One year after US President Barack Obama won the presidential election and as criticism of his decisions and actions, or lack thereof, grows, Israeli Ambassador to the US Michael Oren expressed an understanding and even appreciation of the careful workings of a leader with so much at risk, while ascertaining that Washington and Jerusalem did not undergo a recent "crisis" on issues such as a settlement freeze, but rather disagreements, and most of them were now "behind us."
Obama began his tenure with very high expectations, and is facing a very difficult reality, with high unemployment at home and at times pernicious resistance to his health reform, Oren told Army Radio on Wednesday morning. He said that failing to make swift moves on such issues as how to proceed on the US military involvement in Afghanistan is not necessarily to the US president's discredit.
"He is a very level-headed, intelligent man, not hasty and not in a rush to make [rash decisions]," Oren described Obama to the radio station.
The US president's pre-election declarations of intent on the Middle East and Iran have also proved consistent with his actions in office, Oren continued, as Obama is evidently pushing forward with his aim of withdrawing US forces from Iraq, reaching out to Iran and promoting peace between Israel and the Palestinians.
"There is a certain degree of obscurity on some of the issues," Oren admitted after being confronted with the so-called zigzagging of the American administration regarding topics such as its insistence on Israel imposing a settlement freeze.
But at the same time, it is undeniable that "every administration undergoes a learning process; it is easy to declare stances before elections, and then you must adapt to reality," the historian Oren continued, citing the discovery of the Qom reactor as a factor helping the US sway toward realizing that a nuclear Iran is not only Israel's problem, but the world's, thus promoting the option of sanctions against nuclear ambitious Teheran.
Asked about the apparently rocky relations between the US and Israel which some have described as undergoing a "crisis," Oren insisted that "there never was one. There were disagreements on certain topics, but under the surface, the relations have breadth and depth, with cooperation spanning over strategic, security and cultural issues."
"Most of the disagreements are behind us," he added.