Sunday, September 15, 2013

What Conservative Foreign Policy Looks Like. By Andrew C. McCarthy.

What Conservative Foreign Policy Looks Like. By Andrew C. McCarthy. National Review Online, September 14, 2013.

Neither John McCain nor Rand Paul get it right.


In the Syrian rubble of Barack Obama’s foreign policy lies a moment of opportunity for conservatives. It is a moment for building a muscular foreign policy based on a recognition of good and evil; on an unapologetic conviction that the United States stands firmly on the right side of that ledger because it stands for the liberty and equal dignity of every human being; and, therefore, on an unwavering commitment to have our interventions guided solely by American national interests.
It is a Ronald Reagan moment. Now, all we need is a Ronald Reagan. For now, we have only pretenders, split into two camps.
There is the progressive McCain wing, heirs to the Bush “Islamic democracy” quest. It lurches incoherently from crisis to crisis, such that the local al-Qaeda jihadist in Baghdad, who went there to wage a terror war against American troops, need only cross the Syrian border — and, voila, he is America’s ally. How’s that? Well, we’re told, we must hold our nose and support — indeed, arm — this “rebel” because he now fights the Assad regime, which is the cat’s-paw of Iran . . . the same Iran that — details, details — has been colluding with al-Qaeda for 20 years.
Got that?
Even McCainiacs sense that this nonsense world is straight out of the Looking-Glass. So, while empowering al-Qaeda, they maintain that they actually seek only to strengthen al-Qaeda’s rivals, the “moderates” . . . hoping you won’t notice that these moderates prominently include the Muslim Brotherhood. You won’t hear a Republican mention the Brotherhood, of course. But the anti-Assad “rebels” themselves have no such compunction about the Brotherhood’s key role.
In fact, the Syrian National Council — the rebel leadership bureau the McCain wing initially demanded that we back — was a Brotherhood creation. When that proved embarrassing, the Syrian National Council changed the sign on the door to “Syrian National Coalition” and expanded its membership, ostensibly to dilute the Brotherhood’s influence. But even the non-Brotherhood rebels concede that the Brothers are still a highly influential force, and the faction they share power with represents . . . wait for it . . . the Saudis — the Wahhabist sharia kingdom. Feel better now? Probably not, but understand that when McCain and the Obama administration talk about supporting the “moderates,” this is who they mean. Understand, too, that the Brothers have always done business with Iran — a longtime backer of Hamas, the Brothers’ Palestinian terrorist branch — and that the Saudis’ governing ideology (to say nothing of their money) spawned al-Qaeda.
What could be more “moderate” than that?
The other pretender is Rand Paul and his nihilistic brand of libertarianism. On the twelfth anniversary of the 9/11 atrocities, in which Islamic-supremacist jihadists murdered nearly 3,000 Americans, the senator refused to distance himself from the repulsive assessment of his father, Ron Paul, that the United States had brought the attack on herself. “America’s chickens, comin’ home to roost,” as Jeremiah Wright memorably  put it.
The senator is trying to be the silk glove over dad’s ham-handed fist — to make Ron Paul’s noxious substitution of “Blame America First” for “Know Thine Enemy” respectable. Asked about his father’s assertion, Paul the Younger tried to change the subject, opining that why someone attacks the U.S. is irrelevant — that sometimes the cause could be “our presence overseas,” and sometimes not. What really matters, he said, is “that we defend ourselves from attack.”
It is thin camouflage. While McCain would insert the United States into every controversy, no matter how contrary to our interests, Paul sees our government as incapable of acting beneficially in the world. One can easily understand why Paul has a surface appeal for young Americans. In their lifetimes, an era of progressive dominance in foreign affairs, to act in America’s interests has become disreputable. The McCain approach — champion Qaddafi, oust Qaddafi; condemn the Muslim Brotherhood, support the Muslim Brotherhood; surge against al-Qaeda, arm al-Qaeda — has brought dizzying discredit to American action on the world stage. The Pauls exploit this to a fare-thee-well.
Nevertheless, the Pauls’ indictment is against government when the real culprit is wayward government policy in the execution of an essential government function. The Paul fantasy, like the Left’s, is that we can refrain from being judgmental about other countries: Just trade with everyone while pretending to be Switzerland, and then those nations disposed against us will like us better, and if they don’t we can always respond forcefully — after they’ve killed a few thousand of us.
Conservatives do not want Teddy Roosevelt’s pro-American progressivism. If, as is usually the case, you don’t have an extraordinary TR-type at the helm, what you’re left with is progressivism run amok and anything but pro-American.
Neither, however, are conservatives anti-government. In a 1997 essay diagnosing “What Ails the Right,” Bill Kristol and David Brooks famously called for government that is “limited but energetic.” I respectfully disagree: “Energetic” proves too promiscuous a license, eviscerating the Constitution’s limits. As TR is said to have remarked — perhaps apocryphally, historian Paul Johnson cautions — “What’s the Constitution between friends?” What conservatives want is a central government that does very few things — only the ones it is expressly assigned, the ones only a national government can do — but does them exceedingly well.
Limited does not mean small, for these are not small tasks. The most significant function of government, national security, is what our foreign policy must serve. This is where Reagan got it right and today’s Republican leaders get it tragically wrong.
At a time when fellow travelers on the left and “realists” on the right wanted to come to some understanding with the Soviet Union, Reagan rightly saw Communism as an evil that could not be moderated or accommodated. It was an implacable enemy that had to be resisted and defeated. That did not mean military invasions on every front. It meant organizing American foreign policy around the conviction that Communism was the enemy of liberty, that it was aggressively revolutionary, and that it had to be opposed by whatever instruments of government made the most sense. There might be ambiguity about how the United States would respond in a given set of circumstances, but there was no ambiguity about who the enemy was or that our overarching goal was to defeat him.
Today, the enemy is Islamic supremacism, which inevitably reigns whenever Islam is imposed as a governing system. We must abandon the notion that this Islam is a religion.
In last weekend’s column, I noted that the Obama administration and the GOP’s McCain wing call al-Qaeda operatives “extremists” in order to “avoid the inconvenience that what they are ‘extreme’ about is Islam.” Well, it works the other way around, too. There are millions of “moderate” Muslims, but what makes them “moderate” is that they ignore (or reimagine) the political and supremacist tenets of Islam.
That’s fine. We want to ally with Muslims who, in the spirit of the Western Enlightenment, allow for a separation of religion from politics in their doctrine. But that separation is necessary precisely because whenever a political system proclaims itself as “Islamic” — whenever it establishes Islam as the state religion and makes sharia the foundation of its law — it is inevitably hostile to liberty and equality.
In Spring Fever, I recount the rueful observation of an authentic Muslim democrat who bristled at the West’s delusional celebration of Erdogan’s “Turkish Model” of “Islamic democracy”: “We are a democracy,” he asserted. “Islam has nothing to do with it.” When Islam defines the democracy, it’s not one.

The Islamic societal system is today’s totalitarianism — so much so that it finds a reliable ally in the hard Left. Much like Soviet-era Communists, moreover, Islamic supremacists unabashedly regard us as an “enemy” to be “conquered” while we romp about their camp desperately seeking “moderates.” The Islamic system is not nearly as fearsome as the Soviet superpower, but our blindness to its evil, and thus our abetting of it, compensate for this deficit.
Like Communism, Islamic supremacism threatens America and the West comprehensively — it attacks both forcibly and culturally; it pressures without and infiltrates within. A conservative national-security policy would respond in kind. Instead of promoting the charade of Islamic democracy, it would let nature take its course overseas: Allow the Islamic system’s hopeless backwardness to collapse of its own weight while promoting champions of real Western democracy — not just popular elections but individual liberty and minority rights. You can’t empower democrats, including truly moderate Muslims, without making it attractive to be one, and unattractive to be the other guys.
Domestic policy should align with this approach. We must be done once and for all with the folly of “outreach” to “moderate Islamists” — to say nothing of the insanity of consulting with “moderate Islamists” in the formulation of national-security policy. What makes a Muslim an Islamist is his Islamic supremacism — his preference for the Islamic system. That is the antithesis of moderation, particularly in a country built on individual liberty. That an Islamist eschews violence, or at least says he does, is welcome; it does not, however, make him moderate — ACORN is not moderate even if it resists the methods of the like-minded Weather Underground. Besides, “moderate Islamist” is the euphemism du jour for the Muslim Brotherhood. The Muslims who love America will never rise until our political class ends its infatuation with the Muslims who envision conquering America.
A conservative foreign policy would set itself firmly against Iran and Assad, as well as against al-Qaeda, the Brotherhood, and their state sponsors. It would not choose sides between them in their Syrian free-for-all. It would make the defeat of all of them — of Islamic supremacism — its strategic objective. It would tactically use the opportunities afforded by our diplomatic, economic, intelligence, military, and leadership capabilities to make it happen.
And it would work.

Oslo Peace Accords Provide Cautionary Tale 20 Years Later. By Edmund Sanders.

Oslo peace accords provide cautionary tale 20 years later. By Edmund Sanders. Los Angeles Times, September 13, 2013.


Former Israeli peace negotiator Yossi Alpher, who worked on the failed 2000 Camp David talks, said the issues are too divisive to be tackled under a single accord, as the Oslo process attempted to do.
He said Oslo ultimately collapsed under the weight of those issues, including borders, refugees, Jerusalem and security.
He said Oslo’s failure shows that a better approach would be to separate issues that arose from Israel's creation in 1948 — such as the right of return for Palestinian refugees — from those that emerged after Israel seized control of the West Bank and East Jerusalem in 1967, such as borders and Jerusalem's status.
“Oslo mixed post-1967 issues with pre-1967 issues,” Alpher said. “But while you saw some progress with post-’67 issues, like security, borders and Jerusalem, you see zero progress on pre-’67 issues, like holy places and the right of return.”
Another mistake that he said arose from the Oslo process was the negotiating-table principle that nothing would be agreed to until everything was agreed to. The concept was intended to allow both sides to take risks and to encourage creative horse-trading. But the principle made talks an all-or-nothing process.
“So with Oslo, not only did you lump undoable issues with doable issues, you declared that they would all be held hostage to the most intractable issue,” Alpher said.
Not surprisingly, each side tends to blame the other for Oslo’s collapse.
“The Oslo process failed because the Palestinian leadership, and especially the late Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat, never intended for it to succeed,” said Yossi Klein Halevi, a senior fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem.
He said Arafat used Oslo as a ruse to extract as much as possible before launching the 2000 Palestinian uprising.
“The attitude toward Oslo among Israelis today can be summed up in the words of the song by ’60s band The Who: We ‘won't get fooled again,’” Halevi said.

Two-State Illusion. By Ian S. Lustick.

Two-State Illusion. By Ian S. Lustick. New York Times, September 14, 2013.

The Danger of Two-State Messianism. By Ian S. Lustick. The Daily Beast, October 2, 2013.

Israel needs a new map. By Ian S. Lustick. Los Angeles Times, March 21, 2013.

Israel Needs a New Map. By Ian Lustick. Middle East Policy, Vol. 20, No. 2 (Summer 2013).

Israel Needs a New Map. Remarks at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. By Ian Lustick. Middle East Policy Council, February 26, 2013.

Israel Could Benefit from Hamas. By Ian S. Lustick. Forbes, June 17, 2010.

Negotiating Truth: The Holocaust, Lehavdil, and al-Nakba. By Ian S. Lustick. Journal of International Affairs, Vol. 60, No. 1 (Fall/Winter 2006).

To Build and to Be Built By: Israel and the Hidden Logic of the Iron Wall. By Ian Lustick. Israel Studies, Vol. 1, No. 1 (Spring 1996).

Ian Lustick: Blaming Zionism for lack of two-state solution all that’s fit to print at NY Times. By David Gerstman. Legal Insurrection, September 15, 2013.

Ian Lustick’s science fiction in the New York Times. The Elder of Ziyon, September 15, 2013.

Two States and the Anti-Zionist Illusion. By Jonathan S. Tobin. Commentary, September 15, 2013.

The Depravity of the Anti-Israeli Left. By Jonathan Marks. Commentary, September 15, 2013.

“The Two-State Illusion” by Ian Lustick. By Timothy Villareal. Tikkun Daily Blog, September 15, 2013.

So Now We Have to Talk about Ian Lustick’s One State Delusion . . . By Shmuel Rosner. Jewish Journal, September 16, 2013.

Ian Lustick’s NY Times Review Rant on the “Illusion of a Two-State Solution.” By Rabbi Jonathan Rossove. Jewish Journal, September 16, 2013.

Israel and Palestine Vs. “Blood and Magic.” By Hussein Ibish and Saliba Sarsar. The Daily Beast, September 17, 2013.

Reading Lustick Carefully. By Jerry Haber (Charles Manekin). The Daily Beast, September 19, 2013.

Thinking Outside the Two-State Box. By Yousef Munayyer. The New Yorker, September 20, 2013.

Durham Redux: One-State Illusions, From Canada to the Middle East. By Bernard Avishai. The New Yorker, September 20, 2013. Also at Bernard Avishai Dot Com.

Two state vs. one state debate is a waste of time, political energy. By Noam Sheizaf. +972, September 20, 2013.

“New Yorker” follows Lustick by publishing Munayyer’s argument against two-state solution. By Philip Weiss. Mondoweiss, September 21, 2013.

Violence works– by ending complacency. By Philip Weiss. Mondoweiss, September 22, 2013.

What Future for Israel? By Nathan Thrall. NJBR, July 24, 2013. From the New York Review of Books, August 15, 2013.

The Third Intifada Is Inevitable. By Nathan Thrall. New York Times, June 22, 2012.

Ian Lustick Needs a New Map (and Flare Gun). By Dexter Van Zile. Campus Watch, March 28, 2013. Also at CAMERA.

Abbas: “I will not accept a Jewish State.” Video. Palestinian Media Watch, April 27, 2009.

Ian Lustick: Goldilocks Warrior at Penn. By Martin Kramer. Sandbox, March 31, 2003.

Ian Lustick’s position on the Arab-Israeli conflict: pro-PLO. By Francisco Gil-White. Historical and Investigative Research.

Coming to Terms with Israel. Interview with Ian Lustick by Harry Kreisler. Conversations with History, UC Berkeley, March 4, 2002. Video at YouTube.

An Anchorless World. By Roger Cohen.

An Anchorless World. By Roger Cohen. New York Times, September 12, 2013.