Saturday, March 21, 2015

Politics, Las Vegas Style

It seems we have two governments now as "shadow president' John Boehner plans to travel to Israel to meet with re-elected Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu.  I suppose this kind of back channel "diplomacy" isn't unprecedented, but the bald-faced way that the Republicans have chosen to directly engage in Foreign Policy, openly undermining the sitting Commander-in-Chief, is new and very unsettling.

One of the dark figures behind all this subversive politicking is Sheldon Adelson, who contributes heavily to conservative groups in the US and Israel.  He has become the new media mogul of Israel, buying up tabloids that cater to the country's religious right, much like Rupert Murdoch's vast "info-tainment" network in America.  Adelson used it effectively to aid Netanyahu in his re-election bid.  This is a guy with money to burn and has an agenda that includes bringing American and Israeli conservatives together to fight what he sees as the scourge of liberalism around the world, especially those who would aid and abet a Palestinian free state.

I suppose in this era of globalization there is nothing inherently wrong with Uncle Sheldon diversifying his interests, but more and more he looks like one of those James Bond villains hell bent on world domination.  Of course, the world is a pretty big place and it would take a cabal of such nefarious figures to reshape the geo-political world as we know it.  However, this doesn't it make it any less scary the way Adelson and Murdoch and others are using the media to shape public opinion to suit their interests.

Many Americans seem to have a very high opinion of Bibi Netanyahu, thanks to all the favorable press he receives in Adelson's and Murdoch's dailies, not to mention Fox News, the most watched "news" network in the United States.  Of course, the core of his support is quite conservative, but judging by the decibel level of applause during his speech to the join session of Congress, Bibi has his Democratic supporters as well, notably New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez, who helped escort the Israeli PM to Congress that day.

There are enough Democrats to help the Republicans set the Foreign Policy in regard to Iran, forcing the President to comply with their hard line position.  Apparently, the only thing keeping them from doing so are the Republicans' heavy handed tactics which have drawn international condemnation.  However, you have to think that Netanyahu's surprise victory has emboldened them as well.

The White House is standing tough.  The President plans to go ahead with his nuclear agreement with Iran, regardless of Congressional opposition, and will now explore other ways to deal with the ongoing Palestinian crisis, as Netanyahu has made it clear he has no plans to address the issue as long as he is in power, which could be up to four more years.

So, we have Boehner using his "vacation time" to explore a few options of his own with Bibi, as obviously the President isn't willing to play along.  Unlike the titular President of Israel, Reuven Rivlin, the US President carries far more weight, so he is not so easy to bypass.

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