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Baker, Bush, and the loss of vision

Posted by Richard on November 23, 2006

Events in Lebanon — and what’s sure to be an ongoing struggle to turn it into Hezbollahland — leave me even more displeased and disgusted by the prospect that our policy decisions regarding the Middle East, Iraq, and the War Against Islamofascism are going to be shaped by James Baker, Bob Gates, and their pals from the Bush 41 administration.

Baker has a history of being anti-Israel, and he sucked up to Syria as Secretary of State. Take a look at Ed Lasky’s American Thinker piece about Baker and Ray Close, an ex-CIA "expert" who’s playing a key role in formulating Baker’s Iraq Study Group recommendations. Close is at least extremely pro-Arabist and anti-Israel, and possibly a raving anti-Semite. And Baker’s not much better, according to Lasky:

The American-Israel alliance once again appears to be in the crosshairs of James Baker. Israeli Prime Minister Olmert may not have the strength to defend the American-Israel relationship. …

Olmert is up against an influential man with a long record of opposing the American-Israel alliance and who has a long record of coddling dictators and close business ties with Arab oil potentates. His track record would not seem to justify the influence he wields. As James Hoagland of the Washington Post put it,

[These are the] “policymakers who failed to anticipate and then opposed the breakup of the Soviet Union; who were not realistic enough to see, much less prevent, the Balkans from plunging into flames; and who coddled dictators from Beijing to Baghdad.”

Baker is true to form if his plan for dealing with Iraq will consist of coddling dictators from Damascus to Teheran. What other cards does Baker have up his sleeves? Has Baker stacked the deck against Israel? Based on the evidence so far, the answers are not very comforting.

G.W.B. appears ready to abandon his vision of advancing freedom and democracy in favor of the Kissingerian realpolitik of his father, his father’s associates, and a long line of pragmatists and accommodationists stretching back at least to the people who said "we can do business with Uncle Joe" Stalin. And the irony is that this long line of "realists" is responsible for a long line of failures, miscalculations, and disasters.

We’re on the verge of dumping Sharansky for Scowcroft, and I think it’s a terrible, terrible mistake.

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2 Responses to “Baker, Bush, and the loss of vision”

  1. David Bryant said

    ”Close is at least extremely pro-Arabist and anti-Israel, and possibly a raving anti-Semite.”

    Not to put too fine a point on it, Richard, but isn’t “pro-Arab and anti-Semite” an oxymoron?

  2. Anonymous said

    Yeah, David, that occurred to me about the time I posted it. In his article, Lasky said that Close “has made comments regarding American Jews that can be characterized as anti—Semitic.” At the same time, he has a record of consistently taking the Arab side against Israel, so technically he seems to like some Semitic peoples, but not others.

    The problem is that the term “anti-Semite” has a long history, going back to times when neither those who were one nor those who criticized them thought about Arabs. It doesn’t help that many — perhaps most — Arabs insist that the Jews aren’t related to them and don’t have historical roots in Palestine.

    So now we’re in an odd situation: the word that immediately comes to mind to describe a racist bigot who hates Jews is “anti-Semite,” and the people who most often fit that description are Arabs and their friends.

    I think we need a new word.

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