Is the Obama Administration Seeking Better U.S. Relations with Iran and Syria at the Expense of Israel?
New York Times columnist Roger Cohen thinks so, and he's delighted. In case you are unfamiliar with Mr. Cohen, he recently enraged the Iranian-American community when he wrote that Jews in Iran are well-treated and have no fear of its Islamic government. In taking his public interviews of Iranian Jews, in a totalitarian state, at face value, Cohen was following the New York Times tradition established in the 1930s by Walter Duranty. Duranty won the Pulitzer Prize by reporting that allegations that Josef Stalin had engineered the mass starvation of as many as 12 million Ukranian peasants were no more than anti-communist propaganda. Roger Cohen is just the latest "useful idiot" for totalitarian regimes to be featured in the New York Times.
So Mr. Cohen applauds President Obama's recent overtures, without pre-conditions, to the Iranian Islamist regime. Not just because he favors improvement in Iranian-U.S. relations, but for a special bonus of this diplomatic initiative: "Still, this much is clear to me: Obama’s new Middle Eastern diplomacy and engagement will involve reining in Israeli bellicosity and a probable cooling of U.S.-Israeli relations. It’s about time. America’s Israel-can-do-no-wrong policy has been disastrous, not least for Israel’s long-term security."
Victor Davis Hanson concurs that the Obama Administration is seekinon g improved relations with Iran, and its ally Syria to boot, and that American-Israeli relations will suffer as a result. However, he is decidedly less pleased by the prospect, as he indicated in an interview with Hugh Hewitt on March 19, 2009:
HH: Last question, Victor Davis Hanson, we have an obvious change of government in Israel upon us this week or so. Is this going to be, with a conservative government led by Netanyahu, good for world stability or destabilizing?
VDH: You know, I’m worried. I think that he would be good for Israel, but I’m very worried because I think that we’re looking at the most insidiously constant estrangement between Israel and the United States we’ve seen in our lifetime. When you start to see the Samantha Power appointment, the would-be Charles Freeman appointment, the $1 billion dollar rebuilding program for Hamas-controlled Gaza, the efforts to speak with the Iranians and the Syrians without preconditions, sort of some rhetoric, I just think that Netanyahu is going to give the Obamaites the reason they need to distance ourselves from Israel. I really believe that.
These developments are not good for Israel. More importantly, they are not good for the United States. [HT: Rick Richman, Jewish Current Issues.]