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As part of the Coro Fellows Program in Public Affairs, these 12 Southern California fellows are engaged in a full-time, nine-month, graduate-level leadership training program that prepares individuals for public-affairs leadership.

Stop expecting deliverance

Q: Israel's deadly attack on Turkish activists now confronts President Obama with a classic challenge for all sorts of leaders: How do you behave when a close friend and ally misbehaves?

We all seem to have that one friend that does illogical, irresponsible and ignorant things from time to time. They have embarrassed us, themselves and others in a display of their poor decorum. We tend to either laugh, shake our heads, verbally reprimand them, or some combination of the three. But when is enough, enough? And what does it take for them to begin thinking selflessly and more responsibly? Those are the real questions at hand.

President Obama can verbally reprimand Israeli leaders, let them suffer the consequences of their actions and then help clean up the mess they've caused...like a good friend. However, in government and politics there are no permanent allies or friends, especially in the international arena. What governs in anarchy are interests, objectives and options.

Unfortunately in the case of Israel, President Obama can't leave them to "suffer the consequences" because it would disrupt any recent efforts at stability in the Middle East as well as hurt US interests in the area. Yet, Israel cannot continue to put governing bodies, like the United States, in compromising positions and expect deliverance every time. Justice needs to be served if in fact illegal actions were taken. But this isolated incident isn't the real issue. Israel has a history of wantonness that impacts more citizens than its own. How do you hold a country accountable for its actions, especially since the incident took place on international waters that belong to no one? It certainly isn't by ignoring the disruptive history of Israel and it isn't by patronizing them for the sake of cordiality.

At the end of the day, an ally or friend doesn't have the power to make or undo a choice for another, but they do have influence. As a leader, it's important to use that influence to affect future outcomes, hopefully for the better. Like a good ally, the United States will do exactly what a friend would do: Try to acknowledge and understand the perspective of your friend, verbally reprimand them where they went wrong, let them suffer the consequences if this is a pattern, and then help them clean up the mess.

After a while, the foolish entity becomes the one who continues to help in patterns of undisturbed irresponsibility by the perpetrator. The White House needs to set clear boundaries on how and when the US will intervene in the misbehaving of our ally, Israel. Otherwise we become susceptible to the foolish actions of others and not the power of our options.--Ashley Nesby

By Coro Fellows

 |  June 2, 2010; 12:00 PM ET
Category:  Making mistakes Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: Sharp words for despicable conduct | Next: Ain't misbehavin'


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Israel is not an ally of the United States; rather, it is an embarrassing liability whose citizens should probably be moved to a less contentious place, like, Paraguay.

Posted by: jon404 | June 3, 2010 11:20 PM
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The author asks:
“But when is enough, enough?”

If the civilized world that believe in the supremacy of law had forced Israel in 1948 to repatriate the evicted Palestinians back to their homes, then none of this utter disrespect for the international laws would have taken place.

Posted by: abrahamhab1 | June 3, 2010 10:25 PM
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we all hate terrorism but today we all say thanks to Israel because in Muslim we are counting numbers now days not UN not the West if the number of Muslims who wants to react reach 30% No nuclear will be considered so keep killing women and children

Posted by: alibaa2 | June 3, 2010 8:21 PM
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Israelis will do what Israelis do. Just as thieves steal, rapists rape and murderers murder - Israel, a Nation of paranoid psychopaths commit war crimes, crimes against humanity, and blatant murders - no surprise there...

But, what I don't get is the so-called Arab Muslim countries - what's up with them? How is that the Arab League can demand that Israel lift the Gaza blockade when Egypt, the most powerful Arab country AND member of the Arab League, is a party to the blockade? Go Figure.

And, it's no surprise that Abbas has agreed to continue proximity talks with Israel in spite to the mass murder on the high seas. He, Abbas, asked Israel to stop the Flotilla. Granted, Abbas probably didn't expect Israel to murder 9 - 16 Peace Activists, but he did ask the Israelis to stop them.

And, then, as to deflect the blood away from Egypt, Mubarak opens Rafah crossing for a few days -

Simply Amazing isn't it?

Posted by: bbjrsa | June 3, 2010 6:17 PM
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Obama is an accomplice of Muslim terrorism. Let's rempve him from the office he disgraces.

Posted by: ravitchn | June 3, 2010 5:46 PM
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Israel has theright and duty to oppose Arab terrorism. I wish Obama would really OPPOSE ISLAMIC terrorism, but he won't. He needs to be removed from office.

Posted by: ravitchn | June 3, 2010 5:43 PM
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