by Victor Davis Hanson
A Middle East policy in ruins.
As Hamas goes, so with it go many of the following related Western pretensions.
The Passions of 9/11, Redux
It has been 22 years since we saw crowds throughout the Middle East celebrating the murder of 3,000 civilians—and since newspapers had daily “idiot watch” notices of American intellectuals defending radical Islamist mass murderers. And now the madness is back again, and we are witnessing the recrudescence of normalizing radical Islamic terrorists abroad.
I suppose the theory is that no one in America cares much about radical Islamists foaming at the mouth, whether abroad or here. And the result is that they are empowered and their defense of murder is growing—yet its hubris will earn an almost-certain response, an anger slowly but insidiously growing at radical Islam.
A Middle East Policy in Ruins
The current Biden appeasement of Iran and gift of billions of dollars in aggregate to the West Bank and Gaza are now, by bipartisan consensus, unsustainable. The only supporters of that lethal madness left are the embarrassments of BLM, the Squad, the Democratic Socialists of America, and the campus crowd.
Their collective hatred of Jews and Israelis was manifested in their delight over the post mortem mutilations of murdered women and children. And why—even before Israel had responded with air attacks—were leftists and Islamists suddenly celebrating the news of the executions of more than 1,200 Jews? It was instinctual, a Pavlovian response.
Even some leftist Democrats were shocked by their own constituents, whom they had created. Biden still might cling to his past destructive Middle East policies (and I expect him to restrict the Israelis within days after they begin to go in full force into Gaza), but the idea of continuing aid to the West Bank and Gaza or of “normalizing” relations with theocratic Iran will now be rightly seen as a suicidal delusion.
Ukraine and Gaza
Most Americans support arms for Ukraine to repel Russian aggressors.
But something is becoming strange about these two respective wars.
Why did the State Department more or less put no restrictions on Ukrainian retaliation, including operations against the Russian Black Sea Fleet—but the Secretary of State almost immediately called for a “ceasefire” to prevent Israeli retaliation, a mortal sin if he had dared say that about Ukraine’s similar response to aggression? Would an American diplomat lecture Ukraine about ending the “cycle of violence?”
Why does the U.S. discount any possibility of a strategic response from Russia—which reportedly has some 6,000-7,000 nuclear weapons—to attacks on its homeland, but seems almost terrified about calling Iran to account for its central role in arming and funding terrorists to start a war with Israel by slaughtering 1,200 civilians?
Is the U.S., as professed, really able to fund a $120 billion—and counting—war in Ukraine, and to replenish Israeli stocks (300,000 artillery shells shipped from U.S. depots in Israel to Ukraine, a reportedly mere one-month supply for Kyiv), and to restore depleted existing U.S. munitions (note the billions of dollars of equipment abandoned in Kabul), and to ramp up our forces to deter China (while allowing 8 million illegal aliens to flow across an open border and $33 trillion in national debt) without going on a massive war footing?
There are likely somewhere between 600,000 and 800,000 total wounded and dead in Ukraine, in the most lethal conflict in Europe since 1945. Why is the U.S. so eager to call for a ceasefire after a fraction of those casualties in Gaza, but it is near-taboo to mention a breather amid the historical carnage, with no end in sight, in Ukraine?
The administration always says we can do everything simultaneously, but then we never do. Rhetoric is not the same thing as trebling our arms supply chain, and cutting the budget elsewhere to pay for it, and closing our border.
The Biden Open Border
Given the common denominator of Russian and Gazan invading forces crossing poorly fortified borders, why would we not secure our own—far longer and less secure than either?
The Biden border nihilism is now a losing proposition even for the leftists who helped promote it. Biden is eroding the very base of the Democratic Party, by alienating inner-city and border-district minorities. They are irate at the hordes of people stampeding into the country with the assumption that breaking our laws is their birthright.
Even the daily mendacity of Alejandro Mayorkas and Karine Jean-Pierre cannot hide the brazen contempt for the law. Every day that the border remains open and thousands more pour in unaudited, illegally, without skills, in non-diverse fashion, and with cartel fentanyl—to the cheers of the corrupt socialist President Obrador of Mexico—the more Joe Biden is destroying his own party.
The ruin in Gaza only reminds Americans that under present policies we will soon see thousands of America-hating, anti-Semitic Gazans seeking to pour into the United States illegally, eager to join the mass demonstrations cheering on Hamas death squads. It seems to take about a month for a radical Middle Eastern refugee, having arrived with gratitude toward his new American hosts, to take to the street on a “Day of Jihad” calling for the end of Israel (and often damning America).
Allies as Enemies
Abroad, we are finally accepting the long-suppressed reality that many of our “allies” are not neutrals but enemies. The U.S. bases in Qatar and Turkey, and our indifference to the pro-Hamas sentiments, if not outright aid, of both, have empowered terrorism.
Ever so slowly, the two anti-American nations are reminding Americans that we need to draw down our forces from these hostile landscapes, which in any global crisis would likely be hostile territory for our own troops.
Everyone knows Erdogan’s Turkey has no business in NATO—and everyone has no idea how to get them out. And so everyone puts an asterisk over Turkey as a NATO member. For now, the alliance’s only Islamist, non-democratic, and anti-Western nation is best simply avoided, since expelling Turkey appears to be more trouble than tolerating its toxic presence.
The Palestinian State Solution
The Left’s shrill demand for a “two-state” solution, and tolerance of Palestinian tired and serial threats to drive Israel into the sea, are for now over. The glee with which Gazans and West Bankers met the news of mass murder, mutilation, hostage-taking, rape, and the desecration of bodies is proof enough that these dictatorial governments probably do represent the majority of their citizens.
Most Gazans were giddy on hearing of the macabre methods of Hamas, and only wished that there had been more opportunity to spit on hostages, poke captive women, kick corpses, and torment the child and female trophies brought back from Israel. The Gazan delight in the grotesque was reminiscent of some medieval pogrom, or the Roman triumphs of old with their files of enslaved captives. And perhaps the desire to take captives and pass them back through the killing fields to Gaza reminds of the Aztec practice of seeking to capture rather than just kill their enemies, in order to have plenty of bodies for the human sacrifices on Templo Major.
The old idea of Gaza—self-governed since 2005-2006 by “one man, one vote, once” Hamas—as a possible “Singapore” with Hyatt and Four Seasons beaches, flush with hundreds of billions of dollars from the Gulf, Europe, the U.S. and the UN, is finally revealed as the farce it always was. That fantasy was simply antithetical to the Hamas nihilist charter, the logical manifestation of which was the slaughter inside Israel of hundreds of civilians.
BLM was always a corrupt, disingenuous operation—the craftier successor to the Jesse Jackson/Al Sharpton 1980s corporate shake-downs. But it is has finally jumped the shark with its sick support for Hamas murderers (note its recent posters glorifying Hamas’s hang-gliding butchery).
Its pro-death advocacy of Hamas is the pièce de résistance to the corruption and abdication of its leadership, the Kendi-con, and the lethal crime wave it helped spawn in major cities. Its racist agendas may linger for a while. But BLM is going the way of the 1960s Black Panthers—that is, one leading to general disgust, then to irrelevance, and finally to nothingness.
The still-remaining BLM murals in our major downtowns are already embarrassments and eroding reminders of the insanity that swept the country from 2020 to the present.
Universities have now crossed the Rubicon in de facto condoning their crazed students cheering on mass death. They made the argument after George Floyd that the country must listen to their pseudo-moral lectures, and now they unashamedly broadcast what they have become—traitors to the idea of an enlightened free society, and kindred spirits to the anti-Semitism, intolerance, and fascism of 1930s German universities.
Degrees from Harvard, Yale, and Stanford will soon become, not resume badges, but either embarrassments or certifications of a mediocre education. Or both.
Universities all rushed to embrace “decolonization”, starting with empty and ahistorical virtue signals and ending up paralyzed, as thousands of their own students showed the world how ecstatic they were over news that babies were murdered and women raped.
In response, their invertebrate administrators and faculty sat frozen for days, calculating how best to issue “on the one hand…on the other hand” mush. The first serious politician who calls for the taxing of the huge incomes of their endowments, for yanking the government out of the student loan business and returning the moral hazard to the universities who impoverish their own students, will win overwhelming support.
The Gaza of Hamas is going down, but so are a lot of corrupt institutions and ideas that threw in with its lot.
I would recommend against the Nazi reference: the Nazis didn’t deny knowledge of atrocities until *after the war*, making them a bad contrast to current Palestinians.
Victor Davis Hanson