Surrendering an ally is no strategy at all
Barack Obama has come up with an interesting strategy for dealing with the evildoers of the world. If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. Surrender your friends, if necessary.
He wants to make Israel, our oldest and only reliable friend in the Middle East, the guinea pig to see whether the strategy works. What appeared to be a minor flap between old friends only a fortnight ago now looks like an exploitable opportunity for the man who learned about who’s evil in the world from a crazy Jewbaiting preacher in Chicago.
The public scolding of Israel and the warning that it must make nice with those determined to “wipe it off the map” are now revealed to be tactics in the plan to make the Middle East over in a way to please the Islamic radicals. The observant among us have seen this coming. America’s true friends — Britain, Canada, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Norway and Poland in addition to Israel — have been getting the back of Mr. Obama’s hand from the day he took his oath. The commitment to constitutional government and the ancient traditions of intellectual freedom that make up the cultural heritage of the West have been snubbed when not ig- nored, the natural allies of America lectured to when not insulted.
We’re told that it’s not nice, and maybe even racist, to notice that Michelle Obama, the elegant first lady who does so many things well, has cultivated her husband’s talent for strategic snobbery. She once conceded that she only became proud of America when her husband got to the brink of the presidency, and in a remarkable video of a 2008 appearance that surfaced only this spring, she told of their visiting “his home country in Kenya.” Unless she was conceding that she, too, is a “birther,” she meant that Kenya is his ancestral and cultural home. This could explain a lot, and it certainly offers insights now into his determination to discard the Israelis in the affections of Americans and replace them with nations alien to the affections of most Americans. Why retain an emotional attachment to the sources of American law and literature when you could bow to the Saudi king and court the leaders of Iran, Syria and Venezuela?
Nothing would please the enemies and adversaries of America — the “outliers,” in the trendy term of the moment — like putting the Jews in their place. Mr. Obama and some of his wise men, particularly in the State Department, which has traditionally looked for occasions to lend a hand to the Arab tormentors of Israel, now see their opportunity to impose a “settlement” of the dispute between Israel and the Palestinians. Mr. Obama finally put his game in play last week when he told a press conference that resolving the conflict was “a vital national security interest of the United States.” Describing the conflict in these not-so-vague terms gives him the opportunity to prescribe any solution, however malignant or fanciful, just that way. The president, any president, must put the “vital national security interest” of the United States first and foremost. Who could argue with that?
Presidents before him, Democrat and Republican, have regarded Israel’s right to survive as unquestioned and inviolate, bound up with America’s own traditions of democratic government, and Mr. Obama continues to pay lip service to the American vow to defend Israel’s right to survive. But lip service is not much defense against rockets, gunfire and suicide bombs and the contempt of the despots of the world. Conflicts like the continuing smallbore war in the Middle East end up, the president says, “costing us significantly in terms of both blood and treasure.” Anyone can see where that argument goes.
This is of a piece with the remarks of Gen. David Petraeus, the U.S. commander in Iraq and Afghanistan, to Congress that “the lack of progress” in the Middle East creates a “hostile environment” for the United States. True enough, and the general’s frustration is understandable (and shared). Wars have always been dangerous places to be, which is exactly why we send soldiers to such places. If only the Germans had not been so hostile, the Americans and the British could have had a day at the beach on DDay. Alas, hostile the environment was, and there was no picnic. But the civilized world can be glad it never occurred to President Roosevelt to surrender France.
Wesley Pruden is editor emeritus of The Washington Times.