Mid East

Created on 7/6/2008

Today Hillary Clinton officially concedes defeat to Barak Obama. This might be the first clear sign of his sweeping to power in the election against John McCain later this year. I have to express grave concern about this. My concern is that he doesn’t have a grasp of the realities of the Middle East, and that is the biggest single problem facing an incoming American President. The one thing that must not be allowed to go wrong is the Middle East, or we will all pay a terrible price.

Let me take the positives first. It would be a wonderful step forward if America were to prove itself rid of its abhorrent racist past by electing its first black President. Obama is also clearly capable of being a spellbinding and amazing public orator, able to sum up emotion, common sense and a clarion call with disarming charm and power. Obama is a fresh face, unbound and unsullied by the strictures or deals done in the back rooms in the past.

Obama looks good, and that’s a big plus. Unlike Bush, who looked like a putz, Obama looks like a President. You cannot exaggerate the importance of visual perceptions. If I were wrong you would have seen some bald Presidents and Prime Ministers since Churchill and Eisenhower, but you haven’t.

And yet, with all these pluses I have a sneaking suspicion that just as McCain seems to have no grasp of economics, (well that is what he said) I have the same feeling about Obama and his lack of a real grasp of the Middle East.

I am concerned because, for years, questionable people surrounded Barak Obama and he did nothing about it. This group could be called Neo-Anti Cons and was led by his radical preacher friend, the Reverent Jeremiah Wright, who has a long history of race hate and anti-American sermons. Also this week a fundraiser for the Democrat nominee, a Syrian born property developer, Antoin Retzko, was convicted for corruption in a Chicago court. This is another questionable friend for the nominee; Obama seems to have way too many such associates for comfort.

I am not questioning Obama’s right to be friends with whomever he likes, but we do have to seriously question the man’s judgement of people. Obama did, immediately cut all ties, and did return the money donated by Retzko to charity, but again he has opened himself up to attack. Perhaps he has disassociated from these lunatics, villains and thieves that appear to have populated his world, a little too late.

In the example of Reverent Wright, his church appear to have had some very questionable friends from the far extremes of Islamic intolerance, like Louis Farrakhan. This man has soul mates in the leadership of Iran and has openly expressed his extreme and Nazi like anti-Jewish and anti Israel attitudes. Obama had years in which he could have pulled away from these people, but didn’t do so until political exigencies forced him to do so.

I recall my rabbi (she has since moved to another congregation) making a sermon from her pulpit, which I disagreed with. I articulated this difference of opinion to her. We wrote to each other and talked about our views. If I could do this so should Barak Obama have done so, there is no excuse for a man of principles to remain silent in the face of evil. But this leads us to ask, were his views different from those of his crazy Reverent.

At best Barak has proven himself to be a politician like any other, disingenuous. At worst he has been lying to us all, and the reason he didn’t protest at his preacher’s outrageous statements was because he agreed with them.

I do not share the liberal myth that George W. Bush and Tony Blair got it wrong with their “wars” in Afghanistan and Iraq. I think we needed to do more, earlier and better.

Let’s also get our history right. Whether you like it or not the United Nations Security Council and NATO were fully in accord with the action they led in both places. It is a fact, these were not illegal wars, and they were sanctioned.

But, for the liberal left, it appears that historical facts don’t matter, they are more selective. They will howl in anguish that the reasons given for the wars have since been disproved. I question that rationale also. There had been weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. The question is what happened to them. Between the two Gulf Wars enormous stocks of these weapons were dismantled. The man supervising the location and destruction of the nuclear program was from the Atomic Energy Commission, and was himself of Arabic origin. This man and that group clearly stated that there were stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction and much of the stockpile was destroyed. We do not know where the rest of it is, either buried in the desert, or transferred to a friendly, neighbouring country, such as Syria or Iran.

Before any sceptical reader claims this to be a fabrication do remember that Iraq parked its entire air force in Iran when the first Gulf War began, and never managed to fly it home. It should also be remembered that Israel recently destroyed a secret Syrian nuclear facility that no one else had ever said existed. Take this in addition to the admitted facts surrounding Iran’s reaching out to become a nuclear power and you have the environment that Obama enters.

The next canard thrown at Israel, to level the playing field, is that Israel has never admitted or denied that it has a nuclear deterrent. The argument goes, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander. There is no equivalence. Israel has never threatened any of its neighbours with destruction, but its neighbours constantly threaten Israel. As Benjamin Netanyahu said, " If the Arabs put down their weapons today, there would be no more violence. If the Jews put down their weapons today, there would be no more Israel. "

The liberal left constantly claims that Israel is not a legitimate state. It’s as if they think that if they constantly repeat this lie that the country will be de-legitimised and then will cease to exist. Wait a second that is exactly what they are seeking to achieve. It is not only becoming an accepted, politically correct chant of the chattering classes that Israel is always wrong, and shouldn’t have been there in the first place.

Sadly for these people Israel is not just going to be vaporized, or conveniently commit national suicide. It is a legitimate state that does have a Jewish majority and was voted into existence by the United Nations. It was the first state to receive this honour. Since that time Israel has much more to be proud of than to be ashamed about. That’s about all you can demand of any country.

If Barak Obama were to win the election you can be certain that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the other leaders of Iran will quickly test him. In case your memory is incredibly short you should read the Iranian leader’s statement of last Monday in which he repeated his prediction that the “criminal and terrorist Zionist regime” would soon disappear off the map.

We saw the result of a response to this explicit threat when Israel’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Transportation and Road Safety Shaul Mofasz, responded to a question about Iran. Mofasz was born in Iran, and has a thorough knowledge of military reality having served the Israeli Defence Forces as a Lieutenant General and Chief of Staff. He speaks with some authority, as he knows both the mindset of the adversary and the military rationale behind any such need to attack. He stated, “If Iran continues its programme to develop nuclear weapons, we will attack it.” His comments struck fear into the oil traders. Their reaction to this plus the news of America’s unexpectedly high jump in unemployment pushed up the price of crude oil by $11 in one day. Ironically the headlines demonstrated the perversity of the global perception, “Oil hits record price as Israel threatens Iran” was the heading in today’s Daily Mail.

We live in a world turned upside down. Where black is white and insanity rules. Imagine a situation in which your neighbour constantly threaten to kill you, burn down your house and destroy your family, and then scatter the ashes. You go to the authorities and they tell you, that despite this same neighbour killing many people like you in the past, not to worry he doesn’t really mean it. You then tell the authorities that if this man shows you his loaded gun you will have no alternative but to stop him using it. You then get tried and convicted for threatening him! That’s what the world is currently doing if they blame Israel for any of this madness.

My central theme here is that the Middle East will decide the future for us all. The Middle East is the place we must pray our leaders get it right. It isn’t the economy stupid, as Bill Clinton once said, when describing what single element would decide his last election; it’s the Mid East, which decides whether we all live, or die.

The test of Obama is liable to take place against a background of escalating tensions between the West with Russia, which is beginning to flex its newfound economic muscle. This scenario is eerily reminiscent of the situation President Kennedy found himself in when Khrushchev tested his resolve with the placing of the nuclear missiles in Cuba. Before we all get to see who blinks first Obama needs to make it perfectly clear that he is not going to let his country, or his allies be pushed around. If he doesn’t show iron resolve at that point we will all face a very uncertain future.

Do we trust our very existence to Barak? This is a man of uncertain judgement of character. What does Obama really believe? When push comes to shove, will Barak blink?