Did Obama Actually Help Israel at the UN?

© AP Photo / Andrew HarnikPresident Barack Obama in the White House Press Briefing Room
President Barack Obama in the White House Press Briefing Room - Sputnik International
At first glance, Obama inflicted unprecedented diplomatic harm on the US' top ally, but it won't leave any lasting impact because Trump is now inspired to do all that he has to in the next four to eight years in order to repair the perceived damage and turbo-charge relations with Tel Aviv to their best-ever level in history.

President Barack Obama speaks to members of the media as he meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington (File) - Sputnik International
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It might sound crazy the first time that someone considers it, but it's worth wondering whether Obama inadvertently helped "Israel" by ordering Samantha Power to abstain from voting on UNSC 2334, and I kindly ask the reader to bear with me for a few minutes while I elaborate on this controversial point.

The historic document which was just passed is rich with condemnation for all sorts of Israeli behavior towards the Palestinians, and it represents one of the greatest diplomatic triumphs ever over Tel Aviv, made all the sweeter by the fact that the Obama Administration passively let it happen through its unprecedented abstention.

About that decision, it's no secret that Obama and Netanyahu have a deep personal animosity against one another in spite of the fraternal workings of their respective "deep states" (the permanent military, intelligence, and diplomatic bureaucracies). The outgoing lame duck likely wanted to send a last and unforgettable insult to his hated rival, and in that sense, he wildly succeeded.

Much media attention has since been made about how "bad" UNSC 2334 is for Israel, and activists on all sides of the debate are portraying it as a major blow to Tel Aviv's international diplomatic prestige. That's definitely true on paper, but in practice, Israel never had this mythically unblemished reputation that many voices are inferring, as it has always been the US' veto power which had hitherto safeguarded it from "formal" worldwide opprobrium ever since its establishment.

President Barack Obama listens as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during their meeting in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2014. President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met for the first time since a rash of civilian casualties during Israel's summer war with Hamas heightened tensions between two leaders who have long had a prickly relationship. - Sputnik International
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Now that such a reality is irreversibly part of the past, it's time to consider exactly what's changed in a concrete way ever since UNSC Res. 2334 was passed. For as symbolic of a document as it is and as hard-hitting as its words are, there's really no enforcement mechanism that can be applied in making sure that Israel abides by the Security Council's ruling.

While one can speculate about the actions that some countries may seek to take as a result of this resolution, the inconvenient truth is that most of the Great Powers (Iran excluded) probably won't do anything significant to pressure Tel Aviv because they each have their own vested economic and strategic interests in cooperating with it on friendly terms. Moreover, whatever actions they do take will expectedly be of a largely symbolic nature to coincide with their newly enthused rhetoric, though the one crucial development which might progressively unfold is that Russia takes the lead in organizing another round of Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations.

US President Barack Obama holds a press conference in the briefing room at the White House in Washington, DC. (File) - Sputnik International
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Still, this doesn't explain how Obama might have inadvertently helped Israel at the UN, so in order to get to that point, the analysis must shift to some words about President-elect Donald J. Trump and his declared response to the UN's decree. The incoming President has loudly expressed his loyal support for the US' chief international ally on multiple occasions, and the aftermath of UNSC Res. 2334 was no different. Taking to Twitter, Trump condemned the document and vowed that things will be different at the UN once he's in office.

His words are key to understanding precisely how Obama's personal parting shot against Netanyahu will likely backfire in the most grand and unintended ways possible. Trump already demonstrated his Zionist credentials by promising to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and relocate the American Embassy to there from Tel Aviv, but now his geopolitical zealotry is super-charged out of his interconnected desires to assist the US' closest ally during its pressing time of perceived international need and to embarrass his predecessor by completely reversing what he had done.

Prior to this event, Trump was very outspoken about his resistance to the Iranian nuclear deal that the Obama Administration had clinched, pledging to either renegotiate the entire agreement or scrap it outright.

U.S. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump appears at a campaign roundtable event in Manchester, New Hampshire, U.S., October 28, 2016 - Sputnik International
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Now, however, he's pivotally inspired to move extra fast in this regard out of what he sees as the urgent need to undo the diplomatic damage that Obama had vengefully inflicted in the most symbolic manner possible, pushed to do so not only to assure the US' number one ally that Washington unwaveringly stands with Tel Aviv no matter what, but also to show Obama that he's a failure and that the elements of his legacy which he was most personally invested in (UNSC Res. 2334, Obamacare, "Assad must go", the Cuban rapprochement, the New Cold War, etc.) stand to be undone in an instant if he so chooses.

At this point in time, Obama's rivalry with Netanyahu is inseparably linked to the one which he has with Trump, and the President-elect is well aware of this and thus interprets the Commander-In-Chief's decision to order Ambassador Powers to abstain from voting on UNSC Res. 2334 as an unforgivable insult against him personally.

In hindsight, Obama was never sincere about helping the Palestinians against Israel because he of all people knows about the close "deep state" collaboration between Washington and Tel Aviv (which he himself strengthened through a recent 10-year $38 billion weapons deal), but he opted to exploit this globally renowned issue as a convenient excuse for making an historically antagonistic gesture against his two opponents while he still had the presidential power to do so.

The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.
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