Kissinger versus Blinken

Senator Cotton makes several crucial points in the video at the adjacent post. They are to some extent stated and elaborated by Israeli historian Gadi Taub in the December 7 Tablet column “Antony Blinken Is Hardly the Next Kissinger.” While the headline understates matters considerably, the text does not:

If Kissinger’s policy loosened the noose around Israel’s neck, Blinken’s policy of appeasement will only tighten it. Restraining Israel would save Iran’s proxies from defeat and strengthen the Islamic Republic’s position. And if Tehran is playing Cairo’s former role in this drama, then China and Russia are playing the role of the Soviets. By empowering the Iranians, Blinken’s policy will inevitably also further the penetration of the region by Iran’s patrons, the Russians and the Chinese, at America’s expense. Kissinger’s policy was focused on pushing America’s great power rivals out. American policy today is inviting them in.

Far from being a new Kissinger, Blinken is more like a new Neville Chamberlain with an iPad instead of an umbrella. The former British Prime Minister’s policy of appeasement toward German aggression in 1930s set the stage for World War II. The current misguided American policy of “realignment” with Iran, as Michael Doran and Tony Badran have called it, is what set the stage for the Hamas attack, and is likely to lead to larger disruptions of the regional and international order.

Appeasement is not an offhand mistake the Democratic Party drifted into carelessly, or stumbled upon out of weakness. It is a premeditated strategy designed to strengthen Iran at the expense of America’s traditional allies, based on the misguided idea that “integrating” the Mullahs of Tehran into a regional system, and giving them a stake in the game, will make them responsible players. Its long-term goal is a new equilibrium between Iran and America’s allies, who will learn, in Obama’s terms, to “share the neighborhood.”

The Biden administration is clearly unable to change direction. The raw savagery of the Oct. 7 slaughter sponsored by Iran, which is now a nuclear threshold state, may have shocked many around the world, but it has not forced any serious rethinking in Washington. Instead, the Biden team continues to offer Iran sanctions relief. This is an increasingly dangerous game, and not just on the regional level. On the global stage, it signals the potential for a violent dissolution of the American-led security system that has kept the West safe since the end of the Second World War.

I pause here to emphasize this paragraph, which immediately follows the passage above:

For Israel, the danger is clear and present. It is an urgent question of national survival, which will require us to devise a new long-term strategy. Such a strategy cannot rely on the good will of the current U.S. administration, which has demonstrated it will protect its Iran policy at Israel’s expense. The short time frame and increasingly suffocating restraints that Blinken is trying to impose on Israel’s Gaza offensive reveal a serious misunderstanding of our situation, or worse, a fundamental betrayal of Israel’s vital interests.

Before it was rendered an epithet, appeasement was a policy. It is in fact the policy pursued by Obama and Biden vis a vis Iran and the Biden administration continues to pursue it.

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