This morning we continue with the dispatches Joel Mowbray started filing with us from Israel this past Sunday:
JERUSALEM–“How can you expect us to do much when your own government does nothing after North Korea launches several missiles, on your Independence Day no less?”
That was the question asked of me by a right-leaning hawk inside the Israeli government. His palpable frustration was triggered by the feeling that the U.S. is emboldening the enemies of freedom with Bush’s bizarre new soft touch.
His basic argument that U.S. allies are constrained when America refuses to react strongly to its threats was new to me, but upon reflection, it makes a good deal of sense.
Iran and North Korea are both getting exactly what they wanted by doing exactly what we warned them not to. The EU and the UN obviously approve enthusiastically of our newfangled “restraint,” but allies like Israel and Japan must wince. After all, if the U.S. is willing to “talk” to nascent nuclear nutcases, what kind of political cover is there for Israel to confront Hamas decisively? And what can Japan, the nation most threatened by a nuke-happy Pyongyang, expect of the international community when the U.S. merely insists upon turning the other cheek?
Lest anyone think that Israel coddling Hamas would have little direct effect on the U.S., consider that Iran is deeply involved in Hamas’ activities. As is Syria. As is Hezbollah. Mere appearance of strength by Islamic terrorists attacking the Jewish state would have an incredibly potent effect on morale and recruiting. Yes, that’s already happening everytime the death toll climbs in Iraq, but a double dose of “good news” for militant Islamists could have a lethally synergistic effect.
For Joel’s report from Tel Aviv on Sunday, click here.