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Friday, June 15, 2012

Grounding foreign policy in reality

This afternoon I received an email urging me to sign on (or more likely to get others to sign on) to a letter urging Mitt Romney to reject President Obama's embrace of the Muslim Brotherhood. After reading Caroline Glick's column, I believe it's at least as important to convince Israelis to pursue a foreign policy that's grounded in reality, and to stop believing that the Europeans are going to overcome hundreds of years of anti-Semitism and become our best friends. They're not. And while we're at it, it's at least as important to convince Romney to cut off Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan as to cut off the Muslim Brotherhood.

This is a column that should almost be read bottom up. The most stunning thing about the State Comptroller's report - as I noted previously - was the statement that Prime Minister Netanyahu believed until a week before that he had reached an arrangement through third parties by which Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan would stop the flotilla. Caroline explains what's so insane about that belief.
THE NATURE OF the flotilla organizers was also known in the months ahead of its departure for Gaza. The IHH's ties to al-Qaida had been documented. Netanyahu's staff knew that the IHH was so extreme that the previous Turkish government had barred its operatives from participating in humanitarian relief efforts after the devastating 1999 earthquake. They feared the group would use its relief efforts to radicalize the local population.

In and of itself, the fact that Erdogan was openly supporting IHH's leading role in the flotilla told Israel everything it needed to know about the Turkish leader's intentions. And yet, up until a week before the flotilla set sail, Netanyahu was operating under the impression that he had struck a deal with Erdogan.

It is likely that Netanyahu was led to believe that a deal had been crafted by the Americans.

Obama is not the only American leader that has been seduced into believing that Erdogan and his Islamist AKP Party are trustworthy strategic partners for the US. Many key members of Congress share this delusional view.

According to a senior congressional source, Turkey's success in winning over the US Congress is the result of a massive Turkish lobbying effort. Through two or three front groups, the Turkish government has become one of the most active lobbying bodies in Washington. It brings US lawmakers and their aides on luxury trips to Turkey and hosts glittering, glamorous receptions and parties in Washington on a regular basis. And these efforts have paid off.

Turkey's bellicosity towards Israel as well as Greece and Cyprus has caused it no harm in Washington. Its request to purchase a hundred F-35 Joint Strike Fighters faced little serious opposition. The US continues to bow to its demands to disinvite Israel from international forum after international forum - most recently the upcoming US-hosted counter-terrorism summit in Istanbul.

Certainly Turkey's strategic transformation under Erdogan's leadership from a pro-Western democracy into an anti-Western Islamist police state has dire implications for American national interests. And the Americans would be well-served to look beyond the silken invitations to Turkish formal events at five-star hotels and see what is actually happening in the sole Muslim NATO member-state. But whether the US comes to its senses or not is its business.

Israel had no business buying into the fiction in 2010 that Erdogan could be reasoned with.

True, today no one in Israel operates under that delusion anymore. But the basic phenomenon of our leaders failing to distinguish between what they want to happen and what can happen continues to exist.
Amazingly, Israel is repeating the same mistakes with Catherine Ashton and the European Union (and actually has been making the same mistakes for longer with Ashton and the Europeans than with the Turks). Read the whole thing.

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At 6:35 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

" Hear, Hear !"


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