Romney must break with neocons, who want to outsource war decisions to Netanyahu — Simes

Israel/Palestine
on 12 Comments

I have to believe that there is going to be popular backlash against the panderfest we saw last night. At the National Interest, Dimitri Simes, a Cold War realist who later broke with the neocons, issued an appeal to Romney yesterday to ditch his neocon advisers; or he will lose (the debate and presumably the election too). Romney didn’t follow the advice. But Simes’s piece is yet another sign of the great discomfort with the hardline Israel lobby, that even Jane Harman has expressed lately:

[T]o prevail, [Romney] will need to disregard the suggestions of some of his neoconservative foreign-policy advisers, who are out of touch not only with international realities but also with the realities of American politics….

criticizing Obama for “throwing Israel under the bus” and promising to avoid an inch of daylight between Washington and Tel Aviv does not convey tough-minded American patriotism. A commitment to outsource decisions on war and peace to Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu may appeal to a small segment of Jewish and evangelical voters, but it is bound to alienate many others in the process.

In the Middle East, President Obama gave false hope to the Palestinians with a dramatic speech in Cairo, but he failed to follow through. The administration now has a credibility problem on both sides of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Once Obama demanded an end to new Israeli settlements in the West Bank, the Palestinian Authority could settle for no less. Peace talks collapsed as a result.

If the Obama administration threw anyone under a bus, it was not Israel but the friendly Mubarak government in Egypt. Mubarak was an imperfect ally and an even more imperfect democrat. But in the context of regional politics, he was trying hard to maintain ties with the United States and keep the peace treaty with Israel. In fact, his commitment to the treaty and his security policies contributed to the popular backlash that triggered his repressive response.

12 Responses

  1. Dan Crowther
    October 23, 2012, 2:20 pm

    Mitt’s gonna win Phil. Third parties are expected to get up to 7% and they’re all anti-war, the libertarians and left anti-war folks have a place to go this time – O’s gonna lose those votes this time around. I gotta think Mitt is the favorite at this point, neocons and all. I love how the neocons are only mentioned when it comes to Romney, especially in this the third term of W’s foreign policy. We’re the Indispensable Nation, Phil, jump on board for the Big Win.

    • seafoid
      October 23, 2012, 3:08 pm

      I think there’ll be a higher turnout than for the midterms and O will sneak it, Dan, but he is a war monger like Romney. Just another murderous sonofab#tch.

      • Woody Tanaka
        October 23, 2012, 3:38 pm

        I think there’ll be a higher turnout than for the midterms and O will sneak it, Dan, but he is a war monger like Romney. Just another murderous sonofab#tch.

        Yeah, if anyone is expecting to vote based on foreign policy, there’s not much difference. The reasons to vote for Obama, if one is in a competitive state, is to prevent more monsters like Scalia, Thomas, Roberts and Alito from getting on the Supreme Court.

    • Mooser
      October 23, 2012, 3:21 pm

      “Mitt’s gonna win Phil.”

      Are you sure you’re not saying this just because the phrase “Mitt’s gonna win” so reliably induces a creepy shudder, Dan? Anyway, seeing it pop up on the “recent comments” sidebar with no context sure gave me one.

      • Philip Weiss
        October 23, 2012, 3:23 pm

        Obama’s going to win Mooser

      • Jeff Klein
        October 23, 2012, 3:36 pm

        The world is going to lose, either way. Especially the Palestinians.

      • seafoid
        October 23, 2012, 3:36 pm

        What can Obama possibly do with a Mooser? Does he have a juicer? I guess the drones probably make coffee.

      • Dan Crowther
        October 24, 2012, 3:17 pm

        Jeff Klein has it right; it’s a lose lose. But I do think Romney is going to take it, O’s been at 47 for a long time, and all the “likely voter” polls have Romney leading – Gallup, Rasmussen etc. I know they typically lean “right” but I think the republican turn out is going to be huge.

        Sorry to freak you out, Mooser my brother!

    • AlGhorear
      October 23, 2012, 10:41 pm

      Dan Crowther: “Mitt’s gonna win Phil.”

      I have mixed feelings about this election. I, for one, will not vote for Obama again. He’s the drone strikes president who prosecutes whistle blowers like Manning and Assange, but lets the criminal Wall Street Bankers off the hook. He threw Reverand Wright under the bus and didn’t have the courage to do anything about resolving the Palestinian crisis. If he wasn’t worried about his own power and being elected to a second term, he could have supported the Palestinian UN bid. One term with a legacy to be proud of is better than two terms, in my opinion.

      If he was to change course, well that would be a welcome development, but I seriously doubt it will EVER happen and certainly not before the upcoming election.

      As far as voting is concerned, I think we’re headed in the same direction as we were during Ralph Nader’s candidacy when independent voters like me voted for Nader, which helped Bush win (steal?) the 2000 election from Al Gore. I was fooled by Obama in 2008, but will not vote for him again just to ensure the lesser of two evils is elected. If everyone voted their conscience, maybe we wouldn’t be in the predicament we’re in.

  2. Citizen
    October 23, 2012, 2:38 pm

    Obama held off as long as feasible from adding to the weight against the 30 year domestic tyrant Mubarak. He was smart enough to finally guess that the Arab Spring was not a flash in the pan and the hay day of discount pricing of Arab dictators were over. The question is, will Obama, if reelected, toss Israel off the bus also as an even greater anchor on US interests, and a much more costly anchor than Egypt was or is. Mitt will simply defer to Bibi N, with total US congress support. I listened to 3 hours of call-ins to CSPAN Washington Journal this morning re the 3rd debate. Most were oblivious of the Israel elephant, but some were annoyed at equation of Israel’s interests with USA’s, and others stood for Israel no matter what because, they said, it was a biblical mandate.

  3. pabelmont
    October 23, 2012, 3:09 pm

    Do most Americans even know that all this “daylight” talk (if they even hear it) is about war with Iran at Israel’s request? Doubt it. And do they or anyone recognize this Iran-talk out of Israel as a smoke-screen to cover the very fast (no longer at all gradual) take-over of West Bank?

    It was kinda a kick to hear Obama say the American military budget was equal to the next ten combined, which in another mouth could have been a request for a smaller military. Might get ordinary Americans wondering who all these enemies are that we have but Canada and UK and France and Germany don’t have to arm to the teeth to protect against but we do. Don’t they burn oil too, global warming be damned, just as we do?

  4. Henry Norr
    October 23, 2012, 3:41 pm

    I guess it’s positive, in a sense, that Simes is offering this advice to Romney, but his defense of Mubarak is grotesque. An “imperfect democrat”? Right, like I’m an imperfect Hindu.

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