Monday, March 23, 2015

What Does President Obama Think He's Doing on Iran/Israel?

We conservatives look at President Obama's Iran policy and we shake our heads. We ask ourselves: what is the point of a nuclear deal with Iran? Why does the president send a friendly message to the Iranian people for Nowruz? What is the point?

Then we look at the president's rocky relationship with Israel and with Benjamin Netanyahu in particular and we wonder: what's the problem? Why are we still pressuring Israel into making concessions and reviving a peace process with the Palestinians when it is clear that the Palestinians don't want peace with Israel?

We know that President Obama has no thought of a "peace process" with Republicans. His approach to Republicans is Reaganesque: "we win and they lose." With Republicans President Obama is not interested in a treaty, in negotiations to compromise the liberal vision of a more equal America with the conservative vision of a more free America. For him, the two visions are incompatible. More freedom means less equality.

Nor do liberal social activists think about a peace process with the racists, sexists and homophobes they they have sworn to destroy. Why would they? Their righteous vision is to eliminate the evils of racism, sexism and homophobia from the face of the earth. What is there to compromise on that?

I got a clue about President Obama and the liberals from a review of the recent Israeli election by a liberal Israeli writer, Ari Shavit: "Is Israel losing its soul?" Liberal Israelis were stunned by Netanyahu's win. A university student texted: "This country has no future... If I want to lead a normal life, I have to leave."

Er, yes. If you live in Israel you had better understand and deal with the fact that Israel is surrounded by enemies. There is no such thing as a normal life with its normal lefty cravings for "social justice and affordable housing and cheaper consumer goods." But the Israeli left doesn't want to believe that. Even though Shavit writes that he gets the history of the last decades: the failed peace process and the collapse into chaos in the Arab world,
The aggregate result of these traumas is an understandable but dangerous shift to the right. Because the old peace-idea was not replaced by a new peace-idea, many Israelis fear for their future and are no longer willing to embrace American and European peace initiatives, which seem to them completely divorced from reality. At the same time, some Israelis have developed xenophobic tendencies that do not stem from inherent racism, but from a deep fear that the center-left in Israel and the international community cannot assuage.
Oh, I see. The problem is that "the old peace-idea was not replaced by a new peace-idea."

So I suppose that in November 2016 when a Republican is decisively elected president our liberal friends will be texting to each other in shock and trying to imagine how President Obama, ably assisted by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, failed to inspire Americans with his peace process with Iran/Russia/China. Etc.

What is it about the "peace-idea," and its kissing cousin, the "peace process?"

I think it is a way of avoiding the fact of a conflict, a way to dodge uncomfortable truths. The Appeasement of Hitler defined the 1930s as the leaders of France and Britain didn't want to face the fact that Hitler was preparing for war. If they negotiated with Hitler then they could think about negotiation and put off thinking about the state of their armed forces and their alliances and the need to formulate and act on a strategy to neutralize him.

That's what liberals used to do during the Cold War. They talked about a peace process and about arms control and about "moral equivalence." They did not want to think about how to roll back the Soviet Union and its proxies.

Today it's déjà vu all over again. Liberals don't want to think about the meaning of the immigration of Muslims into Europe. They don't want to think about the Islamic muddle in the Middle East.

And really who can blame President Obama and the liberals? They live and die with their race and class and gender politics here at home. They don't have time to think about pointless conflicts in far-away lands that nobody really cares about.

No comments:

Post a Comment