Many on the right will have shared my shock and astonishment at Robert Kagan’s advice to Bibi Netanyahu to “Bow Out Gracefully” (from addressing Congress) displayed prominently on the opinion page of Friday’s Washington Post.
Robert never displayed the breath-taking scope of scholarship and depth of thought of his famous father, Donald Kagan, with whom I had the honor of having dinner several years ago. We discussed Robert’s silly little book, Of Paradise (Europe—peaceful, harmonious, negotiation-oriented, post-historical) and Power (America—power-hungry, Hobbesian, bellicose, hopelessly mired in history), and the senior Kagan quietly assented that Robert’s suggestion that America put its military might in the hands of the Europeans was, well, silly.
Still, let’s remember that the Kagans are a talented family who have made many intellectual contributions to our country. Robert’s brother was the author of the surge in Iraq, which at one time was considered so successful that the duplicitous bureaucrat and political hack—David Petraeus—laid claim to having authored it himself, much like Colin Powell rebranded as the “Powell Doctrine” the six-point guidelines for the use of power formulated by Caspar Weinberger back in 1984.
But I digress. In Friday’s opinion piece, Kagan lists five specious reasons why “it would be a mistake for Netanyahu to address Congress.”
1. “It’s inappropriate.” For “Allies don’t go fig-footing around in each other’s politics.” Yes, indeed! But how then does one explain the revelation a few days ago in the Washington Free Beacon that a State Department-funded group (OneVoice International) is financing an Israeli campaign to oust Benjamin Netanyahu? Jeremy Bird, Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign national field director, is leading the effort.
OneVoice, whose advisory board boasts Mahmoud Abbas’s son as a member, was funded by the State Department to support Kerry’s push for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations last year and also to build support for the Abbas government while the latter was advocating attacks against Israel.
“It’s inappropriate” doesn’t begin to describe this intrusion into Israeli politics.
2. “It will damage Israel’s image in the United States.” For “patriotic Americans should not be enjoying” the spectacle of Obama being defied. So anyone who opposes Obama’s quest to allow the insane anti-Western fanatics in Iran to acquire the nuclear weapons with which they can bring on the cataclysmic events that will prepare the way the reappearance of the 12th Imam is “unpatriotic.” It boggles the mind. It’s only unpatriotic if you can’t distinguish the U.S. and its interests from Obama and his. That’s how Obama sees things, of course, but Kagan too?
3. “It is not good for the American debate over Iran.” What debate would that be? I can’t count the times Obama has repeated that he’d veto any bill Congress might send him increasing sanctions on the avowedly genocidal country that has sworn to obliterate Israel and thereby also—in gruesome irony—the Palestinian “homeland.”
4. “It is not good for Congress” to be supporting a country—Israel—that “always, and mistakenly, urges Congress and the administration to support autocrats who see that part of the world the way Israel does.” Excuse me while I throw up. Which autocrats did Israel not want to see eliminated? Well, there was Gaddafi in Libya and Mubarak in Egypt for two, but Obama doesn’t care for secular autocrats, and oh how the folks in those countries must have enjoyed the ensuing chaos. Gaddafi’s ouster cost four American diplomats their lives. And Mubarak’s ouster empowered a terrorist-supporting Islamist regime that instituted Sharia law and the practice of performing frequent and random virginity tests on young women who dared to venture outdoors unchaperoned by a man.
So Kagan suggests that Congress should support Obama’s favored autocrats—the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and the murderous regime in Iran.
5. “It fails the Churchill test,” since Churchill didn’t address Congress between 1939 and 1941. Well, Churchill did address Congress on December 26, 1941. Before then he wasn’t in a traveling mode, and it wasn’t yet clear that America wanted to depart from neutrality.
When Churchill gave the 1946 “Iron Curtain” speech in Fulton, Mo., notes Kagan, he was in fact accompanied by President Harry Truman. That simply reminds one how different Obama is from Truman. Harry Truman was a friend of Israel. He supported the creation of the Jewish state over the strident objections of his own State Department. He did it because it was the right thing to do, for the Jewish people, for the American people, and for the World.
“In an area as unstable as the Middle East,” said Truman, “where there is not now and never has been any tradition of democratic government, it is important for the long-range security of our country, and indeed the world, that a nation committed to the democratic system be established there, one on which we can rely.”
Harry Truman did the right thing because it was the right thing to do. So should Congress.
Still, craven though he has shown himself to be, let’s not be too harsh on Robert Kagan, for he may have some family concerns. Sharyl Attkisson, the CBS reporter who tried to report honestly on the depredations and lies of the Obama administration in connection with Benghazi, and who as a result had her personal and work computers hacked for a period of two years before she and CBS discovered this breach, testified this week that if you cross the Obama Administration, you will be “attacked and punished” and treated like “enemies of the state.”
The Washington Post reported on December 18, 2012, that for two years Robert Kagan’s brother Frederick and his wife worked closely with General Petraeus in Afghanistan and had “top-level security clearances in Kabul… [T]hey pored through classified intelligence reports, participated in senior-level strategy sessions and probed the assessments of field officers.” That’s what got Paula Broadwell in trouble and it led the Justice Department to recommend that criminal charges be brought against Petraeus.
Here’s hoping that Robert Kagan can somehow persuade the Obama Justice Department to leave his brother alone.
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