Another Tack: What’s in a name?

Word is that US President Barack Obama, remarkably free from introspection and unencumbered by healthy hints of self-doubt, assiduously attributes Israeli mistrust of him to his eminently Muslim middle name. For him that encapsulates it all.

Such simplistic, one-dimensional explanations typify his neophyte missteps on the treacherous turfs of foreign policy. Obama botches things up because of his predilection for facile grand gestures, which, alas, can’t alter intricate realities. He hasn’t got an elementary handle on our Israeli outlook and is likewise unable to navigate the tempestuous Islamic sea that swirls ominously around us.

He doesn’t get us and he doesn’t get them.

Obama’s oversimplified presumptions about our perceived antipathy toward him (without stopping to consider his undisguised cold shoulder to us), are matched by oversimplified expectations that the Muslim/Arab world should cheer him. These too hinge on that eminently Muslim middle name. Being called Hussein should, in and of itself, create an affinity, make Muslims trust him and accept him as a kindred spirit.

This, of course, is every bit as simplistic as the notion that Israelis should harbor misgivings because of his name. Continue reading