MADRID – Now that the dust has settled on President Barack Obama’s much-anticipated trip to Israel, it is possible to analyze the significance of the visit. The trip – the first foreign visit of his second term – carries important implications for US foreign policy. Rather than providing the breakthrough for which many had hoped, it demonstrated that Obama – unlike other second-term US presidents, who have staked their legacies on foreign policy – is interested primarily in securing a domestic legacy.
Obama’s ambitions are centered on reversing the arrangement that has dominated US politics since Richard Nixon’s election in 1968. He hopes to ensure that a moderate Democratic Party forms the core of domestic politics and policymaking, with the Republican Party consigned to the periphery.