Counterculture Con HQ

June 16, 2010

VDH: War and History, Ancient and Modern

From a fascinating interview of Victor David Hanson at Michael J. Totten. Barack Obama on Israel:

VDH: They hate being talked about in Europe the way they’re talked about there.

My answer to them is always the same. We’re only 65 years from the Holocaust. Europe is still anti-Semitic, and Israel is on its own except for the United States.

What worries me about Obama is that there is no longer a bipartisan agreement that the world would always be hostile to Israel, especially when oil, Middle Eastern demographics, and the fear of terrorism are added into the equation. There was a bipartisan idea that the United States had a moral duty to protect the Jewish state and say that—unlike Germany, France, and Britain—we aren’t going to be swayed by 300 million versus 7 million or oil or the fear of terrorism. We’re going to stand up for the democratic oasis.

With Obama and his moral equivalence, Israel is hardly any better than Hamas or Hezbollah or the Palestinian Authority. I wonder, though, if they really believe that.

What if a Jew says he wants to live in Ramallah because it’s a nice place? Arabs live in Nazareth and other places in Israel, so what if a Jew says he wants to be a Palestinian citizen?

MJT: That’s impossible.

VDH: Jews aren’t allowed there.

MJT: It’s crazy, isn’t it?

VDH: That fact all by itself should tell the Obama administration that there’s something weird about that place and there’s no moral equivalence. We have autocratic illiberal societies at war with a constitutional democracy.

Barack Obama on Europe:

VDH: This a confusing period. There’s a lot of irony. Look back at the period when Europe had it both ways, when we defended them while they mouthed off, when they undermined us and Bush pushed back.

Now compare that to what Obama is doing. He’s almost smiling while selling out Europe. He’s trying to become even more left than they are on foreign policy. On one hand, the Europeans are getting what they deserve, but they are Westerners, they are a positive force in the world, and what we’re doing is dangerous.

MJT: It seems to unnerve the Europeans now that Obama is to their left

VDH: It does.

MJT: They seem uncomfortable being to the right of the United States in some ways.

VDH: I had an interesting conversation two years ago just before Obama’s election with some military people in Versailles. They were at a garden party, and everybody was for Obama. But an admiral said to me, “We are Obama. You can’t be Obama.”

Everybody looked at him. And I said, “What do you mean?”

He said, “There’s only room for one Obama.”

I said, “So we’re supposed to do what? Take out Iran while you trash us?”

And he said, “Right out of my mouth. I couldn’t have said it better. Bush understood our relationship. We have to make accommodations with our public, which is lunatic. You don’t really believe there’s going to be an EU strike force, do you? Nobody here believes that. If you become neutral, what are we supposed to do?”

That’s what he said. I was surprised at his candor. And it’s worrisome. On the one hand I like it because they’re getting just what they asked for, but on the other hand, it’s tragic. And it’s dangerous. We shouldn’t be doing this.

Read the rest.

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