The more than two weeks old Israel war against the Hamas led Palestinians, has helped to show how the world can be indifferent to the plight of a people besieged and helpless in the face of a power they are not able to challenge, given their limitation in regard to the means of making war.
Many people had hoped that American President elect Barack Obama would initiate a paradigm shift in the way the United Sates conducted its foreign policy in regard to the Middle East and more so American relations with Israel.
However, the first African American President of the US has remained silent on the current Israel aggression against the Palestinians.
The outgoing American President Bush seems to care less about the plight of Palestinians including children who are needlessly dying.
His attitude and actions are of course expected. But many including the African American intellectuals who supported Obama are not amused by his silence on this question.
The appointment of Rahm Emmanuel, a Jew, as Obama’s White House Chief of Staff, is seen by some as the cause of Obama’s silence.
Apparently Obama is straddling a razor in formulating a Foreign Policy that will appease all players in polarised global politics.
Obama himself has stated that there can never be two administrations saying that Bush is still in charge. However, the leading African American public intellectual and Princeton University don, Cornell West was quoted saying that Obama should speak out on such issues as the war on Gaza, the plight of African Americans in Ghettos in the US, and other issues like the social-economic problems in Latin America.
West argues that Obama has a chance to be a great President in the incarnation of another Illinois politician Abraham Lincoln. That Obama is to be a great leader he has to have the courage to speak out on issues that are not popular with the entrenched American political establishment.
Thus Obama was handed a blank cheque by the American people to speak about anything because he represented a radical departure from business as usual.
But the choices he has made in terms of appointments do not reflect his campaign message but delicate political balancing and a restoration of Clintonites.
This is likely to be reflected in his foreign policy decisions when he takes office later this month, and most especially in regard to the Middle East crisis. He will not be a radical departure from past administrations and this is likely to diminish his stature as a change agent.
We have also witnessed massive demonstrations in many European capitals against the Israel bombings of civilians in Gaza. This has also been witnessed in the Arab world with masses venting their anger on the streets.
But there appears to be a disconnection between the anger of the masses displayed on the streets and the policies and actions of leaders, be they in the Middle East or in other parts of the world.
A number of commentators have argued that some long-time leaders in the Arab world have silently welcomed the Israel pounding of Gaza because they hope to have a defeated Hamas in the aftermath of the war.
These perennial rulers of the middle countries like Egypt or Saudi Arabia would rather have a more secular administration of the Palestinian territories than Hamas which represents radical/militant Islamism.
It appears that many long serving leaders in the region want the demise of Hamas because if it stays put, it will serve to propel other radical Islamic movements like the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt to become bolder in their endeavors to destabilize governments like that of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt.
Analysts at the American private intelligence forecasting company STRATFOR postulate that this is likely to be the reason behind the silence of Arab leaders, who relish a possible defeat of the radical Hamas.
The anger displayed on the streets is thus not felt by the leaders. Hence the people dying on the streets are collateral damage and expendable as the rulers jockey for political advantages.
Even Israel leaders are believed to be posturing as the defenders of the Jewish people by bombing Gaza in anticipation of getting votes in the forthcoming elections which are just around the corner.