The administration turns 2,500 years of human knowledge on foreign affairs on its head.
Barack Obama has managed to push American foreign policy into an alternate universe in which everything the human race has learned over the past 2500 years about human nature, aggression, and its deterrence has been stood on its head. He is not solely to blame for this. For 150 years the West had indulged the illusion that human nature is progressing away from our violent past toward a world of reason in which conflict can be resolved and negotiated away without force or the credible threat of force. But Obama and his foreign policy team have completely detached this idea, serially mugged by the violent reality of the last century, from any recognition of morality or even fact. The result is the disastrous decline in American global authority and influence.
The administration’s handling of the current war between Israel and Hamas is no doubt one of the most shameful examples of such a corruption of intellect and failure of moral nerve. Indeed, one has to go back to September 1938 and the despicable British and French abandonment of Czechoslovakia during the run-up to the Munich conference to find supposed allies treating a friend so shabbily and working on the side of its enemies. As Germany bullied and threatened Czechoslovakia, the British thought the solution was “for Prague to get a real twist of the screw,” while the French threatened that if the Czechs were “unreasonable” about defending their country, France “considered herself released from her bond.”
Fast-forward 76 years to Obama’s FAA forbidding U.S. flights to Ben Gurion airport, giving Hamas a propaganda victory; John Kerry’s off-mike mocking of Israel’s historically unprecedented attempts to avoid civilian casualties; and both Obama and Kerry pressuring Israel for “an immediate, unconditional humanitarian cease-fire,” which evokes England’s demand in 1938 that the Czechs “go forthwith to the very limit of concession.” The only effects of such a “cease fire” would be to rescue Hamas by leaving its remaining rockets and tunnels in place, and those already destroyed to be replenished by Iran and funded by the subsequent “humanitarian aid” that would flow into Gaza.
Yet Obama’s behavior today is more despicable than was England’s in 1938, even if it is unlikely to have consequences as globally destructive as Chamberlain’s appeasement. At that time Hitler was an autocrat and thug, yet he was the legitimately elected head of the biggest state in Europe. Hamas is nothing other than a tiny gang of fanatic murderers, a group sanctioned as a terrorist organization by our own State Department. Its major state sponsor, Iran, is identified by that same State Department as the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism, with American blood on its hands for the last 35 years. Hamas’s charter identifies its purpose as the genocidal destruction of Israel, and the group has never shown any interest in the fantastical “two-state solution” or in living “side by side with Israel in peace.”
Only in an alternate universe does an American administration have even indirect diplomatic contact with such terrorists, or with its state sponsors and funders, let alone pressure a loyal and valuable ally into offering concessions to a common enemy, an outlaw that scorns the international laws of war, willingly sacrifices its own children and wives, and has made it clear that it does not ever want any accommodation with Israel, only its destruction. Only in an alternate universe does a liberal democracy ruled by law send $47 million to a gang of murderers, and indulge a cowardly moral equivalence that does not discriminate between genocidal terrorists and a legitimate state exercising its right to defense. Only in an alternate universe does a president who sends drones thousands of miles to kill terrorists and everybody around them, including 250 civilians by some estimates, criticize Israel’s “disproportionate response” when it seeks to destroy terrorists who live next door and rain rockets down on its people, and unlike Obama, it tells civilians the attack is on the way.
The bizarrerie, however, extends far beyond the morally bankrupt policies of the Obama administration. We also had this past weak another surreal spectacle at the laughably denominated U.N. Human Rights Council. It issued a resolution titled “Ensuring Respect for International Law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory,” which alone is replete with Orwellian distortions of reality, since Gaza is not “occupied” by the Israelis. They turned it over to the Palestinians in 2005, after dismantling 21 Israeli settlements in Gaza and 4 in Judea and Samaria. What they got in return has been over 11,000 rockets fired against their citizens.
As for “respect for international law,” other than a brief, general condemnation of Hamas’s barrage of rockets fired against Israel’s cities and civilians, the whole resolution focuses on Israel’s alleged violations, such as the “deliberate targeting of civilians and other protected persons and the perpetration of systematic, flagrant and widespread violations of applicable international humanitarian law and international human rights law in situations of armed conflict constitute grave breaches and a threat to international peace and security.” As Churchill said of Hitler’s preposterous lies about his bullying of the Austrian chancellor, “One can hardly find a more perfect specimen of humbug and hypocrisy . . . What is astounding is that it should have been regarded with anything but scorn by men and women of intelligence in any free country.”
Unfortunately, we don’t have leaders of Churchill’s calibre to expose the UNHRC’s nonsense and duplicity in its resolution. The word “deliberate” is a lie, of course. Civilians are dying in Gaza because Hamas deliberately and flagrantly uses them as shields, places its ammo dumps, rockets, and fighters in and under mosques, residences, hospitals, and schools, and prevents Gazans from heeding Israel’s many and varied warnings that a site is going to be destroyed, even beating them when they try to flee. As for violations of “international law,” Andrew McCarthy details specifically how everything Israel has done in its defence is consistent with international law, and everything the “unlawful combatants” of Hamas has done is in deliberate and flagrant violation of it.
But despite the clear and unambiguous truth that Israel is waging a legal defensive war, in the alternate universe of the U.N., the Human Rights Council votes “to urgently dispatch an independent, international commission of inquiry, to be appointed by the President of the Human Rights Council, to investigate all violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law” and “to establish the facts and circumstances of such violations and of the crimes perpetrated and to identify those responsible, to make recommendations, in particular on accountability measures.”
If such an investigation does take place, expect a reprise of the discredited Goldstone Report, issued by the U.N. after the Israelis’ 2008-9 Operation Cast Lead against Gaza’s rockets, and later renounced by its own author. As Goldstone himself admitted, the UNHRC’s “history of bias against Israel cannot be doubted,” so can we can expect this new report to slander Israel in order to prepare the way for international lawfare against its leaders, including war-crimes charges and suits filed in the International Court of Justice. But past history does not cut any ice in the alternate universe of the U.N. Where else could anyone pass with a straight face a resolution on human rights from a council that includes notorious human-rights violators like China, Congo, Cuba, Morocco, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela? At least the U.S. voted against the resolution, unlike Euro-weasels like France, Great Britain, Austria, Germany, and Italy, who bravely abstained.
Yes, we all know the U.N. is a morally bankrupt, corrupt congeries of international thugs and creeps, along with invertebrate Western states who mask their fear and appeasement with the Kabuki dance of international diplomacy. But only in an alternate universe does the U.S. spend one minute on a nakedly ideological outfit like the UNHRC, or give half a billion dollars a year to an organization like the U.N., the purpose of which is to damage America’s security and interests at every turn.
And let’s not forget the media. They report casualty numbers from the current conflict, including the number of civilians killed, without a caveat that these numbers come from Hamas or their U.N. minions, or that terrorists don’t wear uniforms and hence are frequently counted as “civilians.” The media abandon their critical faculties despite the Palestinian Arabs’ long history of exaggerating such statistics, faking photogenic atrocities like the Jenin massacre and the IDF’s killing of Mohammed Dura, and tweeting gruesome images of dead women and children killed in other conflicts like Syria, or even taking scenes from horror movies, and claiming they happened in Gaza. Only in an alternate universe would a media presumably dedicated to getting the story right and distrustful of information it can’t confirm themselves repeat as fact what actually is propaganda, or at least preface such information with a statement like, “According to Hamas spokesmen” when reporting casualty numbers.
A foreign policy based on illusion leaves our country vulnerable to various global autocrats, thugs, and terrorists. Those shrewd, hard men (see Putin, Vladimir) know how to manipulate our delusions and exploit our weaknesses, particularly our leaders’ penchant for substituting diplomatic words for military deeds to serve their short-term political needs. This illusion of action creates complacency of the sort we experienced in the 90s, when we lived in an alternate reality where al Qaeda’s declarations of war and terrorist attacks were treated as criminal matters rather than acts of war. And we all remember how gruesomely we were reintroduced to reality.
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