. The article captures an important truth, but is overlong and diffuse. I’ve abridged it below:
The president of the United States has just destroyed the longest-lasting peace treaty in the Middle East. That Nobel Prize-winning treaty between Egypt and Israel was destroyed by Obama in broad daylight, right in front of God and everybody, with stunning audacity.
The White House kept repeating the message that Mubarak must resign, and “now means now.” This is simply unprecedented, even during the height of the Cold War. American presidents don’t demand in public that their crucial allies resign. It is a diplomatic insult of unprecedented proportions.
Mubarak was the thirty-year strongman who preserved the single biggest pillar of Middle East peace, the Egypt-Israel peace treaty. USA Today predicted that the peace treaty was in danger when Mubarak fell. Everybody knew. The Israelis kept telling Obama, and the Egyptians and Saudis must have done that as well. The Saudis, who are now facing a nuclear Iran fifty miles away, are walking away from their decades-long alliance with the United States. Nobody trusts American guarantees anymore.
Obama did it, knowing that the Arab world would break down into near-universal civil war. The so-called “Arab Spring” is a fraud. What we are seeing is an “Pan-Arab Civil War,” from Tunisia to Yemen. [LA replies: Which of course is a subset of the eternal Muslim civil war.] Every country is in deep trouble, and Prof. Niall Ferguson, who has been warning about this catastrophe all along, now believes that famine and social warfare will come to Egypt and the others. They can no longer pay for the massive food imports they need to survive. Local capital has fled to safer places.
The Middle East has been “community disorganized.” This is straight out of Saul Alinsky: community agitators destabilize communities so that they can push the remnants into whatever shape they want. The people who die are just too bad.
This is so shocking, and so contrary to Obama’s “peace” rhetoric, that few Americans can believe their own eyes, seeing that the biggest pillar of Middle East peace has been smashed right before them. This can only be a knowing move on the part of the Obama administration. Everybody who remembered the Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty had to know.
The overthrow of Mubarak has destabilized the entire Middle East.
After half a century of warm and friendly relations, Turkey is now threatening naval war against Israel in the eastern Mediterranean.
For thirty years the Egypt-Israeli Peace Treaty sustained the fragile peace in the Middle East. Everything positive in Arab-Israeli relations was based on it. Stable relations between Israel and Egypt, Turkey, Iran, Lebanon, Jordan, and even Syria were all based on that solid-looking Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty.
Then Mr. Obama tore it all down, right in front of our eyes.
Israel is now surrounded by countries that used to be at peace, but which are now talking war. They are armed with high-tech missiles: tens of thousands of scud missiles in Syria; forty thousand missiles of various types in Lebanon controlled by Hezbollah, and therefore by Iran; thousands of Grad and more primitive missiles in Gaza. If the PA declares a state, it will try to import even more offensive missiles, just like Hamas did in Gaza.
Obama knows that he’s pulled the rug out, and U.S. forces are now engaged in unknown numbers of Muslim countries to try to shape the outcome.
And yet America’s political pundits have watched it happen, and they mostly have kept silent as the grave. [LA replies: That’s not correct. They weren’t silent. Liberals, neoconservatives, and conservatives actively supported Obama’s policy. It’s more recently, as the reality of “Arab Spring” has begun to emerge, that these people have been largely silent.] Nobody wants to say out loud what’s obvious. That is the power of audacity. Obama’s overthrow of Middle East peace is so shocking that no pundit even wants to call it what it is. American Jews has been silent. The left and Europe are pretending it didn’t happen. The “neocons” are silent so far. [LA replies: A ridiculous statement. The neocons were of course the most aggressive and enthusiastic cheerleaders for toppling Mubarak, toppling Kaddafi, etc. Does Lewis really not know that?]
This is the biggest news not fit to print in the New York Times. It’s the biggest public secret in the world. But open your eyes, and you’ll see it.
Any sane observer has to wonder why the president did that. The pillar of Middle East peace, what there was of it, is now weakened, maybe fatally. It has to come from the combatants. It took three major wars to bring about that treaty.
After Sadat was assassinated, his vice president, Hosni Mubarak, took over instead, and kept the peace with Israel intact for thirty years. Israel ceded the entire Sinai Desert to Egypt in return for that peace—the biggest piece of land ever at stake in Arab-Israeli struggles. The Sinai is a huge land buffer, and when you’re at war with a neighbor, you want to have plenty of land between you and your enemies. So Israel traded land for peace.
Obama has “community disorganized” the Middle East, and he did it knowing what would happen. If you think our other at-risk allies aren’t watching—Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, India, Saudi Arabia, Poland—well, think again. If the United States stabs Egypt and Israel in the back, all the others are looking for safety. The Saudis are getting their own nukes. So will Japan and South Korea. Poland has signed a local self-defense treaty with former Soviet colonies.
It occurs to me that Obama was given a Nobel Peace Prize for … well, for nobody knows quite what. And yet this man has destroyed perhaps the single most important international peace agreement in the world. I don’t think he has done this so much to make America look bad, although it obviously has that consequence. What I think is that his hatred for the British is eclipsed only by his hatred for Israel, precisely because Israel is the most important extant symbol of America’s uniquely powerful position in international affairs. American power and prestige is the reason Israel still exists, and is able to go on existing, even though practically all the world yearns for her destruction.
It was only as a student of international security that I came to understand just how incredible it really is, that this tiny state, reviled the whole world over, is able to go on existing almost entirely on the strength of American moral and material support. The day Israel falls to its enemies, we have truly seen the end of American supremacy. As many other people have noted, Obama’s lodestar in his handling of international politics is that American superiority is a terrible thing, and he lusts to see us diminished. Egypt’s peace with Israel is one of the most important practical AND symbolic indicators of U.S. power relative to Europe and the Middle East. So it is no wonder that Obama trashed it at the first opportunity, and even less wonder that he would do so on behalf of the Muslim Brotherhood.
That, by the way, is also the connection that is so important to so many anti-Israel paleocons. The paleocons at places such as Alternative Right are primarily concerned with two things: the “American Empire” and Israel. The two are intimately related. For many of them I really don’t think that their first motivation is anti-Semitism (though it’s remarkable how many intellectual wrong turns seem to lead a man straight into anti-Semitism, isn’t it?). I believe rather that for many of them, it is opposition to American superpower status, and all the endless expense and entanglement that entails, that causes them to focus so much on Israel. I would suggest the same is true for much of Europe, too.