“Several years ago,” Goldberg writes, President Obama “expressed to me his admiration for Israelis’ ‘resilience’ in the face of constant terrorism, and it is clear that he would like to see resilience replace panic in American society.” What a low view of the American people is expressed in this anecdote—and what a backhanded compliment of Israel. For there is no “panic” gripping America other than the desire for the president to treat the problem of ISIS and Islamic terrorism more seriously than he has. And Israel’s response to Palestinian terrorism goes far beyond “resilience” in the face of suicide bombs and rocket attacks—to include a global campaign against terror networks, the forward deployment of forces in the West Bank, and retaliatory offensives against Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza that the president and his multilateral friends are always so quick to criticize and bring to an end.
There is an old joke about how the U.S. ambassador to the United Nation so often acts as the U.N. ambassador to the United States. As the threat of Islamic radicalism has grown and the lands under its dominion have expanded, President Obama has fallen into the role of the hapless diplomat. He is far more interested in constraining American power in a shortsighted effort not to repeat the supposed mistakes of his predecessor than in unleashing the full might of the American power and leading a serious and sustained international effort to deny ISIS legitimacy by depriving it of safe haven. It must give Barack Obama cold comfort to know that his successor is far more likely to act not as secretary-general of the United States, but as its commander-in-chief.