I can’t quite imagine either Assad or Ahmadinejad shaking in their shoes because Obama says so. Even the wave of pressure for democracy in the region doesn’t seem to have threatened them overmuch so far.
As for Israel and Palestine:
President Obama said the borders of Israel and a Palestinian state should be based on pre-1967 borders, referring to those that existed before the Six-Day War – which includes the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem.
Correspondents say the apparent change of emphasis is set to anger Israel, which has previously said that endorsing the 1967 borders would prejudge peace negotiations.
This represents a break from previous administrations, and is sure to cause shockwaves throughout the region.
Even before this speech, Jewish donors to the Obama campaign were feeling a bit uneasy. It’s hard to imagine that this will reassure them—although for many, their liberalism will trump any sense of obligation to Israel’s continued existence.
I’m guessing that Obama feels quite secure in his support from wealthy Jews, no matter what he does or says regarding Israel and Palestine. But is he correct in that perception? Even a year ago, he had lost a surprising amount of support among Jewish voters.
Of course, Jewish voters are a tiny percentage of the voting public, and losing a few—even quite a few—probably doesn’t matter much. They are heavily concentrated in strongly liberal enclaves such as New York and Los Angeles, where the defection of some will hardly make a difference, although it could matter in Florida. But wealthy Jewish donors may be a different matter, and losing enough of them could smart.
[ADDENDUM: Romney channels neo-neocon.]