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Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Jeffrey Goldberg gets one right

With all that was going on with the Hagel hearing last Thursday, I missed this piece by Jeffrey Goldberg. It seems that Hagel, Obama and all the rest of the White House gang still believe in the discredited (by the events) concept of linkage, the notion that solving the Israeli-'Palestinian' conflict will somehow bring peace to the Middle East.
Come with me on a quick tour of the greater Middle East. The Syrian civil war? Unrelated to the Palestinian-Israeli peace process. The slow disintegration of Yemen? Unrelated. Chaos and violence in Libya? Unrelated. Chaos and fundamentalism in Egypt? The creation of a Palestinian state on the West Bank would not have stopped the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak, nor would it have stopped the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood. Terrorism in Algeria? Unrelated. The Iranian nuclear program? How would the creation of a Palestinian state have persuaded the Iranian regime to cease its pursuit of nuclear weapons? Someone please explain. Sunni-Shiite civil war in Iraq? The unrest in Bahrain? Pakistani havens for al-Qaeda affiliates? All unrelated.
Why does this matter? Because our leaders should have a realistic -- as opposed to a “realist” -- understanding of the root causes of Middle East strife. How can they protect us from threats if they don’t understand the causes of these threats? Decades of dictatorship (with the acquiescence, in many cases, of the U.S. government and the realists who guided its foreign policy) brought the Middle East to its current condition, along with misogyny, poor education, corruption, the politicizing of Islam and sectarian hatred.
Hagel wants to lead the U.S. Defense Department. I would like to know if he still believes in linkage. More important, I would like to know if Obama is still captive to this same, flawed concept.
Indeed. And they are both still in the thrall of linkage. As are Kerry and Brennan. What could go wrong?

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