"Now, here’s a change we can believe in.
A mere 12 hours after claiming the Democratic presidential nomination, Barack Obama appeared before the American Israel Public Affairs Committee yesterday — and changed himself into an Israel hard-liner.
He promised $30 billion in military assistance for Israel. He declared that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps‘ Quds Force has "rightly been labeled a terrorist organization." He used terms such as "false prophets of extremism" and "corrupt" while discussing Palestinians. And he promised that "Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided."
Vowing to stop Tehran from getting a nuclear weapon, the newly minted nominee apparent added: "I will always keep the threat of military action on the table to defend our security and our ally, Israel. Do not be confused."
How could they be confused? As a pandering performance, it was the full Monty by a candidate who, during the primary, had positioned himself to Hillary Clinton‘s left on matters such as Iran. Yesterday, Obama, who has generally declined to wear an American-flag lapel pin, wore a joint U.S.-Israeli pin, and even tried a Hebrew phrase on the crowd." Dana Milbank
"Now, here’s a change we can believe in."
A politician like all others, he came to make his kowtow before the most powerful lobby in Washington.
Hilary Clinton probably lost the election before the primary process started, not because she is a woman, but because of her vote to enable Bush to intervene in Iraq. That vote cost it her the support of the anti-war forces in her party and she never recovered from that. Her vote to label the Quds forces of the IRGC as a terrorist organization and therefore the Iranian government as terrorist only reinforced her alienation from the "progressives."
Some of the people who advised her to make those votes were probably sitting in the audience at the AIPAC convention yesterday.
Two of AIPAC’s former "staffers" are under indictment and awaiting prosecution in federal court for espionage on behalf of Israel. Their lawyers are playing a most skillful game of "greymail" with the prosecutors. Will these two men ever be tried? Maybe…
McCain’s world view is clear. The forces of darkness are arrayed against the forces of light. The forces of darkness gathering behind the Dark Lord, Sauron will march forth from the Iron (or maybe Iran) Gates of Mordor. They must be stopped, somehow, by a gathering of the knights. He has seen these dark forces before. So have I.
Obama said to the AIPAC devoted that he would do "anything in his power to prevent Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon, anything." Anything is a lot for an American president. Under the authorities still in force an American president has complete operational control of the strategic nuclear force. A launch order from him will be obeyed. Why? Easy. It would be a lawful order. An American president would not do that? How sure are you?
In the light of the McBush world view and their designation of Iran as a threat equivalent to a super-power, I question anyone’s sureties about such a possibility.
If Cockburn has the story right on the SOFA negotiations in Iraq, one must ask why it is that we want all those bases and control of Iraqi airspace.
This fellow Milbank must have what the WASPs used to call "private means." He is destined to find a home other than the Washington Post. Perhaps he could start a blog of his own. pl
Senator Obama’s speech to AIPAC was disgraceful. Within minutes hearing the speech I went from a probable donor to a questionable supporter. He may have lost my vote.
His speech was almost belligerant.
It is amazing how the pro-Israel/hawk/Military industrial complex/ MSM/ corporate nexus controls what we hear and think. The debate is NOT about wether Iran is a military threat to the US or Isreal. This debate never happened. Iran is a de facto threat…a “grave” threat. Yet we never hear that they have no navy or air force to speak of, are surrounded by the US Military, and are a second world country. To hear people speak (neocons etc) one would think they are a superpower.
And Isreal’s security is “sacrosanct”? The US lived with MAD for decades, detante. But, Isreal cannnot? Why is that country so special.
Sadly, with the power of the AIPAC/military industrial complex/MSM/corporate nexus when it comes to US Middle East foreign policy it is “meet the new boss, same as the old boss’.
Today I was rereading what Keiran wrote about his visit with the Assads:
The best case scenario was a US president committed to seeking peace accords with Syria and the Palestinians (“a genuine commitment, not like Annapolis”). I got the impression from this (and later from a sly ‘yes we can’ from his wife) that they saw a significant difference between Obama and McCain. Nonetheless, when explicitly asked about this, he replied that his country had learned to be skeptical of US campaign rhetoric.
Lately I am tuning campaign rhetoric out almost completely. Differences in policy are crucial but more and more I tend to view the pre-election game as the requisite feints, parries and thrusts of a fencing match. Turning Clausewitz on his head, politics is war carried on by other means and the goal is to deny McCain a victory in November. We can’t really be sure what is in Obama’s head or heart but he is no more in the bag than Hillary was and probably a bit less than McCain. A shrewd politician will now be walking that fine line between sensible statecraft (otherwise known as “appeasement”) and strength (punch them in the mouth and then see if they can or will talk to you). He’s got to please as many people as possible to deny McCain that victory. I could be wrong.
I’m terribly disappointed in this, even if I’m not surprised – the power of this infernal Aipac is something to behold.
It’ll get lots of play in Northern Virginia where the Muslim-American vote might have made a difference for him. He doesn’t deserve it.
Far less than the nuclear exchange HRC promised in the Philadelphia debate but Obama needs New Jersey because Florida is gone.
Sadly, any American Presidential-candidate must placate certain (Jewish, Cuban et all) domestic foreign-policy interest above America’s general interest in order to get elected but it is the reality we live under.
Good thing that it was a political show because no other President or Presidential candidate has ever carried out anything promised at AIPAC other than “Dumbya”.
By the way, in LOTR, Tolkien defines evil as imposing your will against people who wish to be left alone and live in their own ways and beliefs.
Maybe we should apply that view to Arabs, Muslims and Persian instead of Elves, Dwarves and Hobbits by focusing to deliver the Ring (AQ) to Mount Doom. lol
What got me was Hillary’s vote to continue to allow the use of cluster bombs in civilian areas by U.S. forces. Obama voted to discontinue the policy of using them anywhere. Hillary was demagogueing not against the “Mad Mullahs,” but against innocent, helpless people whom she’d never met. Does she even THINK before she casts these votes? Oh yes, gotta look tough.
We’re constantly told that the U.S. and Israel have “shared values,” yet they regard our principle of Separation of Church and State with contempt–disparaging the concept as “uniquely Franco-American.” They lump us in with the French? Perhaps we should start behaving like them then and never pass up an opportunity to spit in the soup.
One can argue persuasively that Israel is far more unsafe due to Ziocon madness (with ample assistance from christian evangelicals and big spender cold warrior types.)
Has anybody even heard a peep about a Palestinian State lately?
Many innocent Palestinians die daily due to present blockade. It is a disgrace by any definition and USA should be condemning it with enthusiasm.
One word aptly describes obama’s hollow supplication – oi.
You act as if he’s won the presidency. He’s not president yet.
There’s also a lot that’s wrong with Bush, that makes it hard to believe Obama is merely a few steps away from being a Bush clone in terms of foreign policy. Bush’s administration made several blunders, in addition to getting all the details wrong as well. It’s the details that will make the difference.
Bush is an idiot. That was the overriding factor in his presidency.
Does someone understand why he did this? He has plenty of campaign money, certainly more than McCain. The Jewish vote is complicated and not that large. Christians who are hardline for Israel are going to vote for McCain no matter what. Is he worried about what AIPAC will do to him in the press? Is congress worried about losing their AIPAC money? Does he really think that an undivided Jerusalem is something he believes in?
I agree with Pat that Obama was able to win the nomination in large part because of Hillary’s Iraq vote and her refusal to walk that back. For the Democratic party base the judgment on Iraq has been a central issue and Obama has taken advantage of that in this campaign using his opposition as a key test.
In his triangulation of the Jewish vote he has taken a position on Iran not very different from the neo-cons. So if he believes what he said yesterday at the AIPAC conference how would it be possible for him play an even-handed role in trying settle the Israel-Palestine conflict and surrounding conflicts? It seems he can’t.
Obama’s speech to AIPAC, IMO, gives Bush and Cheney the cover to attack Iran. He is boxed in now and will be unable to oppose it. Such an attack will split the Democratic party and would lead to a McCain presidency.
As Kieran gathered from the Levant that the parties all prepared for a major escalation it seems the powder keg is ready for ignition. Bush and Cheney will I’m sure be happy to oblige the neo-cons one last conflagration.
Magis idem eadem idem.
For that is the US corporate policy, Coca-Cola, has aircraft-carriers.
Just because the mainstream media positioned Barack Obama to the left of Hillary Clinton, it did not make it true. Sen. Obama’s stance on Israel has been available on his web site for a year:
Furthermore, here’s what he said to AIPAC in March:
“Our job is to renew the United States’ efforts to help Israel achieve peace with its neighbors while remaining vigilant against those who do not share this vision. That effort begins with a clear and strong commitment to the security of Israel: our strongest ally in the region and its only established democracy. . That will always be my starting point. And when we see all of the growing threats in the region: from Iran to Iraq to the resurgence of al-Qaeda to the reinvigoration of Hamas and Hezbollah, that loyalty and that friendship will guide me as we begin to lay the stones that will build the road that takes us from the current instability to lasting peace and security.” [Speech at AIPAC Policy Forum in Chicago, 3/2/07]
Obama opposed Kyl-Lieberman because it opened the door to another Bush-Cheney war.
There’s nothing new, different or changed with Barack Obama’s point of view on Israel or foreign policy in general.
Read “Dreams From My Father” if you want to know who Obama is and how his world view was forged.
Air Force Chief Moseley Resigns; Wynne May be Next
DefenseAlert, June 5, 2008 — Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. T. Michael Moseley has resigned, Inside the Air Force has learned.
Top-level Pentagon officials gave Moseley the option to resign or be fired during a meeting this morning, according to a military official. Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne also could resign later today, this official said.
Any thoughts on what this may be about would be welcome.
Given that neither McCain nor Obama is likely to break th 50% mark in popular vote, every vote counts. Wilson and FDR promised peace in 1916 and 1940 and Obama promises war in 2008, but so does McCain. So go figure that who ever gets 45% of the vote probably the winner. Then time will tell real policies.
We’re definitely well past the point where we can believe anything Obama or McCain say. Pandering 24/7.
Realistically, the choices come Jan. 2009 are stark. 1) Continue funding the bloated, profligate defense budget along with the adventure in Iraq at the expense of the economy, healthcare reform and social security, or 2)
Fight a tough political battle to prioritize defense spending, cut waste in order to make some progress on domestic priorities.
If Obama is going to win the election and show any results on the domestic front, he needs to begin lulling his potential enemies now.
All we can do now is see what the candidates do, not what they say.
A completely unneeded sell-out by Obama.
Especially on Jerusalem. He exceeded the official position of the U.S. by a large marging and defied international law.
Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose…..
Obama realizes one thing more clearly than perhaps anyone else.
If he doesn’t sound, right now, before the election, like a lunatic Likudnic, well…well, what do you think happens?
Cheney goes around to Henry Kissinger and Elliott Abrams and says, “We’ve got to do something before this jerk gets elected.”
Give Obama credit for brains. He’s doing the best he can to prevent an airstrike against Iran right now. He’s trying to chip away at the constituency for that strike. God bless him.
I’d classify Obama’s AIPAC speech as some very smart politics. He used the opportunity to weaken one of McCain’s criticisms of him (namely, the idea of being soft on protecting Israel), while stealing one of HRC’s signature issues, and thus he worked to inoculate himself against a potential political vulnerability in the general election.
But he did something much more interesting in his speech, and the news media buried that aspect of the story, even though I’d suggest it’s the most important part of his message. Obama spoke of the need to revitalize the relationship between the Jewish-American and African-American communities, and this passage of his speech is what I found especially important:
They took buses down South together. They marched together. They bled together. And Jewish Americans like Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner were willing to die alongside a black man — James Chaney — on behalf of freedom of equality
That’s the money quote from Obama’s AIPAC appearance. Yes, he gave the obligatory AIPAC pandering speech, but he also brought up memories of when these two important minority communities worked together to build a better America. Nice move, that…
And I find the subtext of his example even more interesting, because those brave young men were murdered in Philadelphia, Mississippi, a town of little worth remembering save for two events, namely:
(1) that loathsome murder in 1964, and
(2) it’s where Ronald Reagan declared his candidacy in 1980, and thus where the GOP finally came out of the closet as a fundamentally racist and even anti-semitic party.
Obama’s choice of AIPAC speech content is a lot more interesting than Milbank noticed. He not only told the AIPAC crowd what they wanted to hear, but he reminded the rest of us that there is a stark difference between the political parties, and that he’s someone who can undermine the GOP’s southern strategy by reminding us (among other things) that the GOP’s beloved Gipper chose to use a murder site for his party’s political gain.
Too bad Milbank missed that part…
Sad. Why are self-professed American Christians so intent on keeping Jewish and Israeli control of Palestinian Christian Jerusalem? Are they all drunk with Revelation?
Ever done a course on neurolinguistics? I have.
One of the things they teach you is called “Framing”, which is about thinking of the context of what you are saying as you say it.
This skill I found very valuable in business, for example it saved my bacon at a meeting about some venture capital funding with a pack of Six Investement/Merchant Bankers and five lawyers.
They asked me “Don’t you trust us?” Because of my training, I was able to immediately answer with a dead straight face, from the bottom of my heart, “Of course I trust you”. Thank God for neurolinguistics.
I have read Obama’s remarks to AIPAC and it is quite obvious to me that he has been to the same course.
To put it another way, when Obama says he will do “Anything” to protect Israel, you interpret that as a reference to military action. With my neurolinguistic hat on I see negotiations with Iran, treaties, pacts, developmental aid and perhaps even “appeasement”.
Furthermore, even this goy knows that his AIPAC hosts know the same thing, since when it comes to verbal gymnastics and splitting hairs, they wrote the book.
Is this speech a sign of Obama’s “pandering”, or a reflection of the stranglehold that the AIPAC lobby has on US policy and the US political process? If the latter, as is likely, it shows that Obama also understands practical politics.
The sad fact seems to be that no politician (or senior official) can win, or survive in, office in the USA if he or she is (or is perceived to be) anything but a 100%+ supporter of Israel and its policies. And those policies, unfortunately for us all, are formed and executed by the religious and extremist right-wingers in that country.
How much of this do suspect is kowtowing to a powerful lobby per se, versus simply appealing to a demographic that is disproportionately concentrated in key states?
Navy and Air Force are now onboard over Iran.
I think you were a bit unfair here Colonel. The transcript reads:
We will also use all elements of American power to pressure Iran. I will do
everything in my power to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. That
starts with aggressive, principled diplomacy without self-defeating
preconditions, but with a clear-eyed understanding of our interests.
Will Samantha Power now call Obama a “monster”? Or will she remain in hiding and be meekly quiet on his pandering and his put-down of the hopes and aspirations of the Palestinians. What intrepid journalist would ask her that question.
I suspect her public flame-out and falling on her sword several months back was because she saw Obama’s right turn towards Israel coming.
My mother has been telling me Obama is no good on the Middle East. She is not charmed. She’s voting third party which I won’t do in this election. However the stars I get in my eyes when I hear Obama talk about the Constitution have dimmed considerably.
(but he did say that as President he would have his Attorney General review all Bush’s executive orders and throw out every one that is unconstitutional… come on, that matters)
It’s a good reminder not to project my hopes and fears onto a politician.
Does someone understand why he did this? He has plenty of campaign money…
I’d like to think so and agree with those who see the political shrewdness in this move. Most of his statements from here on out are about taking and claiming the rhetorical ground from McCain. And AIPAC does not fund candidates.
Obama Promises $30 Billion To Israel
Obama promised $30 billion in military assistance for Israel. He declared that the IRGC’ Quds Force has “rightly been labeled a terrorist organization.” Obama used terms such as “false prophets of extremism” and “corrupt” while discussing Palestinians.
He Will Attack Iran
Vowing to stop Tehran from getting a nuclear weapon, Obama added: “I will always keep the threat of military action on the table to defend our security and our ally, Israel. Do not be confused.”
Obama threatened to “do everything in my power to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. Everything in my power. . . . Everything.”
Obama Declares Jerusalem The Capital Of Israel
And Obama promised that “Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided.”
The AIPAC crowd of 7,000 loved Obama anyway. He received 13 standing ovations.
There Will Never Be Another Holocaust
Obama invoked the Holocaust (“Never again!”), pledged to “never compromise” Israel’s security, and scolded those who propose “abandoning a stalwart ally.”
Obama Is OK With Israel’s Treatment Of The Arabs
Obama agrees with Israel’s cry to thwart “any threat from Gaza to Tehran.” Israel’s military action during the Arab uprising “was entirely justified,” Obama said.
So I have a 64 dollar question, — Is Obama running for the Israeli PM slot or the U.S. Presidency? It sure appears that to Obama that the two are one in the same. So will Obama now declare the U.S. as Israel’s Second State?
So where do we Americans come into the mix? Where?
We send our sons and daughters to die on the altar of Israeli security, We spend money we don’t have all the while bankrupting our economy so Israel can live in splendor, while Americans eat canned pork a.k.a. Spam.
What is wrong with this picture?
I am seriously considering a ‘write-in’ as a protest to the two picks McCain and Obama who would sacrifice American lives and treasure for Israel while leaving our U.S. high and dry. A write-in I’m considering is a USS Liberty Survivor Phil Tourney
This is an honest question, and maybe not the appropriate post for such a discussion. What is it that makes Israel such a valuable ally to the United States, what do they do for us?
Certainly no one should be surprised. Look over his campaign finance committee noting AIPAC connections and “pro-Israel” backers like the Pritzger family of Chicago, etc.
Eisenhower was the last American president to attempt to withstand the Zionist Lobby, and during a presidential election year at that, 1956. It’s been downhill since Johnson. General George Marshall and others in the military, intelligence, and diplomatic services, it seems to me, have been vindicated in their warnings by the behavior of the Zionist state (entity etc.) over the past 60 years.
The entire world has seen all this for six decades years while Americans kid themselves about a “democratic” foreign policy process. The Zionist Lobby can rally well over three quarters of the House and Senate on “pro-Israel” legislation it favors. Just count the votes on some key bills and do the math. It is no secret to the outside world beyond our shores.
The very explicit coded language Obama used at AIPAC is an interesting indicator. For example, the phrase “undivided Jerusalem.” His speechwriters/advisors are in synch with AIPAC and the Likuniks and so is he from his own very “undiplomatic” language.
Another coded message was the linkage of the Civil Rights Movement to strong Jewish backing and a call for a return to this era of alliance. This explicitly was taken up by Irving Kristol in his June 1984 article (yes, 1984 in the run up to the election then) on why American Jews should ally with the Christian Zionists. Kristol argued that the Jewish community had been abandoned by Black American leaders like Jesse Jackson who were said to have embraced the Palestinian cause and etc. So the Christian Zionists would be a good pro-Israel ally.
Major powers around the world, and players in the Middle East, can read the tea leaves by now in this election cycle. We will no doubt be seeing increasing “adjustments” in the foreign policies of the major powers and regional players. Increasing isolation for the US, if not irrelevance, may set in further. Yes, we can play in the sandbox and bomb Iran and make war on Syria but…
Meanwhile the politicians, such as they are, can bask in their geopolitical narcisism and ecstatic pro-Israelism.
entrail reading seems to have caught on.
A politician pandering to some of the most influential people in Washington in an election year. Not sure what the fuss is about.
The story is not in what he said. What did you expect? For him to make the same “the Palestinians are suffering too” mistake he made last time he was in their hallowed halls?
No, the real question is how much longer will a nation that prides itself on its strength. liberty and independence allow itself to be held by the you know where by a nation not big enough fill the average American wheat farm. How much longer can Americans take the indignity of their presumptive nominees marching up to a podium and swearing allegiance to the flag, the Israeli flag?
As I said on one of the Colonels posts right at the outset of this primary, Obama can, if he does what he has said he’ll do, be a President with a very successful foreign policy or he may want to prove what a Christian/American/Likudnik he is by being more pro-Israel than Bush.
But the greatest irony listening to him yesterday was that here was a man pandering to a lobby group, while campaigning on removing the influence of lobbyists.
Personally, I think the nuke is the last magic trick in our hat. The old ways of warfare are slowly but surely being replaced by the guerilla war.
Honestly I think once an anti-air version of the RPG-7 gets developed, that’s going to be the nail in the coffin for Isreal.
Assuming Tapper’s version of things is reasonably accurate, what to make of this?
Thank you for a thought provoking thread and an excellent assessment. On Kyl-Lieberman, senate Dems who voted nay on the Iraq Resolution but yea for Kyl-Lieberman are Sens. Durbin, Levin, Akaka, Conrad, Mikulski, Murray, Reed and Stabenow. Was there any possibility that this was a stall tactic to prevent an attack on Iran until the NIE was released? (The use of military force was stripped.)
Both Sen. Obama and Sen. McCain did not vote on it.
Obama’s spokesperson said the senator would have voted against.
Senator Obama clearly recognizes the serious threat posed by Iran. However, he does not agree with the president that the best way to counter that threat is to keep large numbers of troops in Iraq, and he does not think that now is the time for saber-rattling towards Iran. In fact, he thinks that our large troop presence in Iraq has served to strengthen Iran – not weaken it. He believes that diplomacy and economic pressure, such as the divestment bill that he has proposed, is the right way to pressure the Iranian regime. Accordingly, he would have opposed the Kyl-Lieberman amendment had he been able to vote today.
Regarding Sen. Obama stating that he was opposed to the use of force in Iraq, that is commendable. This was during his tenure as a state senator in IL. However, I am puzzled how he claims prescience on that matter but was either blissfully unaware or simply didn’t care that many of his own constitutents – who were tenants of his patron Rezko – were freezing and without heat during a brutal Chicago winter. This is what got me to support Clinton. Previously, I was leaning Obama. (until Dec. 27, 2007)
I believe that your seminal Drinking the Koolaid should be required reading for those seeking national public office.
I also have a feeling that Sen. Obama will be backtracking on his statement on Jerusalem. When? Perhaps if he wins.
RAMALLAH, West Bank: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has rejected Barack Obama’s call for Jerusalem to be the undivided capital of Israel and repeated his demand for a Palestinian capital in the city.
“This statement is totally rejected,” Abbas told reporters. “The whole world knows that holy Jerusalem was occupied in 1967 and we will not accept a Palestinian state without having Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state.”
In the meantime, I seriously hope Pres. Bush’s promised veto on the new GI Bill of Rights is overridden. I do not buy Sen. McCain’s counter proposal. And kudos to John Warner on this. (And of course to Sens. Webb, Hagel, Lautenberg and the others – including Clinton and Obama and the rest who are supportive.
And I quietly celebrate the Detroit Red Wings winning of Lord Stanley’s Cup over the superb Pittsburgh Penguins, who I’m sure will be hoisting it soon enough.
Best to all,
Robert M. Murray
While America’s citizens stew and slide into one economic morass after another, the Neocon dream remains alive and well. Israel will be protected at our expense.
The “surge” and the alleged SOFA with Iraq are cover for the permanent occupation of Iraq and, by extension, establishment of offensive/defensive bases in the Middle East. Even after Mr. Irrelevant departs the cast of characters will be in place: Liar Petraeus at CENTCOM and Goon Odierno in Iraq.
Who will put a stop to this madness? Is there a “Conscience of the Community” among senior military leaders? Are there more like Admiral Fallon? Containment was a valid strategy against the USSR and with our naval and air resources and available weaponry, a fixed base in Iraq is unnecessary for the security of CONUS. Israel is not the 51st state!
I will rephrase my comment.
If Obama had gone before AIPAC right now, before he was elected, and said that violence and threats of violence had no place in Middle Eastern affairs, what do you think that would have done to the probability of an American strike against Iran before Obama was elected?
Raised the probability or lowered it?
i’m with walrus. basically. i think.
obama means exactly what he says,which is so way richer and deeper than the interpretations our conventional thinking jumps to put on his words.
my conventional brain is disappointed,but my change tracker says this is proper and necessary and when we look back at it we’ll be amazed and amused that we ever bound our reality with conventional.
I understand the concern, anger and even the sense of betrayal some of you feel but these are the political realities of our time and it does appear that Obama is going to go with a real 50 state strategy in this election. They want to force McCain to hold Florida. Some of you may get a kick out of this excerpt from a personal letter Eisenhower wrote to Edward Evertt Hazlett, Jr. on the eve of the ’56 election. Even Ike would never had stated this publicly but I am cognizant of how much things have changed with respect to our policies toward Israel. I think Obama is as well and he is the only choice we have now. Nothing could be worse than Bush or even McBush.
Document #2063; November 2, 1956
To Edward Everett Hazlett, Jr.
Series: EM, AWF, Name Series ; Category: Personal
The Papers of Dwight David Eisenhower, Volume XVII – The Presidency: The Middle Way
Part XI: The free world’s “sad mess”; October 1956 to January 1957
Chapter 22: On Suez “we do not see eye to eye”
The real point is that Britain, France and Israel had come to believe–probably correctly–that Nasser was their worst enemy in the Mid East and that until he was removed or deflated, they would have no peace. I do not quarrel with the idea that there is justification for such fears, but I have insisted long and earnestly that you cannot resort to force in international relationships because of your fear of what might happen in the future. In short, I think the British and French seized upon a very poor vehicle to use in bringing Nasser to terms.
Of course, nothing in the region would be so difficult to solve except for the underlying cause of the unrest and dissension that exists there–that is, the Arab-Israel quarrel. This quarrel seems to have no limit in either intensity or in scope. Everybody in the Moslem and Jewish worlds is affected by it. It is so intense that the second any action is taken against one Arab state, by an outsider, all the other Arab and Moslem states seem to regard it as a Jewish plot and react violently. All this complicates the situation enormously.
As we began to uncover evidence that something was building up in Israel, we demanded pledges from Ben-Gurion that he would keep the peace. We realized that he might think he could take advantage of this country because of the approaching election and because of the importance that so many politicians in the past have attached to our Jewish vote. I gave strict orders to the State Department that they should inform Israel that we would handle our affairs exactly as though we didn’t have a Jew in America. The welfare and best interests of our own country were to be the sole criteria on which we operated.
I think that France and Britain have made a terrible mistake. Because they had such a poor case, they have isolated themselves from the good opinion of the world and it will take them many years to recover. France was perfectly cold-blooded about the matter. She has a war on her hands in Algeria, and she was anxious to get someone else fighting the Arabs on her Eastern flank so she was ready to do anything to get England and Israel in that affair. But I think the other two countries have hurt themselves immeasurably and this is something of a sad blow because, quite naturally, Britain not only has been, but must be, our best friend in the world.
Only a star-gazer could tell how the whole thing is going to come out.12 But I can tell you one thing. The existence of this problem does not make sleeping any easier–not merely because of the things I recite above, but because of the opportunities that we have handed to the Russians.13 I don’t know what the final action of the United Nations on this matter will be. We are struggling to get a simple cease-fire and, with it, compulsion on both sides to start negotiations regarding the Canal, withdrawal of troops, and even proper reparations. But the possibility that both sides will accept some compromise solution does not look very bright, and every day the hostilities continue the Soviets have an additional chance to embarrass the Western world beyond measure…
Kramer: “Does someone understand why he did this? He has plenty of campaign money, certainly more than McCain. The Jewish vote is complicated and not that large. Christians who are hardline for Israel are going to vote for McCain no matter what. Is he worried about what AIPAC will do to him in the press?”
Yes, and in addition he propably really really wants to avoid getting shot by some doomsday-christianzio. My first gut reaction was that it is always a sad sight to see a good man being forced to his knees and open his mouth. This again confirms to me that US politics these days are not about politics at all, but about competing cartels of interest.
Well probably Obama doesn’t have to decide about Israel vs. Iran attack.
Olmert doesn’t buy that Obama is going to send troop/start Iran war. So he is going to tart the war himself and let everybody else cleans it up.
I guess August attack is still on.
Israel to attack Iran unless enrichment stops: minister
JERUSALEM (Reuters) – An Israeli attack on Iranian nuclear sites looks “unavoidable” given the apparent failure of sanctions to deny Tehran technology with bomb-making potential, one of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s deputies said on Friday.
“If Iran continues with its program for developing nuclear weapons, we will attack it. The sanctions are ineffective,” Transport Minister Shaul Mofaz told the mass-circulation Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper.
OK, so it’s Obama the Oracle, then?
Time for Gedankenschrift Verlag to issue The Cumean Code (alternate title New Leaves: the Sibyl’s Lexicon).
The GV publishing venture, which produces only authors, titles, cover designs, blurbs, and contentious reviews, was established:
1. to spare aspiring authors the anguish of writing,
2. to save dyslectics, and dilettantes the trouble of reading,
3. to meet a perceived demand for authoritative citations,
4. to liberate critics from the constraints of a text,
in the late twentieth century. In those days people were more confounded by the unwieldiness of reality than by its plasticity – IOW before it was perfectly ok to just make shit up. It was in the vanguard.
Obama’s speech did accomplish one positive thing for him. McCain can no longer call Obama “the candidate of Hamas” because they’ve withdrawn their endorsement as a result of his speech.
What the hell is rjj trying to say?
SRV: I fail to see how that article you posted allows that the AF and Navy are onboard for an attack on Iran. I want Ron Paul but have considered Obama but will now not vote for him. Ron Paul does not ever say what apparently needs to be said in order to get elected, he simply just tells his truth which is unwavering.
If Obama hadn’t distanced himself from his church and hadn’t gone begging to AIPAC, some percentage of our country would have said to themselves. “now, there’s a real man”.
Yes, Dana Milbank may very
soon find himself banished to the blogoshere if he keeps this up. Step on the tails of AIPAC and the Obamaniacs in one shot?!
Yoda would stamp his foot and say “Bold,you are! Watch ass, you should!”
While the political logic
in not picking a fight right now with AIPAC is obvious, there may be another co-existing reason
for his stance. Is it possible that it’s in Obamas best interest to put some doubts in the Israeli Rights thinking vis a vis the urgency of their “to do” list on Iran? I found myself wondering if I would
do any different than he is
Exactly, Swisher. EXACTLY.
Pat, I have been Hitting your blog for at least 3 years now, and I truly have not found a good and cultured as well as knowledgeable site in the blogger’s world.
I could be partial in my appreciation because I am second generation Lebanese, but Live In Colombia, I was educated in the USA. I Know That you have at least Objective Thinking regarding the problems in the Middle East.
You Know the Culture, How really people are. What are their expectation in life, Family Life etc.
I only wish that more people in The USA were more like you. That every thing in life is not black and white but a combination of the two.
Regarding Mr Obama, Once again, we witnessing how people lacks conviction and that the rhetoric is always omnipresent in life without regards for the objectivities in life. I am a Roman Catholic and my family is from Lebanon and I can assure you that Christians as well as Muslims around the Middle East will regards this warmongers as fanatical in nature who will always hate the people from the ME regarding of the religious background.
I remember Reagan speech at the site of the murders in the south and that it was the trigger for the so called “Reagan Democrats” stampede.
Still, I can not believe that in a country with greats educational institutions can have so many people with the basics knowledge of the world outside their noses .
Booom! Thank You Olmert for $11 oil price hike.
It’s the biggest ever.
(and unemployment rate climbs at the highest rate since Reagan. Whew… Jr. is in serious trouble.
Oil prices had their biggest gains ever on Friday, jumping nearly $11 to a new record above $138 a barrel, after a senior Israeli politician raised the specter of an attack on Iran and the dollar fell sharply against the euro.
The unprecedented gains on Friday capped a second day of strong gains on energy markets, and fueled suspicions that commodities might be caught in a speculative bubble.
At this point:
either way we are not going to get oil. It’s a) too expensive or b) it’s radioactive.
$150 oil price is the new speculative target ($140 is the first resistance)
Well, at the beginning of today I was in despair and praying to God because I thought catastrophe was inevitable.
Then something which some people consider even more almighty than God spoke – Oil. Some Israeli minister said war with Iran was inevitable and oil shot up $10 a barrel – its greatest rise ever – and the Dow Jones fell 400.
I think that for most Republican politicians, facing an election, the economy and the price of oil is even more sacred than the Great Ass of AIPAC.
I have generally liked for Obama’s decisions and rhetoric and his advisor circle (ie Volcker, Bresnyski), but was disappointed in the obvious pandering at AIPAC and dismayed when I learned Rahm Emanual accompanied him there. (Hope his new companion is limited to AIPAC appearances and that Rahm does not become his “Lieberman”)
Col Lang — Wondering what your take is on the “Jay Project” ? Is that the name of the new, self-described more even-handed Israel lobby group? And what of Obama’s call to cease PAC and lobby funds to DNC? Does that include AIPAC? I’ve noticed that AIPAC seems to skirt rules and restrictions that are applied to other lobbyists. Thanks.
I don’t think there is any fundamental change from existing (generally bad) policy towards Iran. Only more confusing.
Change that can confuse us.
Who will put a stop to this madness?
When our empire implodes and China takes our place, we’ll finally run out of the money required to get ourselves wrapped up in “foreign entanglements.”
Then we’ll return to our more isolationist roots. And I for one will be happy with that.
I’ll only say that I wish I understood what our “interests” are towards Israel.
Now Perino is talking “diplomacy”. Is Bush back to playing golf again?
White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said Friday that the United States was committed to solving the Iranian nuclear threat through diplomatic multilateral means.
Perino was responding to comments made earlier Friday by Transportation Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, who said that an Israeli attack on Iran appeared “unavoidable” given the apparent failure of sanctions to deny Tehran technology with bomb-making potential.
“I understand that Israel is very concerned about their future and their safety when they have a neighbor in their region – Iran – that says they want to wipe them off the map,” Perino told reporters. “We are trying to solve this diplomatically,” she explained.