Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Gen. Petraeus: Growing Perception Among Arab Leaders that the U.S. was Incapable of Standing up to Israel

Conservative radio hosts like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, along with pro-war politicians, like John McCain, Joe Lieberman, and Eric Cantor were quick to jump on Vice President Biden’s comments to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu regarding the surprise announcement of 1,600 new settlements in the West Bank.

“This is starting to get dangerous for us… What you're doing here undermines the security of our troops who are fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. That endangers us and it endangers regional peace.” Biden reportedly told Netanyahu.

"The vice president told his Israeli hosts that since many people in the Muslim world perceived a connection between Israel's actions and US policy, any decision about construction that undermines Palestinian rights in East Jerusalem could have an impact on the personal safety of American troops fighting against Islamic terrorism."[1]

Rush Limbaugh railed against the VP, “you've got Biden, running around snubbing Netanyahu, plugging for the Palestinians, who are not allies. The Israelis are our longtime allies.”

Sean Hannity joined the fray, “During Vice President Biden's visit to the region last week, Israel announced its plans to build 1,600 homes in East Jerusalem. The Obama's administration's diplomatic response was to lash out at our only democratic ally in the Middle East.”

Senator Lieberman called the rhetoric, “very troubling” and “destructive of our shared national interest.” He went on to allege, of Biden’s statement, that “it just doesn't serve anybody's interests but our enemies.”

Eric Cantor, the number two Republican in the House and rising GOP star, claimed the government's criticism of Israel threatened US national security and said, “to say that I am deeply concerned with the irresponsible comments that the White House, vice president and the secretary of state have made against Israel is an understatement.”

Unfortunately for them, and our troops on the ground, the opposite is true, according to General Petraeus.

There [is] a growing perception among Arab leaders that the U.S. [is] incapable of standing up to Israel.”

In fact, General Petraeus was so concerned with Israeli actions in the West Bank that he sent a team of senior military officials from CENTCOM to the Pentagon to brief Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Michael Mullen on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“CENTCOM's mostly Arab constituency [is] losing faith in American promises, that Israeli intransigence on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was jeopardizing U.S. standing in the region.”

In case you didn’t catch that, Gen. Petreaus, the “most popular and trusted architect” of the surge in Iraq, is saying that Israeli action is endangering the lives of U.S. troops.

You might then be wondering why the very same people that lauded Gen. Petreaus’s surge strategy are now unwilling to defer to his proven judgment. Perhaps this statement released over the weekend by AIPAC, The American Israel Public Affairs Committee, might shed some light.

The Obama Administration's recent statements regarding the U.S. relationship with Israel are a matter of serious concern.

AIPAC has long been criticized for being “the most powerful and best known component of a larger pro-Israel lobby that distorts American foreign policy.”[2]

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have long wondered why we treat Israel as a major power. Israel has less than 10 million people and an economy smaller than Greece or Singapore. Yet each President since Nixon has spent an inordinate amount of time ruminating over Israel. In fact these past Presidents have probably spent more time trying to solve the Israeli-Palestinian problem than they have devoted to fixing our health care and social security system.

The notion that Israel is our base in the Mideast is not true given our presence for years in the Gulf States and our NATO ally Turkey. In addition, we were never able to use Israel as a base to launch operations lest we inflamed the Muslim world. Now, we have our own bases in Afghanistan and Iraq. So Israel seems even less important.

If anything, Israel is a detriment since we must bribe Arab governments like Egypt with billions of dollars per year in aid to keep them friendly towards Israel whom we also give billions in annual aid. And we get the blowback from Israel's actions since we are seen as their sponsor.

Additionally, Israel is not a very loyal ally. They took the information stolen by their spy Jonathan Pollard and traded it to the USSR in exchange for more Jewish immigrants in the 1980s. They sold China advanced air-to-air missiles and helped them with the design of their new J-10 fighter. They also tried to sell the Chinese a state-of-the-art AWACS platform.

It is true Israel shares Western values with the US, and they are a predominately European people like the US, Canada and Europe. Because of this, they should always be our friends. However, they should merit the comparable attention we give towards similar sized nations like Singapore, Greece, and Ireland, versus the attention we give to great nations like China, the UK and Japan.