Barack Obama has faced stinging criticism over the last few days because of his silence on the Israeli-Gaza crisis.
The Guardian and Independent newspapers seem to have worked themselves up into a rage that the President-elect has not criticised Israel for its actions.
But Barack Obama’s reticence to speak out reflects something much deeper than merely a desire for the US not to have two Commanders-in-Chief operating at the same time.
Those that criticise Obama simply don’t know him.
What do you expect from the “No Drama, Obama” candidate?
As we discovered during the election campaign, Obama won’t be rushed or browbeaten into anything. His approach is measured and calm and deliberate. Exactly the opposite of the Bush years.
Solving the problems of the Middle East and the Palestinians will take decades. Obama is surely right to approach the situation carefully and thoughtfully. After all, the Israel-Gaza crisis nearly ruined the last two Democratic Presidencies. Caution and pragmatism in foreign affairs will win the day. His choices for Secretary of State, Secretary of Defence and now CIA Director confirm this.
Choosing Leon Panetta as CIA Director inspires confidence. An outsider, who strongly opposes the Bush Administration’s use of torture and Guantanamo Bay, Panetta will bring fresh thinking to an organisation totally discredited after the war in Iraq.
The fact that Obama has chosen not to intervene in the current crisis does not mean to say he will preside over American isolationism or retrenchment in the future either.
But his approach to foreign affairs will be different.
It will be more consensual, more long term and more strategic. The Obama Administration is not going to shoot from the hip.
He plays a long game. He bides his time. And then he makes a decision - anyone who watched him in those early primaries knows that.
So liberal commentators should stop complaining and shut up. This present crisis is awful and messy and tragic and Obama will get to it.
But for the time being he is thinking and planning.
Two qualities George Bush never had and Obama has in spades.
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