Tuesday's election is a pivotal turning point for the United States but it will also have a profound impact on Israel and the Middle East.
Here are some vital but as yet unanswered questions:
- Will Obama put more pressure on the Israeli government to make concessions for the "peace process."
- Will he take an active role in the upcoming Israeli elections in January to defeat Benjamin Netanyahu?
- Does this make war more not less likely in the Middle East?
- What does this mean for Iran's nuclear program? Will they get "the bomb" in the next four years under an Obama administration?
- Does this embolden the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and throughout the Middle East?
- Despite the campaign slogan that "Al Qaeda is decimated and Osama Bin Laden is no more" is Al Qaeda on the rise as well as other Islamist groups?
- What did Obama mean when last March he asked Russian President Dmitri Medvedev to deliver a message to Vladimir Putin: "On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this, this can be solved but it's important for him [Putin] to give me space … This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility."
British commentator Melanie Philips gave some of her answers to these questions in a penetrating analysis today. Here's an excerpt:
"The greatest satisfaction today over the re-election of Obama is not being felt in the Democratic Party. It is not being felt among the media, who are no longer objective observers but have turned instead into corrupt partisans who ruthlessly censored the truth about Obama and helped peddle his demonizing propaganda about his opponent. It is not being felt among the gloating, drooling decadents of the western left who now scent a great blood-letting of all who dare defy their secular inquisition. No, the greatest satisfaction is surely being felt in Iran.
With four more years of Obama in the White House, Iran can now be sure that it will be able to complete its infernal construction of a genocide bomb to use against the Jews and the west. World War Three has now come a lot closer."
You can read Phillips' entire column here.
Another Israeli commentator reflected on the election and said, "… start filling your sandbags. We're in for a rough ride."
My sense is that Obama's election makes war in the Middle East more, not less, likely. During Barack's first term, Middle East leaders perceived him as a weak leader. As someone commented, "They like him because he's weak, not because they 'like him.'" Strength not weakness prevents war. Ronald Reagan knew this. Regimes like Iran do not respond to nuanced diplomatic entreaties. They respond to unambiguous and clear "red lines."
Yet many here in Israel, the United States, and around the world prayed for a different outcome. Here's one take on that outpouring of intercession. My sense is that we're entering into uncharted, potentially turbulent waters. Thankfully, the One who knows those rapids can guide us through.