Norman Podhoretz has written a must read article which explains the panic in the Democratic party and the champagne—swilling international set, as it is clear the Bush doctrine is reshaping the Middle East and is winning.
Every word of it is worth reading. Not the least of which are these which beyond peradventure of doubt expose the nonsensically unrealistic thesis at the heart of the failed "realist" and internationalist positions:
Brzezinski's worldview is a syncretistic mix of foreign—policy realism (with its emphasis on stability and the sanctity of national borders) and liberal internationalism (with its unshakable faith in compromise, consensus, and international institutions). In this he differs somewhat from another former National Security Adviser, Brent Scowcroft, a Republican who occupied the office under George W. Bush's father and whose own commitment to the realist perspective is pure and unadulterated.
In spite of this difference, the two men are at one in regarding the war in Iraq as a disastrous distraction from the really important business to which we should be attending in the Middle East—namely, the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. In an article published some months before the invasion and entitled 'Don't Attack Saddam,' Scowcroft wrote:
Possibly the most dire consequence [of attacking Saddam] would be the effect in the region. The shared view in the region is that Iraq is principally an obsession of the U.S. The obsession of the region, however, is the Israeli—Palestinian conflict. If we were seen to be turning our backs on that bitter conflict, there would be an explosion of outrage against us.
Evidently he still holds to this view. So does Brzezinski, who attacks 'the Bush team' for having transformed 'a manageable, though serious, challenge of largely regional origin into an international debacle,' and who urges us to get out of Iraq, the sooner the better, so that we can shift our focus back to where it really belongs—'the Israeli—Palestinian peace process.'
Well, whether the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians is truly 'the obsession of the region' or, rather, a screen for other things, it certainly is the obsession of Brzezinski and Scowcroft, as it is of almost everyone else who looks at the Middle East from the so—called realist perspective and to whom stability is the great desideratum. Even from that perspective, however, the non—stop preoccupation with Israel would seem to be warranted only if the conflict with the Palestinians were the main cause of instability throughout the region.
This is indeed what Brzezinski, Scowcroft, and most other members of the realist school believe.6 Yet the realities to which they are so deferential in the abstract make utter nonsense of this idea. Since the birth of Israel in 1948, there have been something like two dozen wars in the Middle East (variously involving Egypt, Yemen, Lebanon, Syria, Iran, and Iraq) that have had nothing whatever to do with the Jewish state, or with the Palestinians. In one of these alone—the Iran—Iraq war of 1980—88—more lives were lost than in all the wars involving Israel put together.
Clarice Feldman 12 09 05