by Sarah Honig
Even Barack Obama’s midterm electoral humiliation won’t redeem US foreign policy. The problem didn’t begin with the history-deficient mind-set of American students who’ll earn their bachelor’s degrees in 2014. But the intellectual rootlessness of the class of 2014 exacerbates the flaws. Today’s students/tomorrow’s leaders fertilize the soil into which bad seeds are sown by the current Washington elite.
On the simplistic level it was a hoot to read that to the class of 2014 Beethoven is a movie pooch, Michelangelo was a computer virus and Czechoslovakia never existed. For the past 13 years Beloit College’s Mind-Set List by Tom McBride and Ron Nief was a guaranteed source of hilarity, because each year the ignorance quotient it registers seems to climb to unprecedented, more grotesque and inconceivable heights.
But rather than amuse, The Mind-Set List should alarm. It’s safe to assume that things are way worse off campus.
The ignorant are more amenable to manipulation. Those who don’t know there ever was a Czechoslovakia are unlikely to have delved into what led up to World War II. The word appeasement isn’t likely to give them goosebumps. They won’t know how Czechoslovakia was betrayed, ripped apart and sacrificed by antiwar priests on the altar of world peace. It’s improbable they’ll have internalized the sobering realization that the priests were (at best) fools and that the peace they sought to serve was a false god.
Uninformed, and lacking healthy suspicion, they won’t be able to recognize old dangers in new guises. The know-nothing cultural touchstones of the future movers and shakers of the world’s single remaining superpower doom us all to reliving dreadful scenarios.
Already now they’re putty in the hands of politicians with neo-appeasement agendas.
They’re Obama’s enablers. They facilitate lackadaisical postmodern foreign policy that could wreak as much havoc as did Neville Chamberlain’s negligent naïveté of 1938.
Seventy-two years ago, a “peace partner” called Adolf Hitler convinced the free world that the source of global disquiet was Czechoslovakia. He even did so with adroit resort to human-rights discourse, having employed a vast propaganda machine to disseminate disinformation about calculated cruel Czech abuses against the Sudetenland’s innocent peace-loving ethnic Germans. It may all look eerily familiar to contemporary news-consumers if we merely substitute the world Israeli for Czech and Palestinian for Sudeten.
Indeed Israel today is depicted as no less an intransigent hindrance to global harmony than Czechoslovakia once was. “Our dispute” is singled out as the one which must be resolved instantly to rid this oil-rich region and the oil-thirsty planet of the volatility which Israel obdurately inflames.
Just see the alacrity with which any prime politico anywhere harps on our case. With characteristic hubris, Obama sets out to solve within a year what hasn’t been resolved since the 19th century. Nobody who’s anybody on the Quartet’s prestige-coveting Who’s Who has failed to chime in cheerily. Everyone is gung ho on garnering personal glory from the renewed Mideast “negotiations” spectacle.
The self-serving ground rules are clear.
Israel must effuse goodwill gestures and concessions to allow the show to go on. Jewish construction is insufferable. The Palestinians (divided though they are) must be excused anything lest the façade be marred.
Who cares if the region’s real powder keg is unrelated to Israel? Who, moreover, cares that Obama is leaving said keg unguarded?
IF ANY further proof were needed of Obamaesque false perspectives and foolhardiness, one need look no further than Baghdad. In keeping with his moral-relativist precepts, Obama is busy creating a catastrophic vacuum in Iraq – to begin with an artificial ethnic/religious concoction arbitrarily put together by perfidious Albion. This imperialist mélange has nothing to do with Jews, Zionists and Israelis. But Israel can be dragged in, as Czechoslovakia was, to deflect attention from actual flash points.
And so, as world powers ceremoniously sponsor a sham gabfest geared to sell Israel out, Shi’ites infiltrate Iraq from Iran, Sunnis are dispatched by al-Qaida and the Kurds gear up for war. The stage is set for a cataclysmic intra-Muslim conflagration while all eyes are focused on perpetual whipping-boy Israel.
No local force can stem the creeping disaster. Seven months after Iraq’s inconclusive elections, its fractious politicians are yet to form a viable government. The so-called Iraqi army is a conglomeration of sectarian militias. Each will eagerly turn against the others. The communal sadism is savage and the mutual slaughter unstoppable. But the world hardly bothers to glance at dismembered Iraqi corpses. Gazans, like the Sudeten Germans of yore, tug at the international community’s heartstrings.
All we’ve already seen in Iraq is but a prelude to the apocalypse Obama unleashes willy-nilly. True, he didn’t start the Iraqi conflict, but how he exits Iraq is no less crucial. Obama’s Iraqi chaos won’t be contained within the borders which London once capriciously drew. The anarchy will destabilize the Saudi realm and the neighboring Arabian Peninsula’s luxurious latifundia.
There’s no point in mincing words. Obama has surrendered Iraq to the worst of America’s enemies and to the enemies of Western civilization, even if he cannot for ideological reasons admit this. In the making right now is a fiasco of gargantuan proportions. It will dwarf Jimmy Carter’s 1979 abandonment of the shah and his extraordinary shortsightedness which gave the world Teheran’s ayatollah theocracy.
If any reason existed for the most intense vigilance possible on Israel’s part – indeed for mistrust of any grand move by Obama – Iraq furnishes it with surfeit. This is the time for our leaders to mouth morning and night in every public utterance a new set of interlinked mantras:
“Concentrate on Iraq. Israel is not the cause of the region’s ills. Palestinian grievances are frauds concocted by aggressive and corrupt Arab regimes. Neither an independent Fatahland nor a sovereign Hamastan (or a combination thereof) will obviate the much more compelling Kurdish demand for a state, nor will it sate Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s appetites, quell Shi’ite- Sunni hatreds, abate the bloodlust or in any manner halt the Mesopotamian Armageddon. A Palestinian state is irrelevant to the region’s real misfortune.”
But can our higher-ups be counted upon to tell it like it is? We better not hold our breath. They are prisoners of Obama-babble. It’s not that they don’t know his platitudes are hokum. They just don’t dare say so. It’s politically incorrect and bad PR.
Obama-speak clichés oblige Israel to take existential risks. The Arabs are in essence asked to wait patiently for Israeli suicide rather than rush in for the precipitous kill. Coated with enough sugar, this poison-pill appears the perfect cure. Refusal to swallow it becomes unreasonable Israeli rejectionism, which upsets the delicate international equilibrium in a world devoid of any troublesome memories of Czechoslovakia.
The ignorance inculcated in the young can be blissful not only for the class of 2014. Who needs well-founded pessimism in Obama’s world, where (presumably) there are no deadly dangers and no ill will?
Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.