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Barack Obama Photo: AFP
Barack Obama Photo: AFP
 
 

What does Obama have in store for 2nd term?

Experts speculate on US president's handling of Iranian nuclear threat, Mideast peace and Clinton's successor

Shiri Hadar
Published: 11.08.12, 01:11 / Israel News

How will Obama treat Israel? How will he handle Iranian threat? Who will replace Hillary Clinton as secretary of state? Experts are already speculating about US leadership in the next four years less than 24 hours after Barack Obama was re-elected for a second term.

 

"Obama has prepared the ground very carefully and has the option of trying to cut some kind of a deal on the nuclear issue, and that's worth a lot to him," said Gary Sick, an Iran expert and former US national security official.

 

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"Obama's people are a known quantity. Iran's leaders know Obama has held the Israelis back from launching a military attack," said Scott Lucas of the EA Worldview news website, which specializes in covering Iran. "They didn't know what they were getting with Romney, and they were a little fearful."

 

"There is disagreement over the strategy, timetable and the criteria for a nuclear Iran," says Dr. Noam Kochavi, an expert on US-Israel relations.

 

"Obama has publically pledged not to allow Iran to become nuclear but there's no doubt he would want to exhaust the diplomatic option."


(צילום: AP)

Obama with family and Biden (Photo: AP)

 

Kochavi estimated that Obama's definition of what is a nuclear Iran has become more flexible over the years. "Iran is not just an existential threat for Israel, it has an impact on oil prices which directly affects Americans," he remarked.

 

Obama's reelection has also promoted a political guessing: who will succeed Hillary Clinton as secretary of state?

 

Clinton, one of the most popular members of Obama's Cabinet, has said she will step down when the current presidential term concludes at the end of January.

 

Political analysts have been handicapping the race to succeed her for months, and usually come up with the same short list of potential successors including Democratic Senator John Kerry, UN Ambassador Susan Rice, and National Security advisor Tom Donilon.

 

Prof. Eytan Gilboa of the Bar Ilan University commented on Clinton's potential replacement. "All of them – John Kerry, Susan Rice, Samantha Powers, Tom Donilon and Republican Chuck Hagel who is also up for Defense Secretary won’t be as nice to Israel compared to Clinton," he estimated.

 

Prof. Shmuel Sandler of the Bar-Ilan University's BESA Center for Strategic Studies discussed the effect Obama's reelection will have on the Palestinian issue.

 

"On the one hand, Obama's moral commitment is to try and leave a mark as a person who advanced peace between Israel and the Palestinians but on the other he knows that the chances for that are slim in the Israeli and Arab context."

 

Sandler estimated that Obama will be cautious in his dialogue with the Palestinians and may turn the pressure up on Israel.

 

Reuters contributed to this report

 

 

 

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