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Madness and Chaos: The Left in the Time of Trump

In the late 1950s, the now sadly departed great Nigerian novelist Chinua Achebe wrote his masterpiece, Things Fall Apart . I remember readin...

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Good News on the Middle East

I find myself envious of those who worked on the UAE, Bahrain, Israel agreements, known as the Abraham Accords. As an old FSO, I would have given just about anything to get involved in something like that, but only under President Trump, who introduced radical ideas into these sort of agreements: reality and common sense. 

Not that I ever will--Oh Heaven Forfend! Never!--but I would like to yell loudly at tell my old colleagues in the NEA (Near East Asia) bureau, "I told you so!" 

Let me explain.

During my nearly 34 years at State, I stayed away from two major topics. State considered them the Holiest of the Holiest, suitable only for an elite possessed of THE Revealed Knowledge; both consumed an extraordinary amount of time and resources, e.g., lots of travel and nice hotels. I speak in hushed reverential tones, of course, of two sacred "Processes": nuclear arms talks with the USSR, and the "search" for Middle East Peace. 

As an outsider and "non-expert," not worthy of The Knowledge, I found, and stated on multiple occasions, that the US government's approaches to both topics seemed hopelessly convoluted, opaque, and apparently designed to keep solutions at bay and legions of bureaucrats fully employed for decades. Neither ever struck me as particularly difficult to handle. Both of those long-running "Processes," however, had become captive to the "experts," who developed arcane language and rituals to protect their Enlightened Brotherhood. God help the unwashed outsider who expressed a less-than hagiographic opinion on those! 

On those occasions in Foggy Bottom when I stated strong doubts that these "Processes" and their endless negotiations served US interests, I remember the exasperated sighs, the eye-rolls, the sneering lips, and the condescending explanations from the Anointed Ones in NEA, EUR, and PM/ACDA as to why only an idiot, such as yours truly, would doubt the Wise Ones and their doings. Those Wise Ones told me to keep to my own ken, and far away from the "Processes." Fine by me; I had a much better time in Latin America and Asia.

Well, well, how the worm turns . . . the "idiots" proved correct. 

The threat from the USSR did not end thanks to some complex, clever agreement hashed out by the Wise Ones with their Soviet counterparts. It ended with the collapse of the USSR engineered by a cowboy movie star who realized that the USSR could not compete with US technology and GDP. Ronald Reagan did not prove popular with the Wise Ones, but he did prove right, to wit, in international affairs, strength proves better than weakness, and don't give up that strength in the pursuit of a flimsy deal. Simple, no? As an aside I would note, the British also ignored that dictum as we saw in PM May's hapless and Byzantine negotiations re Brexit, joining us as another Western power victimized by the "experts." In sum, when you have the upper hand, use it.

If possible, the Middle East Peace Process (always become skeptical of just about anything in international affairs employing the word "process") seemed even more convoluted than the arms control charade. The State Department, I would note, was and remains overwhelmingly anti-Israel, regardless of the White House's occupant.  

We got involved in decades-long talks with the Palestinians, the Syrians, the Saudis, the UN, the EU, etc. We spent years mulling over moving our Embassy in Israel to the capital of Israel, but could never bring ourselves to do it: the "experts" predicted regional mayhem if we did--and it would make the Palestinians unhappy(ier). Couldn't have that. No way. Such a move would sabotage the "Peace Process." Above all else the "Process" needed protection. We sent our troops on disastrous expeditions to Lebanon, for no good reason. We refused to become energy independent, leaving ourselves open to blackmail. We constantly hectored the Israelis--who, along with Eastern Europeans, are the world's ultimate realists--about the need to play nice, you know, ignore the threats to annihilate them coming from across their borders and daily at the UN. We shuttled; we talked; we paid enormous sums of money to the Palestinian Authority and to corrupt anti-American UN agencies, e.g. UNRWA. It made no sense. I saw the so-called Palestinian cause as a fraud of the first order (here, for example.) When I would converse with Arab and other Muslim diplomats, in private, they made clear they couldn't care less about the Palestinians and, in fact, had gotten fed up with them. They couldn't say so in public, but made it known through many actions, including their growing concern over Iranian involvement in "Palestine" issues. None of the Muslim countries wanted Palestinian "refugees," and all seemed content to let the West pay for and take them in. 

We, nevertheless, kept playing a stupid game wherein the deceitful Palestinian authorities, who had zero interest in peace or good governance, could--and would--veto any proffered settlement. They could accept only the total elimination of Israel, but--Surprise!--the Israelis would not agree to that. Damn Jews . . . what's another holocaust if it brings peace? Eh? Take a hit for the team, sheesh . . .

Well, as with so much else I find appealing about Trump, he skipped the "experts" and their warnings about the "Process." He relied on facts and a clear vision as to what proved in the US interest. He did what I had advocated for so long, ignore the Palestinians, do an end run on them. He moved our Embassy to Jerusalem, and recognized Israeli sovereignty over the Golan. He cut off US funding for the corrupt Authority, and the equally corrupt UNRWA, and did not waste a lot of time talking with that Authority. All this combined, of course, with US energy independence, and our acknowledging--at long last--that the Arabs fear Iran much more than they do Israel. He used our strength to weaken and corner Iran--no more pallets of cash--and to push the Saudis to a realization that it was time to move. Let's face it, the UAE and Bahrain deals could not have gone through without getting the Saudis on board--and Trump did that. I am sure we will see in the next few months more Gulf States, and others, join in recognizing Israel and becoming part of the US-led anti-Iran alliance. The Saudis, too, will eventually come out in public.

The Palestinians? Well, they got put in a box. Trump has done what we should have done long ago, to wit, in essence, declare the Palestinian issue one for Israel and Jordan. We do not need to get involved. 

Sitting with the Palestinians in that box we find the Iranians and their friends in the Democrat Party. The landscape in the Middle East has changed dramatically against them. There no longer is any validity--if ever there was--to a policy appeasing the Iranians. Another legacy from the Obama misadministration has bitten the dust. John Kerry proved wrong about it all. Kerry, go talk to your buddy Soleimani  . . . oh, that's right. I forgot. Turns out nobody needs you in the Middle East. Go find some other way to show hatred for America. You're good at that. 

Good news. Don't let anybody tell you otherwise.


28 comments:

  1. Lew, I remember your rants in the State cafeteria about the MidEast peace process!
    An old colleague

    ReplyDelete
  2. Just gonna throw something into the mix Mr Amselem, for your consideration?

    You recall a certain individual who was "on the outs" with the previous misadministration partly on account of his participation with a study/analysis the conclusions (and roadmap) of which was in direct opposition to what the "Enlightened Brotherhood" had been saying for decades was 'the way to go about this'?

    I would humbly suggest that the fellow may well been acting as a sort of 'hidden hand' all along but his former associates (as well as that misadministration) has gone to great pains to ensure his professional [and indeed his personal] bona fides and expertise was in shambles.

    I'm not gonna type his name on this comment but I will submit a hint:

    He's got a lawyer name of Sidney.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Yes, I remember hours spent at Georgetown in the School of Foreign Service, compelled to pore over SALT II and the counting of MIRV warheads like medieval theologians parsing the sacred Patristic texts in a hushed atmosphere of high solemnity. Woe unto the irreverent! And it was all a complete waste of time. Completely put me off a career in the diplomatic service.

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  4. Every time I see the name John Kerry or hear about something that fool has done a vision enters my mind and peace flows like a river: John Kerry is on fire at the end of my driveway as I stand on my porch and watch , with a smile on my face.

    ReplyDelete
  5. J. Effing Kerry should have been shot for treason many years ago...........

    ReplyDelete
  6. Translated:
    Boola Boola strategy & tactics
    of the curtain sliders FAILed!
    The Big 10 play WORKed,
    RIGHT up the middle-->
    OW~~~
    "Let's Roll"
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DKGmP5X8nNs

    ReplyDelete
  7. My father was a State lifer. FSO from '62 to '80 or so, then chief of labor relations until '86. I don't know how he would feel, but I see no reason to disagree with you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanking your father in abstentia, for his devoted service to country!
      On Watch~~~

      Delete
  8. Having worked in Riyadh in the mid-90s, I would say it is hard to overestimate the importance of this. You are right that the Gulf States would never have begun this without at least tacit Saudi approval. And if Trump gets Saudi to recognize Israel, well, I will be so happy and astonished that I won't know what to do.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Still not seeing much of this in the news which seems to be 24/7 on antifa and the west coast burning. So much for the news.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Replies
    1. If I may translate:
      https://reformjudaism.org/learning/answers-jewish-questions/what-greetings-are...
      On Rosh HaShanah, we can say “Shanah tovah um’tukah,” which means “May you have a good and sweet new year.”The greeting can be shortened to “Shanah tovah” (“A good year”).The more formal expression is “L’shanah tovah tikateivu v’teichateimu”, which means “A good year, and may you be inscribed and sealed (for blessing in the Book of Life).”
      OW~~~
      Amen

      Delete
  11. probably the sentiments of all.... I appreciate your posts, yet none more than insights such as this!

    - reader #1482

    ReplyDelete
  12. Trump still wont get the Nobel regardless of how many Arab States join the Abraham Accords (even the name is a brilliant move) because the Leftists that run these organization just cant get over Orange Man Bad.
    But the good money says he will get 4 more years.

    ReplyDelete
  13. "Trump...the good money says he will get 4 more years." - KJ
    From your lips~~~
    ~~~On Watch
    "Let's Roll"

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope your good money is right. I do not look forward to a Camel Harris maladministration.

      Delete
  14. Yep, spent most of my time overseas in the ME, starting as a DOD contractor and finishing up as one of the first STS/DSS hires. Most of the people I met there couldn't have cared less about the "Palestinians". Of which there was no such term until the early '60's IIRC.
    And the kicker was that everybody "knew" that most of the agricultural products sold out of Jordan came from Israel.

    And way off topic, is anyone else having problems accessing .com website today? All of my usual ones come up with a 404 error.

    ReplyDelete
  15. President Trump, in his plan to militarily exit the sand box, is getting the US out of the Endless Wars­(TM). But a side benefit is that it forces the ME nations to bury the hatchet with Israel and recognize that the real existential threat is Iran. Of course, the Saudis realize that they will need some help.

    The so called nuclear negotiations between the EU nations and Iran are a sham. Europe is now irrelevant in that theater. What will be important now is the stand by the Abraham treaty signatories and Iran. Besides, German companies seem to like to trade with Iran on supporting their nuclear aspirations.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I said a prayer of thanks over the accord between Israel, UAE, and Bahrain. Unhappily, I fear that an ugly, brutal reunification of Taiwan with Mainland China is probably in the works.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. boy do I hope not... I'm not quite certain why Taiwan has yet no nuclear deterrent... I've got to imagine it's the same terrible foggy-bottom crap that our host was talking about in this very article... "we can't allow that.. it will *destabilize*.. instead we've got to wait for China to grow it's military to the point where it can take Taiwan in a bloody assault.. that will be great"

      why? can we float Taiwan some w-88's? clinton all but handed them to China anyways....

      - reader #1482

      Delete
    2. If Taiwan wants nuclear weapons they can probably buy the material needed to do so in a year or less, and building the bombs after they have the material would probably take a very short time. Kind of like how Japan does not have nuclear weapons, but they could have them in a very short time since they already have all the material and have assembled weapons that are just a few steps short of being usable.

      Delete
    3. What makes you think Taiwan doesn't have nukes? I think they are probably in the same situation as Japan. All the components are on hand and ready to assemble, if not already assembled.

      Delete
    4. There was a "hot' rumour doing the rounds back about thirty years ago that there had been some "horse-trading" done with fellow "pariah state" South Africa"

      At the time SA was well down the path to being a minor nuclear power. I recall there being a mysterious mega-flash over the Southern Ocean one year.

      At least one other nation was also alleged to be part of the deal; may have been Singapore, maybe not. More likely; Israel. Means and motivation do matter.

      A LOT of development can happen in thirty years.

      Delete

  17. "Saudi Royal Family Divides Over Potential Embrace of Israel..."

    Consider the source of course, I just grabbed the Drudge-Sludge Headline!
    Still, there's enough stank in the air, to detect at least a 'Gambit' or two! No?
    On Watch~~~
    watching @^@ see de corp-corruptocrat link:
    https://www.wsj.com/articles/saudi-royal-family-split-relations-israel-uae-bahrain-mbs-prince-king-11600446560

    ReplyDelete
  18. I worked for 9 years in the middle east jumping from country to country. There has to be a financial gain for UAE and Bahrain that is not being let out. Also most countries over there think the Palestinians are just one rung above being a Jew.

    In 2012 I was deported from UAE because I had a visa stamp for Israel. The job got pushed for 6 months. I had to get a new passport at the embassy in Germany and then update my multi-entry visa for Qatar and Bahrain before I went back to the middle east. By the time I made it back to UAE I had 7 or 8 pages of the new passport filled.

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  19. I agree these peace deals are generally a good thing.

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  20. In consulting there is a saying. "If you're not a part of the solution, there is good money in prolonging the problem."

    ReplyDelete