Bibi Netanyahu’s Babe: Kneepad Diplomacy

by Dr. Alan Sabrosky / March 25th, 2010

has been something verging on the surreal in the US-Israel interplay
over the past year or so, culminating in the kick in – er, the face
delivered to Vice President Biden two weeks ago with Israel’s surprise
announcement of yet more new settlement construction, and capped by
Secretary of State Clinton’s groveling submission to Netanyahu at a
recent AIPAC conference. Her speech was the verbal equivalent of what a
White House intern allegedly did for her husband once (or more) upon a
time, supposedly earning “Presidential kneepads” thereby.

Israeli officials have repeatedly not only ignored but also openly
insulted in word or deed the persons or policies of almost every senior
American official with whom they have dealt, including Clinton, Biden,
Middle East Envoy George Mitchell, and President Obama, himself.

And they have taken it, one and all, occasionally with brief bursts
of verbal anger that rapidly subsided into yet another steadfast
affirmation of the eternal, undiminished, unchallenged and
unchallengeable US willingness to underwrite the security of Israel,
and especially to its absolute unwillingness to deny Israel a single
dollar, bomb or bullet. God knows, I wish they had even half the same
demonstrated commitment to the security of the United States and the
well-being of the American people — but then, no one can easily serve
two masters.

Creating a Shambles and Calling it Policy

Sure, America’s Middle East policy is a shambles. America’s standing
is much lower now than when Obama came into office. The Iraq war is
winding down, with no certainty at all how that country will go.
Afghanistan is a mess, but then, Alexander the Great couldn’t do much
with it either, so that’s no surprise. And Israel — not wanting America
to be bored with only one and a half wars — evidently is trying to help
by encouraging us into war with Iran, to spare them the cost of attacking it.  Such a friend!

Then there are the long-suffering Palestinians, a people whose
situation Obama, himself, declared in his one bright moment in Cairo
last June to be “intolerable.” Hello? Mr. Obama, did you sleep through
so many classes that the meaning of that word slipped past you?
Something that is “intolerable” needs to be put right, and by any
objective measure, the US has the power on absolutely every dimension
needed to do just that.

Ah, but that would mean actually doing something to Israel,
or at least withholding something from it, or perhaps even voting
against it in the UN. And that would mean bypassing Congress and going
to the American people. And that isn’t going to happen, at least with
this Administration. Obama just isn’t the man to do that job.

From Bad to Worse

The whole thing almost reminds me of a turnabout “battered spouse”
exercise, in which the stronger lets the weaker do the beatin,
murmuring “now, dear” at intervals but letting the beatings continue.
And, as usual, whenever anyone else dares to point out what is
happening, the battered spouse staunchly affirms a determination to
stand by the battering partner no matter what happens.

What is manifestly going to happen is that a demonstrably bad
situation is going to get worse, and more than a few people are making
that abundantly clear. Probably the only thing that might jolt the
Israeli-dominated train of US Middle East mismanagement off its tracks,
would be a catastrophe following a US strike against Iran producing US
casualties way beyond those from the Vietnam War — something that could
happen all too easily. And then, yet again, there is Gaza and the rest
of the Palestinian Bantustan….

More dangerously, Clinton’s hat-in-hand, I-love-you-now-and-forever
verbal burlesque at the AIPAC conference makes two things abundantly
clear. One is the extraordinary extent of Zionist control within and
over the US Government — when you hurt someone or some Administration
and it comes back for more, you have them. The other is how little the
members of AIPAC, themselves, at least nominally US citizens, care
about the US, itself — there isn’t any longer even a facade of “dual
loyalty,” only loyalty to Israel alone.

I am very old-fashioned, and a decade in the US Marines gave me an
odd affinity for qualities such as pride and loyalty and duty and
honor. I’d like to hope that somewhere way down deep these supposed
“leaders” of the most powerful country on earth would find something of
those qualities in themselves, or at least acquire a sense of shame,
and understand that they are there to safeguard America and Americans,
and not to sustain Israeli militarism, racism and colonialism.

If they did, then Israel would find itself confronting sanctions and
embargoes, its aid from the US would end, and the illegal blockade of
Gaza would be forcibly broken — and that would be just for starters.

But that, too, isn’t likely in the here and now. In the Middle East,
as in so many other areas of public policy, the US Government and its
so-called “leaders” simply are not a part of any workable solution. So
perhaps we should just send them all some diplomatic kneepads
emblazoned with the Star of David — although I do wonder what kind of a
cigar Netanyahu will flash.

Sabrosky (Ph.D., University of Michigan) is a writer and consultant
specializing in national and international security affairs. In
December 1988, he received the Superior Civilian Service Award after
more than five years of service at the U.S. Army War College as
Director of Studies, Strategic Studies Institute, and holder of the
General of the Army Douglas MacArthur Chair of Research. He can be
reached at: Read other articles by Dr. Alan.

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