(/sites/default/files/uploads/2013/07/Putin-Obama.jpg)Teddy Roosevelt advised world leaders to “speak softly but carry a big stick.” Our current-day President seems to have gotten that backwards.
When Edward Snowden surfaced in China with a laptop full of America’s deepest secrets, President Obama openly warned the Chinese there’d be a big problem if they refused to hand him – and our stuff – over, but Peking was unfazed, and packed the little turncoat off to Russia. The Russians were then told – publicly – that Obama “expected” them to extradite the leaker, but Putin just glared back and then poor John Kerry was dispatched to do the low bow: “We are not ordering anybody. We are simply requesting.”
In the end, when everyone saw that Obama’s America had its bluff so easily called, and was seen as powerless to move nations that once treated us with respect, our President slinked away: “I’m not going to be scrambling jets to get a 29-year-old hacker. We’ve got other business to do.”
Now go try that in the schoolyard, and see how many toughs rush in to test your will. Obama keeps telling Israel that he’s “got your back,” but he doesn’t even have America’s. What could be more transparently supine than to call a man who is exposing America’s top secrets “a 29-yearold hacker” – just because you can’t snatch him back? Aesop had a fabulous fable about the fox calling those out-of-reach grapes “sour.”
When you “lead from behind,” when you speak loudly but don’t even want to carry a stick, you stand exposed as the “paper tiger” that Mao said we were. The same American impotence is evident throughout the Middle East. Roughly 100,000 Syrians have been killed, but we’re on the sidelines. Iran is daily closer to getting a nuclear bomb to incinerate the Jewish state and Obama repeats – “We’ve got your back.” Iran, it was revealed last week, is developing the missile capability to send a nuke all the way over here – but not a peep from the White House. Lebanon is lurching toward civil war. Jordan – the peaceful, stable Arab state – is now acting nervous. The Christians in the Middle East are in danger of being driven out, or into mass graves – not even one word from the President. An enormously destabilizing tragic and bloody Sunni-Shiite war is breaking out across the Muslim world with a possible death toll that is simply unimaginable.
Helpless in the midst of all this, Obama and Kerry, looking for something that makes them seem less than impotent, turn to focus now on the Israeli-Palestinian “peace process.” They’re like the drunk who searches for his lost keys – not where he dropped them, but under a random streetlamp, because that’s where there’s light. Obama thinks his stick is still big enough to prod Israel.
The cudgel? The “two-state solution” – a policy that, to put it generously, stands on wobbly postulates and offers wild promises that amount to a cure for worldwide political cancer. Shrinking Israel, the two-staters claim, and giving the Palestinian Arabs a nation-state, will bring peace between Arabs and Jews, make Israel more secure, and placate the inflamed Islamic world. It’s a hundred times more likely that creating a Palestinian state next to Israel would do the exact opposite of every one of these promises. The “two-state solution” would surely backfire.
It totally misreads the conflict: Peace-loving people so much want the war to be about borders – because such a conflict might yield a reasonable compromise; but Islam’s roots are much deeper than Arab nationalism, and a fundamental tenet of Islam is that infidels may not have self-rule in any part of the Waqf – the Muslim realm. Arafat feared he’d suffer the fate of Sadat, and so refused to agree to Jewish sovereignty. With Hamas at his back, Abbas has already said the same. (Two-staters discount this, as they do all the other evidence that challenges their dreams.)
But even if an Abbas were to ignore the assassins of the Brotherhood – and Hamas and the Saudis and Hezbollah and the Iranians – Israel would render itself indefensible if it shrunk down to a coastal mini-state on the Mediterranean with Arabs sitting in her highlands and perched on her mountaintops. What if a heroic, peace-loving Abbas signed the two-state pact and were overthrown, hostile forces would control the new “Palestinian” areas from which rockets could so easily rain down on practically all of Israel – and put Jerusalemites within rifle range from across the street? It has gone generally underreported that the two-state solution also requires Israel to abandon any claim to the Jordan Valley. This means that the “West Bank” would extend all the way to the Jordan border, and this means there would be an Arab continuum all the way from Baghdad to the gates of Tel Aviv. Iraqi, Jordanian and Syrian armies could then saunter into East Jerusalem… never leaving Arab land.
Sure, there are risks, say the two-staters, but the payoffs to success are potentially enormous. The Israeli-Palestinian problem lies at the heart of the “clash of civilizations,” they say, and solving it would do much to end world conflict and suffering.
Does anyone who has been paying attention believe that giving the Palestinians a state will do anything to help or save the Christians in Egypt, Iraq, Syria, or in Nigeria, Sudan and Indonesia, all of whom are caught up in the Islamist surge? Will a Palestinian state stop Egyptians from raping their own women in Tahrir Square? Will it stop Iran from hanging gays in Teheran? Will it put an end to female genital mutilation, or the stoning and honor killing of women in the Muslim realm, including in Muslim enclaves in Europe and America?
Islamism, according to scholars like Bernard Lewis, is an intellectual revanchist movement that seeks to regain the Islamic civilization’s past glories. Islamism blames the pathetic collapse of the Muslim power after World War I on the abandonment of ancient religious fervor, belief and practice. The creation of a Jewish state is only one of the painful humiliations of Islam.
A “two-state solution” would not placate Muslims. It would not likely be seen by the region’s rising Islamists as a sign from Allah that they had misunderstood Him all this time. On the contrary: The surrender of vast and strategic territory and the evacuation of Jews from “holy Arab land” would only inflame them further. “We were right,” they would crow. “We’re half way there… Don’t give up, stay the path. Finish the job.” And by that, Islamists refer not only to the subjugation of the little Jewish state. Look at Europe.
Westerners used to have genuine wisdom about human affairs. But the left’s “long march” through our educational and cultural institutions has left us with the brain-rot of political correctness. Machiavelli’s sad but solid truth about the political realm – “it’s better to be feared than loved” – was not absorbed by our Prince – and won’t be, by all our little princes and princesses whose enormous tuition payments grant them the opportunity to stew in that rot.
Obama went to Columbia, where instead of realism they teach the principles of “conflict resolution” which, they aver, can be applied to marriage and business disputes as well as international relations – where accords are achieved through reason and compromise alone –virtuously, without force or the threat of force – because, after all, everybody wants the same thing; nobody wants to die or kill. Roger Fisher’s “Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement without Giving In” is the canonical text, perfect for those who insist the world be run on sweetness and light.
But not to worry, Bibi: Obama says he’s got your back. Just don’t be surprised if, Heaven forbid, the rockets rain down and Egyptian and Iraqi armies march, and Teheran’s nuke sits at the ready, don’t be surprised if you hear a faint voice from across the Atlantic: “I’m not going to be scrambling jets. We’ve got other business to do.” Just ask Edward Snowden – or our former Benghazi Ambassador, Chris Stevens.
Charles Jacobs is President of Americans for Peace and Tolerance.
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