Saturday, December 3, 2011

Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta Shows How the Obama Administration Is Selling Out Israel...And U.S. Interests


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Charlie:: “You coulda been another Billy Conn, and that skunk we got you for a manager, he brought you along too fast."

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By Barry Rubin
Let me state this in undiplomatic language: U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta is a clown. True, this will not be the kind of thing written about in the mainstream media but it is true nonetheless. Panetta has no knowledge of the Middle East, no experience in grand strategy, no concept of Islamist politics, no awareness of Israel’s defense needs, and doesn’t know much about military issues generally.

All that would be forgivable if it weren’t for one more problem:  He has no understanding of what has happened in the last year either.
Panetta has now bashed Israel based on a premise. Here it is:

"I understand the view that this is not the time to pursue peace, and that the Arab awakening further imperils the dream of a safe and secure, Jewish and democratic Israel. But I disagree with that view." Nevertheless, Israel needs to take risks and particularly, "The problem right now is we can't get them to the damn table, to at least sit down and begin to discuss their differences."

First, there is a peculiar phrase that I have not seen used even once to describe what’s going on now. How did that phrase get into Panetta’s vocabulary? Obviously, from a briefing and I don’t believe it came from anyone at the Defense Department. That phrase is “Arab awakening” instead of “Arab Spring.”

Every Middle East historian—well, every Middle East historian who knows something about the Middle East—knows that The Arab Awakening was the famous book written by George Antonius (subsidized by a U.S foundation to do so, by the way) advocating Arab nationalism and opposition to Zionism in 1938. I can’t prove it but it gives me an idea of the views of whoever wrote those talking points.

This phrase also gives Panetta’s statement a strangely contradictory tone. If The Arab Awakening began a half-century pan-Arab struggle against Israel’s creation or existence might this not give us a hint of what the new “Arab Awakening” is going to do?  Oh, and 1938 marks the year when Great Britain desperately tried to sell out the Jews in order to gain Arab support (for the coming war with Germany and Italy). Interesting parallels.

But there are three major questions raised in Panetta’s silly statement....





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