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Monday, January 28, 2008

Barack Obama: The black Jimmy Carter

In 1976, a man with 2% name recognition decided to run for President of the United States. He was such an unknown quantity that when he told his own mother he was running for President, she asked "of what?" But when you read the story of Carter's campaign it sounds very much like today:
Carter became the front-runner early on by winning the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary. He used a two-prong strategy. In the South, which most had tacitly conceded to Alabama's George Wallace, Carter ran as a moderate favorite son. When Wallace proved to be a spent force, Carter swept the region. In the North, Carter appealed largely to conservative Christian and rural voters and had little chance of winning a majority in most states. In a field crowded with liberals, he managed to win several Northern states by building the largest single bloc. Initially dismissed as a regional candidate, Carter proved to be the only Democrat with a truly national strategy, and he eventually clinched the nomination.

The media discovered and promoted Carter. As Lawrence Shoup noted in his 1980 book The Carter Presidency and Beyond:

"What Carter had that his opponents did not was the acceptance and support of elite sectors of the mass communications media. It was their favorable coverage of Carter and his campaign that gave him an edge, propelling him rocket-like to the top of the opinion polls. This helped Carter win key primary election victories, enabling him to rise from an obscure public figure to President-elect in the short space of 9 months."
One thing Carter did not have was foreign policy expertise. As a result, he relied on his foreign policy advisers, Secretary of State Cyrus Vance (who was a partner in a major New York law firm) and National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, a professor at Columbia University. The results were disastrous. Under Carter, the US allowed the Shah of Iran to fall and the Islamist Ayatollahs to take over. The Soviets invaded Afghanistan and Carter sent aid to the anti-Soviet Islamists. He drastically slashed support for South Korea. These policies are still causing repercussions thirty years later with Iran and North Korea both developing nuclear weapons and al-Qaeda being based in Afghanistan.

But for Jews, the worst thing Carter did was to damage Israel. He forced Israel into a deal (Camp David) where "every last grain of sand" in the Sinai was given to Egypt, down to an arbitration over the Taba resort south of Eilat. This set a precedent in which the Arabs expect never to have to compromise on territory. What's worse, instead of telling Anwar Sadat to drop the pan-Arabism and stick to Egypt's interest, he forced Menachem Begin to accept a compromise plan to grant 'Palestinian autonomy' in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, acknowledging the fictitious 'Palestinian people' as a national entity.

Carter was defeated in his bid for re-election due to the Iranian hostage crisis that festered for the entire last year of his term and due to his disastrous handling of the US economy which saw the Prime Interest Rate reach 20% around the time he left office. More on Carter here.

Why does Carter matter? Because in many ways, Carter is the archetype for Barack Hussein Obama, now the front runner for the Democratic nomination. Like Carter, Obama is an unknown who has come out of nowhere. Like Carter, Obama is a creature of the leftist media. Like Carter, Obama is relatively young (he's 47 years old - Carter was 52). Obama is a first-term Senator from the State of Illinois. That's right - he was elected to the Senate in 2004 and started serving in January 2005, just three years ago. But here's the key to why Obama is like Carter: Three years in the Senate, even as a member of the foreign relations committee, does not give one the experience to run the country's foreign relations. So Obama, like Carter before him, will be dependent upon his foreign policy advisers at a crucial time for both the US and Israel. Without his advisers, Obama has no clue how to set a foreign policy agenda. As former Israeli ambassador to the US Danny Ayalon wrote in the JPost last week:
Since early on in his campaign he has said that he would meet with the President of Iran - but we are left in the dark as to what agenda he would pursue on this issue. With the exception of promoting American divestment from Iran, an idea he adopted during a meeting with Bibi Netanyahu, Obama has largely avoided highlighting what specific demands he would make of Ahmadinijad and any timetables he would establish for the Iranians to dismantle their nuclear program. The threat of Islamic terrorism and the expanding scourge of fanaticism are also concepts which have been addressed by Obama in only the most ambiguous of terms.

As far as Israel is concerned, Obama has yet to suggest specific measures he would enact regarding the Jewish State's Qualitative Military Edge that allows us to defend ourselves against our current and future enemies. Given the increasingly tense security environment Israel is confronting on all sides, now is not the time for American leaders to shy away from such fundamental questions.
Who are Obama's foreign policy advisers? That's the most troubling question of all.
His key foreign policy advisers include Samantha Power, author on human rights and genocide, and former Clinton administration officials Anthony Lake and Susan Rice.
I would add to that list Zbigniew Brzezinski and Robert Malley.

Let's look at those advisers and see what their views on Israel are. I believe that after you see those views, you will agree with me that no one who believes Israel's continued existence is important should vote for Barack Hussein Obama. Let's start with Brzezinski and Malley. Here's Brzezinski:
This ought to give you some idea where Brzezinski stands on Israel. It's from the height of last summer's war in Lebanon:

4. Brzezinski stated: "I hate to say this but I will say it. I think what the Israelis are doing today for example in Lebanon is in effect, in effect -- maybe not in intent -- the killing of hostages. The killing of hostages."

"Because when you kill 300 people, 400 people, who have nothing to do with the provocations Hezbollah staged, but you do it in effect deliberately by being indifferent to the scale of collateral damage, you're killing hostages in the hope of intimidating those that you want to intimidate. And more likely than not you will not intimidate them. You'll simply outrage them and make them into permanent enemies with the number of such enemies increasing."


6. It's becoming increasingly difficult to separate the Israeli-Palestinian, problem, the Iraq problem and Iran from each other.

The next line - left unsaid - is that the way for the US to extricate itself from Iraq is to sacrifice Israel on the altar.
Brzezinski would also negotiate with Iran and Syria:
Brzezinski also sided with Obama, who was criticized by Clinton as being ``irresponsible'' and ``naive'' for saying he would meet in his first year as president with leaders of adversaries such as Iran and Syria. ``What's the hang-up about negotiating with the Syrians or with the Iranians?'' Brzezinksi said. ``What it in effect means'' is ``that you only talk to people who agree with you.''
Then there's Malley who advocates US engagement with Hamas and Israel's national suicide:
In today's WaPo, Malley and Miller have co-authored an op-ed, in which they claim that it is in both Hamas' and Israel's interests to work together to calm the environment so that Hamas can 'govern' and Israel can carry out its convergence surrender plan. But for calm to prevail, Malley and Miller argue that Israel and the United States must recognize three 'realities':
First, Hamas will not accept the three conditions put forward by the international community (recognition of Israel, renunciation of violence, acceptance of past agreements), certainly not now and certainly not under threat. Instead, these should be redefined in terms that are both meaningful and realistic: Is the government solidifying the cease-fire and restoring law and order? Is it dealing pragmatically with Israel on issues of mutual concern? Has it endorsed the Arab League's Beirut resolution, which, by calling for normalization of relations with Israel once a peace agreement has been reached, implicitly entails recognition? These are benchmarks that most Palestinians would accept -- and that most Palestinians would blame Hamas for rejecting.
This is nonsense on several counts. First, so long as Hamas does not renounce violence and actively work to oppose it, violence will continue, whether perpetrated by Hamas or by Islamic Jihad and others with Hamas' blessing. Without a renunciation of violence 'solidifying the cease fire' and 'restoring law and order' are meaningless. It would allow violence to resume at any time. Second, so long as Hamas does not recognize Israel, it will not deal with Israel - pragmatically or otherwise. In Hamas' view, dealing with Israel means making demands on it, which Israel has no reason to fulfill. Third, the endorsement of the Beirut resolution is meaningless because it is contingent upon Israel accepting the 'right' of 'Palestinian refugees' to return to their 'homes' in Israel - which Israel can never accept without forfeiting its character as a Jewish state. Sure 'Palestinians' would accept these 'benchmarks.' They'd be happy to see Israel agree to commit national suicide.
At The American Thinker, Ed Lasky provided some insight into the sources of Malley's thinking:
A little family history may be in order to understand the genesis of Robert Malley's views. Normally, one should be reluctant in exploring a person's family background -- after all, who would want to be held responsible for the sins of one's father? However, when close relatives share a strong current of ideological affinity, and when a father has a commanding persona, it behooves a researcher to inquire a bit into the role of family in forming views. That said, Robert Malley has a very interesting father.

His father Simon Malley was born to a Syrian family in Cairo and at an early age found his métier in political journalism. He participated in the wave of anti-imperialist and nationalist ideology that was sweeping the Third World.

He wrote thousands of words in support of struggle against Western nations. In Paris, he founded the journal Afrique Asie; he and his magazine became advocates for "liberation" struggles throughout the world, particularly for the Palestinians.

Simon Malley loathed Israel and anti-Israel activism became a crusade for him-as an internet search would easily show. He spent countless hours with Yasser Arafat and became a close friend of Arafat.

He was, according to Daniel Pipes, a sympathizer of the Palestinian Liberation Organization --- and this was when it was at the height of its terrorism wave against the West. His efforts were so damaging to France that President Valerie d'Estaing expelled him from the country.

Malley has seemingly followed in his father's footsteps: he represents the next generation of anti-Israel activism. Through his writings he has served as a willing propagandist, bending the truth (and more) to serve an agenda that is marked by anti-Israel bias; he heads a group of Middle East policy advisers for a think-tank funded (in part) by anti-Israel billionaire activist George Soros; and now is on the foreign policy staff of a leading Presidential contender. Each step up the ladder seems to be a step closer towards his goal of empowering radicals and weakening the ties between American and our ally Israel.

Robert Malley's writings strike me as being akin to propaganda. One notable example is an op-ed that was published in the New York Times (Fictions About the Failure at Camp David). The column indicted Israel for not being generous enough at Camp David and blamed the failure of the talks on the Israelis.

Malley has repeated this line of attack in numerous op-eds over the years, often co-writing with Hussein Agha, a former adviser to Yasser Arafat (see, for example, Camp David: The Tragedy of Errors ). He was also believed to be the chief source for an article by Deborah Sontag that whitewashed Arafat's role in the collapse of the peace process, an article that has been widely criticized as riddled with errors and bias.

Malley is a revisionist and his views are sharply at odds with the views of others who participated at Camp David, including Ambassador Dennis Ross and President Bill Clinton. Malley's myth-making has been peddled in the notably anti-Israel magazine, Counterpunch and by Norman Finkelstein, the failed academic recently denied tenure at DePaul University . Malley's Camp David propaganda has also become fodder for Palestinians, Arab rejectionists, and anti-Israel activists across the world.

His story of the talks is also plain wrong.
Samantha Power may be even worse. This is from Noah Pollak writing at Contentions:

A follow-up to my post yesterday about the troubling views of one of Barack Obama’s top foreign policy advisers, Samantha Power. In 2002 she sat for an interview with Harry Kreisler, the director of the Institute for International Studies at Berkeley. Kreisler asked her the following question:

Let me give you a thought experiment here, and it is the following: without addressing the Palestine - Israel problem, let’s say you were an advisor to the President of the United States, how would you respond to current events there? Would you advise him to put a structure in place to monitor that situation, at least if one party or another [starts] looking like they might be moving toward genocide?

Get a load of Power’s response:

What we don’t need is some kind of early warning mechanism there, what we need is a willingness to put something on the line in helping the situation. Putting something on the line might mean alienating a domestic constituency of tremendous political and financial import; it may more crucially mean sacrificing — or investing, I think, more than sacrificing — billions of dollars, not in servicing Israel’s military, but actually investing in the new state of Palestine, in investing the billions of dollars it would probably take, also, to support what will have to be a mammoth protection force, not of the old Rwanda kind, but a meaningful military presence. Because it seems to me at this stage (and this is true of actual genocides as well, and not just major human rights abuses, which were seen there), you have to go in as if you’re serious, you have to put something on the line.

Just so we’re clear here: Power said that her advice to the President would be to 1) “Alienate” the American Jewish community, and indeed all Americans, such as evangelical Christians, who support the state of Israel, because 2) Israeli leaders are “destroying the lives of their own people.” 3) Pour billions of dollars of the taxpayers’ money into “the new state of Palestine”; 4) Stage an American ground invasion of Israel and the Palestinian territories — what else can she mean by a “mammoth protection force” and a “military presence” that will be “imposed” by “external intervention”? — in order to do the exact same thing that she considers the height of arrogance and foolishness in Iraq: an American campaign to remake an Arab society.

Note that this wasn’t her response to a question about her personal views of the conflict, or about what she envisions might be a utopian solution to the conflict; it was a response to a question about what she would tell the President of the United States if she was his adviser. Yesterday Barack Obama took a large stride toward the presidency–helped in some small measure by the speeches on behalf of the Obama campaign that Power has delivered–and it is time that someone asked him, while he is still a candidate, what he thinks of the perverse things his many foreign policy advisers have said about Israel and the Middle East.

In 2003, Anthony Lake (along with Brzezinski, among others) signed on a letter supporting Yossi Beilin and Yasser Abed Rabbo's 'Geneva Peace Initiative':
The Geneva and People’s Voice Initiatives ['People's Voice' is Ami Ayalon and Sari Nusseibeh. CiJ] both reflect that public opinion, and can help give it new momentum. On the Israeli side, they can help undo the myths taking hold since the collapse of the peace process and onset of violence: that the Palestinian people are not prepared to accept a two state solution and Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state. On the Palestinian side, they can offer an alternative to the current mindset that sees in violence the only possible means of ending the occupation. They send a powerful signal that an alternative to the current situation exists. They have the potential to transform the domestic political dynamics on both sides.

International support will be crucial to translate these endeavors into a concrete mechanism to bring about a lasting peace. The international players most relevant for this purpose – the U.S., E.U., Russia, UN ‘Quartet’, and the members of the Arab League – should wholeheartedly back these initiatives. They should urge both the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority to be guided by the outcomes most of their peoples want. And they should make clear their own willingness to lend all the political, economic and military support needed to help implement a comprehensive peace agreement.

It goes without saying that neither of those 'plans' reflects Israeli public opinion.

Then there's Susan Rice and here's Ed Lasky's take on her:
Susan Rice was John Kerry's chief foreign policy adviser when he ran for President. One of the major steps Kerry suggested for dealing with the Middle East was to appoint James Baker and Jimmy Carter as negotiators. When furor erupted at the prospect of two of the most ardent foes of Israel being suggested to basically ride "roughshod" over Israel, Kerry backtracked and blamed his staff for the idea. His staff was Susan Rice.
Supporters of Israel must be deeply troubled by the prospect of Brzezinski, Malley, Power, Lake and Rice running US foreign policy for the next four years. Therefore, people who support Israel should not support the candidacy of Barack Hussein Obama.


At 8:25 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 8:26 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

The Left used to staunchly support Israel but with the rise of political correctness, orientalism and multiculturalism, it became hostile to Israel, which it views as an American outpost in the Middle East.

One might say the Left's antipathy towards America and its hostility to Israel are inversely related. You don't have to be a Ph.D to see the direction the Democratic Party is headed - which might be called neo-isolationism. A withdrawal of American power from the Middle East would embolden the jihadists and leave Israel to fend for itself.

At 9:41 PM, Blogger Andy Levy-Stevenson said...

Carl wrote: "Like Carter, Obama is an unknown who has come out of nowhere."

Ummm, he's an unknown who's written two volumes of autobiography. He's not exactly hidden his views. From reading the books, it's clear that he's obviously a smart, good, thoughtful man with an unusually impressive intellect.

I didn't read the whole post once I realized that it was much like the Ed Lasky piece that Caroline Glick borrowed for her op-ed last week. But it isn't a huge surprise to me that Obama's views on Israel, while broadly supportive, don't align with mine. Heck, Olmert's views don't align with mine, so I'd be expecting a bit much of Obama's to.

It's clear by now that the Democratic candidate will win in November, so the only issue now is choosing between Clinton & Obama. Their views aren't so different, and both of them will be reviled by most of the right-wing anyway. So I'd prefer America choose a good, smart, thoughtful man with whom I have some disagreements. It would make a change after the last one, who clearly was neither good, smart, nor thoughtful.

At 12:03 AM, Blogger Red Tulips said...

I have to disagree with Andy.

Firstly, we do not *know* that a Dem will win the presidency. Many things can happen between now and November. That is #1.

Secondly, given that, there is a Republican primary to consider!

And thirdly, even if Obama wins the primary, that does not mean someone who cares about Israel should vote for him!

At 2:57 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Practically speaking, in terms of policy results, o.k. he's Carter-esque, but then so are Hillary, Romney, Giuliani, and McCain. None of them share Carter's open antipathy towards Jews, so for that reason I don't really think labels such as black Jimmy Carter, female Jimmy Carter, Republican Jimmy Carter, etc. work.

Unlike the others (all CFR members, btw), Huckabee outright said that Israel should not give up the "West Bank," Golan, or split Jerusalem. Don't need to guess where he'll come down. It's really a shame that despite the written intentions and visible results, those that care for Israel (including AIPAC) can't bring themselves to admit the 2-state approach was and is wrong--won't work, can't work, jeopardizes security for no benefit whatsoever. Finally, there's a candidate who's saying as much, but those who should be supporting him are uniting behind those who talk tough but show every indication of supporting more of the same.

At 3:00 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

p.s., here's the linke to Huckabee's Israel statements on CNN, and here's the link to the official website for , Carter's new Baptist (but not Southern Baptist!)anti-Israel social/political group disguised as a religious group, with it's big first convocation starting this Wednesday, with usual anti-Israel suspects scheduled to speak.

At 8:12 AM, Blogger Andy Levy-Stevenson said...

Surprisingly perhaps, I agree with Orde. I think Huckabee would make a very good President, and in some ways it's for a value that he shares with Obama ... he has strong views, but doesn't feel he has to demonize people who don't share them.

But I still think it's a moot point; while the Democrats seem to have an extraordinary talent for losing elections, even they won't lose this one. From Left to Right, everyone is sick of Bush (none of the Republican field even mention him if they can avoid it) and the viable Republican candidates offer neither substance nor vision. They talk about change, but no one is buying it.

At 3:28 PM, Blogger AnnOnymous said...

Let's not forget the parallels to the economy. Be careful with whom you leave it up to 'change the world' - they may tax the rich until there are no rich no more (and you are left with a failing economy like France). Remember the 21% home interest rates and double digit unemployment under Carter?

At 6:00 AM, Blogger Don P said...

Andy, Obama has been compared to Jimmy Carter on more forums than this one. The fact of the matter is that "thoughtful" or not, He is at best naive in the area of foreign relations, and his positions there are so extreme that sveral of the worlds worst actors (Hamas, Hugo Chaves, Farc, etc.) have endorsed his candidacy. In Economics, he is worse than naive, promising punishing tax increases, and promising to follow in Carter's footsteps with a windfall profits tax on oil. Carter almost ruined the country with his socialist economic policies, Obama promises to be worse. Finally, say what you will, but if the election were held today, Obama would probably lose. Given five more months of Michelle's anti-American rhetoric, Obama's questionable friendships, and the Rezko payolla scandal, which is about to blow up in his face, and Obama is likely to lose bigger than Mondale!

At 4:35 AM, Blogger Tom Potter said...

Jimmy Carter was too far ahead of his time.

He set the stage for the downfall of Russia by boycotting the Moscow Olympics, which would have put Russia in a very positive light,

and Carter initiated the concept that Russia was an "Evil Empire".
This concept, which was adopted by Reagan, was a primary factor in the demise of Russia.

The main factor, which followed from the Olympic boycott, was CNN's access to Russian TV. CNN offered the Russian people their first true view of the West, and exposed the propaganda of the Russian leadership.

CNN gained access to Russia TV by agreeing to televise the "Freedom Games" by which Russia hoped to salvage some of the investment in money and propaganda, they had made in preparing for the Olympics.

Carter understood that fossil fuels were coming into short supply, and he took several steps. ( Promotion of renewable and nuclear fuels,
emphasis on conserving energy;
energy efficient cars, lights and devices, etc.)

These steps hurt the economy in the short term, but were/are ESSENTIAL in the long term.

For example, Carter's petroleum reserve program hurt the economy short term, but **IS** essential to America's security, and note that the 500 plus million barrels of oil
stored in the reserve cost far less than the going rate, thus Carter earned trillions of dollars for America with his investment.

And although there was the unfortunate incident at Three Mile Island, Carter tried to reassure the masses that Atomic energy was safe and essential, by going to Three Mile Island, and showing that
it was not dangerous as the press made it out to be. Unfortunately comedy shows and bigots in the media made this into a big joke.

Carter also made a deal with North Korea to provide them with safe nuclear reactors, if they would forego nuclear weapons and allow on site inspections, a deal that later presidents reneged on, thus causing North Korea and other nations to distrust and lose respect for America.

And note that Carter had the Middle East problem near solution,
until Sharon instigated the assassination of Rabin.

It is interesting to observe that Clinton and the Bushes under the control of the NeoCons negated almost all of the far sighted works of Jimmy Carter, and future presidents will have to back track
and take up where Carter left off.

Carter would have been reelected
if the rescue of the Iran hostages had been successful but unfortunately, it was not,
due to the mistake of a helicopter pilot.

It in interesting to observe that
the policies of Carter and Bush on the issues of most important to the future of mankind ( Energy conservation, the environment, peaceful co-existent, etc.
are 180 degrees out of phase.)

An examination of history clearly shows that nations gain power and wealth, by building trust and respect, not by building walls and engaging in wars.

It will take years for America to regain the respect and trust of the nations and peoples of the world, that Bush wasted in his first two years in office.

At 9:27 AM, Blogger Don P said...

Tom Potter.... Wow! I remember Doonesbury many years ago using the quote "scenario them rosily" your comment is an excellent example of what he meant. Raising taxes on oil has never accomplished anything except to slow our economy. The money has never been used in any effective way to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, quite the opposite, by dicouraging domestic production and refinement environmentalists have actually worsened our position globally. Further, the Strategic Petroleum Reserve was opened by President Ford, not Carter. Carter slowed the filling of the reserve to a trickle; it was Reagan who worked aggresively to fill it.
As far as setting the stage for the demise of the Soviet Union, that is wishful thinking at it's best. The Soviets were still powerful enough during his tenure to try their hand at empire building in Afghanistan.
As far as the Iran Hostage crisis, Carter was right to issue a travel visa for Resa Pahlevi to come to the US for medical treatment, but it was misguided American middle eastern policy that allowed an islamist regime to overthrow the Shah in the first place. Allowing the Iranians to commit an act of war, and hold American diplomatic and military personnel hostage for over a year is an insult that no President before or since would tolerate.
Lastly, the Camp David accords were worth less than the paper they were written on. Yassir Arafat went back to the Palestinians, and explained himself saying "I have offered them the peace of Saladin"(look up "Hudna"). Giving the palestinians sovereignty over part of Israel has given them a platform for launching terrorist attacks throughout the rest of Israel.
To try to make Carter look like a good president requires considerable ignorance of the facts.


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