By Ted Belman
Mark Silverberg is of the opinion that we have come to The End of the Bush Doctrine. You will recall that I recently posted an article of his that was quite eloguent though I disagreed with him. You will also recall that I reported on a talk by Norman Podhoretz in which he said that Bush hoped the realist school would crash in Annapolis and the Bush Doctrine would be revived. This long article goes into great detail about the conflicting doctrines and suggests the realists are now in charge. It is a new era.
Unfortunately, Annapolis is only the beginning of Israel’s problems — at least until a new U.S.administration comes to power with a different perspective on Israel’s strategic importance to the U.S. in the Middle East.
As it stands now, American foreign policy in the Middle East has shifted from actively promoting democratic change to the previous policy of realpolitik — a policy based on the appeasement of dictators and despots that was discredited in the post 9/11 world primarily because it had failed to secure American interests and security even in its heyday in the 1980s and early 1990s.
He then points out,
“In short, the change in American foreign policy direction that has now been undertaken by the current Bush administration may well prove to be as problematic as the Bush Doctrine it purports to replace. As Michael Rubin of the Washington-based American Enterprise Institute has correctly concluded: “Realism promotes short-term gain, often at the expense of long-term security.”
[..] the resignation last year of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld (an old rival of Bush Sr. from the Ford days) bodes ill for Israel for it has signaled the successful return of the Arabist wing of the Republican Party to power — a policy group headed by former Secretary of State James Baker, former National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft and former CIA Director and now Defense Secretary Robert Gates. It was Baker who fostered the fatal perception that the only obstacle to peace in the Middle East was “intransigent” Israel, not militant Islam.
Well you know the story. The State Department has always been against Israel except during the Cold War from 1967 to the fall of the USSR. During this period it aligned with Israel against the Russian Client states of Egypt, Iraq and Syria. Now there is a new ME and the US is now treating Israel more as a liability than an asset.
While Saddam was poison-gassing the Kurds in the north in March 1988, Robert Gates was the CIA’s Deputy Director of Central Intelligence, and in
1991 when Saddam was crushing the Shiite uprising in the south and plowing thousands of them into mass graves, Robert Gates was Deputy National Security Advisor.
Nor was Israel exempt from the Realist’s wrath. In a 1998 New York Times op-ed, Gates wrote that the road to Mideast peace must “not kowtow to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s obstructionism.” Caroline Glick noted in a recent column in the Jerusalem Post that in 2004, Gates also co-chaired a Council on Foreign Relations Task Force charged with recommending a U.S. policy for dealing with Iran. The Task Force called for the Bush administration to directly engage the mullahs and to use “fewer sticks and more carrots” to induce the regime in Tehran to stop enriching uranium, and to stop supporting al Qaeda and the insurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan. In an effort to convince the Iranians to cooperate — an effort seen by many foreign policy analysts as futile — the Report recommended that the U.S. discard “regime change” as a policy option and move more forcefully to pressure Israel into establishing a Palestinian state (as it is doing today). They also recommended that the U.S. pressure Israel not to take any military action against the Iranian nuclear facilities arguing that such Israeli actions would undermine U.S. national interests.
As a result, the Bush Administration is now pushing for greater multilateral negotiations with America’s (and Israel’s) enemies backed by ineffective U.N. sanctions that Russia and China will never support for their own economic and political reasons. It is doing so out of fear that confronting oil-rich Iran alone will result in Iranian retaliation by cancelling lucrative American oil contracts and/or exporting terrorism (as it did in Argentina in 1994). The errors made during the Reagan and Bush 41 era with Iraq are now being repeated with Syria and Iran.
It is wor4th reading the rest of the article.