BLOG 324 October 31, 2016
With the election a week away, I have been asked by a number of people how the candidates are seen in Israel and what is expected after the winner is in office. Of course, no one is taking polls in Israel so certainty is not possible. In these blogs, I attempt to present a balanced view that may be contrary to my own opinion. This blog is intended to do the same.
It doesn’t take a prophet to recognize the race is over. However, figuring out who- believes-what has been a challenge because of the name calling, lying, distortions, and detractions aimed at creating an angry electorate. The latest charge to derail real debate is coping and fondling. (Not by Hillary) Never-the-less, Israelites are drawing their own conclusions.
While it has not come out as a campaign issue, both candidates’ daughters are married to Jewish men.
Trump is seen as having no coherent foreign policy. Fundamentally an isolationist, America is first regardless. He appears to accept Russia’s annexation of Crimea, and doesn’t see the Ukraine as important to America. NATO gets support only when everybody pays up. His support from the Jews has always been wobbly.
Clinton is seen as a hawk with overwhelming foreign policy experience from her years as Secretary of State. Even though she later said it was for political reasons, she did vote for the Iraq war. As secretary, she supported the surge of American troops in Afghanistan. Israelis conclude she has demonstrated a willingness to use a muscular approach to the military. This position was displayed in her support for Syrian rebels, support of a no-fly zone in the civil war, and a regime change in Libya.
Regime changes usually lead to support for nation-building. Clinton appears to hold that idea. The problem for Israelis is that they must draw conclusions by inference because the volatile presidential campaign and personal attacks have obscured any debate on these positions.
Obama reminds unpopular and suspect in Israel. His back-peddling in Syria has allowed the Russians to take an upper hand. He appears to have deployed American military only after forced to do so. His position has been to rely on diplomatic solutions and the call for other nations to join America before acting. Obviously, this has dramatically failed in Syria and made Israelis shutter.
Clinton’s worldview is vastly different. Her tendencies are seen as far more interventionists. She holds a “responsibility to protect” perspective. She favors imposing restrictions on Russia for their attacks in the Ukraine as well as a reset of relations with Russia. The hacking into the American election process by Russia reflects their fear of how she might respond to them
Is this good for Israel? The Israelis think so.