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Preview: RealClearPolitics - Articles - Caroline Glick

RealClearPolitics - Articles - Caroline Glick





Last Build Date: Sat, 11 Apr 2009 09:17:58 -0600

Copyright: Copyright 2009
 



Surviving in Obama's Post-US World

Sat, 11 Apr 2009 09:17:58 -0600

Whether they are aggressors like Russia, proliferators like North Korea, terror exporters like nuclear-armed Pakistan or would-be genocidal-terror-supporting nuclear states like Iran, today, under the new administration, none of them has any reason to fear Washington. This news is music to the ears of the American Left and their friends in Europe. Obama's supporters like billionaire George Soros couldn't be more excited at the self-induced demise of the American superpower. CNN's former (anti-)Israel bureau chief Walter Rodgers wrote ecstatically in the Christian Science Monitor on Wednesday, "America's... superpower status, is being downgraded as rapidly as its economy." The pro-Obama US and European media are so pleased with America's abdication of power that they took the rare step of applauding Obama at his press conference in London. Indeed, the media's enthusiasm for Obama appeared to grow with each presidential statement of contrition for America's past uses of force, each savage attack he leveled against his predecessor George W. Bush, each swipe he took at Israel, and each statement of gratitude for the blessings of Islam he uttered. But while the media couldn't get enough of the new US leader, America's most stable allies worldwide began a desperate search for a reset button that would cause the administration to take back its abandonment of America's role as the protector of the free world. Tokyo was distraught by the administration's reaction to North Korea's three-stage ballistic missile test. Japan recognized the betrayal inherent in Defense Secretary Robert Gates's announcement ahead Pyongyang's newest provocation that the US would only shoot the missile down if it targeted US territory. In one sentence, uttered not in secret consultations, but declared to the world on CNN, Gates abrogated America's strategic commitment to Japan's defense. India, for its part, is concerned by Obama's repeated assertions that its refusal to transfer control over the disputed Jammu and Kashmir provinces to Pakistan inspires Pakistani terror against India. It is equally distressed at the Obama administration's refusal to make ending Pakistan's support for jihadist terror groups attacking India a central component of its strategy for contending with Pakistan and Afghanistan. In general, Indian officials have expressed deep concern over the Obama administration's apparent lack of regard for India as an ally and a significant strategic counterweight to China. Then there is Iraq. During his brief visit to Baghdad on Tuesday afternoon, Obama didn't even pretend that he would ensure that Iraqi democracy and freedom is secured before US forces are withdrawn next year. The most supportive statement he could muster came during his conversation with Turkish students in Istanbul earlier in the day. There he said, "I have a responsibility to make sure that as we bring troops out, that we do so in a careful enough way that we don't see a complete collapse into violence." Hearing Obama's statements, and watching him and his advisers make daily declarations of friendship to Iran's mullahs, Iraqi leaders are considering their options for surviving the rapidly approaching storm. Then there is Europe. Although Obama received enthusiastic applause from his audience in Prague when he announced his intention to destroy the US's nuclear arsenal, drastically scale back its missile defense programs and forge a new alliance with Russia, his words were anything but music to the ears of the leaders of former Soviet satellites threatened by Russia. The Czech, Polish, Georgian and Ukrainian governments were quick to recognize that Obama's strong desire to curry favor with the Kremlin and weaken his own country will imperil their ability to withstand Russian aggression. It is not a coincidence, for instance, that the day Obama returned to Washington, Georgia's Moscow-sponsored opposition announced its plan to launch massive protests in Tblisi to force the ouster of pro-Western, anti-Russian Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili. And as for Rus[...]



Hamas's Free Lunch

Sun, 22 Mar 2009 07:51:57 -0600

Scowcroft further argued, "The main gist is that you need to push hard on the Palestinian peace process. Don't move it to end of your agenda and say you have too much to do. And the US needs to have a position, not just hold their coats while they sit down." Congressional sources claim that Obama has selected Scowcroft to replace Chas Freeman as chairman of the National Intelligence Council. The second reason that it is becoming apparent that the Obama administration is poised to recognize Hamas is that on Thursday, Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman held talks at the State Department with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and enjoined the administration to support the reestablishment of a Hamas-Fatah unity government to control and reunify the Palestinian Authority in Gaza and Judea and Samaria. This is significant because it is becoming apparent that top administration officials only meet with people who tell them what they want to hear. Case in point is IDF Chief of General Staff Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi's trip this week to Washington. Ashkenazi went to the US to brief top administration officials on Iran's progress toward a nuclear bomb. Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Ashkenazi's counterpart, Adm. Michael Mullen, both managed to be out of town. Defense Ministry sources say that Ashkenazi only met with National Security Adviser James Jones, who reportedly wished to speak exclusively about the Palestinians, and with Clinton's Iran adviser Dennis Ross, whose role in shaping US policy toward Iran remains unclear. Hamas, for its part, prefers the unconditional recognition recommended by Scowcroft and Volcker and their colleagues, (who include unofficial Obama advisers Zbigniew Brzezinski and Lee Hamilton), over the option of forming a government with Fatah. After all, why should Hamas agree to share power with Fatah to gain international acceptance if Washington power brokers close to the administration endorse unconditional recognition of the terror group? Scowcroft's statement that recognition of Hamas is necessary because "you need to push hard on the Palestinian peace process" is indicative of how Obama's milieu views the peace process. For them, pushing hard on the peace process is more important than determining or even caring if the Palestinians involved in the said process are genocidal terror groups or not, or determining or even caring whether the said peace process has any chance whatsoever of leading to peace. AND THE Obama view is not particularly new. After Hamas won the 2006 Palestinian elections, in the interest of the peace process, the US and the EU placed certain conditions on Hamas which they claimed it would have to meet before the West would recognize it. The US and Europe said they would recognize Hamas if it announced that it forswore terror, accepted Israel's right to exist, and committed itself to carrying out previous agreements signed between the PLO and Israel. The Americans and the Europeans undoubtedly viewed these conditions as a low bar to cross. After all, the PLO crossed it. The West's conditions were given with a wink and a nod. Everyone understood that the only thing it wanted was for Hamas to say the magic words. They didn't have to be true. If Khaled Mashaal and Ismail Haniyeh would just tell the US and Europe what they wanted to hear, all would be forgiven. Hamas - like the PLO before it - would be removed from the US and European terror lists. Billions would pour into the bank accounts of Hamas leaders in Gaza and Damascus. The CIA might even agree to train its terror forces. It is obvious that all that the West wanted was for Hamas to lie to it, because that is all it ever required from the PLO. After Yasser Arafat said the magic words, the Americans and the Europeans were only too happy to ignore the fact that he was lying. When immediately after signing the initial peace accord with Israel on the White House lawn on September 13, 1993, Arafat flew to South Africa and gave a speech calling for jihad against Israel, no one cared. [...]



Obama's Durban Gambit

Sat, 21 Feb 2009 00:00:00 -0600

At Durban, both the UN-sponsored NGO conclave and the UN's governmental conference passed declarations denouncing Israel as a racist state. The NGO conference called for a coordinated international campaign aimed at delegitimizing Israel and the right of the Jewish people to self-determination, and belittling the Holocaust. The NGO conference also called for curbs on freedom of expression throughout the world in order to prevent critical discussion of Islam. As far as the world's leading NGOs - including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch - were concerned, critical discussions of Islam are inherently racist. In defending US participation in the Durban II planning sessions, Gordon Duguid, the State Department's spokesman, argued, "If you are not engaged, you don't have a voice." He continued, "We wanted to put forward our view and see if there is some way we can make the document [which sets the agenda and dictates the outcome of the Durban II conference] a better document than it appears it is going to be." WHILE THIS seems like a noble goal, both the State Department and the Obama White House ought to know that there is absolutely no chance that they can accomplish it. This is the case for two reasons. First, since the stated purpose of the Durban II conference is to oversee the implementation of the first Durban conference's decisions, and since those decisions include the anti-Israel assertion that Israel is a racist state, it is clear that the Durban II conference is inherently, and necessarily, anti-Israel. The second reason that both the State Department and the White House must realize that they are powerless to affect the conference's agenda is because that agenda was already set in previous planning sessions chaired by the likes of Libya, Cuba, Iran and Pakistan. And that agenda includes multiple assertions of the basic illegitimacy of the Jewish people's right to self-determination. The conference agenda also largely adopted the language of the 2001 NGO conference that called for the criminalization of critical discussion of Islam as a form of hate speech and racism. That is, the 2009 conference's agenda is not only openly anti-Israel, it is also openly pro-tyranny, and so seemingly antithetical to US interests. Beyond all that, assuming that the Obama administration truly wishes to change the agenda, the fact is that the US is powerless to do so. As was the case in 2001, so too, today, the Islamic bloc, supported by the Third World bloc, has an automatic voting majority. Beyond chipping away at the margins, the US has no ability whatsoever to change the conference's agenda or expected outcome. SINCE IT came into office a month ago, every single Middle East policy the Obama administration has announced has been antithetical to Israel's national security interests. From President Barack Obama's intense desire to appease Iran's mullahs in open discussions; to his stated commitment to establish a Palestinian state as quickly as possible despite the Palestinians' open rejection of Israel's right to exist and support for terrorism; to his expressed support for the so-called Saudi peace plan, which would require Israel to commit national suicide by contracting to within indefensible borders and accepting millions of hostile, foreign-born Arabs as citizens and residents of the rump Jewish state; to his decision to end US sanctions against Syria and return the US ambassador to Damascus; to his plan to withdraw US forces from Iraq and so give Iran an arc of uninterrupted control extending from Iran to Lebanon, every single concrete policy Obama has enunciated harms Israel. At the same time, none of the policies that Obama has adopted can be construed as directed against Israel. In and of themselves, none can be viewed as expressing specific hostility toward Israel. Rather, they are expressions of naiveté, or ignorance, or - at worst - deliberate denial of the nature of the problems of the Arab and Islamic world on the part of Obama and h[...]



Israel's Fateful Elections

Sat, 07 Feb 2009 10:28:36 -0600

Many Israeli leaders viewed Monday's launch as a "gotcha" moment. For years they have been saying that Iran's nuclear program is a threat to global security - not merely to Israel's. And Monday's launch demonstrated that they were right all along. Israel isn't the only country on Iran's target list. Unfortunately for Israel, the international community couldn't care less. Its response to Teheran's latest provocation was to collectively shrug its shoulders. On Wednesday emissaries of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany convened in Wiesbaden, Germany, to discuss their joint policies toward Iran in the aftermath of the satellite launch. Some Israelis argued that Iran's provocation forced these leaders' hands. Their reputations for toughness were on the line. They would have to do something. Unfortunately for Israel, the emissaries of Russia, Britain, China, France, Germany and the US are more interested in convincing the mullahs that they are nice than in convincing them that they are tough. Far from deciding to take concerted action against Iran, the great powers did nothing more than wish the Obama administration good luck as it moves to directly engage the mullahs. As their post-conference press release put it, the six governments' answer to Teheran's show of force was to "agree to consult on the next steps as the US administration undertakes its [Iranian] policy review." As President Barak Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have explained, the US is reviewing its policy toward Iran in the hopes of finding a way to directly engage the Iranian government. While they claim that the aim of these sought after direct negotiations will be to convince the mullahs to give up their nuclear weapons program, since taking office the new administration has sent out strong signals that preventing Iran from going nuclear has taken a backseat to simply holding negotiations with Teheran. According to a report in Aviation News, last week the US Navy prevented Israel from seizing an Iranian weapons ship in the Red Sea suspected of carrying illicit munitions bound for either Gaza or Lebanon. A week and a half ago, the US Navy boarded the ship in the Gulf of Aden and carried out a cursory inspection. It demurred from seizing the ship, however, because, as Adm. Michael Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, explained on January 27, the US believed it had no international legal right to seize the vessel. In inspecting the ship the US was operating under UN Security Council Resolution 1747, which bars Iran from exporting arms. The US argued that it lacked authority to seize the ship because 1747 has no enforcement mechanism. Yet the fact of the matter is that if the US were truly interested in intercepting the ship and preventing the arms from arriving at their destination, the language of 1747 is vague enough to support such a seizure. And that's the point. The US was uninterested in seizing the ship because it was uninterested in provoking a confrontation with Teheran, which it seeks to engage. It was not due to lack of legal authority that the US reportedly prevented the Israel Navy from seizing the ship in the Red Sea, but due to the administration's fervent wish to appease the mullahs. Today the ship, which was sailing under a Cypriot flag, is docked in the Port of Limassol. Cypriot authorities have reportedly inspected the ship twice, have communicated their findings to the Security Council, and are still waiting for guidance on how to deal with the ship. ALL OF this brings us back to next Tuesday's elections. With the US effectively giving up on confronting Iran, the entire burden for blocking Iran's quest for nuclear weapons falls on Israel's shoulders. This means that the most important question that Israeli voters must ask ourselves between now and Tuesday is which leader and which party are most capable of achieving this vital goal? All we need to do to answer this question is to check what[...]