Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Cuddling enemies while telling Israel to go to hell [update 4]

Before his election Mr Obama said of foreign affairs that he would talk to anyone, even murderers.

And he has.

But “anyone” seems to exclude allies.

The governments of Iran, China, and Russia (among other regimes) have all, in various ways, insulted the U.S.and its president with no reaction, at least not a public one.”

All things are equal to the Obama Administration.

When Saudi Arabian leaders fund terrorism against America, Obama bows.

When Tehran, the home of Shi’ite terrorism, sends missiles into Israel by proxy, insurgents into Iraq by command, and publicly beats thousands of Iranians for the sin of protest, the Obama Administration offers gently soothing words.

When Hamas fires those missiles into Israel, blows up buses full of human beings, and calls for Jihad against America, the Obama Administration sends aid.

But when Israel, the freest country in the Middle East, builds houses—yes, build houses--the American State Department can only make threats, talk about “insults,” and deliver demands it knows can not be met.

It was once said of basic diplomacy that the principle to be followed was to  “keep your friends close and your enemies closer.” The Obama Administration can’t even be that cynical. They appear to believe in keeping their enemies close, and telling their allies to go to hell.

No wonder the number of their friends is dwindling so fast.

NB: Some background here:
Barack Hussein Obama vs Israel- SULTAN KNISH.
What Obama is Actually Trying to Do in Israel – THE ATLANTIC

    “Biden, a buffoon, will get over the humiliation. He has the resilience of a rubber mouse pad.
    “Obama and Company would rather not see that construction take place because it would upset the Palestinians. The stateless Palestinians, you see, seem to be a better ‘client state’ and ally to the U.S. than is Israel. The Palestinians do not recognize Israel’s right to exist -- indeed, Israel is missing from the maps Palestinian school books -- while Israel is expected to recognize their right to swamp Israel with its stateless manqués and so destroy it. The land at issue is land Israel won during the 1967 war.
    “Why would Obama and company side with losers? What could they possible gain in their ostensive fantasy of seeing Palestinians mix and mingle peacefully with Israelis in some Hegelian thesis-antithesis apotheosis? Daniel Pipes offers some advice to Obama, Clinton, and other policymaking denizens of the White House:

    ‘It concerns not a life-and-death issue, such as the menace of Iran's nuclear buildup or Israel's right to defend itself from Hamas predations, but the triviality of the timing of a decision to build new housing units in Israel's capital city. Wiser heads will insist that White House amateurs end this tempest in a teapot and revert to normal relations.’

    “That advice is premised on the assumption that Obama and Company care about Iran’s nuclear buildup and Israel’s right to defend itself against Iran and the stateless beggars of non-existent Palestine, armed as they are by Hamas and Hezbollah. It presumes that the White House’s amateurs value ‘normal relations’ with Israel. It asks that Obama and his fellow amateurs appreciate that it is a matter of life-and-death for Israel.
    “But, in truth, Obama does not value Israel. He would rather see it compromise and negotiate itself out of existence. Just as he would rather see America submit to socialism.”

UPDATE 3: And meanwhile, while Biden and Obama and Clinton (Mrs) keep talking about “insults” from Israel, deadly rocket attacks against Israel began again this morning from her peace-loving neighbours in Gaza.  And do you think anyone of Biden or Obama or Clinton (Mrs) have taken time out from denouncing Israel for building houses to denounce the attacks, to denounce the Al-Qaeda linked attackers, to denounce Hamas—whose responsibility it is to control Gaza—or to denounce Tehran, who supplies the materiel for the rockets.  Do you think for one moment they’d open their yaps to denounce that?

Don’t make me laugh.  That might look too much like taking a moral stand.


  1. There is a line of thinking in the Obama Executive that runs along the lines of Israel is a problem. If the US supports Israel, then that necessarily result in Arab opposition to the US, danger to US citizens and threat US interests. Hence sorting out the Israel problem is the means to reducing the Arab threat. that means bringing Israel to heel (or to be seen to be doing such).

    This has got to be tearing the Democratic Party into factions. The suspicion is that Democratic Senators and Congressmen will be placed under increasing presure to abandon Obama in order to retain the support of certain lobby groups and retain important electoral funding sources.

    The approaching mid-term elections are going to be interesting for all sorts of reasons.


  2. Obama will unquestionably go down as the most-destructive-to-his-own-country leader in the history of the United States. That is, assuming there's anyone left in American in 50 years who can - or is allowed - to write real history.

  3. The 1600 homes are for ultra-orthodox Jews. Other matters aside, the rise of religious fundamentalism in Israel is of some concern.

    IMO Israel can do as it likes, as long as it is on Israel's own dime. Which it is not.

    Obama will unquestionably go down as the most-destructive-to-his-own-country leader in the history of the United States.

    You assume Israel's interests are always US interests. They are not.

  4. Jeff

    Not the worst. He is eclipsed by the likes of Lincoln, Wilson, Roosevelt and Johnson.


  5. Ruth

    "You assume Israel's interests are always US interests. They are not."

    That's perceptive (especially in the light of George Washington's comments regarding complete avoidance of foreign entanglements).

    Writing (or saying) what you just did would get you denounced in US political circles as an anti-Jewish reactionary and also have them calling you a potential terrorist.


  6. @Ruth: So whipping an ally's arse for building houses is in the US's interest; whereas whipping a war-mongers arse for invading its neighbours (Russia) or or bankrolling and backing terrorist insurgents isn't.

    Boy, that goes beyond moral equivalence into some kind of alternative diplomatic universe.

    @LGM: Never had a real problem with Lincoln, myself. But those last three you list were pure poison--they set a very high bar.

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  8. agree LGM. And I also agree with your first post.

    Israel is socialist state and it has always amused me how Objectivists love everything Israel does.

    FYI most American Jews are liberal democrats - it is the gentile neo cons who applaud every move - whether it is in US interests or not.

    Orthodox Jews are utter nutbars - blowing trumpets to drive off swine flu and such like. If you care to look at halal and kosher you will see just how similar the ideology is.

    As I have said - they can build where ever they like as long as they do not accept billions of US aid to do it.

  9. It's odd that Objectivists go on about private property being sacred etc, then supporting Israel when it builds on other people's land.

  10. Israel is not simply "building houses".

    It's building settlements on territory it controls by a combination of direct military occupation in some areas, and a local client (albeit a reluctant one)administration in others. The purpose of the settlements, clearly stated and understood as such in Israel itself, is to solidify Israel's control of the territory without the need for formal annexation.

    As the local population is resistant to Israeli rule, the settlements are naturally a major bone of cotention. Any power that wants to play a role in brokering some sort of agreement can't expect to be taken seriously if it ignores the settlements. Hence the US focus on the issue.

  11. PC: Calling it simply 'building houses' is a fairly drastic simplification of the situation. One imagines that you are pinning your colours to Israel's occupation of the annexed territories with this attitude.

    Regardless of where you stand on the issue, it is undeniably more nuanced than simply 'building houses'. Israel is thumbing it's nose at the wider world in pursuing it's consolidation of annexed territories - furthermore given the timing of the announcement you'd have to assume that it was a calculated political move. Israel is moving to a more hardnosed stance now, willing to alienate longtime allies to shore up support from the right within it's own borders.

    If nothing else, this latest development pisses all over the peace process, and will likely result in massively increased violence in the region. All for the sake of 'building houses'.


  12. PC

    Re Lincoln

    Broke the Constitution (after swearing to uphold it)

    Prosecuted TOTAL warfare against fellow American citizens, whether military or civilian

    Introduced conscription

    Prosecuted seizures of private property

    Undertook monetary inflation on an unprecedented scale

    Prosecuted large issuance and distribution of unbacked fiat money (destructive of private wealth and private savings)

    Indebted the US Federal Government for generations

    Indentured US citizens to that debt permanently

    Prosecuted mercantilist economic policies

    Oversaw aggressive centralisation of political and economic power

    He was a big govt (some say Hamiltonian) politician who paved the way for the likes of Wilson etc. Definately an overtly destructive President, he sure belongs on the list.


    An interesting aside is the influence that the US Civil War had on European politicians and military professionals.

    For example, the Prussian military command received reports from some of their officers present to view the undertaking of the war by the North (they corresponded about the "War of Northern Aggression"). During the run up to battle one young cavalry officer came across an American innovation. It was the use of a tethered balloon to identify the location of opposing forces. He was allowed to ascend for a look. That experience changed the officer's life. Some years later Count Felix Von Zepplin became very famous. He was probably the most famous cavalry officer ever, but not for his elan or horsemanship! Unfortunately, his idea was in no small part based on the notion that bombardment of civilians and civil infrastructure was a proper undertaking for military.


  13. @LGM: You appear to think that the fifteen slave states played no part in America's Civil War.


  14. @LGM: I recommend Tibor Machan's short article, 'Lincoln, Secession & Slavery,' in which he concludes "however flawed Lincoln was, he was a good American."

    I agree with Tibor's reasoning.

  15. Ruth

    You got me thinking about it from this angle. Why should some individual living in small-town mid-West America have his wealth exproriated to contribute to the "aid"? It is difficult to see how that could be in his interest. Even if it was, then surely it is a matter for him to decide whether he wants to contribute or not.


  16. @Den MT: It is indeed more "nuanced" than simply calling these territories "annexed."

    You're aware of the context in which Israel took possession of them, are you? A war in which all of Israel's neighbours tried to drive its citizens into the sea, which was concluded when Israel's desperate defence ended by throwing back its attackers and occupying territory as a 'buffer' between Israel and those who wished to wipe off the face of the earth?

    How "nuanced" is that for ya?

  17. PC

    Whatever the excuses and rationalisations offerred, the ends do not justify the means. Lincoln was overtly destructive.

    The man had it within his power to make the decision to wage total war, to conscript, to expropriate property, to inflate, to debase money by fiat, to usurp power, to evade the Constitution (which he had sworn to uphold), to indenture generations of fellow citizens to Federal debt, to prosecute a mercantilist economic policy, to tax (I previously forgot to mention all the coercive taxes he introduced), to destroy much of the wealth, welfare and lives of his fellow Americans..... or not. He chose to do it all.

    Destructive indeed.


  18. @LGM: You appear to have overlooked that he won the Civil war, freed the slaves and signed into law the Emancipation Proclamation.

    Quite a large elephant in the room to overlook, really.

    You need to get your history from places other than Thomas DiLorenzo's piece of trash--then you might realise that the "choice" he had was rather limited, and his achievements are greater than you know.

  19. it appears you drank the libertarian kool-aid LGM.

    In 1860, zero of the slave border states supported Lincoln. The Emancipation Proclamation was a war measure, and Lincoln did not have constitutional power to free slaves within the Union. However, affecting those states, he did advocate a national buyout and colonization, and amending the Constitution to abolish slavery, as was done after his death.

    The South started the war; and the North responded in order to maintain the Union. Perhaps you are unfamiliar with the violent revolution in French Haiti to end slavery there.

    When Lincoln became President, states had already seceded and federal installations had been seized or besieged. Further, pre-Lincoln Administration, a negotiated settlement had been attempted and FAILED.

    secession; it was not controversial, but unconstitutional as the South did it. Then while still a part of the U.S., the Southern states made war on the U.S. by attacking federal military installations.

    I do not generally read public domain accounts of the Civil War free from the Web.

    I would recommend Memoirs of General W.T. Sherman and

    Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era by James M. McPherson, a well regarded civil war historian.

  20. PC, Jack

    The topic is whether Lincoln was destructive. Was he one of the most destructive Presidents? What did he do?

    Did he break the Constitution (after swearing to uphold it)?

    Yes, he did do that.

    Did he prosecute TOTAL warfare against fellow Americans, whether in military service or civilian?

    Yes, he sure did that (to a scale and ruthlessness that surprised hardened military professionals and observers at the time, subsequently even Union generals discussed political and military responsibility for war crimes).

    Did he introduce conscription?

    Sure did.

    Was he responsible for expropriating private property?


    Did he enable monetary inflation on an unprecedented scale?


    Did he enable the issuance and distribution of unbacked fiat money (which, as with inflation, was well known to be destructive of private wealth and private savings)?


    Did he prosecute policies which raised debts so large that the Federal Government could not pay them off for generations (if ever)?

    Yes. Certainly.

    Did he preside over a vast borrowing campaign, acquiesing to terms and guarantees that indentured US citizens (& residents) to service Federal Government debts permanently and to perpetuity?

    Sure did.

    Did he impose mercantilist economic policies?

    Why, yes.

    Did he oversee aggressive centralisation of political and economic power?


    Did he introduce new taxes, expropriations, tributes and increase existing imposts?

    Sure did.

    Was he was a big central government politician who paved the way for the likes of Wilson etc.?


    Conclusion: He belongs on the list of the most destructive Presidents.


  21. @LGM: I see you're still evading the little issue of slavery, LGM. Is that an elephant in the room that's just too big for you? To damagint to your argument?

    The list of the US's worst presidents without question has to include the three prior to Lincoln, Millard Fillmore, Franklin Pierce & James Buchanan--whose appeasement and support for slavery beqeathed to America (and to the Lincoln presidency) a situation already sounding "like a fire-bell in the night."

    William Seward warned all through the deacde preceding the Civul War that “All measures which fortify slavery or extend it, tend to the consummation of violence; all that check its extension and abate its strength, tend to its peaceful extirpation.”

    Every one of those three fortified or extended slavery; none moved either to check its extension or to abate its strength.

    The conflict was inevitable. And Lincoln handled it better than you or mr DiLorenzo's comic book seem to realise-indeed, his conciliatory moral tone throughout was almost unique in nineteenth-century presidents.

    On the matter of your litany of pseud-complaints, however, I agree here with historian SCott Powell:

    "It was not the responsibility of the presidents of this era to ferret out all the problematic premises that permeated the evolving political-economic framework known as mercantilism. This was the responsibility of professional philosophers, historians, political scientists and economists, who should have passed on their insights to the politicians. Without strong moral and economic alternatives to contradict the nationalist/protectionist concepts in mercantilism, its continuation and even its metastasis was inevitable. It took the intellect of Adam Smith to begin to break down this perspective, with the later contributions of the Austrian school of economics helping to create a complete scientific alternative, and it took until the twentieth century for philosopher Ayn Rand to identity the moral truths embodied in free trade.

    For this reason I do not judge presidents of the nineteenth century primarily for their views on such issues as central banking, tariffs, or “internal improvements.” To the extent, for instance, that presidents promoted the establishment or expansion of a national bank or of other rights-violating instruments of the department of the treasury, they were wrong. But what were their options? The Agrarians of the Jeffersonian era and the so-called “states-rights” advocates who pragmatically supported “free trade” offered no real alternatives. The so-called supporters of “states rights” were all defenders of slavery, which makes the use of the term “free trade” a terrible perversion. They only wanted open trade with Britain in order to perpetuate an unjust social system. There was no virtue in it.

    The pressing problem of the Era of the Growth and Decline of the Union that required presidential leadership, but instead met with default and evasion, was slavery...

    And at that Lincoln did what was necessary, what had been evaded for nearly a century, and did it well.

    He was a great president.

    Cont'd ...

  22. I offer in final tribute his post-battle address on the field of Gettysburg, after the invading slave states' soldiers were beaten off northern soil. It is a masterpiece of statesmanship:

    "Four-score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
    "Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

    "But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate...we can not consecrate...we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

  23. Once again LGM you avoid the issue of slavery and secession. On those two issues Lincoln was spot on and for that he deserves credit. As PC has said by the time Lincoln took office, it was all but impossible to avoid a conflict between North and South. The worst presidential mistake: President Buchanan’s failure to prevent the Civil War.

    Why you keep avoiding those two issues is beyond me

  24. PC

    You're doing quite a job of evading fact for a man who promotes himself as an Objectivist.

    The question remains, did Mr Lincoln undertake the destructive policies listed or not? Y/N?

    Are you up to it?

    Now there are all manner of excuses, rationalisations and even the eloquence of pretty wordsmithing, examples of which you have presented on this thread. Nevertheless, the question was, and still remains, whether the man was destructive as President. Each of the policies he oversaw was on its own destructive. Not satisfied with merely one, he undertook the lot.

    The means are not justified by the ends.


    PS one just has to wonder at such fantasic speeches, full of beautiful words, sentiment bordering on superstitious, incanted over "glorious" dead people. They, of course, are too dead to hear.

    BTW "government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."

    Such collectivism!

  25. Jack

    The question wasn't whether Lincoln signed the emancipation or not (nor when, nor why, nor whether it was a matter of political expediency, nor the considerable delay in executing it until well after hostilities had been underway...). It wasn't whether he "won" the Civil War or not. It wasn't whether he started the war or some other fellow did it. It wasn't even whther the war was "inevitable" or whether it could have been prosecuted in a more effective manner. The question was whether he was a destructive President.

    Each of the policies (listed previously) was highly destructive. The destructive results of each of them was known (in the USA there had already been govt inflationary episodes resulting in collapses of monetary value and destruction of wealth, the dangers of unbacked fiat money had already been experienced, the problem of taxation was well understood, as was the blight of govt debt etc.). The fact is that Lincoln executed every one of those policies. They were destructive. He was a destructive President.


    PS have you read Gen Sherman and Gen Grant's post-war letters?


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