The gathering storm, cont’d

In her most recent Jerusalem Post column Caroline Glick argues that the United States has cast its lot with Hamas against Israel, and seeks to explain why. I don’t think her explanations hold, and they lead me to doubt her thesis. Yet something important has shifted in American foreign policy that bends it toward accommodation with Turkey/Syria/Hezbollah/Hamas if not Iran, and toward a policy of something like appeasement with Iran. It is a policy that prides itself on “realism” but one that rests on fantasy, and that stands justly accused (by Glick, in the first of her proffered explanations) of naïveté. See also Lee Smith’s “Extreme makeover.”
Indeed, in the flotilla incident, the Obama administration has also become a de facto supporter of a Hamas operation. If the administration does not quickly rethink its premises, it will indeed serve as a functional ally of Iran in the region, as I believe Glick’s column powerfully demonstrates. Whose side will the Obama administration take with respect to the Iranian ships seeking to break Israel’s Gaza blockade? The Iranian flotilla is scheduled to leave for Israel on June 18. J.E. Dyer considers “The flotilla thriller” coming this summer.
Having been out of touch with the news for a few days, I learned from Glick’s column that the United States is seeking to deport the “Son of Hamas” (Mosab Yousef) who served as an Israeli counterterror agent preventing many terrorist attacks on Israel. Glick writes that the Obama administration’s decision to seek the deportation of Yousef to the Palestinian Authority where he would be killed is the latest sign of the administration’s support for radical Islam.
Unbelievably, Yousef’s deportation is sought on the ground that he provided material support to Hamas. (Glick does not note the ground on which Yousef’s deportation is sought.) On this point, read Evelyn Gordon’s post “Homeland Security’s solution to terror: Deport those who fought it.” Something does not compute.
The Obama administration is fiddling while the Iranian regime prepare to make us burn. So Bret Stephens demonstrates in “Iran cannot be contained,” one of the most important essays Commentary has ever published. Stephens usefully reminds us of some history that bears on the current challenge:

Iran’s seizure of the U.S. Embassy in 1979 was a direct attack on sovereign U.S. territory and an act of war by any legal standard. Iran almost certainly had a hand in the 1983 bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut, in which 241 American servicemen perished, while the FBI has long believed that Iran was also responsible for the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing that killed another 19 Americans. Then there was the war in Iraq, during which Iran did little to disguise the fact that it supplied Shiite militias, and perhaps also Sunni terrorist groups, with sophisticated, armor-piercing munitions responsible for the deaths of scores, perhaps hundreds, of U.S. soldiers.

Contrary to “realist” premises, Stephens argues, Iran is very far from being the pragmatic and mostly circumspect power depicted by advocates of containment. “On the contrary, the regime has stood out since its earliest days for its willingness to pick fights with powerful enemies, to undertake terrorist strikes at great range, to court international opprobrium and moral outrage, to test international diplomatic patience, and to raise the stakes every time the world seemed ready to come to terms.” Yet along the Obama administration has raised up its fiddling to something like performance art.

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