The Israeli intelligence website DebkaFile has reported that Obama is now seriously considering an attack on the Iranian nuclear facilities. His change of heart is not, according to Debka, prompted by the Israeli Netanyahu -- whose nation is most directly threatened by Iranian nukes -- but by an ultimatum from King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, who told Obama that his nation could not tolerate Iranian WMD, and would develop its own if Iran was allowed to acquire them. In other words, Netanyahu's threat of a Middle Eastern conflict that could devastate Israel and escalate to all-out nuclear war carried less weight with Obama than the far less severe consequences threatened by the Saudis. Nevertheless, their threat moved them to the head of the queue. We know that Obama doesn't want a nuclear weapons arms race, but is he also afraid of offending the Islamic monarchs before whom he dutifully genuflects?
It is, finally, all of a piece. Obama once promised an even-handed approach to the Middle-Eastern conflict, but in practice his seeming neutrality has barely disguised a decidedly Pro-Arab and pro-Palestinian bias. Thus, without first taking serious steps to check Palestinian terrorism, he has pushed for the two-state solution that would inevitably lead to Hamastan, and the conversion of the West Bank into yet another launching pad for Katyusha missiles. In addition, Obama continually leans on Israel to sign a nuclear non-proliferation treaty that would cripple its major deterrent against an all-out attack by surrounding Arab nations. Smelling blood, those neighbors, now including the once-friendly Turkey, are becoming provocative and their terrorist residents are agitating for war. Angry because Israel would not stop building new housing for its growing population in Jerusalem, Obama went out of his way to publicly humiliate Netanyahu. He only relented and made nice when it became evident that his Israel-bashing was going to cost him many Jewish votes and much Jewish money.
Obama's evident bias has been much noted and much discussed. The rationalizers and explainers usually refer to the influence of his radical base at a time when Israel has become the Left's Little Satan. Others have pointed to his long-term associations with the noisily anti-Semitic Reverend Jeremiah Wright, as well as with his fellow Chicagoans, Rashid Khalidi and Ali Abunimah, both of them plausible academic propagandists for the Palestinian cause.
As a psychodynamic psychologist my tendency is to look into my research subject's early associations, particularly with parents and siblings, as well as with his current colleagues. Perhaps clues to Obama's notable Islamophilia can be found there. This search into Obama's past history uncovers my kind of psychologists's pay dirt. Thus, I am impressed to learn that Obama's Muslim father abandoned him and his mother to return to Africa, when young Barack was barely out of diapers. Nevertheless, in his heart Obama never abandoned his father. He is sometimes critical of the mother who, as a single parent, sacrificed to raise him, but not of the absent Obama Senior, to whom he devoted the recent book, Dreams from My Father. He sees his father as a rather tragic figure, of superior intelligence and large ambitions who temporarily held a high political office in Kenya, but who died a failure in his own eyes.
A note of unrelinquished longing for the absent father runs through the Dreams text, and is best summed up by a photograph of Obama and his father, taken on the one occasion when Senior Obama revisited his ex-wife and son in the States. Little Barack, only waist-high to his begetter, smiles rapturously at the camera as, with both hands, he presses his father's hand to his own breast. If a picture is worth a thousand words, this one is worth a full doctoral dissertation. It tells us of a passionate, unrelinquished but unrealized hunger for the absent father that -- judging from the recently published Dreams -- persists into the present.
Such data reveal a probable source of Obama's Islamophilia. My contention is that Barack still woos his Muslim father in the persons of the Muslim rulers that share his bitterness, and that he bows down to. He cannot ease his dead father's sense of failure, but he can alleviate the Muslim Daddy's crushing sense of inferiority towards the west and Israel. Thus, he assigns his head of NASA, who should be planning all-out for Mars, the major task of repairing the fragile self-esteem of the Arab scientific community: they are to be assured of their major contribution to our space program.
But this is token stuff. The Father's real therapy calls for an Islamic triumph over an ascendant Israel that has so often humiliated its Arab neighbors. Obama will not give his Muslim Daddies the destruction of the Third Temple; that would cost him too dearly in votes, treasure, and historic reputation. But he will give them if he can a castrated Israel, diminished to a Jewish Vatican City or Tel-Aviv DOT COM. He would give them an Israel guarded by resentful UN troops, an Israel without WMD, Israeli Dhimmis existing on Islamic sufferance amidst a hostile Arab majority.
Daddy would be so pleased.
David Gutmann is a professor emeritus of psychology at Northwestern Medical School and a veteran of the Israeli War of Independence in 1948.