One had the sense when Democrats such as John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, and Christopher Dodd voted to authorize the war in Iraq that political opportunism may have had something to do with their calculations. They all had (have) aspirations for higher office. If the war had proved to be a success, as seemed likely at the time, their opposition to it would predictably have been used against them by Republicans. Now that the war has proved problematic, their support of the war has been used against them most effectively by Barack Obama. Obama is the new face of the old transformation of the Democratic Party between 1968 and 1972.
The heart of the modern Democratic Party is McGovernite; Democratic partistans naturally revert to McGovernism. Bill Clinton added a proviso to the McGovernism that manifests itself in rote opposition to American military action. Military action is acceptable so long as it does not directly advance the national interest of the United States. Given the current landscape, Democrats need do little more than oppose our efforts in Iraq. When reality intervenes, the outcome will be unpleasant in unpredictable ways.
Hillary Clinton and John Kerry are the face of Democratic opportunism. Their support of the war was never more than the least required to protect their presidential aspirations in the event that the war proved successful. How galling it must be especially to Ms. Clinton to have her support of the war used against her so effectively by Obama. Any fool can see she didn’t mean it!
By contrast, Republicans naturally supported the war in Iraq. The only Republican Senator who voted against the authorization for war was a Republican in name only (Lincoln Chafee). Now that Republican Senators Lugar, Warner, Voinovich, and Domenici are bailing out on the war, we see the face of Republican opportunism. In the process of bailing, Domenici invoked the Iraq Study Group Report (“Mr. Domenici said he would push for legislation that essentially enacted the recommendations of the bipartisan Iraq Study Group”) and Lugar is a kindred spirit on this score. Republican opportunism manifests itself in a reversion to the establishment realism of James Baker. So let us briefly recall the higher wisdom of James Baker in the Iraq Study Group Report.
Like Dr. Causabon in Middlemarch, James Baker wanders the earth with the key to all mythologies. Historical developments have not altered Baker’s ideological fixation on the centrality of Israel to events in the Middle East and elsewhere in the world:
To put it simply, all key issues in the Middle East — the Arab-Israeli conflict, Iraq, Iran, the need for political and economic reforms, and extremism and terrorism are inextricably linked.
That certainly does put it simply, but is there any evidence for the proposition?
If Iran picks up the pace of its 28-year-old war against the United States, a healthy serving of Israeli territory seems to be the answer. If Syria resumes its murderous Lebanon campaign, a healthy serving of Israeli territory seems to be the answer. If Baghdad is dissolving in sectarian violence, a healthy serving of Israeli territory to third parties seems to be the answer. If a healthy serving of Israeli territory can’t be offered to satisfy Hezbollah and Hamas, they can be ignored.
The key to all mythologies provides the key to resolution of “the Arab-Israeli conflict.” That too can be simply put:
The only basis on which peace can be achieved is that set forth in UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338 in the principle of “land for peace.
Resolution 242 dates to 1967 and Resolution 338 dates to 1973. All agreements, accords and assurances since 1973 have been disposed down the memory hole, a victim of the ISG members’ collective Alzheimer’s disease.
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