Another Perspective

Foolish Bargains

Once again, stacking the deck against Israel.

By 9.10.10

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How many times have we heard the old warning that those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it? Surely it has been repeated enough times that all but the dullest of listeners have heard the warning.

Why, then, are we once again in the midst of a negotiation that is predicated on the foolish idea that a genuine peace can be forged between freedom and tyranny?

Once again our government is attempting to broker agreements between the free and democratic people of the nation of Israel and an array of representatives of the governments and militant entities that make no secret of the fact that their highest goal is to eliminate all traces of Israel's existence.

For as long as most of us can remember, various U.S. administrations have strong armed Israel to the table with the people who hate them, and followed these meetings with an agreement as ephemeral as the smiles on the official photographs memorializing each gathering. Instead of accepting the fact that no agreement can stand when only one side is really interested in its success, we are determined to repeat the same failed process again and again.

Senator Jesse Helms made this point in an article published in Policy Review in the winter of 1986. He said, "the rule seems to be: when in doubt, negotiate. Therefore negotiations are urged without regard to the history of negotiations. This history is not reassuring. Unless one side of a negotiation has been utterly defeated, negotiations typically are dangerously destabilizing.… Even the best that Camp David could bring about was a stalemate, rather than a peace." Furthermore, he stated that this pressure on Israel to negotiate comes from "professional negotiators in the State Department who feel at loose ends if they do not have a negotiation or two in full swing. Sometimes, like gamblers, they seem more interested in the excitement of the action than in the outcome."

As we know all too well, even the Camp David stalemate could not hold, but we are once again being assured that things will be different -- this time.

This stubbornness would be funny, if it wasn't deadly. With every concession we force on the one government in the Middle East that is unequivocally our ally, the greater the danger in that region. Compare the situation today with the status of the region before the famous Camp David Accords were signed in 1979. Look at the multi-billion dollar price tag to our nation in promised payments to parties on all sides. Imagine how much more we will spend with no reasonable expectation of a satisfactory return on our investment.

We are pressing our ally to make agreements that imperil the long-term existence of their nation, and the very lives of their citizens. We are asking the one nation where democracy thrives to bow to the demands of those who have no respect for freedom. We are stacking the deck against Israel by asking it to yet again make unfair concessions to obtain yet another unfair agreement.

Even worse, we are demonstrating a shocking lack of commitment to our pledges of solidarity with Israel. By our actions and attitude we are alerting all the rest of our allies, including those who yearn for freedom while living under the rule of tyrants, to beware of the fragility of our promises to them.

America, our America, the land of the free and the home of the brave, is at the point of surrendering our character to the seeming comfort of concession.

After we have served up Israel to her sworn enemies what will we cede next? Will it be the hope for democracy in Cuba? The right of the Taiwanese to live in freedom? Our sovereign right to command our own armed forces?

If we are willing to walk away from our covenant with Israel, what will become of us?   

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About the Author

John Dodd is president of the Jesse Helms Center Foundation.