Thursday, April 01, 2010

Agreeing With Palin (?)(!)

As an astute blogger and supporter of Hillary Clinton for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination, Taylor Marsh invariably produces insightful and perceptive posts.

But not always and, oddly, not in an item critical of Sarah Palin.

In a recent Facebook entry, the former Alaska governor gets it right when she writes

Many, many Americans and our allies know that if Iran acquires nuclear weapons, the consequences will be catastrophic for our interests in the Middle East, and we want our government to do everything in its power to prevent Iran from acquiring nukes. We foresee a regional nuclear arms race beginning as other countries seek their own nuclear weapons to protect themselves from Iran. Nuclear non-proliferation efforts would be over. The U.S. and our allies in the international community would be shown to be impotent – after long claiming that Iranian nuclear weapons could not and would not be tolerated. And Israel would face the gravest threat since its creation. Iran’s leaders have repeatedly called for the destruction of Israel and with nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them, the mullahs would be in a position to launch a Second Holocaust.

Critical of Palin's analysis, Marsh asks us to

consider the Palin hyperbole, “Second Holocaust.” It preposterously assumes and ignores that Israel is no longer an ostracized state in a world of enemies, but a formidable democratic nation with strong world allies who would come to her aid in a heart beat if any such calamity was even close to bearing down on the people of Israel. Never again is an emphatic pledge people of the world consider a bond with Israel, which will never be broken; certainly not because some wacko Iranian mini me of a man wails it will be so.

The people of the world. Who, exactly, would that be? It's hard to determine how the "people of the world" would react to a threat to Israel, but not so hard to imagine how the governments in Beijing and Moscow would react. Palin criticizes the Administration's opposition to "bipartisan efforts to pass the Iran Sanctions Act" and in an article (to which the ex-governor's piece links) appearing on on March 5, 2010, Josh Rogin explains

A senior Senate aide close to the process said the House and Senate will soon move to conference on resolving the two versions of the Iran sanctions legislation, one led by Rep. Howard Berman, D-CA, and the other sponsored by Chris Dodd, D-CT. The State Department had been negotiating with key senators over Dodd's bill, seeking an exemption for any countries they determine to be "cooperating" with the U.S. on the sanctions regime.

This Washington Post article makes it seem like the Obama administration is just beginning to push for exemptions for all the P5+1 countries, including Russia and China, but actually that's been the State Department's position since December.

Marsh, obviously referring to Ahmadinejad, asserts this "bond" will not be broken "because some wacko Iranian mini me of a man wails it will be so"- but in fact Palin argues (emphasis mine) "with nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them, the mullahs would be in a position to launch a Second Holocaust."

Maybe Marsh should not include herself among these vigilant "people of the world," inasmuch as she maintains "Palin also focuses on the photo op snub, putting Israel before the United States in her rhetoric, which is something the right does often." In a Politico piece to which Palin links, Laura Rozen examines the infighting over Israel within the administration and reports a similar phenomenon:

He [Ross] seems to be far more sensitive to Netanyahu's coalition politics than to U.S. interests,” one U.S. official told POLITICO Saturday. “And he doesn't seem to understand that this has become bigger than Jerusalem but is rather about the credibility of this administration.”

What some saw as the suggestion of dual loyalties shows how heated the debate has become.

An administration official suggests Dennis Ross is more sensitive to Israel than to the U.S.A. And Marsh asserts Palin is "putting Israel before the United States in her rhetoric, which is something the right does often." The accusation of dual loyalty is a traditional refuge of anti-Semites. Taylor Marsh probably is not an anti-Semite, given that those folks are not wont to cite worldwide pro-Israel sentiment, no matter how exaggerated the claim. Still, her charge is unfortunate.

Marsh accurately notes "Sarah Palin ignores that it was Prime Minister Netanyahu who set the whole back and forth in motion by embarrassing this country and Vice President Joe Biden on Israeli soil when he came calling." However, Charles Krauthammer points out that Prime Minister Netanyahu

apologized to Biden for the embarrassment. When Biden left Israel on March 11, the apology appeared accepted and the issue resolved.

The next day, however, the administration went nuclear. After discussing with the president the language she would use, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called Netanyahu to deliver a hostile and highly aggressive 45-minute message that the Biden incident had created an unprecedented crisis in U.S.-Israeli relations.

Credit Marsh for recognizing "once again we get from the right a lot of bluster, but no constructive idea of just how we are going to keep Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, because it’s a matter of when not if; though whether they will be able to deliver it is another issue." There is sufficient concern from conservatives regarding the threat posed by Iran's interest in nuclear weapons, but insufficient recommendations for action. Unfortunately, the blogger follows by contending "Of course, Palin never addresses Israel’s nuclear capabilities, because this isn’t how the right thinks or doesn’t." Well, no, the right can be accused of many faults; promoting moral equivalence is generally not among them. Israel is believed to have possessed a nuclear capability for decades now but, as evil as some believe it is, has somehow resisted the temptation to launch such an attack, no matter the provocation.

Perhaps the cliche "even a stopped clock is right twice a day" applies to Sarah Palin. She is not right twice a day, but perhaps twice a year, and this would be one of those times.

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