Dale Herspring’s recent column asserting President Obama’s lack of leadership with foreign “allies” was well-timed to coincide with similar arguments by interventionists Dick Cheney, John McCain and Lindsey Graham.
According to Mr. Herspring, Saudi Arabia is upset that Obama has not stopped “Iran’s charge toward an atomic bomb.” However, no facts support that Iran is developing an atomic bomb. On the contrary, in 2007 under President Bush, all 17 American intelligence agen-cies concluded that Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003. In 2011, the same 17 intelligence agen-cies re-affirmed that Iran had abandoned its nuclear weapons program in 2003. Any claim that Iran has a nuclear weapons program grossly contra-dicts what U.S. intelligence agencies unanimously conclude.
Additionally, Saudi Arabia is widely recognized as the world’s foremost exporter of Wahabism, madrassas and religious mili-tancy. Sen. Bob Graham, former chairmen of the Senate Intel-ligence Committee, recently stated in an affidavit filed in a lawsuit brought against the Saudi government by families of 9/11 victims, “I am convinced that there was a direct line between at least some of the terrorists who carried out the September 11th attacks and the government of Saudi Arabia.”
Former 9/11 Commission member Sen. Bob Kerrey signed an affidavit in the same case stating, “Evidence relating to the plausible involvement of pos-sible Saudi government agents in the September 11th attacks has never been fully pursued.”
Against such a backdrop, it is telling that American interven-tionists argue that our president should conform to the Saudi pos-ition. Mr. Herspring’s statement that “inconsistency in Syria policy helped Russian President Vladimir Putin emerge as an arbitrator” ignores the pivotal role of the American and British people in the crisis. Several months ago, Secretary of State John Kerry trumpeted claims of “evidence” of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s use of chemical weapons and encouraged Amer-icans to read for themselves “the evidence from thousands of sources” — but no evidence was presented to substantiate the claims. As such, American and British public opinion over-whelmingly rejected calls for war and ultimately forced a diplomatic option that has pro-duced the successful destruction of all of Syria’s chemical weapons.
Mr. Herspring’s assertion that both Republican and Demo-cratic administrations “have stood behind Israel 100 percent” demands clarification. Such a statement ignores deep and enduring differences between U.S. and Israeli interests. For instance, President Eisenhower did not stand behind Israel in 1956 when he demanded Israel immediately withdraw from Egypt; President Carter did not stand behind Israel when America voted in favor of U.N. Security Council resolution 456; President Reagan did not stand behind Israel when he angrily demanded an end to needless shelling of Lebanon; George H.W. Bush did not stand behind Israel when he demanded a halt to all settlement activity in exchange for $10 billion in loan guarantees; and George W. Bush did not stand behind Israel when he demanded immediate with-drawal of IDF from several cities in the West Bank. Asserting that the U.S. supports Israel 100 percent of the time is untrue and falsely implies that U.S. interests are the same as Israel’s.
While President Obama has certainly made missteps in foreign policy, it is also undeniable that American interventionists are con-stantly maneuvering to involve our military in other countries’ internal affairs. This was true for Clinton in the former Yugoslavia, George W. Bush in Iraq and Obama in Libya, Syria and Iran. The stated reasons for involvement range from preventing humanitarian disaster, to stopping the spread of WMD and chemical weapons, to toppling “rogue” states. Buzz-words like “red lines,” “cred-ibility,” “lack of leadership” and “inconsistency” are used to steer our civilian and military leaders to follow the interventionists’ agenda.
Such persistent maneuvering by this well-connected group should refresh in our minds President Eisenhower’s stern warning that misplaced power in the halls of government is the greatest threat to our liberties and democratic processes.
Curt Loub is a local attorney.