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Obama’s unsuccessful foreign policy in the Mideast is based not on idealism or realpolitik but anti-colonialism, a legacy of the collapse of the European empires

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A mural on the wall of the former U.S. embassy in Tehran, 2009. (Behrouz Mehri/AFP/Getty Images)

Last week President Barack Obama’s administration announced that it was going to engage Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood. As the White House explained, American officials from previous administrations have already met with members of the prominent Islamist party—a party that, it’s worth noting, has been resolutely anti-Western and viciously anti-Zionist since its founding in 1928. Obama administration officials said that they wish to expand contacts with the Brotherhood because they perceive, correctly, that the movement is likely to become an even bigger factor in regional politics.

The Arab Spring surely has something to do with Obama’s new approach, but it is hardly the sole or even the main cause of a shift that has turned U.S. Middle East policy on its head. So, what is?

Even before pro-U.S. regimes in Tunis and Cairo were toppled, Obama had said that he opposed the existing U.S.-backed order in the Middle East, which has rested on close military and diplomatic alliances with Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan, and a substantial American military presence in the Persian Gulf. Most observers assumed that the president was indulging in rhetorical flights of fancy when he said that the status quo was unsustainable. But now we see he meant every word of it.

The existing political order in the Middle East has cost the United States hundreds of billions of dollars and thousands of lives over the past 60 years. In some cases, such as Israel, our alliances have been built on cultural affinity, military necessity, and domestic political considerations. In other cases, such as Saudi Arabia, our considerations have been more commercial. The larger point of U.S. engagement in the region has been to ensure the freedom of crucial shipping lanes and the flow of oil—without which the global economy that sustains billions of people around the world would grind to a halt.

Given the strong Wilsonian streak in U.S. politics, one might imagine that Obama is a staunch idealist—a man who, like Woodrow Wilson, Jimmy Carter, or George W. Bush, is disgusted by dictators. But Obama’s shameful record as a protector of human rights in the Middle East hardly bears out this theory: Iran’s Green Revolutionaries begged Obama for support for weeks, only to be greeted first with silence while being shot, tortured, and maimed by the mullahs and their goons, and then by lukewarm support, and now again with silence. Syria’s authoritarian rulers shoot their own people in the streets and bombard civilian neighborhoods with tanks and helicopter gunships, but the White House is virtually mum.

So, Obama is clearly not being driven by an obsession with human rights. Perhaps he is a wily master of realpolitik? A leader of this kind—like, say, Richard Nixon—would support the United States’ powerful friends, like Saudi Arabia and Israel, while seeking to constrain the power of its enemies, like Syria and Iran. Yet Obama has so significantly alienated the Saudis that they have embarked on their own cash-heavy royalist-oriented foreign policy, seeking to woo American allies like Jordan and Bahrain and even Pakistan into a new alliance devoted in large part to blocking Obama’s destabilizing policies in the region. Obama picks fights with Israel and then suddenly demands the Jewish state return to its 1967 borders as a condition for negotiating a peace agreement with the Palestinians—and is publicly rebuked by the Israeli prime minister, with the support of the U.S. Congress. Losing the trust and support of both Saudi Arabia and Israel in the space of a few months is hardly the move of a leader driven by realpolitik.

Perhaps, as some right-wing critics claim, Obama’s policy is the product of something worse, or more sinister, like a blueprint to weaken America on behalf of its enemies? Except this doesn’t fly either. Obama’s no Manchurian candidate, brainwashed by U.S. enemies during his schooldays in Indonesia to ruin the country. Instead, what all these theories miss is that Obama is simply a representative man of the post-World War II American Ivy League intelligentsia, which came to see the United States in a context shaped by the collapse of the European colonial empires under the weight of greed and barbarity.


It was the furies of Europe—its anti-Semitism and racism, its need to dominate and destroy—that drove its people to war twice in the last century while inflicting a series of revolting indignities on the so-called “lesser races” whose lands they colonized and plundered. Americans believed they were different, both at home and abroad, because they were anti-colonial from birth, and with the 20th-century advent of the decolonization movement they instinctively if sometimes cautiously sided with the new nations of the world against their former European overlords. The American sympathy for decolonization began with Woodrow Wilson and was passionately held by Franklin Delano Roosevelt and most of his top aides and by their successors in the U.S. foreign policy establishment of the 1950s, Secretary of State John Foster Dulles and his brother Allen, head of the CIA, none of whom can be dismissed as left-wing academics.

Anti-colonialism was the motor driving the Middle East policy of the American warrior who won Europe, Dwight D. Eisenhower, whose administration wished to make friends in the region by distinguishing itself from the great European powers and showing that Washington had no colonial ambitions. Ike put that premise into practice when he demanded England, France, and Israel stand down after invading Egypt in the Suez Crisis of 1956. Obama seems to understand the world similarly—the established order is wrong for us and wrong for the people of the region, morally and politically.

Obama may also reasonably believe that a United States in the grips of a financial crisis simply doesn’t have the money to meddle in the Middle East anymore. This country gets less than 25 percent of its energy resources from the Persian Gulf, so why should it be up to us to make sure that affordable oil transits the region? Let China, India, and Europe share the burden. Combine a bad U.S. economy, American exhaustion with our post-Sept. 11 commitments in the Middle East, and the nostalgic logic of decolonization and you can, finally, understand the origins of Obama’s regional policy.

But then you must tackle its consequences. The problem with this philosophy is that anti-colonialism is not a response to the realities of the Middle East but rather an exercise in self-congratulatory and often delusional nostalgia—and the results in practice have been awful. Eisenhower called his stance on Suez the worst foreign policy mistake of his tenure, and the results of Obama’s updated version of Ike’s policies have also been poor. After all the early enthusiasm for Mubarak’s ouster, Egypt is in deep trouble and spinning out of the U.S. orbit. If the Muslim Brotherhood isn’t rushing in to fill the vacuum, perhaps it’s just because they’re too savvy to want to claim ownership of a country that may be on the verge of bankruptcy and famine, as some analysts argue.

Pushing out Mubarak has made both the Israelis and Saudis wary of Obama—a move that has proven bad not only for Washington but for Riyadh and Jerusalem as well. The notion that several thousand libertine and/or fundamentalist Saudi princes are capable of formulating a coherent regional strategy is more fantastical than a J.K. Rowling novel. The Saudis on their own are a danger to themselves, the Middle East at large, and the world’s largest known reserves of oil. Leaving them to their own devices is easily the worst option among an array of bad choices.

With Israel, the administration may be on the verge of accomplishing the previously unthinkable—forcing the Jewish state to find other allies who will maintain the continuing supply of high-tech weapons to ensure its qualitative military advantage over its rivals. Perhaps Russia, India, and even China are interested in Israeli technology—military and civilian—and its newly discovered energy resources. By driving Israel away, the United States risks losing the leverage it has historically enjoyed with the Arabs by being able to broker deals with the Israelis, who will care a lot less about what Washington thinks once they can produce their own high-tech fighter planes, satellites, and missile systems.

Without U.S. leadership, the Middle East is less stable and less secure than it has been at any point since the 1973 war, for both U.S. allies and adversaries alike. The Iranian-led resistance bloc has also been hurt by the Arab Spring, even as the Obama Administration has failed to capitalize on Tehran’s setbacks. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is fighting for the survival of his regime, a fight that no one, not even Washington, expects him to win. Hezbollah has also been wounded and may suffer further with four of its members indicted for the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

The result of the political insecurity that Obama has fostered has been a plunge in the standard of living for ordinary people throughout the region and increasing instability there. In the absence of strong U.S. leadership, Turkey now fancies itself as the second coming of the Ottoman empire and creates international incidents by dispatching flotillas to Gaza and making nice with Iran and Syria, Hamas and Hezbollah, further rattling the political and security architecture that the United States built, and now wishes to abandon.

Obama has locked in Washington’s losses in the Middle East while ignoring opportunities to hurt U.S. adversaries like Syria and Iran. But sooner or later he will have to act there, too. It cost Obama nothing to ditch Mubarak, alienate the Israelis and the Saudis, or even wage a thoughtless war against Qadaffi. But if he crosses the line with the Iranians, as they rush to build a nuclear bomb, they have the power to retaliate by causing regional havoc and raising the price of oil to $150 a barrel—making the current global economic mess seem like a profitable holiday season and ensuring a Republican victory in 2012. The fact is that letting the Iranians get the bomb is a much worse outcome. Even if it has little effect on the president’s re-election chances, Iranian hegemony in the Persian Gulf would spell long-term disaster and shape Obama’s historical legacy. The lesson that the president needs to learn from his mistakes is that the status quo is worth preserving because change is dangerous in the Middle East, where things can always get worse. So far, that’s exactly what has been happening.

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Barry Meislin says:

This (mostly) astute commentary explains how Obama’s anti-colonialist ideology has been driving his administration’s foreign policy. It is a point made in the past by Dinesh D’Souza.

(I would add that, similarly, Obama’s ideological anti-Americanism drives his internal policies, but that’s a comment for another day.)

However, I take issue with the belief that Obama will sooner or later have to realize that alienating America’s traditional allies, whether they be Israel or Saudi Arabia or England or Eastern Europe (or Japan) is fundamentally detrimental to American interests and is something that Obama will have to ultimately correct.

This because “fundamentally detrimental to American interests” is not a bug but a feature. These are his policies. Intentionally so. For him, there is no down side. There is nothing for him to change. There is nothing for him to regret. It is not a case of “learning curve,” of adjusting to meet reality.

He believes that his policies are correct.

Hence the concluding paragraph regarding “making mistakes” vis-a-vis Iran, which assumes that Obama is making mistakes and will either recognize his mistakes and adjust—or not—is doesn’t square with the “reality” (i.e., fantasy world) that Obama inhabits. He is not making any mistakes. He is perfectly OK with the idea that Iran will have the bomb. It is, ultimatley, a good thing.

This because the Iranian bomb is the perfectly appropriate answer to and antidote for the West’s (American/European/Israel) continuing colonialism (for it must, necessarily, be viewed as “continuing”) and fits perfectly with Obama’s ideology and worldview, which you took pains to describe….even if it ought not fit with his role as Commander-in-Chief and protector of the US Constitution.

Simply put: you assume too much.

Why does Tablet allows lies? Smith states that Obama “demands the Jewish state return to its 1967 borders.”

That is total falsehood and well-known. Smith’s statement is not a matter of judgment about which reasonable people can disagree. It is hard for me to believe that Smith made an accidental mistake but is deliberately and conscioudly attempting to create a false view of Obama.

I started to read the article but then stopped since Smith shows himself as unworthy of being considered. But what about Tablet? Has it no responsibility to fact edit?

apikoyros says:

I’m not concerned with defending Tablet against accusations of “lying.” I think the biases of the likes of Leibovitz and Tracy are understood by most of their informed readers who don’t rely solely on them.

I am concerned with the (feigned?) outrage of the commenter above who took such issue with the statement about Obama demanding effectively (if not precisely accurately to the inch) that Israel “return to its 1967 borders.” After all the spin control and back-pedaling to the AIPAC audience, the fact remains that Obama has placed a particular and inordinate emphasis on the “1967 borders” (actually, the pre-1967 armistice lines). Even with the footnotes about “adjustments,” Obama has unilaterally set a new starting point for border negotiations that has been seized by both the Quartet and the PA.

The (faux-)naivete of the commenter reminds me of the old joke about the child who, finding a pile of (Obama’s) horsesh-t, gleefully thinks there must have been a pony nearby.

Regarding President Obama’s policies in the Middle East, a good starting point might perhaps be to acknowledge that for President Obama vis a vis the Middle East, there is certainly no element of “Nixon to China.” Because President Nixon had long-established credentials as an anti-Communist cold warrior, there was from the very beginning added credibility to Nixon’s stance that USA national interests were best served by opening relations with the People’s Republic of China. Can we derive the same comfort from careful examination of President Obama’s decades-long track record with respect to Islam and the Islamic World? To be sure, USA foreign policy does not always require the aspect of “Nixon to China.” However, it is still useful to realize that –in connection with President Obama’s Middle East policies — there is no significant element of “Nixon to China.”

Holly Robinson says:

President Obama’s 1967 statement was and is open to interpretation. I am a liberal, center-left Democrat who could not support Obama in 2008 and am unlikely to support him in 2012. My 2007-2008 analysis of Candidate Obama as naive, inexperienced, and having way too many nasty friends has been borne out by his presidency.

Gene says:

I think the major problem of Obama administration is the conviction that people indoctrinated by the Islamic religion must think and behave the same way as people who were indoctrinated by the liberal western ideologies.

jonny b says:

Can the author not grasp the concept of sovereignty? How about self-determination? What Obama understands and the author does not is that he United States is not an omnipotent hegemon, nor should it be. Did Obama “push out Muabarak”? Were the multitudes of Egyptian protesters American plants? Of course not. Obama realizes that the people of the Middle East have the right to be in control of their own destiny.

The ignorance and hypocrisy on display in this article are jaw-dropping. How can the author chastise Obama for not intervening in Iran AND for intervening in Libya in the same essay and not register the logical dissonance?

Readers, please recognize the author for what he is: a partisan hack.

moderateGuy says:

This is an excellent article and a well thought out analysis of Sputnik Obama’s motives, actions and their consequences. The bottom line is that Sputnik and his entire kiddie crew are nothing more than never-grew-up sophomores, still living in the haze of their sophomore year in college, formulating policy based on slogans and dorm-room posters: “No nukes!” “End the occupation!” “End US colonialism!” “Stop pollution!” “Tax the rich!”

@ apikoyros

Whatever your accustions, Smith was lying. Of course negotiations have to be based on the 1967 borders. In what fantasy world (do you exist) to think otherwise?

Dunno…I think it could be as simple as he doesn’t know what he’s doing.

His first 2 years, he had so much political and international capital to get things done (on the economy and foreign policy…he even got Nobel Peace Prize!!) and basically he has sputtered and wasted it all.

I think you are being way too generous- I dont believe that Obama has an approach at all..

Keep Assad but bomb Gadhafi?
Remove Mubarak but keep Khazari?
Piss off both Israel and Saudi Arabia..
Hands off with Iran, N.Korea

Doesn’t seem to be a pattern other than – he’s winging it…

Goldie says:

The Muslim Brotherhood is not just visciously anti-Zioniist but also anti-Semitic.

Obama has not only not sided with the Green Revolutionaries in Iran and
the Syrian people, who are being slaughtered by their dictator and his
regime for demonstrating but also the Nuba people of the Sudan.
I did believe that Obabma was a liberal idealist. I dont anymore.

Gene says:

American Jews don’t send their children to defend Israeli borders and thus forfeit their right to tell Israelis where those borders should be.

Binyamin in O says:

Barak Obama is “anti-colonianist”.

The horror!

This article shows why support for Israel is so deeply dangerous to America. Israel is not a democracy. It is a state in which a third of the population who are subject to its power (the Palestinians of the West Bank and Gaza) live without equal rights because they are not Jews. Israel uses two pretexts for apartheid: one, the Palestinians (indeed, all Arabs and all Muslims), are proto-Nazis, who if given the opportunity will exterminate the Jews, and two, the entire rest of the world would accede to another holocaust if it were inconvenient to defend the Jews. Both of these claims are tired pretexts for apartheid rule and the occasional punishing war against neighboring states.

The more honest of Israel’s defenders make no bones about the necessity for apartheid rule. Isser Harel has a good summation in today’s Ha’aretz of why Israel’s “primal interests” require antidemocratic measures like the Boycott Law — There will be many more such laws int he future as Israel consolidates the settlers’ rule over “Judea and Samaria.”

Oh the horror that an American president feels a little uncomfortable with the direction of Israeli politics. Oh the horror that an American president sympathizes with non-violent protesters throughout the Arab would who are sick of their kleptocrat rulers.

The real horror is the poison that the pro-Israel lobby has injected into our body politic that wants these courageous young people who day after day risk death to demand simple freedoms we take for granted to be spurned because the “instability” they cause by challenging pro-Israel dictators like Mubarak is a little inconvenient for Israel.

Binyamin in O says:

I challenge Lee Smith to show us where Eisenhower said his support for Egypt’s claim that the Suez Canal belonged to the Egyptian nation and not France and England, was “the worst mistake” he ever made. Ike understood our nation was founded on the proposition that a certain European colonialist power did not “own” the North American continent. Rather, its inhabitants were endowed with “certain inalienable rights”, among them, “liberty” which includes democratic sovereignty over its territory.

Russell Burgos says:

Except for the categorical lack of context and nuance, the utter absence of fact-like thingies, the laughable premise, the fortune-cookie-like “history,” and the dearth of anything resembling logic, this essay was very nearly almost . . . something.

hon kee says:

Is it really a conventional wisdom that colonialism is dead and buried? Seems obvious to me that it lives on in the Western fetish for unrestricted free trade. If rich Western nations can successfully convince or pressure poor non-western nations to allow “the free market” (which, by nature of the wealth imbalance, is represented mostly by the West and westernized East Asia) to exploit their human and natural resources without any impediment, they have achieved all the benefits of classic colonialism while avoiding the bulk of those pesky moral and administrative costs.

Mladen says:

Here is rhetorical question: Since (nearly) all countries affected by unrest are fairly secular ones, who gain if secularism on Middle East is replaced by fundamentalist Sunni regimes?

Regarding Israel, there won’t be peace deal without (more or less) 1967 borders. Is it smart for Israel to reject peace deal for next 100 years? For start, number, wealth and influence of Muslim community in USA is growing. And all they need is to stop flow of weapons to Israel. Try to think 50 years in the future, please?

gurbach says:

Someone has looked into the future and here are his findings:

yesjb says:

Bin O
Thanks for the left wing perspective, yours and Haaretz’s.
When you use the same yardstick for Israel as you do for the US, get back to me.
But then your ilk would prefer the “democratic” ways of the Muslim Brotherhood” to Israel’s. Or maybe you would prefer China’s or Iran’s?
No democracy is perfect; but your whining rings hollow.
Muslim control of America?? Who knows but there’s likely to be a civil war before that happens.
But hey, you and several others here show perfectly why Israel has to distance itself from the US. And with any luck…a growing economy, natural gas and oil shale discoveries, a high-tech industry and one emphasizing green technology and growing friendship with India, Japan, Singapore etc.
So hopefully soon, it will be so long and thanks for all the fish! and the US will stand to lose a lot more than Israel.
You and Obama and the NYT can piss into the wind while you extol the virtues of the coming Arab revolutions.
I will guarantee one thin, though.
The results of all these Arab Springs will not bring democracy, freedoms or friendship but just more of the same or worse.
Obama is anticolonialist but not when it comes to the neo-colonial hegemonic policies of Iran.
Good luck!

Gene says:

Mladen, it depends what do you mean by the word “peace”. If you mean by it the absence of hostilities – then there is peace right now (with the exception of Hamas) and therefore there is no need for further actions. If you mean by it a guaranty for the absence of hostilities in the future then I must tell you that “peace agreement” in any form does not give such guarantees. (Don’t believe me?) Therefore there is no reason to seek it. What brings peace is a mutual recognition and respect for each ones rights. But such recognition cannot happen unless sides will come to the “common denominator”, in other words they would understand the notions of “rights”, “justice” and “respect” , etc in a similar way. However, such understanding cannot happen at the present moment since both sides derive those notions from a different background: Jews from the western liberal ideologies and Arabs from the barbarous religion, which is incompatible with the western values, and from the primitive form of national-socialism, called pan-Arabism. Two sides speak two different languages and therefore they cannot come to a mutual understanding. They might start to understand each other only if Islam will go through the transformation and become more compatible with western values and when such secular fascists like Zoabi will represent minority rather than majority of Arab population. When will it happen – 50 , 100 years from now? Nobody knows but until then the prospect for the “comprehensive” peace on the ME is equal zero, you like or not. And no “peace agreements” will change that.

Herb says:

It is sometimes distressing, but oh so common, to see these left wing useful idiots like Binyamin, spreading their idiocies on Tablet. How funny it is to still see the cliched lie of apartheid Israel, a country where Arabs are 20% of the population in Israel proper, while ignoring the unpleasant fact that every Arab country has cleansed its population of Jews, and the Palestinians have announced that no Jew shall be allowed to live within the borders of its new state. Then our dear leftie goes on to say that Israel uses as a pretext for the supposed apartheid the idea that the Palestinians want to exterminate the Jews. I have news for him. Palestinian leaders have at various times proclaimed that as openly as the Great Leader of Iran. It is not exactly a secret. But much of the world and its history is a secret to the left.

sabril says:

Based on their track record, it’s pretty clear that the Arabs would slaughter and chase all the Jews out of Palestine if they had the chance.

It’s remotely possible that the wishful thinking of Leftists is correct, but I would rather go by hard evidence.

Anyway, it’s pretty common for people in occupied areas to not have equal rights. For example, the US is currently occupying Japan, but Japanese people are not entitled to vote in US elections.

Of course, in typical Arab countries, ordinary citizens don’t vote at all. And Jews are nowhere to be found since they were all chased out.

As usual, Israel is held by Leftists to an impossibly high double-standard.

Leonard Moscowitz says:

This article is a fraud.
Firstly, Obama never picked a fight with Israel. I ask Smith to name one fight that Obama picked with Israel that wasn’t started by GW Bush.
It was George bush who gave his major U.S. policy speech in the Rose Garden May 26, 2005 telling the world that U.S. Policy was today –and till the end of a negotiated settlement – a policy based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps ( i.e. vetoable by the Palestinians). Here are Bush’s exact public words: “ Israel must remove unauthorized outposts and stop settlement expansion….Any final status agreement must be reached between the two parties, and changes to the 1949 Armistice Lines must be mutually agreed to.” And he said this after Ariel Sharon initiated the Gaza Withdrawl. GW Bush didn’t even wait to see what would happen. See the full text at this link.
Fuller text of GW Bush at the Rose Garden: ”Israel must continue to take steps toward a peaceful future, and work with the Palestinian leadership to improve the daily lives of Palestinians, especially their humanitarian situation. Israel should not undertake any activity that contravenes road map obligations or prejudice final status negotiations with regard to Gaza, the West Bank and Jerusalem. Therefore, Israel must remove unauthorized outposts and stop settlement expansion….Any final status agreement must be reached between the two parties, and changes to the 1949 Armistice Lines must be mutually agreed to. A viable two-state solution must ensure contiguity on the West Bank, and a state of scattered territories will not work. ( There must also be meaningful linkages between the West Bank and Gaza). This is the position of the United States today; it will be the position of the United States at the time of final status negotiations…. ”

Leonard Moscowitz says:

part two of my comment from above:

We then saw

After Bush got done saying the negotiations were to be based on the 1967 borders with swaps that MUST be mutually agreed to, and after saying that natural growth of settlements had to stop, a reporter asked Bush in the Q & A portion in the Rose Garden “But Israel continues to build settlements and continues to seize Palestinian territories. What is your position, Mr. President?”
PRESIDENT BUSH RESPONDS TO THE REPORTER:Bush: “Well, I told you what my position was. And it’s exactly what I said when I was in Crawford, by the way, when Prime Minister Sharon was there, as well. I mean, when you say you’re going to accept the road map, you accept the road map. And part of the obligations of the road map is not the expansion of settlements. And we continue to remind our friends, the Israelis, about their obligations under the road map, just like we remind President Abbas about the obligations under the road map that the Palestinians have accepted. So nothing has changed.”

Indeed. Bush create
Bush: “Well, I told you what my position was. And it’s exactly what I said when I was in Crawford, by the way, when Prime Minister Sharon was there, as well. I mean, when you say you’re going to accept the road map, you accept the road map. And part of the obligations of the road map is not the expansion of settlements. And we continue to remind our friends, the Israelis, about their obligations under the road map, just like we remind President Abbas about the obligations under the road map that the Palestinians have accepted. So nothing has changed.”

VHJM van Neerven says:

Colonialisn is far from dead, only disguised as a corpse. Hon Kee is too right.
And Mr. Smith, do remember we read you in Europe too. We have a far keener eye for colonialism in any form. We see that the the biggest colonizer since WWII is the United States. Spare us your sanctimonious ramblings that make any “analysis; based on it worthless.
Here’s the alternative and much more sensible view, based on US imperialism:
The US supports Israel because it ses them as kin, settlers in a waste land. Alas, poor neighbors. First, both countries dehumanized them, then slaughtered them, annexated the land they wanted and gave the few people left a puny reservation they can always buy back for nothing, if it turns out to have mineral or other wealth.
See the Philippines, most of Latin America, Germany, Poland (etc.) and, “at home,” the sad history from Mohawks to Navajo.
The last Mescalero Apache, at last, have learned and now make uncle Sam pay through the nose. So has most of Latin America by now. And Europe is beginning to stand up for its own.
You know who caught the blame when the German, Russian and Austrian empires fell. You know who will catch the blame when the US empire falls.

Binyamin in O says:

Two points, Herb.

When I referred to apartheid, it was clearly limited to the the Palestinians resident in the West Bank and Gaza. Although with respect to Israel proper, yesterday’s expulsion by force of Hanan Zoabi from the Knesset chamber by Jewish police does not bode well for the rights of Israel’s Arab citizens. And the passage of the Boycott Law, aimed first and foremost at dissident Jews within Israel, cannot be viewed as a wonderful triumph for the Mid East’s “only democracy.” Perhaps you will join me in denouncing these assaults on democratic freedoms.

Secondly, even if the allegation about Palestinians expelling Jews if they could were true (it’s not, of course), that does not justify such actions by a so-called democracy. (Here is one of many links available on the internet confirming Palestinian policy that Jews who are willing to live under Palestinian law (not settlers who are sworn to defy it and stole the land in the first place), will be welcomed in democratic Palestine.

The pro-Israel lobby here in he U.S. never tires of telling us that Israel is “different from the Arabs” because Israel respects human rights. Now you tell me Israel is entitled to be just as oppressive to Palestinians as the Arabs are to Jews.

I am a supporter of the U.S. Constitution. No theocracy/apartheid state should receive the moral sanction of the United States of America.

lana says:

#1..IF the USA was interested in human right it would have stopped long ago the brutal,apartheidic,genocidal zionist leadership against a defenceless people(palestinians). IF the USA was interested in human right it would have stopped it’s own bloody brutalities and murder of the muslim world under the pretex the so called “war on terror”,if the USA was inerested in human right it would have stopped the brutal Arab dictators who oppress their populations & Therefore NO the USA doesn’t care about human righs, but it’s own selfish interest at any cost and no matter who it destoy or how many lives it cost.
#2 When it comes to the people living in that part of the world a recent poll suject the 92% of the middle Eastern consider that USA is the number one treat to their security, fallowed close by the so called “jewish state” 86% and Iran 16%, when asked would you be fearfull of Iran having a nuclear, the middle easters answered that the don’t like anyone having a nuclear weapons in the region but since the “jewish state” have a nuclear weapon ,they would feel more secure with Iran having one to balance the powers of the region. So if you ask the people of the region and NOT the corrupt dictators of the region includind the corrupt zionist power ,the people of the region would say we want a full democracy and NO to a jewish theocracy,or a muslim theocracy or a christian theocracy but full DEMOCRACY.The people of the region would also say that they hate western espacially the USA interferance in to their affairs ,they also want the evil idiology of zionism that divided jews, muslims and christians of the region to DIE OUT, so that they can finally LIVE in PEACE together just like before. The also want jews and palestinians to finally kwow one another and start appreciating each other. PEACE,SHALOM,SALAM

sabril says:

If the Palestinian Arabs were truly willing to accept Jewish citizens of a hypothetical state, then surely they would repeal the law making it a capital offense to sell land to Jews.

If the Arabs lay down their arms, there will be peace. If the Israelis lay down their arms, there will be no more Israel.


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Obama’s unsuccessful foreign policy in the Mideast is based not on idealism or realpolitik but anti-colonialism, a legacy of the collapse of the European empires

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A Grandfather’s Hidden Love Letters From Nazi Germany Reveal a Buried Past

By Vox Tablet — Reporter Sarah Wildman’s grandfather escaped Vienna in 1938. Long after he died, she discovered the life—and lover—he left behind.