The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

U.S. to Join Anti-Israel Bloc at U.N.?

Posted on | February 17, 2011 | 9 Comments

A troubling signal:

The U.S. informed Arab governments Tuesday that it will support a U.N. Security Council statement reaffirming that the 15-nation body “does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlement activity,” a move aimed at avoiding the prospect of having to veto a stronger Palestinian resolution calling the settlements illegal.
But the Palestinians rejected the American offer following a meeting late Wednesday of Arab representatives and said it is planning to press for a vote on its resolution on Friday, according to officials familar with the issue. The decision to reject the American offer raised the prospect that the Obama adminstration will cast its first ever veto in the U.N. Security Council. . . .
Susan E. Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, outlined the new U.S. offer in a closed door meeting on Tuesday with the Arab Group, a bloc of Arab countries from North Africa and the Middle East. In exchange for scuttling the Palestinian resolution, the United States would support the council statement, consider supporting a U.N. Security Council visit to the Middle East, the first since 1979, and commit to supporting strong language criticizing Israel’s settlement policies in a future statement by the Middle East Quartet.

Criticism of this gesture is bipartisan. John Tabin at The American Spectator approvingly quotes Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) who calls the administration’s diplomacy “too clever by half.” Allapundit says “we’re going to see a lot more bet-hedging in the region by the White House going forward. We can’t afford to alienate our new ‘democratic allies,’ after all,” and adds:

This is the new reality in the region — win/win provocations where the U.S. is forced to pander to popular Arab sentiment at a moment of retrenchment and democratization or stick with Israel and risk the consequences of shattered alliances. What could go wrong?

It appears that many people have forgotten the lessons we ought to have learned in the 1930s. If France had been willing to forcibly oppose the re-militarization of the Rhineland — Hitler’s first aggressive venture, in March 1936 — everything else might have been prevented. Even as late as Munich in September 1938, had England and France been willing to fight to preserve the integrity of Czechoslovakia, Hitler might have been stopped. Seeking to gain peace, all that the West did by acceding to the aggressor’s demands was to ensure that when war finally came, they would face a stronger enemy.

Let me ask: What are they teaching in schools nowadays? When I was in college some 30 years ago, one of my assigned texts was Appeasment by A.L. Rowse, which had a profound impact on my understanding of foreign policy. And even before I got to college, I’d already read — on my own, not for any class assignment — William Shirer’s The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, which very clearly exposes the errors of Western pacifism in the 1930s. Since then, I’ve read Shirer’s Berlin Diary and The Collapse of the Third Republic.

Rowse and Shirer were eyewitnesses to the events they describe, and are consistent in blaming the weakness of the West for making possible Hitler’s successful conquests. Why aren’t kids being required to read these essential texts? What have our foreign-policy wonks been reading instead? How have we gone from “never forget” to “what, me worry?” in the span of a generation?

UPDATE: J.D. Longstreet: “I am continually amazed at the naiveté of the political left. They remind me of children playing with matches.”


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