Reading over the list of foreign leaders whom President Obama called Thursday about his victory reminded me of scanning the call-back sheet for a high school play or the names of the kids who had been invited to a popular fifth-grader’s birthday party. Basically, who made the cut?
And lo and behold, Prime Minister Netanyahu was among those who did.
The common denominator of these calls was the ability of the White House to send out an announcement stating that “In each call, he thanked his counterpart for their friendship and partnership thus far and expressed his desire to continue close cooperation moving ahead.” Which means Bibi’s inclusion couldn’t be a foregone conclusion.
Additionally, Obama’s calls were in response to the deluge of congratulatory messages he’s received from counterparts far and wide, so, as the White House noted, he has only been able to return some personally.
The list reads like a who’s who of close US allies – though Japan and the EU are among those absent (the specific leaders of Britain, France and German were contacted) – as well as a few countries the US clearly wants to cultivate. Notably, new Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi was included.
Other Middle East leaders called were Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey and King Abdullah bin Abd al-Aziz of Saudi Arabia.
Time will tell if Obama and Netanyahu will be able to turn over a new leaf in their relationship, but at least the president didn’t begin by reaching out to Egypt, Turkey and Saudi Arabia – the very countries he visited in his early forays to the Middle East in his first term – without inviting Israel to the party.
- Hilary Leila Krieger