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The commentators on BBC had a few choice words about the debate of Democratic Presidential hopefuls. Obama was asked a simple question. Name three important allies. And did he answer the question? No.

Of course the trademark of successful politicians is avoiding the questions, so lets not be under any disillusions as to who we have here. We have a novice Senator, with great charisma, charm and potential. But is he ready to be a front runner?

So who did he mention? Does he mention Israel? England? Canada? Mexico? Nope. He mentioned the EU (sic) and then NATO, and then rambles about Afghanistan. Then Japan. Yeh, that was a good line, just after Toyota takes over as the car king, and leaves Detroit in the dust. Hmmm. In fact, perhaps Obama thought the question was, “Who are our three biggest competitors?” He mentions the EU, Japan, and China. Now you can be a competitor and an ally, but what ARE the three most important ones? Who puts their tuches on the line for the US? Which country admires the USA, even with all our faults? Its not the EU, or Japan or China. There are strategic allies, political allies, economic allies. Bu I would guess that the question reffered to which countries can we count on.

Senator, the number one country you can count on is Israel. Israel is America’s greatest ally.

Quote from transcript below, from Democratic candidate debate:

Senator Obama, what are America’s three most important allies around the world?

OBAMA: Well, I think the European Union as a whole has been a long-standing ally of ours, and through NATO we’ve been able to make some significant progress. Afghanistan, in particular, is an area where we should be focusing. NATO has made real contributions there.

Unfortunately, because of the distraction of Iraq, we have not finished the job in terms of making certain that we are driving back the Taliban, stabilizing the Karzai government, capturing bin Laden and making sure that we’ve rooted out terrorism in that region.

OBAMA: We also have to look east, because increasingly, the center of gravity in this world is shifting to Asia. Japan has been an outstanding ally of ours for many years.

But, obviously, China is rising and it’s not going away.

They’re neither our enemy nor our friend. They’re competitors. But we have to make sure that we have enough military-to-military contact, and forge enough of a relationship with them that we can stabilize the region.

That’s something I’d like to do as president.

MODERATOR: Senator, thanks. I’ll give you a follow-up.

I didn’t hear you mention Israel, and I ask because there is a quote attributed to your name. You said recently, “No one is suffering more than the Palestinian people.”

Do you stand by that remark?

OBAMA: Well, keep in mind what the remark actually, if you had the whole thing, said. And what I said is nobody has suffered more than the Palestinian people from the failure of the Palestinian leadership to recognize Israel, to renounce violence, and to get serious about negotiating peace and security for the region.

OBAMA: Israel has been one of our most important allies around the world. It’s the only established democracy in the Middle East. It’s the linchpin of much of our efforts in the Middle East.

But the United States has to get engaged in this region. And that’s something that this president has not done. That’s something that I intend to do.

Whole debate transcript

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Rabbi Yonah

16 Comments

  • The democrats have such a hold on the Jewish vote, that they don’t need to cater to Jews.

    They get the Jewish vote anyway.

  • I think I’d probably go with the United Kingdom first. They’ve been a a strong, strategic ally. After that I would go with Canada and Mexico.

  • I have to with England, too. The parent always loves the child, and even when it misbehaves and cries WMD when there was none, he will be forgiven eventually.

  • Um, ok, while he totally rambled and all, and I’m not a big Obama fan, but the fact that he didn’t say “Israel” first instead referring to the EU and NATO (cop out answers and strange ones for sure but would a Republican answer it any differently? I’m not so sure.) is not newsworthy and not anti-Israel.

    Israel has enough enemies. Let’s not make enemies out of those who aren’t.

  • I didn’t see anything wrong with his answer. I mean, why risk alienating other EU countries by publically stating, “these guys are our STRONG allies and as for the rest of you …. well we don’t like very much.” As Amechad said, even a Republican would have punted on that one.

  • Mentioning the EU was pretty clever. Michelle’s right. Democrats don’t have to worry about the Jewish vote; if they did, and if they had to court the African-American vote, too, then Israel and Nigeria make his list.

    In any event, lip service is one thing: deeds, another.

  • I thought Isreal is in EU,they do compete in all EU ORGANIZED EVENTS like soccer,singing competitions.Most isrealis come from the E.EUROPE ANYWAY.

  • Actually, Ben, Israel isn’t in the EU although for cultural events the Europeans have been kind enough to invite Israel to participate since it’s, you know, a liberal democracy just like they are and because, um, the Arab countries refuse to include the Israelis in their fine song contests.

    And Ben, most Isrealis [sic] don’t come from E. Europe. Most Isrealis are born in Israel – 65% of them – and of the Jewish population in general, 50% come from non-European countries like Egypt, Morocco, Iraq and Iran. In other words, they are of the region since that’s what you were getting at.

    Hope that helps, Ben.

  • I had the good fortune to see Senator Obama, along with Senators Biden, Edwards, and Clinton, and several other Demo party hopefuls at last week’s National Jewish Democratic Council 1st Annual conference in Washington DC. From my seat in the audience, Obama was a master at being vague. While otehrs listed specific plans and spoke of Israel, Senator Obama knew that he would receive no incremental benefit from commiting his campaign to Israel. During the debate last week, what benefit would he have received from mentioning Israel or England or Canada? If you were his advisor and campaign manager, I think you would have advised him to mention the EU as well. His positioning in the market is to be all things to all people and stay vague, raise money, garner volunteers, and seduce activists until after Iowa and New Hampshire.

    If you want to receive a message, have Western Union visit your house. If you wants specifics, call Bill RIchardson. But if you want to be viable candidate in the current race against Hillary and Biden and Edwards, etc., stay vague as long as possible.

  • The United States has no formal defense arrangement with Israel and therefore Israel is not an ally. The three most important allies of the US are Great Britain, Canada and Japan.
    The US has a special relationship with Israel but not any alliance.

  • Obama is the least prepared to be president. I cannot believe he is the people’s choice over hillary. His no experience in foreign and internal affairs make it seems that affirmative action is been used here, by allowing a nonexperience politian to run for the presidency is the least responsible decision any voter can do. By voting for someone that has charisma and persuades people with his talented speech is not enough to be president. remember he was a lawyer, his ability to persuade people with his words was his first profession and has more experience on; law than politics. if you think other wise feel free to email me at gceron@aol.com

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