorrow.

Trump is not an ideologue, but a populist and an opportunist whose positions move left or right depending on where the wind is blowing. Unlike many Republicans, especially religious ones, Trump has no ingrained commitment to Israel. He is not enamored with the return to Zion or the resettlement of Judea and Samaria. Trump supports Israel because it is convenient politically, but if he gets a better offer – and he may have already gotten one from his friends in the Gulf and Arab countries – he won’t hesitate to impose his will harshly.

Worst of all for Netanyahu is that he’s also terrified of Trump. He said so openly, in fact, in an uncharacteristic and undiplomatic statement to the cabinet on Sunday: “You can’t cross him, because of his personality and complexity.” Media reports from his first few weeks in the White House indicate that as much as Trump is blunt, aggressive and insulting in his public appearances, his temper and temperament are far worse in private. One can only shudder at the ill winds that blew in the White House on Tuesday, as National Security Adviser Michael Flynn submitted his resignation.

Netanyahu has proven himself adept at overcoming tame and self-restrained politicians such as Shimon Peres, Tzipi Livni or Labor leader Isaac Herzog, but he flinches away from, and often succumbs to, people who are more ferocious or ruthless, such as Avidgor Lieberman, Naftali Bennett, Ehud Barak or Sheldon Adelson. If Netanyahu angers Trump, defies him, insults him or simply seems condescending, the U.S.A. president will come down on him like a ton of bricks.

Incredible as it may seem right now, it is in such moments that Netanyahu will find himself pining, to his own amazement, for the good old days of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.

*************

UPDATE:

President Trump & Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – Press Conference at White House

Published on Feb 15, 2017

President Trump & Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hold joint news conference from the East Room of the White House.

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  • Clyde Duncan  On February 16, 2017 at 6:29 pm

    Donald Trump’s White House ‘an absolute effing trainwreck’ behind the scenes, says insider

    An NPR correspondent says she asked a White House official ‘what’s the mood like in there?’

    Charlotte England | Independent UK

    Donald Trump’s White House is “an absolute effing trainwreck” since the resignation of National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, an insider working with the Trump administration has reportedly said.

  • Clyde Duncan  On February 16, 2017 at 7:50 pm

    February 16, 2017
    The 5 Min Forecast: President gets ahead of himself on stock rally and tax cuts

    Trump’s Tweeting Again [still]: For God’s sake, man, get some sleep…

    We’re going to file this one away for future reference. You know, because pride goeth before a fall and all that…

    Oh, wait, the future’s already here…

    “House Republicans are planning to meet Thursday [today] behind closed doors to try to regain some momentum on their plan to repeal Obamacare,” says a Bloomberg story, “but action still remains weeks away, or longer. These delays, in turn, push back the GOP’s tax plans.

    “Neither issue has progressed enough to be on schedule to wrap up by August recess, according to a person familiar with leadership’s thinking who isn’t authorized to speak publicly on the matter.”

    Gee, and now we’re only 28 days away from the debt ceiling coming back into force.

    As you’ll recall, the debt ceiling’s been suspended since October 2015 under the “zombie budget” agreed to by President Obama and House Speaker Paul Ryan.

    Since late last year, our own David Stockman has been pounding the table:

    The return of the debt ceiling will act as a roadblock to nearly all of the Trump agenda, with only isolated exceptions like defense spending and bank regulations. “By the Fourth of July,” David says, “the Trump administration will be out of cash.”

    Democrats are united against Trump, and many Republicans are loath to grant Trump his budget-busting wishes. How can Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell round up majorities to raise the debt ceiling from $20 trillion to, say, $22 trillion?

    They can’t.

    What David said in this space back on 01 Dec 2016 still holds here on 16 Feb:
    “There will be no massive tax cut, no huge infrastructure initiative or any other variation of the ‘fiscal stimulus’ will-o’-the-wisp that seems to have sent the bond markets reeling and the stock averages to giddy flights of fantasy.

    Every block of votes Trump manages to wrangle for the debt ceiling increase will require a king’s ransom of compromises on everything he has promised to do in the first 100 days.

    President Trump may even be forced to back off from his promise to kill Obamacare in order to get Democratic votes for the debt ceiling increase. And that’s because there is not a chance in the world that tea party Republicans will go along with the idea that an election earthquake happened only so they could vote for trillions more of public debt as their first order of business.

    The stock market will swoon when it becomes clear that the Imperial City is descending into ungovernable political chaos and gridlock. And that is virtually guaranteed.”

    And now there’s an even bigger, more insurmountable obstacle to a debt ceiling agreement — the latest bogus “Russia’s subverting our democracy!” scare.

    The evidence-free Russia drumbeat went away for the first three weeks of the Trump administration — overwhelmed by a flurry of tweets and photo ops and executive orders.

    But the brouhaha that led to the resignation of National Security Adviser Michael Flynn has rekindled the animal spirits of the establishment crowd still aghast at Trump’s presence in the White House.

    “Russian interference in our election is potentially a bigger scandal than Watergate ever was,” intones Nicholas Kristof in The New York Times, speaking for all Very Serious People.

    Democrats, still in denial about the failures of their candidate and her campaign in 2016, are running with it. Yesterday on MSNBC, anchor Katy Tur interviewed Sen. Chris Coons (D-Delaware). She asked what Democrats might do if there’s not a full-on Watergate-style investigation of those nefarious Russkies. Block the Neil Gorsuch Supreme Court nomination? Block a debt ceiling deal and push Uncle Sam into default?

    “Let’s see if we’re able to make progress,” said Coons, “and if not, you just laid out a number of leverage points that would get the attention of the White House and Republicans in the Senate.”

    The powers that be took out Flynn. “But here’s the thing,” says David Stockman. “They were aiming at Donald J. Trump.”

    And they didn’t even have to prove Flynn did anything improper when he phoned the Russian ambassador before Trump took office. They just insinuated, anonymously, to mainstream reporters that Flynn might have made promises about dropping a few U.S. sanctions. (Of course, the intel insiders who leaked the details of that phone call could remove any doubt by leaking an unredacted transcript. Fat chance of that…)

    “The whole Flynn imbroglio,” says David, “is not about a violation of the Logan Act owing to the fact that the general engaged in diplomacy as a private citizen. It’s about re-litigating the 2016 election.”

    Bloomberg reporter Eli Lake agrees with David’s assessment: “Flynn is only the appetizer. Trump is the entree.” Or as a cynical wag on Twitter puts it…

    David says there is one parallel to Watergate that’s apt: “When the witch hunt goes full tilt, nothing else happens on Capitol Hill — and most especially not a $4.5 trillion tax cut.”

    [Ed. note: David spent years in Washington politics before going onto Wall Street. He knows every inch of the swamp and how hard it is to drain.
    In his latest book, Trumped!, David spells out what lies ahead from an insider’s perspective. And he also tells the story nearly everyone’s overlooked — one with the potential to devastate the future of America, your retirement, even the security of you and your family.

    David Gonigam – The 5 Minute Forecast

  • Clyde Duncan  On February 19, 2017 at 9:54 pm

    Trump Family Trips Cost Taxpayers $11.3-Million in ONE MONTH

    – almost as much as Obama’s COST IN ONE YEAR

    Jaunts to estate in Mar-a-Lago, and secret service charges for his son’s business trips across the globe, are costing American taxpayers

    Peter Walker | Independent UK

    Donald Trump’s family’s trips have cost taxpayers nearly as much in a month as Barack Obama’s cost in an entire year.

    The US President’s three visits to his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida since his presidential inauguration, combined with his sons’ business trips, reportedly cost $11.3m (£9.1m).

    Conservative watchdog Judicial Watch estimated Mr Obama’s travel expenses totalled an average $12.1m in each of his eight years in the White House.

    The 70-year-old leader of the free world repeatedly criticised Mr Obama for his taxpayer-funded travel during his tenure.

    He tweeted in January 2012: “President @BarackObama’s vacation is costing taxpayers millions of dollars —- Unbelievable!”

    The Independent UK has contacted Mr Trump’s communications director for comment.

  • Clyde Duncan  On February 21, 2017 at 12:22 am

    The left needs to take a leaf out of Jesus’ book – and GET ANGRY

    Being polite gets us nowhere. We should channel the righteous anger we feel at the mess America is in, and use it to change society

    Steven W Thrasher | The Guardian UK

    As a social justice minded Christian, my favourite depictions of Jesus are from Matthew 21:12, when he is seen with a whip in his hand, flipping over tables in a rage and driving merchants from the temple.

    This is the Christ who speaks to me when I look at the mess that is contemporary America and ask myself “What would Jesus Do?”.

    He was a righteously furious Middle Eastern Jew, who’d been born while his mother was migrating and grew up to put the fear of God into capitalists, putting them on the run with a whip.

    This Jesus is angry, and he’s a great role model for the American left, which has been cowed into thinking it must be passive and “nice” in the face of oppression.

    Forgoing anger will not save us. Indeed, perhaps the only good thing about Donald Trump is that he’s allowed some wider consideration of what Audre Lorde called the “uses of anger” in mainstream left American discourse.

    “My response to racism is anger,” Lorde said at the dawn of Reaganism – because expressing anger was a perfectly normal (and sanity preserving) coping mechanism for a Black queer woman like her.

    Similarly, James Baldwin accurately said that “To be a Negro in this country and to be relatively conscious is to be in a rage almost all the time,” a quote I keep on my desktop to remember that being aware comes with a predictable fury.

    But for too long, a misinterpretation of Martin Luther King as never angry (when his speeches, marches and actions against poverty, racist labour exploitation and war were full of fury), and the too-polite Barack Obama, have lulled the left into avoiding anger and its useful productiveness in demanding change.

    No more. Trump – an angry, intemperate man-child who bullies whomever he can – has unleashed the left’s anger. And it is high time we let it out.

    But American patriarchy and white supremacy have tried to teach us that anger is the domain of white, cisgender, rich heterosexual men only – and that women, people of colour, transgender people, immigrants, workers, the disabled, and others need to be nice and meek in the hope that we will get some crumbs of justice.

    Angry people get things done.

    We are told that our anger will be destabilizing. But the status quo needs to be destabilized, especially as anger was suppressed too much during the Obama years.

    When Obama seemed at all angry about racial justice – like when he imagined Trayvon Martin as his son in 2012, or when he even mildly criticized the white police officer who arrested Henry Louis Gates when a neighbour thought he was breaking into his own home in 2009 – Obama was excoriated and usually dialled things back.

    His failure to prosecute the banksters responsible for the 2008 crash, and his denunciation of some protesters during Black Lives Matter uprisings as “thugs,” helped reinforce the sense that while rich, white criminals should face no punishment, black justice warriors require extreme punishment, and that anger should never be engaged to fight economic violence.

    It was a curious recurring theme for Obama, considering white people and Republicans had no trouble raging at him with substantial political results. And yet, he seemed content to set an example to the left and people of colour, that anger needed to be suppressed, and that a calm, polite, technocratic neoliberalism would save the day.

    That path gave us Trump.

    But Americans have a lot to be angry about. Women should be, and are, enraged that a man who bragged he could just grab them “by the pussy” occupies the Oval Office.

    Immigration activists should, and are, rallying people to their cause in anger.

    Educators and classmates of transgender and undocumented students should be enraged.

    Writers and readers of the press should be outraged that they are being posited as each other’s enemy.

    And everyone who drinks water or breaths air should be enraged that a freshman Republican congressman has introduced a bill to abolish the Environmental Protection Agency.

    All of this anger needs to be acknowledged and felt, because “anger is loaded with information and energy,” as Lorde said, and it can be used as a fuel for action.

    Remember: Martin Luther King’s vision of social justice was not simply about having a passive “dream”, but also about using one’s body to upend the social order with righteous indignation, just as Jesus was as apt to flip the capitalist’s table, as he was to silently pray.

    Anger at the injustice of an unfair world is a moral and useful emotion, which can motivate and embolden a passive left through public indignation.

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