Gleanings 22.04.11

NB. Most of the postings (and the regularity of) the Gleanings comes from Fabian Pascal (oao), who blogs at The PostWest.

Caroline Glick: Obama’s altruistic foreign policy (MUST READ)

But then, even if the Libyan mission were crowned in success, it wouldn’t make the moral pretentions of the US adventure there any less disingenuous. And this is not simply because the administration-backed rebels include al-Qaida fighters.

The fact is that the moral arguments used for intervening militarily on behalf of Gaddafi’s opposition pale in comparison to the moral arguments for intervening in multiple conflicts where the Obama administration refuses to lift a finger. At a minimum, this moral inconsistency renders it impossible for the Obama administration to credibly embrace the mantel of moral actor on the world stage.

Consider the administration’s Afghanistan policy. Over the past week, the White House and the State Department have both acknowledged that administration officials are conducting negotiations with the Taliban … Apparently, the supposedly moral, anti-genocidal, pro-women Obama administration needs to be reminded why it is not merely distasteful but immoral to engage the Taliban. So here it goes.

… Back in the pre-Obama days, when US foreign policy was supposed to serve US interests, it would have mattered that these policies all weaken the US and its allies and empower its foes. But now, in the era of the purely altruistic Obama administration, none of that matters. What does matter is that the purely altruistic Obama foreign policy is empowering genocidal, misogynist, bigoted tyrants worldwide.

FP: See my critique of the Obama “moral intervention” policy, The problem with humanitarian intervention.

CAMERA: Machsom Watch Radicals and Fogel Family Killers

Machsom Watch spokeswoman Raya Yaron comforts the mother of one of the Fogel family murderers.

Even the murders of Jewish children in their beds in the community of Itamar weren’t enough to deter extreme Israeli left-wingers from offering expressions of solidarity with families of the suspected perpetrators. Members of Machsom Watch visited the Palestinian town of Awarta to comfort those whose relatives were under arrest. Spokeswoman Raya Yaron is seen above in what may come to be an iconic image of the far-left alliance with Palestinians against Israel. Israeli media and blogs have taken up the subject.

[RL NB: At this point, Yaron did not know for certain that the woman she was comforting was the mother of one of the murderers (although that was already rumored). The mother, on the other hand, had no problem insisting that her son could not have done the deed. Yaron probably found this claim more credible than the IDF’s claim that they have forensic proof. Apparently she (and her friends in the “Human Rights” community) hasn’t watched enough CSI to hear Grissom’s dictum: Concentrate on what can’t lie: the evidence.]

Nathalie Rothschild: Palestine: occupied by Western liberals

In the same article in This Week in Palestine, the writer says: ‘In London, where I grew up, this conflict was a “red-line” topic. If you took the wrong position on Palestine-Israel, it was as bad as supporting the death penalty, or liking Margaret Thatcher, and you would be considered the devil incarnate. As I overheard at a Kensington dinner party: “You cannot be a good person if you think the occupation is okay”.’

This just about sums up the extent to which, for many Western, ‘dinner party’ liberals, where you stand on Palestine and Israel has become a barometer of your moral worth. Serious and complex political questions are pushed to one side as instead people embrace Palestine to show that they are a ‘good person’ rather than the ‘devil incarnate’. And although life in the Palestinian territories is no Kensington dinner party, such conversations are echoed here, too. To this outsider, it seems that self-imposed estrangement from the Israelis, and the acceptance of international pity missions, can only further entrench Palestinians’ new degrading status as noble victims.

Victor Davis Hanson: The Nature of Arab Unrest

In such a mess, the challenge for America should have been to prod pro-American authoritarians to reform (but not to abdicate), to support staunchly our very few democratic friends, to oppose publicly anti-American totalitarians, and wherever possible to stay out of intervening militarily, given that no resistance group as of yet has proved democratic, or indeed has even published much of a liberal reform manifesto. Instead, the Obama administration has done exactly the opposite in every case.

[RL: As Iago the parrot says in Alladin: “Why am i not shuprished?”]

Robert Kaplan: After Bashar al-Assad, the deluge

Pan-Arabism — of which the post-World War II independent state of Syria claimed to constitute the “throbbing-heart” — became a substitute for Syria’s very weak national identity. Indeed, Syria’s self-styled “steadfast” hatred of Israel was a way for Syrians to escape their own internal contradictions. Those contradictions were born of the parochial interests of regionally based ethnic and sectarian groups: Sunni Arabs in the Damascus-Homs-Hama central corridor; heretical, Shiite-trending Alawites in the mountains of the northwest; Druze in the south, with their close tribal links to Jordan; and Kurds, Christian Arabs, Armenians, and Circassians in Aleppo.

… Remember that Lebanon, Jordan, and Israel are all geographically and historically part of Greater Syria, a reason that successive regimes in Damascus since 1946 never really accepted their legitimacy. The French drew Lebanon’s borders so as to bring a large population of mainly Sunni Muslims under the domination of Maronite Christians, who were allied with France, spoke French, and had a concordat with the Vatican. Were an Alawite regime in Damascus to crumble, the Syria-Lebanon border could be effectively erased as Sunnis from both sides of the border united and Lebanon’s Shiites and Syria’s Alawites formed pockets of resistance. The post-colonial era in the Middle East would truly be closed, and we would be back to the vague borders of the Ottoman Empire.

France has threatened to abandon European Union freedom of movement by “suspending” Europe’s Schengen Treaty due to an influx of Tunisian and Libyan migrants from Italy.

Italy has given up to 26,000 illegal migrants six-month residence permits, allowing them to travel freely in the border-free Schengen zone, which covers all EU countries except Britain and Ireland. The decision to issue travel documents to the Tunisians and other Arab migrants has triggered a French warning over the 1995 treaty.

FP: The future of Europe

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