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April 18, 2014 / 18 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘international’

Israeli Source: Obama No Longer Committed to Iran Attack Option

Tuesday, August 6th, 2013

A senior Israeli government official has told Kol Israel this morning that he doubts the Obama Administration’s commitment to prevent Iran “at any cost” from attainting a nuclear weapon.

The official explained that the Administration’s behavior in Syria, in complete contradiction of President Obama’s declarations, shows Israel that it cannot rely on American promises.

The senior official added that Israel could execute a strike against Iran without American operational support, but such an attack would be less effective than an American operation.

Israel is extremely concerned that the U.S. might be seeking direct negotiations between Washington and Tehran, leading to easing the sanctions against Iran in return for Iranian concessions that would fall short of Israel’s demands.

It’s likely that the high level official’s statement is an expression of the Netanyahu government’s anxiety over the glee with which the Obama Administration has welcomed the election of a new Iranian president. A White House statement following the inauguration of President Hasan Rouhani Sunday read:

“We congratulate the Iranian people for making their voices heard during the election. We note that President Rouhani recognized that his election represented a call by the Iranian people for change, and we hope that the new Iranian Government will heed the will of the voters by making choices that will lead to a better life for the Iranian people. We do believe that his inauguration presents an opportunity for Iran to act quickly to resolve the international community’s deep concerns over Iran’s nuclear program. And, as we’ve said all along, should the new government choose to engage substantively and seriously to meet its international obligations, we are ready to talk to them when they are ready to do so.”

Direct talks, as suggested by the White House statement, always begin with “confidence building measures,” and the Netanyahu government must be worried that it would be picking up the tab on the new couple’s honeymoon.

In the State Dept. daily press briefing yesterday, Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf was asked: “The Israeli Government said over the weekend it does not trust Rouhani because of statements which they say indicate, again, an existential threat to Israel’s existence. Is the U.S. taking that concern under consideration when it looks at how it might want to engage with Rouhani?”

Harf answered that the U.S. will take “the whole range of security concerns, the security problems Iran has presented for the region into account,” when it decides how to deal with the new Iranian Government. She reiterated that it’s important “to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon because of the threat they could pose to Israel, to the region, and indeed to us as well.” But, finally, hope sprang eternal, and Harf acknowledged that the U.S. is “waiting to talk to them when they are ready to engage substantively.” Meaning – one on one.

Harf was next asked “What’s the first step that you would want to see Rouhani take on the nuclear issue?”

“We have a proposal on the table,” she said. “We’ve had it on the table for some time and we’re waiting for a substantive response from the Iranian side on how to move forward. And we’ve been clear that that’s what needs to happen next.”

All of which suggests that the Supreme Leader Sayyed Ali Khamenei has played a brilliant game in picking his new “moderate” president.

Khamenei made Rouhani chief of Iran’s nuclear negotiations in 2003, for the same reason he made him president this time around – the man can talk a candy out of the western babies’ hands. Rouhani ran the negotiations between Iran and three European states in Tehran and continued later in Brussels, Geneva and Paris.

Rouhani’s team back then was described as “the best diplomats in the Iranian Foreign Ministry.” They prevented further escalation of accusations against Iran, and so prevented Iran’s nuclear case from going to the UN Security Council. They figured out how to temporarily suspend parts of Iran’s nuclear activities to appease the West.

And so, while building confidence, insisting on Iran’s rights, reducing international pressures and the possibility of war, and preventing Iran’s case from being reported to the UN Security Council, Iran succeeded in completing its nuclear fuel cycle and took groundbreaking steps to produce a nuclear weapon.

Iran: Can Rouhani Deliver?

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

Originally published at the Gatestone Institute.

By Nir Boms and Shayan Arya

Last week, more than 250 Iranian steel workers gathered in front of the Supreme Leader’s residence in protest against unjustified layoffs and unpaid salaries. They were not the only ones. Reports from the past week revealed a dozen other such protests and strikes that range from a tire company, cable workers, the cinema association and even employees of Iran’s Ministry of Youth Affairs.

Protests and demonstrations are not that common in Iran; their last wave was met with harsh repression and violence. Now they have spread again and become more brazen. Signs again read “Down with the dictator,” while police used tear gas in an attempt to scare protesters away.

A combination of international sanctions and domestic mismanagement has resulted in rapidly rising unemployment and restive unemployed youth. The worsening economic conditions were also a key driver for the vote for change which took place in Tehran during the last Presidential election. But change is still a long way off.

Rouhani’s victory by such a wide margin was not just a testament to his politics, but seemingly a total rejection of the more conservative candidates more closely aligned with the widely despised supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei.

Rouhani’s campaign symbol was a giant golden key, which he waved at rallies to symbolize his ability to open locked doors. To an Iranian electorate all too familiar with locked doors in every aspect of their lives — both domestic and international — even the remote possibility of things getting better was irresistible. But now that Rouhani has been elected, he may find it difficult to deliver on his promise.

Rouhani, to be sure, will face a mountain of problems, even compared to those of his predecessors. Iran’s international isolation has never been so severe. There is virtually no segment of Iran’s economy, or for that matter of Iranian society, that has been immune to the ill effects of the economic sanctions. In less than a year, Iran’s currency has lost two-thirds of its value against the dollar; and even by the most optimistic estimates, inflation is above 30%, with unemployment reaching similar proportions among urban youth.

Iran’s economy is under attack from two major fronts: international sanctions and domestic mismanagement inherent in the Islamic system.

Sanctions are not a new phenomenon there. Previous sanctions were imposed in response to the Islamic regime’s international support for terrorism and Iran’s dismal human rights record. But the more stringent sanctions now afflicting Iran were levied in response to the country’s nuclear program — and these are the crippling sanctions Rouhani needs to undo. To accomplish such a change, a change of policy is required. In addition to the nuclear issue, any negotiations for lifting sanctions obviously need to include Iran’s abandoning support for Hezbollah, its involvement in Syria, its continued support of other terrorist groups, as well as the Assad regime that continues to slaughter its people.

Rouhani’s first challenge is that he does not hold the keys to most of these issues. Iran’s policies on the nuclear issue, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, international terrorism and supporting the Assad regime are the sole purview of Iran’s supreme leader. No president has ever been able to enter these domains in any meaningful way, let alone alter them substantially; these issues have, in fact, always been sources of tension and discreet friction between presidents and the supreme leader.

Another challenge lies in the United States Congress. As many of the sanctions against Iran have been embedded in laws, it would take a Herculean effort on the part of President Obama to convince the legislative branch to change them. Even if the president were to decide to “trust” Rohani, he would still need to convince Congress. Given the political atmosphere in Washington, it is unlikely the president would even consider risking his remaining political capital on lifting sanctions without being able to demonstrate substantial progress in changing Iran’s course.

A third challenge lies on the domestic front. Here Rouhani must face an endemic system of corruption, in addition to gangs of Revolutionary Guards [IRGC], who have extended their control over almost every aspect of Iran’s economy, government, military and security apparatus. To change that, Rouhani would have to tackle the IRGC and their powerful ally, the Supreme Leader Khamenei, who sees them as his extended arm for controlling Iran and key to the Islamic regime’s survival.

Israel’s Only Alternative is a Good One

Monday, December 10th, 2012

Originally published at Rubin Reports.

The Palestinian leadership, abetted by many Western governments, has now torn up every agreement it made with Israel. Once the efforts of two decades of negotiations—including irrevocable Israeli compromises in giving the Palestinian Authority control over territory, its own armed forces, dismantling settlements, and permitting billions of dollars of foreign aid to the Palestinians—were destroyed, the world has decided to focus the blame on Israel approving the construction of 3000 apartments.

In 1993, Israel signed an agreement with the PLO to make peace in the Israel-Palestinian conflict. The accord, known as the Oslo agreement, included the following passage in Article 31:

“Neither side shall initiate or take any step that will change the status of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip pending the outcome of the permanent status negotiations.”

By essentially unilaterally declaring the existence of an Arab Palestine, the world has abrogated that agreement.

What is shocking is not just that this has happened, but there has been no discussion much less hesitation by dozens of countries to destroy an agreement that they hitherto supported. Indeed, a study of the history of this agreement shows clearly that the Palestinian side prevented the accord from succeeding, most obviously by permitting and carrying out continuing terrorism and rejecting Israeli offers for a Palestinian state with its capital in east Jerusalem both in the 2000 Camp David summit and in the ensuing offer conveyed by President Bill Clinton at the end of that year.

Now there are certain implications of this move. I am completely aware that virtually no one in a position of power in the Western world cares about these implications, but it is necessary to remind them and others of just what they have done. And at least the Western public should know how this all looks from an Israeli perspective, information often denied it altogether or distorted by the mass media.

–They have rewarded the party that refused to make peace.

–They have rewarded the side that rejected the offer of a state and pursued violence instead, cheering the murder of Israeli civilians.

–They have removed the framework on the basis of which Israel made numerous risky concessions including letting hundreds of thousands of Palestinians enter the West Bank and Gaza Strip; establish a government; obtain billions of dollars of money; created military organizations that have been used to attack Israel; establish schools and other institutions which call and teach for Israel’s destruction; and a long list of other things.

As a result of these concessions, terrorists were able to strike into Israel. Today, Hamas and its allies can fire thousands of rockets into Israel. Israel has paid for the 1993 deal; the Palestinian Authority has only taken what it has wanted.

Abbas Zaki, a member of the Fatah Central Committee, was one of many who stated that the Oslo Accords have now ceased to exist. What then governs the situation and Israel-Palestinian (Palestine?) relations?

Nothing.

There is, for example, no standing for any claim that the Palestinian side has recognized—much less accepted—Israel’s existence. Indeed, a “one-state solution” is daily advocated by Palestinian leaders.

Yet the world’s outrage is reserved for Israel’s announcement that 3000 apartments will be constructed on land claimed by Israel on the West Bank, all built on settlements whose existence until a bilateral agreement was reached was accepted by the PLO and the Palestinian Authority. Incidentally, repeatedly decisions of Israeli zoning boards that permit construction in future provoke global hysteria about the bulldozers moving in next week. Perhaps if the Palestinian Authority would make peace those buildings would never get built in a few years.

Whether or not the announcement of this construction was a good idea, the fact is that it is hardly the biggest outrage in what has just happened. The decision is a signal that if the Palestinian side, or indeed the world, isn’t going to recognize what was in effect a treaty—contrary to international practice—and in favor of the side that violated the treaty—even more contrary to international practice—Israel is not going to be bound by the interpretation of that document by those who have torn it up.

Again, what’s important here is not to complain about the unfairness of international life, the hypocrisy of those involved, and the double standards applied against Israel. This is the reality of the situation and must be the starting point for considering what to do.

Clinton: Significant Reductions of Iranian Crude Oil Purchases

Sunday, December 9th, 2012

On Friday, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton released the following press statement:

The United States and the international community remain committed to maintaining pressure on the Iranian regime until it fully addresses concerns about its nuclear program. That’s why today I am pleased to announce that China, India, Malaysia, Republic of Korea, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Turkey, and Taiwan have again qualified for an exception to sanctions outlined in Section 1245 of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2012, based on additional reductions in the volume of their crude oil purchases from Iran. As a result, I will report to the Congress that exceptions to sanctions pursuant to Section 1245 of the NDAA for certain transactions will apply to the financial institutions based in these countries for a potentially renewable period of 180 days.

A total of 20 countries and economies have continued to significantly reduce the volume of their crude oil purchases from Iran. According to the latest U.S. Energy Information Administration report to Congress, Iran’s oil production fell by one million barrels per day in September and October 2012, compared to the same period in 2011. This has reduced Iran’s export volumes and oil revenues, which fund not only the nuclear program but its support for terror and destabilizing actions in the region. The message to the Iranian regime from the international community is clear: take concrete actions to satisfy the concerns of the international community through negotiations with the P5+1, or face increasing isolation and pressure.

Europe Loud on Settlements, Quiet on Iran-Backed Terrorism

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

When Israel evacuated the Jewish communities from the Gaza Strip in August 2005, few imagined that the area would become a platform for the thousands of rockets targeting Israelis living in cities as far as Tel Aviv. As the international community continues to pressure Israel into limiting the Jewish presence in Judea and Samaria and eventually withdrawing, one can only wonder who in the UN will guarantee that another terrorist entity will not emerge on Israel’s eastern border.

Most likely, Europe has not even considered what would happen if terrorist elements in Judea and Samaria would start firing rockets at civilians living across Israel. But Europe, like Hamas, has plenty to say about the settlements.

On Monday morning, December 3, the Israeli ambassador to the United Kingdom was formally summoned to the Foreign Office, to personally hear condemnations of Israeli settlement building. France and Sweden also followed suit, summoning their Israeli ambassadors, while Germany appealed to the Israeli government in a news conference asking Israel to “desist” from building more settlements, stating that the new plans “undermined” efforts to revive peace talks.

Hamas welcomed the international response with spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri, stating that the settlement plans “were an insult to the international community, which should bear responsibility for Israeli violations and attacks on Palestinians.”

Some, however, were not impressed by the almost-panicked address by international European diplomats. Director of the UK-based Institute for Middle Eastern Democracy, Jonathan Sacerdoti, pointed out that:

“The Palestinian representative to the UK was not summoned to the Foreign Office when Palestinians unleashed what some in Israel have called a “third intifada” on Israel, with lethal rockets launched in their hundreds into Israeli civilian areas.”

Indeed, it seems that any sort of terrorist activity coming from Gaza or its prime supporter, Iran, very rarely garners any sort of international public outcry, particularly from Europe. Last week, a U.S. official told CNN that “Iran is finding ways to re-supply Hamas” with long range rockets and other weapons despite the ceasefire between Hamas and Israel.

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told CNN on Monday, November 26, that Iran is subjected to a UN resolution prohibiting it from exporting arms, and neighbors of Iran are obligated to enforce this measure.

“We are hopeful that the nations in the region take appropriate steps to halt any attempts to transport weapons to Gaza through their territory or airspace,” said Nuland to CNN.

No echoes of distress were heard from any European leaders on the Iran-Hamas weapons deal.

Furthermore, according to Israel Defense Force spokeswoman Lt. Col. Avital Leibovich, Iran “tried during the operation itself to push more and more rockets into the Gaza Strip. Iran is deeply involved with Hamas inside Gaza.”

Even more worrying is the education of future terrorists training to attack Israel from the Gaza Strip. Hamas enlists, educates, and trains as many terrorists as possible to fire rockets into Israel and fight the IDF, along with other Gaza terror groups; the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) and Islamic Jihad. Only this past summer, the first class of a new military training academy in Gaza called Shahid Imad Hamad Academy of Military Training, established by the third largest Gaza terrorist organization, PRC, graduated, having received specialization training in fighting Armored Corps, according to an August Ynet article.

The academy trains students for combat and antitank missile weaponry as well as defense and military studies. According to senior PRC member Abu Suhaib, the school instills religious values, so that students “can confront the Zionist enemy with complete faith in the triumph of God.”

It is these sorts of developments that the international community continues to ignore, indulging instead in constant criticism of the Jewish state. If rocket terrorism against Israeli civilians would be addressed with the same urgency as Israeli settlement building, then perhaps there would be some kind of progress towards a viable, realistic peace. Blind finger-pointing at Israel by France, Britain and others, does not promote peace.

(Anav Silverman lived for two years in the city of Sderot, Israel where she experienced constant rocket attacks on the city while working as international media liaison and frontline reporter between 2007-2009.)

Arch-Terrorist Khaled Mashaal Returning Victorious to Gaza

Sunday, December 2nd, 2012

One of the world’s most prominent terrorists, Khaled Mashaal, since 2004 the “main leader” of the Hamas terror organization and the head of its political bureau since 1996, is going to make his first-ever visit [source: Washington Post] to the Gaza Strip this week.

WaPo is calling this “a sign of increasing boldness” after Hamas “held its own against an Israeli military offensive” and will be his chance to “congratulate its leaders and fighters for battling Israel“ according to a senior – but “careful” – Hamas official in Gaza who “spoke on condition of anonymity because of security concern.”

It’s a propitious time to take a look at some of the open silliness that routinely affects media “experts” when they deal with the practitioners of child-murder.

Mashaal recently enjoyed a well-publicized on-air interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour in which she reflected the spirit of honest journalistic enquiry as she asked him: “Is it useful to kill civilians?“:

“Let me give you the truth… We don’t target the civilians… The resistance does not target the civilians… We are ready to accept a purely peaceful way, as long as we obtain our demands… Our people is the victim… The offer must come from the attacker [Israel]…”

Noting that Ms Amanpour – like most on-camera reporters – evidently lacks the background information to demolish his absurd response, he presses on:

“I accept a Palestinian state according to 1967 borders with Jerusalem as the capital, with the right to return [meaning the entry of millions of Palestinian Arabs into Israel]…”

Somehow, the terrorist has been understood as implying that Hamas – whose declared, uncompromising, principal goal is to destroy Israel – has abandoned its ideology and is ready to accept something more moderate.

Arab-Israeli journalist Khaled Abu Toameh understands Mashaal better than most Westerners, and has no qualms about stating clearly what is happening. Even while Mashaal was on CNN, his Gaza-based Hamas colleagues were talking – in the Arabic language – about continuing the fight against Israel until the “liberation of all our lands, from the sea to the river.”

Writing for the Gatestone Institute think-tank on Friday ["How Hamas Is Trying to Fool Everyone"], Abu Toameh re-states the one essential principle that outsiders keep avoiding and/or denying:

“Is Hamas really on its way to moderation and pragmatism, as some Western political analysts and diplomats have come to believe? And what do some Hamas leaders mean when they say that they are ready to accept a Palestinian state “only” in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem? …Mashaal’s remark is nothing but an attempt to mislead the international community into believing that Hamas has endorsed the two-state solution and is willing to live in peacealongside Israel… Hamas has not changed or relinquished its dream of replacing Israel with an Islamist state that is funded and armed by Iran. Unless Hamas changes its charter, the talk about changes in its strategy only serves to spread the movement’s campaign of deception.”

He goes on to point out that the one true construction of Mashaal’s statement is the opposite of what is being spun out of his words: Hamas knows it cannot achieve its goal of destroying Israel for now and will therefore take whatever land it can get from the Israelis… and then continue the fight to “liberate” “Palestine from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea”.

In fact Mashaal said just that to Christiane Amanpour:

“Palestine, from the river to the sea, from the north to the south, it is my land. And the land of my fathers and grandfathers, inhabited by the Palestinians from a long time ago… but because of the circumstances of the region, because of the keenness to stop the bloodshed, the Palestinians today, and Hamas, have agreed on a program that accepts the 1967 borders.”

Mashaal is not alone in putting things this way: first they take the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, east Jerusalem. Then they use these as a launching pad in the process of eliminating Israel. Mission accomplished.

Abu Toameh again:

Hamas is engaged in a subtle campaign to win the sympathy of the international community by appearing as if it is ready to abandon its dream of destroying Israel. Mashaal’s remarks should be seen in the context of a new Hamas tactic aimed at turning the radical Islamist movement into a legitimate and recognized player in the international and regional arenas. Those who have been misled into believing Hamas’s lies should be referred to the movement’s charter, where it is clearly stated that “The Islamic Resistance Movement believes that the land of Palestine has been an Islamic Waqf throughout the generations and until the Day of Resurrection, no one can renounce it or part of it, or abandon it or part of it…”

They know this. But they continue to ignore it. Why spoil a neat and compelling narrative by introducing facts?

Senate Passes Enhanced Iran Sanctions Over White House Objections

Sunday, December 2nd, 2012

The U.S. Senate, urged by AIPAC and over Obama administration objections, unanimously approved tightened Iran sanctions.

“In an effort to circumvent international sanctions on the Central Bank of Iran, some purchasers of Iranian oil and natural gas have been using gold and other precious metals to pay for petroleum products,” the American Israel Public Affairs Committee said in a letter Friday to Senators considering the legislation, first proposed by Sens. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.).

“Iran in turn has used these precious metals to circumvent financial sanctions, using them to barter for goods,” said the AIPAC letter to senators. “The Menendez-Kirk-Lieberman amendment would close this loophole, without impacting humanitarian trade.”

The Obama administration made a last-minute effort to kill the amendment, a move first reported by The Cable, which reports on Congress for Foreign Policy magazine.

In meetings with sponsors, administration officials said the new sanctions would scare off efforts to enlist nations to cooperate with existing sanctions.

“As we focus with our partners on effectively implementing these efforts, we believe additional authorities now threaten to undercut these efforts,” Tommy Vietor, the national security spokesman, told The Cable. “We also have concerns with some of the formulations as currently drafted in the text and want to work through them with our congressional partners to make the law more effective and consistent with the current sanctions law to ensure we don’t undercut our success to date.”

The legislation, attached as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act, passed later Friday unanimously, earning AIPAC’s praise.

“America must continue to lead the international effort to stop Iran’s illicit nuclear pursuit,” it said in a statement. “AIPAC urges the immediate implementation of the new sanctions.”

Should the House also pass the NDAA, the amendment must survive reconciliation of the House and Senate bills.

President Obama is likely in any case to sign the NDAA, considered to be a critical defense spending bill.

America Has No Foreign Policy

Thursday, November 29th, 2012

The United States of America has a State Department, it has row after row of people who speak badly every language from Arabic to Swahili badly, and it has rich donors who take on the task of acting as ambassadors to some foreign country every four to eight years. There are think-tanks, actual tanks and institutes dedicated to turning out papers on foreign policy. And despite all this, or perhaps because of all this, the country still has no foreign policy.

Americans are by nature isolationist. American leaders, since Woodrow Wilson dumped ashes from his pipe on the Oval Office carpets and dumped America into the international game of empires, are bent on getting involved in world politics. Unfortunately everything they know about world politics comes from the back of cereal boxes. And yes that includes our current precious genius who comes to us from eating dog and living the life of a privileged member of Indonesia’s upper classes, but knows almost as little about the world outside Chicago, as he does about economics.

The big problem with American foreign policy is that there isn’t one. Our current foreign policy can be boiled down to three words. “Don’t Hate Us.” The current administration has introduced an innovative fourth word. “Please.”

It’s a long way from a century ago when American leaders still had no foreign policy, besides warning European countries to stay out of their hemisphere, but had begun to think that being involved in the affairs of other countries was a prerequisite for global good citizenship.

Theodore Roosevelt won a Nobel Prize for trying to get the Russians and Japanese to end a disastrous war in which the Japanese had the suicide determination and the Russians had the machine guns, but barely broke even.

Roosevelt, like many of his successors, had no true foreign policy beyond articulating American greatness on the world stage. But the deeper those successors involved themselves in international politics, the more they came to see American greatness as the obstacle, not the point. The more the United States became involved in organizing global alliances to hold back one threat or another, the more that same national greatness began to be seen as an obstacle to maximizing those alliances.

A hundred years ago, American presidents thought that their country should be a world power because of the manifest destiny of its national greatness. A century later they were minimizing that national greatness to preserve world power status.

Roosevelt’s “Pedicaris alive or Raisuli dead” became “Let’s Pull Together” and “Don’t Hate Us” during the Cold War. And today the motto, in a world where a whole lot of people want to do it, is, “Please Don’t Kill Us.”

The United States does not appease in pursuit of its objectives, appeasement has become the objective. Being hated is the ultimate national security threat. Being loved is the ultimate national security objective. These aren’t even sarcastic observations. They are actual policy.

CVE (Countering Violent Extremism) through outreach to Muslims is our foreign policy and like global warming and gay rights, it encompasses every single area of our government, to the absurd extent that NASA’s top priority under the dog-eater-in-chief was designated as improving Muslim self-esteem. NASA’s former priority of boosting American self-esteem was no longer appropriate because that would just make people hate us even more and make us act in such a way that they would hate us.

Americans and American leaders now both want the same thing. To be left alone. But American leaders remain convinced that the best way to be left alone is to appease those who might want to attack their country by minimizing national power and contributing more lunch money to their international cause of free lunches.

America is often accused of bullying other nations, but our policies are not those of a bully, they are those of his victim cowering in the corner with broken glasses and smeared tears, one hand extended with his crumpled up lunch money inside. Our lunch money total comes into the many billions, but as our bullies and their advocates remind us, we’re rich enough to be able to afford it.

The kid in the corner has been bullied enough that his only policy is avoiding another incident. That is our foreign policy, driven by CVE or Here’s Some More Halal Lunch Money, finding ways of getting the bullies to leave us alone. Even the more militant elements of our military campaign are defensive, ripe with ways to convince the bullies to leave us alone, using drones to minimize civilian casualties and nation building exercises to turn our bullies into friendly peaceloving countries.

Reactive foreign policies are a recipe for defeat, but America has never had any foreign policy beyond progressive world citizenship and coalition building against global threats. And that has made American into the world’s social worker and the world’s policeman for so long that it has hardly any sense of what it might want for itself, as a country.

America is still involved in global citizenship projects even though the dictatorships who are the plurality of the global polity and the progressives who define global citizenship innately hate it. while working hard at maintaining global coalitions that do not exist against a threat that not even it is prepared to name. Whatever relevance these had, they no longer have any relevance when the conventional clash of nations of the Cold War gave way to the ride of the barbarians in the Islamic Wars of Terror.

The United States has been suckered into playing the same game as Israel. The impossible game of winning wars without alienating anyone. And that game is played by not winning wars and being more hated than if they had won all those wars. If we are forced to fight because we are hated, then the only way to avoid fighting is not be hated which means fighting just enough to survive, but not enough to earn us any more than the minimum amount of hate balanced against the minimum amount of survival. And if we win, maybe they’ll leave us alone. If they don’t, we’ll fight back even less.

During the Cold War the United States sacrificed its economy, its trade balance and its manufacturing sector to score coalition points and contain Communism. With Communism defeated and capitalism thriving in Russia and China, the United States is now stripping away civil liberties to counter Islamic terrorism. But that doesn’t just mean strip searches in airports, it means outlawing anything that offends Muslims. And if we survive that, and the Muslim world becomes a mecca of free speech, then we’ll have won yet another Pyrrhic victory at our own expense.

Countering external threats is a legitimate foreign policy interest, but it cannot be the only interest. That way leads to a purely reactive foreign policy and down the garden path to Stockholm Syndrome politics that accept responsibility for the actions of an aggressor to maintain the illusion of control over his actions. Our leaders, the ones who eat dogs and the ones who just pose for photos with them, are already there. If we reach European critical velocity, then we’ll be there as an entire nation, not just members of our chattering and spending classes.

America needs a foreign policy that is bigger than its defensive needs but smaller than progressive ambitions of global citizenship. It is a foreign policy that cannot be defensive or altruistic, but that actually resurrects the long buried question of American interests, rather than American obligations or needs. And to get there, the country’s policymakers have to get in touch with their 19th Century selves and stop asking what America is obligated to do for the world or what it desperately needs from the world, but what it would like to do with the world.

That is the way that Russia or China think. It’s the way that most countries, from the largest rivals to the smallest islands, approach the outside world, not as a place that they are obligated to or whom they dare not offend, but as a place for extending their ambitions and sense of self into. That does not mean going on a spree of territorial expansionism, necessarily, but that too would be a healthier way to function than the listless apathy of appeasement that has overtaken American foreign policy.

A foreign policy is assertive. It seeks to gain things, rather than to minimize losing things. It is not as concerned with the feelings of the world, as it is with the feelings of its own citizens. To the question of what it wants, it does not answer with the time-honored response of Miss America contestants, to make the world a better place, but rather it answers to make America better, bigger, richer and stronger. That answer is not idealistic, it is realistic. It is how other countries expect us to think and it is how they react no matter how altruistic our policies may be.

American foreign policy needs goals and horizons to gain definition. It needs to want something more than a way to avert the next big explosion or to feed the hungry people of Warlordistan to have a foreign policy that is based on substance, rather than cobwebs of fears and dreams. It needs to stand not for a better world, but for a better, stronger and richer America.

Originally published at Sultan Knish.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/daniel-greenfield/america-has-no-foreign-policy/2012/11/29/

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