The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Five Things

There has been much commentary in the aftermath of Barack Obama's contemptible U.N. veto abstention. But as the dust begins to settle, five things have become apparent.

First, Barack Obama is anti-Isreal—always has been and always will be. He's a Leftist and is simply following the meme that views a liberal democracy, Israel, as an "oppressor." At the same time, it views a broken society, the palestinians, that revels in anti-Semitism, along with virtually every trait the left condemns, as a "victim.

Second, Barack Obama has no foreign policy ability—none. Virtually everything he has tried and every decision he had made has lead to failure. The Middle East is far more unstable today that it was on the day he took office. He has presided over a true humanitarian disaster in Syria; through his feckless approach, he has been a catalyst for the rise of ISIS, and was behind the descent of Libya into a failed state.

Third, he doesn't have the courage to stand up and be counted—an abstention shows cowardice. If he truly believed that building apartments in Israel is a threat to peace, he should have voted in favor of the U.N resolution, so that all of his supporters would know exactly where he stands. In fact, his cowardice is even more compelling because his administration orchestrated the resolution and the vote. But he favors wiggle room so he can be dishonest when the need arises. He still has the chutzpah to tell us he's pro-Israel.

Fourth, his words leads to nothing meaningful—he accomplishes nothing of importance but pontificates as if his words mattered to the hard men in the region.

Fifth, his actions hurt our allies and help our adversaries—every time. His disastrous Iran "deal" hurt every ally in the Middle East, but helped the Mullahs of Iran immeasurably.

This last minute U.N. episode provides us with a clear look at this president, his anti-Israel predisposition, and the utter failure of his foreign policy decisions. But except for a finger in the eye of Bibi Netanyahu and the muffled cheers of the anti-Israel Left, exactly what has Barack Obama accomplished with his UN action? Walter Russell Mead assesses the situation on the ground when he writes:
Many Palestinians and many of their sympathizers would like to see this vote as a landmark victory for the Palestinian cause in a long campaign to isolate Israel diplomatically and to delegitimize it morally in the eyes of the world. The vote is certainly a propaganda victory for the Palestinian cause, but it does nothing to help the Palestinians in practical terms. Indeed, a sober look at the situation suggests that the Palestinians have not been this weak, this divided or this helpless in many decades. Almost everywhere one looks around the world, the net effect of the policies of the Obama presidency has been to undermine the movements and the values that the President hoped to support; the cause of the Palestinians and the quest for the two state solution are no exceptions to the rule.
It's almost comical to listen to Obama and his apologists talk wistfully about an unachievable "two state solution." Mead breaks this down:
Not only have the Palestinian territories devolved into two micro-states (Gaza and the West Bank, so that instead of a two-state solution one would have to speak of a three state solution barring a Palestinian civil war), but both Hamas in Gaza and Fatah in the West Bank have become increasingly corrupt, ineffective and exhausted. Both of the major Palestinian political organizations depend on foreign paymasters to cover their expenses; neither has shown much ability to build a real state or to solve the problems of the Palestinian people.
If a diplomatic solution is ever achieved (and that is impossible as long as the palestinians won't recognize Israel's right to exist), it will require a change in geography, not only a change in attitude. In my view, Gaza must be returned to Israel. A contiguous palestinian state must be created in the millions of square miles of territory in Egypt and/or Jordan. Billions could be donated from the European countries who are oh-so worried about "the plight of the palestinians" and maybe a few bucks will come from the Arab states. But eventually, the palestinans will have to get off international welfare and govern themselves, create an economy, and live by the rule of law—not Sharia, mind you—modern law.

It's reasonable to argue that none of that will happen, and you'd almost certainly be right. No one in the Arab world wants the palestinians and few have done anything to help them moderate and govern. The real question is—should they even try?


Michael Ledeen notes that the five things I mention in the body of this post do not go unrecognized by Islamic terror groups. He writes about Christmas week terror plots:
... Berlin, Zurich, Ankara, Moscow, with a very nasty plot uncovered in Melbourne, and yet another involving terrorists in Detroit, Maryland, and Virginia. Not to mention the ongoing slaughter in Syria, and, on Christmas day, Cameroon.

What does the “western world” do in response? Declare the Western Wall “occupied territory.” This is no accident, since the jihadis believe that they have unleashed holy war against infidels. That war will not end, in their view, until we infidels have been crushed and subjected to the will of a caliph. They’ve got plenty of support from the Russians, without whom thousands of Iranians and Iranian proxies would have been killed in Syria and Iraq, and the Assad regime would have been destroyed.

That would have been a better world, but Obama did not want that world. Nor did the feckless Europeans, who act as if profits on Iran trade compensate for the open subversion of public order. Indeed, as Christmas arrived we were treated to the spectacle of the bishop of Rome—aka Pope Francis--blaming material misery for the jihadist assault on the West. Thus the first Jesuit pontiff surrenders the moral high ground to his mortal enemies.

Maybe Obama should convert and run for pope.
Or Secretary General of the UN.

Here are a few comments and cogent diplomatic moves that might help to mitigate the serious damage done by Obama's duplicitous actions at the U.N., suggested by John Bolton:
Once in office, President Trump should act urgently to mitigate or reverse Resolution 2334’s consequences. Mr. Obama has made this significantly harder by rendering America complicit in assaulting Israel. Nonetheless, handled properly, there is an escape from both the current danger zone and the wasteland in which the search for Middle East peace has long wandered.

First, there must be consequences for the adoption of Resolution 2334. The Trump administration should move to repeal the resolution, giving the 14 countries that supported it a chance to correct their error. Nations that affirm their votes should have their relations with Washington adjusted accordingly. In some cases this might involve vigorous diplomatic protests. But the main perpetrators in particular should face more tangible consequences.

As for the United Nations itself, if this mistake is not fixed the U.S. should withhold at least its assessed contributions to the U.N.—which amount to about $3 billion annually or 22%-25% of its total regular and peacekeeping budgets. Meanwhile, Washington should continue funding specialized agencies such as the World Health Organization and the International Atomic Energy Agency, if only to dissuade them from entering the Resolution 2334 swamp.

Second, Mr. Trump should unambiguously reject Mr. Obama’s view that Resolution 2334 is justified to save the “two-state solution.” That goal, at best, has been on life-support for years. After Mr. Obama’s provocation, its life expectancy might now be only until Jan. 20. And good riddance. This dead-end vision, by conjuring an imaginary state with zero economic viability, has harmed not only Israel but also the Palestinians, the principal intended beneficiaries.

Far better to essay a “three-state solution,” returning Gaza to Egypt and giving those parts of the West Bank that Israel is prepared to cede to Jordan. By attaching Palestinian lands to real economies (not a make-believe one), average Palestinians (not their political elite), will have a true chance for a better future. Other alternatives to the two-state approach should also be considered.