ACRU Senior Fellow Ken Blackwell wrote this column appearing on the Townhall website on June 3, 2010.
“During his campaign for the 2008 election, Mr. Obama promised to brand the mass killings genocide.” That’s how the left-wing BBC described one of Barack Obama’s promises in his most successful election campaign of two springs ago. It seemed so easy then to satisfy every group of voters. Everyone, it seemed, was getting in step behind the pied piper.
Now, we see the fruits of that campaign. Or, as the Rev. Jeremiah Wright might say: The Mideast chickens are coming home to roost. Last March, when the Democratic-dominated House Foreign Affairs Committee voted 23-22 to brand the Turks’ mass killings of Armenians a century ago a “genocide,” the Turkish government of today reacted angrily. The Turkish people have been voting for an ever-more alarming mix of nationalists and Islamists.
So much for the politics of sentiment. So much for being—as columnist David Broder recently called Barack Obama—”the Empathizer in Chief.” If you feel every group’s pain, you’re going to be in for some real pain of your own. Here it comes.
Turkey backed a blockade runner, a large ferry boat that could well have included in its capacious hold arms and munitions for the Hamas regime in Gaza. Israel last weekend attempted to enforce their blockade. They wanted only to inspect the ferry’s cargo. The melee on the ferry deck showed “peace” activists attacking the Israeli commandos with sharpened iron bars. When the Israelis fired back, 10 of those on board the ferry were killed.
International condemnation of Israel has been swift. This has followed a UN Resolution over the weekend that called upon Israel to comply with the Non-Proliferation Treaty. Israel. Well, if you can’t get any results from Iran, why not put some extra pressure on your ally, Israel? The Obama administration stood by impotently while this potent anti-Israel resolution passed.
Israel is in graver danger today than she has faced in recent memory. In 1948, when the State of Israel was proclaimed, she was invaded simultaneously by five Arab armies. But, and a most important but, the U.S. stood staunchly behind the infant Jewish State.
President Harry Truman defied his Secretary of State, George Marshall, the man he most admired in the world, to recognize Israel just eleven minutes after independence was declared. That timely demonstration of U.S. support helped avert disaster then.
Twenty-five years later, Israel was attacked in 1973 on Yom Kippur by Arab armies led by Egypt. The initial battles went badly—disastrously so—for Israel. But President Richard Nixon—though increasingly surrounded by the congressional hounds pursuing Watergate convictions—summarily ordered the U.S. military to re-supply the embattled Jewish State.
Many have since written that Nixon’s spontaneous action may have saved Israel at its moment of maximum danger. Surely, the USSR was unwilling to risk a nuclear clash—even with a politically wounded Richard Nixon—over so important an ally as Israel.
In 1948 and 1973, Israelis could at least rely on American liberals to support their claims.
No more. No sooner had the clash on the high seas occurred than liberal blogger Peter Beinart joined the worldwide anti-Israel cabal by posting on “Israel’s Indefensible Behavior.”
We now face a real prospect of a new Mideast war, one in which Israel will be beset by Iran, by Iran’s cats paws, Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon. Even more menacingly, we could see Turkey—long Israel’s only Muslim ally—join this unholy alliance.
Who is responsible for this serious downward spiral in the Mideast? Who else? When the Obama administration spends its first year “extending an open hand” to the murderous mullahs in Tehran, and when it fails to do anything meaningful to stop Iran’s march to nuclear weapons, when the administration stiff-arms the Israelis, and treats Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu like a pariah for building apartments for Jews in the capital of the Jewish state, the wolves of jihad gather. They scent blood. Will this be one more chapter in the lamentable story of how weak and irresolute leadership leads us into war?
We must pray it doesn’t happen.