Commentary Magazine


Schizoid, Simplistic, and Surreal

Victor Davis Hanson on the schizoid foreign policy of the Obama administration:

In the last two years scarcely a week has gone by in which we did not in some way criticize democratic and once allied Israel. Perhaps if the Israeli government had stoned some homosexuals, or assassinated a leading Lebanese reform figure, or bombed its own cities, we might either have kept silent or publicly promised not to meddle in Israeli affairs. Or we might have apologized for something we purportedly did decades ago that offended Israeli sensibilities.

One of the participants in Obama’s soul-searching session with Jewish leaders last week said that the president told the group that if we can get a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians, the entire region will turn against Iran. Stronger adjectives than schizoid are necessary to describe an administration that still thinks the solution to the problem of Iran is to solve a problem having nothing to do with it.

Future historians will find it difficult to explain how the United States determined that the way to pressure Iran was to pressure Israel; or that the key to Middle East problems was to craft still another offer of a Palestinian state to those who had already refused one three times in the past decade; or that a peace agreement could be effected when half the putative state was in the hands of an Iranian proxy and the other half in a Potemkin democracy unable even to schedule elections.

Hanson suggests that the administration may simply have no clue what it should be doing in foreign affairs and more or less makes things up as it goes along — which would explain its varying positions adopted day to day with respect to Egypt and Libya. With respect to Israel, however, the administration’s policy has been unfortunately all too consistent.