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Monday, May 14, 2018

Embassy in Jerusalem: Reality as a Foreign Policy

I thought I would never live to see the day when the US Embassy would be in Jerusalem. It seems that only Israel has to fight to have its capital recognized, and not even its closest ally had the guts--until now--to recognize that capital, and to pursue a reality-based foreign policy not only towards Israel but across the board.

In November of 1995, the US Congress overwhelmingly passed the Jerusalem Embassy Act  which stated that the US Embassy should be in Jerusalem. No President since then acted upon it, until now. It was never the right time. It was too expensive. It had to be part of a "comprehensive deal." The Europeans didn't like it. The Palestinians would be outraged. We would have war with Saudi Arabia . . . yeah, yeah. And, yet, Trump has done it, insisted on recognizing reality, and, yet, the sun rises and life goes on. Amazing.

I remember back in the 1980s, when I was just a young inconsequential State Department buck before I would grow into being an old inconsequential State Department stag, telling a colleague, who would go on to become quite senior in the Bureau of Near East Affairs, "Why don't we just declare our Consulate General in Jerusalem our Embassy?" His answer was an exasperated eye-roll followed by a condescending, "You can't do that." That was it. The wisdom as revealed by the State Department, "YOU can't do that."

And, yet, and, yet, guess what just happened?

You can do that. WE can do that. The U.S. Embassy is now in Jerusalem, having temporarily, in effect, swapped places with the ConGen while a new building goes up. And, yet, and yet, the sun will rise tomorrow.

The bien pensants, of course, are all besides themselves. Even many Democratic politicians--pace Chuck Schumer--who voted for the move now blather on about this is the wrong time; it sends the wrong message; the European "allies" oppose it; and, of course, what about the PEACE PROCESS? THE PEACE PROCESS?!? The Palestinians are never going to believe that we are honest brokers! My strand of pearls just broke!

So when will be the right time? When will the so-called Palestinians say so? The Peace Process, huh? More people have died during this 70-year "Peace Process" than in many a "War Process." All Israel's fault, of course--if only they were willing to help in their own murder . . .

The Europeans? I refer you to the Diplomad's number one rule of American Foreign Policy, "Never listen to the Europeans." They are just about always wrong. They are about keeping things the way they are at any particular moment, unless that moment favors the USA, and about making simple problems, complex, and complex ones, impossible.

Let's be clear. There are only two countries with any say about where the US puts its Embassy in Israel. Any guesses which two? Hint: Neither is in the EU.

Final thought on Europe: Maybe we should move our Embassy in Paris to Vichy?

Yes, before some MSNBC prog points it out, the Jerusalem Embassy Act had some vague language about the final status of Jerusalem being determined in some future peace process. Fine. That's up to the Israelis and with whomever THEY negotiate that, if they negotiate that. As far as I am concerned, and I'd love to hear our President say it, there already is a two-state solution in Palestine: Israel and Jordan. Up to them if they want to add a third state. Meanwhile, our foreign policy and interests in the Middle East cannot be held hostage to some future possibility that the leadership of the so-called Palestinians will finally stop trying to destroy Israel. I wrote about this here,
Let's start with basics. The whole Palestinian homeland bit is a massive scam. Palestinians are Arabs just like the folks in Jordan and Egypt--Arafat was born in Cairo. When the Arab states invaded the nascent state of Israel in 1948, they did not do so for a Palestinian homeland. They just wanted to kill Jews, drive them into the ocean, and eliminate Western influence from the region. Egypt, Jordan, and Syria intended to take the tiny parcel of land allocated to the Jews by the UN and keep it. No Palestinian homeland, no "two state solution," just another "final solution" which would have seen tens-of-thousands of Jews killed, including those born in "Palestine," yes, Jews were also "Palestinians." That's all. Period. 
After the Arab states got their clocks cleaned, we began to hear the baying about a Palestine homeland which just so happened to coincide exactly with the boundaries of Israel. Amazing how that happens! Wherever Jews lived, THAT formed part of the Palestinian homeland. Jordan, of course, had the West Bank from 1948 to 1967; at no time was that then considered part of this definition of the "Palestinian" homeland. It was part of Jordan. There were no international cries to free that portion of Palestine from Jordanian occupation. The West Bank became part of the "homeland" only when Israel took it from Jordan in the Six Day War. 
We also saw the amazing phenomenon of Palestinian refugees. Arabs displaced by fighting started by Arabs were dumped by Arabs on the tender mercies of the UN. The Arab countries wanted nothing to do with them. The UN being all about programs, of course, created the monstrosities known as Palestinian refugee camps, and established a massive money-sucking bureaucracy to administer them and beg for ever greater amounts of money--most of it from Western countries, including the USA.
Anyhow, Trump, former reality show star, insists on having a foreign policy based on the reality of the world. As I noted  before, about his domestic and foreign policy approach,
He is calling, in no uncertain terms, for an end to the phony and destructive internationalism of the past few decades, the internationalism that has devastated towns and cities throughout the Western world, hollowed out once proud industrial centers, and made legions of mountebanks and blow-hards rich and powerful at the expense of the average Joe. He intends to use America's considerable clout to end that. He makes a good unvarnished case that doing so will benefit the "forgotten communities," and enable them, in the US, at least, to achieve a major portion of the American Dream, to wit, a good job, with good pay. 
The world is formed of nation-states, and Donald Trump wants us to act in accordance with that reality. 
Reality. What a revolutionary concept . . . .
Happy 70th Israel. 


  1. Yeah.. crazy.. I think Israel is still kind of crazy for not taking a tougher stance on groups and nation states declaring an intent to destroy them.
    It's really a lefty racism at stake.
    A bunch of lefty progressives in a circle, giggling and laughing at the threats of Iran, Syria, Egypt, and the likes: "Oh.. they say they're going to destroy Israel and America.... but they're just camel lovers... we can't possibly take them seriously as adversaries!"

    Sorry, we should take what they say at face value... even if they're not in a position to follow through right now, one day, they certain will be.

    - reader #1482

  2. Now that that's taken care of, let's work on Taiwan as a nation. (Is it still too early for that?)

    1. I dunno, if Taiwan were independent, then in a few years when their robot army sacks Beijing, that would be aggression? As it, right now, it'd just be civil unrest?

    2. Thanks. I've been of the mind that whether Taiwan deserves international recognition whether it continues to see itself as the rump of the Republic of China launched in 1911 by Sun Yixian, calls itself simply "Taiwan" [plus associated islands--something tells me the folks on Jinmen and Mazu won't be keen on rejoining the rest of Fujian], renames itself Dong Ning (as it was called under the Zheng family back in the 1600's), renames itself "Great Liuqiu" (by which it was known to Chinese navigators for centuries), or even renames itself "Charlie".

      I taught English in Taiwan for years, and learned my useful Mandarin there (plus smatterings of the Minnan and Kejia languages, and even how to say "thank you" in Tayal). My wife's from there, and our older son was born there. Of course I have feelings for the place.

    3. As much as it pains me, if Taiwan wants to continue as a free and liberal society and, yes, country, the best course of action is to speak softly and carry a big stick. I have no issue with Taiwan rejoining the mainland so long as this happens after a regime change in Beijing.

      I plan on retiring in Formosa and Mrs. KGB just inherited a small plot on Penghu. My only wish is that when that day comes I'm living in the same Taiwan of today. If I have to do it in a Taiwan where the internet is screened or there's a social credit system, then I'm going to have serious second thoughts.

    4. KGB: My Taitai is also from Taiwan (Hsinchu area). I'd retire to that island too, except that I'd have a hard time getting into their national health system; and for citizenship, I'd have to renounce US citizenship and remain stateless for a period while being checked out. But I got along well while living there, have both spoken and written Mandarin as well as a smattering of Hakka (see wife's old domicile), and have even started brushing off my Classical Chinese as a reading language. I agree that a Communist China absorbing Taiwan would be highly undesirable.

      Although "native Taiwanese" (i.e., descended from Han settlers of many generations back), a lot of my wife's folks also would have no qualms about rejoining a post-Communist China, too. However, some people I know, including strongly "Blue" folks say that everyone's Taiwan Independence since June 4, 1989.

  3. The gripe on Morning Joe this AM is that the US got nothing in return for this embassy move. Really? What about good will? What did we get in return for most of Obama's bonehead moves? Certainly not good will ...

    1. Why should we "get something in return" for doing the Right Thing?

  4. George:

    I'd say we got more than good will. We acknowledged a reality in the Middle East, one that the world has been winking at for many decades. We followed through on a Congressional mandate, one that was admittedly drafted with the intent that it never be realized, but one whose time has definitely come. We put the old sheikhs on notice that we were going to stop playing their phony game and start dealing with the ME with honesty, while at the same time letting the Europeans know that we were going to deal realistically with world affairs and not just tug at our forelock and say "umm, ok."

    People complained when I was in the National War College that Israel had too much influence on our foreign and military policies, and there is some truth to that. But other allies who also influence our foreign policy (Germany, for example), deal with us with less honesty than Israel. Israel understands that foreign policy is based on national self-interest. We should too, and recognizing Jerusalem as the capital is in our national self-interest.

  5. The avoidance of formally moving our embassy was simply to make it clear that we were abiding by the original UN partition plan, even if it was as dead a letter as ever was.

    Now, let's find a way to pressure the Arab states to naturalize the Falastin Arabs and descendants domiciled in their countries. If India and Pakistan absorbed tens of millions of each other's refugees after 1947 and could even have a Delhi-born leader in Pakistan and a Lahore-born one in India, the time's long past due for a similar disposition to be made of the Falastin refugee crisis. And I note as well how so many children and descendants of Mizraim, Babel, Tema, etc. (Egypt, Mesopotamia, and Yemen) are now no-questions-asked Israelis!

  6. Off topic, but oh, what a sad,sad day. Tom Wolfe, one of the truly greats, is dead. He was one of a kind, unique. It´s like losing a dear friend.

    1. Yes, I was and am a huge fan of his writing. Very politically incorrect and funny.

    2. I found him by reading "Electric Cool Aid Acid Test" then it took me 30 yrs to understand him. My fault not his.

  7. Iraq, Syria and Jordan are just as "artificial" (i.e. imposed from the outside) as Israel, having been created after WWI according to the terms of the British-French Sikes-Picot Treaty. The governments were installed by the colonial powers (in Syria and Iraq thereafter overthrown). The British in 1917 also issued the Balfour Declaration which foresaw the establishment of a Jewish homeland in Palestine. My point is I don't think the Palestinian's beef is with Israel, especially as most of them were not born in the land that is now called Israel and ethnically the Palestinians are Arab. I think their beef is with surrounding governments who haven't taken them in. Of course those who have, Lebanon and Jordan, have regretted it. (Lebanon got civil war. Jordan got assassination and overthrow attempts of its king.) The UN hasn't helped by designating Palestinians "permanent refugees," the only group with such designation. So a kid born in a Palestinian city is born a "refugee" and his city is a "refugee camp." That guarantees continual grievance.

    My thought about the Middle East: what a tragic waste. There could have been such useful synergy. Israel has technology and know how it could make available to the region plus a surplus of teachers, engineers and doctors it could make available to the Arab countries that desperately need them. And Israel's neighbors - the Egyptians and Palestinians - have populations that desperately need work and could be the manual workers Israel needs. Egypt is a desert except of a strip of green along the Nile. Its main export is cotton. Israel is expert in agriculture, having invented the drip system. It could instruct Egypt. On the Nile is the vast Aswan Dam. Egypt cannot maximize its usefulness. With Israel's help, it could - or maybe Israel could use some of the power itself.

    With peace and cooperation all would have flourished. What a stupid and tragic waste that this hasn't happened. More than anything this is waste on a monumental scale.

    1. The biggest tragedy is that the rest of the world has been held hostage to this tribal scrapping between largely insignificant cultures. Except that they sit above oil.

      The vast amount of resource that has been devoted to trying to find a solution to the M-E issue over the past 70 years could have done the rest of the world a great benefit.

    2. Graham, Agree with you, too, 110%

  8. Two points:

    First, if some company, say Dunkin Brands, decided to open shops in Gaza and give the locals whatever they had, coffee, donuts, or ice cream, for free, one would of course expect the Palestinians to riot to express their outrage. That is, there's simply no pleasing them, so why try.

    Second, if one were able to secure actual peace there, then wouldn't the "Peace Process" be endangered? Thus, a wise governmental leader must always preclude actual peace as a goal.

    Green Bear

    1. Kind of like cancer. If cured, then what would all those researcher do?

    2. And government. If their were peace and everyone were self sufficient....

    3. Thinking about your Dunkin in Gaza....half the population would be outraged that your selling a product roughly the shape of a womans nether region. The other half would be outraged that your selling a product that has the center missing and so is an obvious plot of the Joooozz to scam them of their money.

  9. You really can't believe a damn thing you see on the news anymore.


    1. Pallywood - filming fiction to entertain the world. Or something.

  10. More truth spoken here in 3 minutes than in 70 years of American media.

  11. Msher and Graham:
    Excellent comments. I am not sure how much aid has been given to the Palestinians but I would not be surprised that if loaded palates with $100.00 bills you would cover the whole country. And it has all been wasted. The problem is that the Palestinians are victims and determined to remain so. You can't help people who refuse to help themselves. The Palestinians could have built schools, hospitals, infrastructure but they remain mired in their self pity determined to wallow in their misery and fantasize about destroying Israel.

  12. And, let's not forget that the Paleo flag is a "lift" from the Jordanian one.

    Let us also not forget the words of Zuheir Mohsen, - top PLO member responsible for Damur massacre:

    "The Palestinian people does not exist. The creation of a Palestinian state is only a means for continuing our struggle against the state of Israel for our Arab unity. In reality today there is no difference between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese. Only for political and tactical reasons do we speak today about the existence of a Palestinian people, since Arab national interests demand that we posit the existence of a distinct “Palestinian people” to oppose Zionism. For tactical reasons, Jordan, which is a sovereign state with defined borders, cannot raise claims to Haifa and Jaffa, while as a Palestinian, I can undoubtedly demand Haifa, Jaffa, Beer-Sheva and Jerusalem. However, the moment we reclaim our right to all of Palestine, we will not wait even a minute to unite Palestine and Jordan."This fact was admitted by Professor Philip Hitti, an Arab historian who declared, “There is no such thing as Palestine in history, absolutely not.” This fact is further confirmed by the Saudi Arabia Representative at the United Nations. “It is common knowledge that Palestine is nothing but Southern Syria."

    Or Fathi Hammad, who said live on TV:

    “...half of the Palestinians are Egyptians and the other half are Saudis"

    How about Hafez Assad, Father of the Syrian "incumbent, who said to the PLO:

    "You do not represent Palestine as much as we do. Never forget this one point: There is no such thing as a Palestinian people, there is no Palestinian entity, there is only Syria.”

    Then there's Zuhair Muhsin, Executive Council, military commander of the PLO and member of the PLO:

    “There are no differences between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese. We are all part of one nation. It is only for political reasons that we carefully underline our Palestinian identity… yes, the existence of a separate Palestinian identity serves only tactical purposes. The founding of a Palestinian state is a new tool in the continuing battle against Israel.”

    And finally, a few words from retired terrorist, Walid Shoebat:

    “Why is it that on June 4th 1967 I was a Jordanian and overnight I became a Palestinian?” We did not particularly mind Jordanian rule. The teaching of the destruction of Israel was a definite part of the curriculum, but we considered ourselves Jordanian until the Jews returned to Jerusalem. Then all of the sudden we were Palestinians - they removed the star from the Jordanian flag and all at once we had a Palestinian flag”. When I finally realized the lies and myths I was taught, it is my duty as a righteous person to speak out”.

    I'm about as Kosher as a pork chop with a fried oyster side, but I think I get it.

    1. I understand that Walid Shoebat also left Islam for Evangelical Christianity.