Tuesday, January 17, 2012


By Schmoel Yitzhak

nebbish -- an innocuous, ineffectual, weak, helpless or hapless unfortunate. A sad sack; a loser.


The only thing we have to fear is fear itself: Franklin Delano Roosevelt -- First Inaugural Address, March 4, 1933.

You don't have to be a Yiddish scholar to know the meaning of nebbish.

Nor do you require a doctorate in Middle East politics to understand that Uncle Sam has become the perceived nebbish of international politics.

Or should I say "Uncle Obama" since America's Commander-In-Chief has re-defined nebbish-ism when it comes to fearless decision-making.

Timidity, anxiety, hesitation, apprehension and dread are among the bywords of White House policy-making as its actions allows Iran to movel relentlessly toward its goal of becoming a nuclear power and -- not secondarily -- wiping Israel off the earth's face with that atomic capability.

The president reacts to the ongoing Iranian threats with a distillation of useless rhetoric and endlessly watered-down sanctions that have done nothing more than embolden Tehran every which way including the Gulf of Hormuz.

You would think that by this time Obama would understand that he heads the world's only super-power and if he fails to utilize that force when necessary, his foes -- that is, all of the Arab world -- will regard him as the nebbish commander somewhat less threatening than Mighty Mouse.

The last outstanding Democratic president, Harry S. Truman, knew when and where to wield that power as the Japanese learned full well at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. By the time Nippon's two big cities were leveled Emperor Hirohito broke several speed records in his haste to surrender.

And for those revisionist historians who retroactively condemn Truman for his "brutal" act, bear in mind that the U.S. military projected a million American casualties had the planned invasion of the Japanese mainland taken place. Translated: the lives of more than a million GIs were saved by The Man From Missouri.

Obama has more power at his disposal than Truman ever did but when it comes to the international scene the current president acts more like the 98-pound weakling who gets sand kicked in his face with impunity by the beach bully.

The latest example of White House cheek-turning occurred over the weekend when it was announced that a joint American-Israeli defense exercise due to begin in the coming weeks was postponed.


Because Uncle Sam is running scared again and Iranian sabre-ratting invariably works when America is involved.

When Tehran threatens to block oil export routes out of the Gulf of Hormuz instead of replying with an immediate show of force, the White House wavers; hence a massive Israeli-American defense drill is stopped because Washington wants to avoid causing further tensions in the region. Imagine that for outrageous timidity.

The proposed drill was vital to Israel's security because it was designed to simulate the missiles fired by Iran or other antagonistic states toward Israel.

In other words a project designed to potentially save thousands of Israeli lives is shot down by Obama while out of the other side of his mouth he "reiterates his unshakeable commitment to Israel's security."

Trouble is by canceling the exercise Obama automatically erases his statement about an "unshakeable" commitment and reduces it to the level of most-shakeable.

Likewise when Iranian nuclear scientist Mostafa Ahmadi-Roshan was killed last week, Obama phoned Benjamin Netanyahu criticizing Bibi for the attack when the president knows full well that it's imperative for Israel to take all appropriate actions to deny Iran the ability to build an Israel-destroying atomic weapon.

And what, you may ask, is Obama afraid of when he holds all the power cards?

Israel's vice prime minister Moshe Ya'alon has the answer; it's all about votes because there's no guarantee that the incumbent Democrat will win the election next Fall. Therefore the Chief Executive is worried.

"There is hesitation," says Ya'alon, "for fear of oil prices rising this year, out of election year considerations."

To those who still believe that Obama has "an unshakeable commitment to Israel's security." bear in mind that the U.S. Senate had just passed a resolution by a majority of 100-1 to impose stiffer sanctions on Iran but the president -- in true nebbish form -- hesitates, fearing the Arabs, worried about oil prices while putting Israel in greater jeopardy.

You don't have to be a renowned philosopher in the Yogi Berra class to know that he who hesitates is lost.

In the case, though, Obama's fearful hesitation makes Israel the unfortunate loser!

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