In language and personnel, the message is clear. America will tread more lightly in the world in the coming four years.
The day after Obama’s inauguration, Israel is expected to reelect its own Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has said the threat from Iran will define his legacy and the future of his country. Israel will be watching, together with other Middle Eastern powers, as America restructures its presence in the region. And Israelis will be asking a question that Obama’s domestic rhetoric has only made more murky: Will the US come through on its promises of uncompromising opposition — employing “whatever it takes” — to head off an Iranian nuclear weapon?