Will Tiny Israel Save the World?

“‘The intelligence that we had from the U.S. Olympic Committee and Chicago bid team was that it was very close and therefore well worth our efforts,’ said Valerie Jarrett, a senior White House advisor. ‘The message was that … a personal appeal from the president would make a huge difference.’”
Source (H/T)

Another president brought low by bad intelligence, even with a dazzling presentation.

Okay, I’m joking. And for crying out loud, we should be able to joke about not getting the Olympics. It’s only the Olympics. It is, in the end, sports. If the president is smart, he’ll make a few self-deprecating comments about it (rather than doing this, which just looks pathetic) and put it to rest.

But bad intelligence is a serious problem, isn’t it? I mean, look we were told not too long ago that “there was nothing to worry about Iran’s nuclear program, that it had virtually ceased.”

And then the president essentially tells us, the other day (when he was assured it would not “dilute” his “I have a dream of a world without nuclear weapons” speech to the UN), oh, yeah, by the way, Iran’s got a serious nuclear program in Qom, and I’ve known about it a little while.

We got Iran to say it would ship what uranium it acknowledges having off to Russia, for refining. And we’re going to check up on them, in a couple of weeks…or, maybe not.

So, America “did well” in negotiations with Iran, if Iran plays straight. But even CNN’s analysis calls this a victory of sorts, for Iran:

Yes, the P5+1, and the United States in particular, should be pleased. But the real winner in Thursday’s round of talks is Iran, which has largely neutralized international efforts to impose new sanctions against Tehran.

Iran cleverly revealed its not-so-secret nuclear facility at Qom to the IAEA hours before Obama was to speak to the G-20 industrialized nations, where Iran’s nuclear program was featured prominently on the agenda in his meetings with various leaders. . . .Iran’s supposed about-face also blunts the threat of Israeli attack, at least for now.

Sort of sounds like our elegant president and his brilliant team of advisers got out-thought by an Anti-Semitic-Shrimp-in-a-Leisure-Suit. I’m hoping that the White House is full of chess players who are many, many moves ahead of both Ahmadinejad and Putin.

I am hoping. But, frankly, after 8 months of watching this crew, I am not reassured.

No president is perfect. No presidency is without its missteps and its outright errors. War and diplomacy seldom run smoothly, of course. Still, I would like to feel just a little more confident that our side is holding something other than its breath, right now.

But this keeps running through my head:

With an incredible rapidity, America’s status as the world’s pre-eminent superpower is now passing away. This is a function both of the nearly systematic abandonment of U.S. interests and allies overseas, with metastasizing debt and bureaucracy on the home front.

It is interesting to think, isn’t it, that if America is brought low (a no-longer unthinkable notion, unfortunately) and the crazymen that we’re hot to appease in Iran, or North Korea or Venezuela get together to do crazy things, the only fully-functioning and war-ready Democracy left to help the world will be…Israel.

Tiny, despised, fierce Israel.

I love irony, but that’s not an irony I want to see played out.

Sunday…a good day to pray.

WaPo: The Coming Failure in Iran
Kenneth Anderson: They made a multi-lateralism and called it peace
Giggling Al Franken: laughing the Patriot Act out of effectiveness?
FBI Director: AlQ linked Somali’s could be planning attacks
George Will: Through Obama’s Looking Glass

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • stuart

    I’m afraid this President has no idea how to deal with the coming threat. In his mind the only way to stop Iran is to “bully” them. All of his Marxist liberation theology blames the entire World’s troubles on America’s “bullying” so he could no more go there (except domestically) than he could change his birthplace. (Little joke there…)

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  • Chuck

    Good post. When you put it like that, every day is a good day to pray…

  • Bender

    With an incredible rapidity, America’s status as the world’s pre-eminent superpower is now passing away.

    Face it, Osama had us pegged. Hit ‘em hard and wait. They may react at first, but they don’t have the will to maintain the fight. They are weak, they are soft. Hit them hard. It may not come down immediately, but the hit will stoke the fires and eventually the entire structure will come crashing down and turn to dust. All Osama had to do was wait out Bush, all Osama had to do was wait for Obama.

    And history supports his view of America as weak and lacking will, eager to cave, eager to turn out backs on our friends. We like to remember coming to the aid of France and Britain, but that was nearly 70 years ago (and even then we let them and Poland and the rest of Europe and East Asia go to hell for two years).

    More recently, we encouraged freedom in Hungary, only to turn our backs when they rose up, in Czechoslavakia, only to turn our backs when they rose up, in Cuba, in Vietnam, in Cambodia, in Iran, and on and on. If we did help, we soon ran away. When some in the U.S. did try to come to the aid of others in Nicaragua, El Salvador, Poland, Angola, and elsewhere, they were met with harsh resistance. Other times, the U.S. merely turned a blind eye, like in Rwanda and Zimbabwe.

    The world is relearning an old lesson — you can’t rely on the United States. It doesn’t pay to be a friend of the U.S. We like to pat ourselves on the back for all the people we have saved or come to the aid of, but the fact is that millions of people around the world have lost their lives, liberties, and property while the U.S. (land of the free, home of the brave) has done nothing to stop it.

    Sure, we have some good people in the U.S. who have been willing and wanting us to be that beacon of liberty and hope to the world — perhaps most in the U.S. — but there have been sufficient numbers to prevent it. And now, those numbers control the Congress and one of them is president.

  • Bender

    We’re not going to stop Iran. It’s too late.

    The time to stop Iran was about six or seven years ago. But some in this country decided instead to undermine President Bush in everything he did; they decided that destroying Bush was more important than rallying around him so that we might do something effective about places like Iran and North Korea.

    [We can always hope that Iran implodes -admin]

  • Bender

    As for Israel — Jimmy Carter’s national security advisor says we should shoot down any Israeli planes that go over Iraqi airspace to attack Iran.

    Anything this president does about Iran will be about as successful as Jimmy’s Desert One disaster.

  • dry valleys

    Why not- I for one loathe & despise the anti-”Zionists” who only care about oppressed Muslims so long as they aren’t the ones living in Afghanistan, Iran, or Saudi Arabia, who look pretty oppressed to me but mysteriously go unmentioned by some.

    I may not agree with your foreign policy positions (I found the sabre-rattling over Iran counter-productive, for example, & agreed with Larison’s view of the matter & Obama’s handling, which I have linked to before) but there’s little doubt that Israel is preferable to the various tyrannies that make up most of that unhappy reason.

    A lot of left-wingers have taken the same stance as me- I find Harry’s Place a bit more hawkish than I’d like but the likes of Shiraz Socialist are under no illusions as to what sort of scum & vermin are out there, such as Ahmedinejad.

    Iran, in my view, is actually a good candidate for secular democracy over the decades to come. But it will be the efforts of Iranians which bring it about. Any attack on Iran from outside would simply unite all patriotic Iranians (ie. every last one of them) behind the regime.

    Palin’s book a bestseller before it is released

    Steve Schmidt’s comments are of interest- I can’t imagine who will stand against Obama (Pawlenty, Romney, Huckabee?) Whoever, I hope he fails ;)

  • dry valleys

    Comment has vanished- on about Iran & threw in a reference to Palin’s new book for good measure.

    [For some reason, things sometimes go into the spam filter. I rescued it. -admin]

  • dry valleys


    A vastly superior paper to the Daily Fail, in my humble opinion :)

  • DaveW

    I agree with Bender, Iran will have it’s bomb just as NK does. I don’t think we or anyone else has the wherewithal to stop them and I am positive we don’t have the will.

    That’s what makes the missile defense decision so astonishing. Why unilaterally give up our ability to shoot down a missile or 3 when we *know* the Iranians will soon have both missiles and nuclear warheads? Even from a purely selfish US first perspective it makes no sense.

    And Israel will not long survive a Mideast nuclear arms race. After the Iranians will come the Saudis, the Syrians, the Egyptians and on and on. Obama’s incredibly childish “dream” of a nuclear free world will end in a world awash in nuclear weapons.

    The question is how much damage can Obama do while in office – and the answer, with an omnipotent Dem majority in both houses, appears to be “quite a lot” – and how quickly can we recover after he has left office.

    I had very high hopes for Obama after he was elected. From what I could tell he had the potential to be a sort of left-of-center Reagan. That’s not my political preference mind you, but I had hope for a more JFK/FDR type presidency than Jimmy Carter II.

    I have completely lost confidence that this crew has one silly clue what they’re doing.

  • dry valleys

    Obama isn’t “omnipotent” though, is he? Not even in the sense you describe. The Democrats in Congress are a long way from united behind him, hence his stumbles.

    The American political system is working as it should in this regard. Personally I think Obama would prevail if his supporters amongst the general public worked harder at lobbying & building a mass of support, but that requires more citizen participation than people are prepared to engage in.

  • Bender

    Re: Israel

    I heard a rumor that Saudi Arabia (!) was willing to let Israel use their airspace to attack Iran.

    If Iran gets it, then all of the other Middle East countries will get it because they all hate Iran (except for Syria, which is a client-state of Iran) and Iran hates them.

    Welcome back MAD — Mutually Assured Destruction (which won’t work because guys like Ahmedinijad actually want a catacylismic war).

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    Valleys, if people really believed in Obama’s programs, his suprters wouldn’t need to work at lobbying, and building support for him; he’d be supported already.

    The problem isn’t lack of citizen participation; it’s that the citiziens don’t like his programs, don’t support them, have strong doubts about the man himself, at this point, and can’t be persuaded, no matter how hard the MSM, and the Left, root for Obama.

  • ploome

    first, this post is brilliant and chilling

    and I want to cry

    but I will pray

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  • TomG

    Bender: good series of comments, particularly the first. I do not, however, think it is too late on Iran. Believe me, there are things you and I just don’t know anything about. And they will work.

  • Joe

    Cheer up. This unique remake of a very special moment seems appropriate!

    I remember this event very well, even though I was just a kid too. The times looked grim .

  • Kurt

    It’s funny how the people who put forward the 2007 NIE about Iran as authoritative because it offered a way of undermining Bush are awfully quiet about the fact that it’s been debunked. It’s also funny that no one else wants to admit that if that NIE was faulty, then the NIE that Bush relied on in deciding a course of action with regard to Iraq in 2002-2003 provides more evidence of, “bad intelligence [being] a serious problem.”

  • http://www.mistermoleman.com Hans Moleman

    The ease with which Obama has been suckered by Iran suggests something more than mere fecklessness.

    It is quickly becoming clear that President Obama’s foreign policy has a simple but astonishing goal: to rid us of both enemies and allies.

    The policy of appeasement of our enemies has been painfully obvious. In facing Iran, North Korea, and now a newly revanchist Russia, Obama has offered goodwill, apologies, and concessions, in the expectation that these will appease them and ensure good behavior in the future. It didn’t work for Chamberlain and it is unlikely to work for Obama. But there it is.

    The flip side has been less obvious, but it, too, is emerging. Israel has received more of Obama’s pressure and condemnation than any of the nations that seek to push her into the sea.

    The “moral equivalence” approach, where the smallest failings of democracies are equated to the greatest atrocities of tyrants, has been seen before from the left. But here we have something even worse: harsh condemnation of Israel for adding bedrooms in the West Bank without even a balancing concern about Palestinian shelling of Israeli homes.

    During the campaign, Candidate Obama was asked to name America’s closest allies; he slowly reeled off Britain, France (yes, France), and Canada. He did not mention Israel. It was excused at the time as a mental oversight.

    And ghosts of the far Democratic past are reminding us that we have seen this before.

    “Elder Statesman” Jimmy Carter blasts Israel as an apartheid regime (when not busy condemning Republicans of blanket racism). And Carter’s national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski yesterday suggested that the US should shoot down Israeli jets if they cross US/patrolled Iraqi airspace on a mission to destroy Iran’s fast-developing nuclear weapons program. Shoot them down!

    This reminder of the Carter foreign policy inclinations should be enlightening. Remember that the present brutal, fanatical, genocidally Jew-hating Iranian regime came to power during Carter’s (and Brzezinski’s) watch (in 1979). As was the case with the late, lamented (by some) Saddam Hussein’s brutal aggressive regime in Iraq (also in 1979). And who can forget the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan (also in 1979) and Carter’s effective response?

    Indeed, there is much to learn from the Carter/Brzezhinski foreign policy. But these particular gentlemen never learned it, and anyway ought to have been shamed into perpetual silence on world affairs long ago.

    Yet Obama continues on in the same path – outreach to enemies, pushback to allies. Why? There are two possible answers. One is cowardice, the other ideology.

    Now, cowardice (like racism) is a hefty charge, and not to be thrown around lightly. It amounts to being nice to those who are itching to fight with you, while venting your frustration on those closest to you. It is the pattern of the Bully, and there are few things uglier. (And for the record, I don’t think this is the motivator here.)

    The other explanation is ideology, specifically the ideology of isolationism. We generally reserve the label for Republican policy in the 1920’s and early 1930’s, but it appears equally applicable here. Back then (and it continued well into the Roosevelt years) we intentionally distanced ourselves from our allies in the recent World War. We rejected all efforts to respond to aggression overseas. And we limited our active diplomacy to high-minded disarmament schemes.

    So this stuff is nothing new. But back then it was properly condemned as “turning our backs to the world”, while today it is seen as the highest kind of international outreach, the noblest level of diversity. “All nations are equal, and we love you all equally. So don’t expect us to take sides in any of your petty quarrels.”

    It is of course not just Israel who is on the receiving end of this two-sided doctrine. The retreat on missile defense in Europe is being seen properly in most places as craven appeasement of Russia, who objected to anything that would limit Iran’s western “outreach” or reinforce the independence of Russia’s former colonies in Eastern Europe. But the message was two-fold: Russia must be appeased, but similarly Poland and the Czech Republic must be reminded that we have no stake in ensuring their independence. Poles and Czechs, like our other allies, are on their own.

    Similarly in the America’s, we reach out to Venezuela’s Castro clone Chavez while distancing ourselves from strong ally Colombia. In Honduras we stand up for the rights of a budding Chavez clone to make himself president-for-life. Everywhere the same: outreach to anti-American regimes, pushback to American allies. The goal? To make them all just “other nations”.

    In a sense, this has been leftist doctrine consistently since the McGovern repudiation of the “Truman Democrat” foreign policy in 1972. It can be seen in the left’s repudiationof the Bush overthrow of Saddam Hussein. That was offensive on two fronts; it overthrew an enemy, and it threatened to create an ally!

    Obama explains it all in beautiful rhetoric – some of the best we have ever heard. But it is all just words, until we see the reality of the actions that result. Around the world we are starting to see these results.

    Here stands our sovereign lord, the king,

    Whose word no man relies on;

    Who never said a foolish thing,

    And never did a wise one.

    I cannot imagine any policy less wise than spurning your best allies while embracing your worst enemies. Any ally that relies on the word of America today appears headed for a fall.

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  • http://cindyinsd.wordpress.com Cindy in SD

    How can there be any question that, if you believe Jesus Christ will return at all, it will be soon–as we count soon. All the prophesies are lining up. Even as I mourn for the beautiful dream that the USA was, I turn my eyes toward my soon-coming King with greater and greater desire and anticipation.

    This feels like Christmas coming, only without the inevitable let-down the day after. Yes, there’s dread at what must be ahead, but how can that compare with the glory that awaits afterward? He will see us through. Perfect love casts out all fear. Maranantha!

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