Thursday, March 08, 2007

Bill Clinton On the New Middle East

It's not often that Bill Clinton gets to agree with the Belmont Club. That's a joke of course. In reality he probably doesn't realize this site exists, so it was slightly unsettling to read this in the San Diego Union-Tribune. " In a speech to the United Jewish Federation of San Diego County's 70th anniversary dinner, Clinton, who tried and failed to broker such an agreement during his presidency, said a new dynamic had emerged in the region since he left office: that Sunni Arab states have come to fear Iran more than they do Israel."

In the Middle Eastern NATO, I wrote:

There are moments when I am tempted to believe that Operation Iraqi Freedom achieved what diplomats have failed to accomplish for nearly 60 years: remove Israel as the prime source of conflict in the Middle East. Sometimes fancy takes me further, and it seems possible that the invasion of Iraq has so absorbed the region by bringing to the surface their latent rivalries that America and the West have receded as targets.


How about that for coincidences. Danged. Now, if only I could get a hundred thousand dollars to say what I already said it would be a sweet deal. Then Clinton goes on to produce another coincidence. "The United States has to be prepared to give a security guarantee like we give our NATO allies both to Israel and to the new Palestinian state because they will both be under attack," he said. Double dang. A Middle Eastern NATO. Now who would have thunk it? That was the name of my very post.

I didn't think a Middle Eastern NATO was a good idea but was intrigued at two things. Why had Iran replaced Israel and regional enemy number one if so whether this was a good thing. President Clinton never explains why Iran has switched places with Israel as the most feared nation in the Middle East but the answer is clearly that OIF has rearranged the balance in the region and set the Arabs against the Persians. In the Middle Eastern NATO Belmont post I wrote:

[These Middle Eastern NATO proposed] solutions are designed to address a new situation that came about after Operation Iraqi Freedom. It would have been absurd to speak of this Middle Eastern NATO before it. On reflection, it's not entirely clear whether the world would be better off going back to the status quo ante, when both the Iranians and the Arabs could safely export their violence on the West while studiously ignoring each other. With the contradictions between them brought into sharp relief by the American invasion of Iraq along the very fault line of Arab and Persian, Sunni and Shi'ite, the governments of the region now have better things to worry about than supporting clerics whose ideas include flying airliners into buildings in New York City. Samuel Johnson once remarked, in the saddest commentary on human folly, that nothing focused the mind as much as the prospect of being hanged the next day. And nothing reminds a person of his friends more than the sight of his enemies.

Does Clinton think as I do that the new situation is better than the old? He doesn't answer directly, but implies that it has certain advantages:

"The Israelis need to keep in mind what they could get in a deal now from the Arab states that they never could have gotten before. We aren't quite there on the formula yet, but I think there's a deal to be had there and I wouldn't want the Israelis to miss it."

So there are opportunities. Well Bill, was that praise or criticism for the actions of the last four years? And should we, as Nancy Pelosi wants, get the hell out of Dodge?

8 Comments:

Blogger Louise said...

Hm. When this war broke out, I too thought one of the outcomes would be a change in the dynamic between Arab countries and Israel, but I wasn't thinking about Iran. I was only thinking that the biggest funder of Palestinian terror was about to be toppled. I still think that once Iraq is stable and on it's feet, Israel will be much more secure.

3/08/2007 04:34:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

How a deal can be had when the US and Israel must deal with partners such as these remains a mystery.

From LGF

IBD: What Is CAIR Afraid Of?

The Secular Islam Summit to which Investors Business Daily refers was covered exhaustively and personally by Gateway Pundit. Other than the Gateway site and now IBD, this breakthrough summit has garnered scarce attention. That is a shame, because since 9/11 we have all asked, with lesser and greater degrees of incredulity, where are the “Moderate” Muslims. Perhaps, we are being comfortably rhetoric.

Secular Islam Summit: Nonie Darwish Blasts CAIR

Again, follow all Gateway’s links.

3/08/2007 04:42:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

Mr. Clinton needs to talk with Jordan's King Abdullah, who somehow missed the memo.

"Top House Democrats said Wednesday they are “disappointed” with Jordanian King Abdullah’s address to a joint meeting of Congress in which he singled out the plight of Palestinians without mentioning the role of Palestinian groups in preventing a Mideast peace."

From LGF

Jordan's King Blames Israel, Ellison Chants in Arabic

3/08/2007 04:58:00 PM  
Blogger enuff said...

And should we, as Nancy Pelosi wants, get the hell out of Dodge?

Given the Democrat's have 2 plans for Iraq and the Mid-East; a quick-trigger, short timeframe redeployment and defeat; or a longer-fuse, slower redeployment and defeat - the only question remaining is whether we prepare for the consequences of defeat in 07' or later by the summer of 08'.

3/09/2007 04:34:00 AM  
Blogger hdgreene said...

When the Shah ran the place there was cooperation between Israel and Iran. If the Iran regime appears unstable, there may well be a second fear for the Arabs here: A Persian nationalist replacement regime that may enter into alliance with Israel. Uh-oh.

3/09/2007 05:07:00 AM  
Blogger R said...

I think someone on Clinton's staff is a regular reader of your blog. That person "lifted" your thoughts and presented them to the boss, who embedded them into his view. Happens to me all the time! Just another unpaid compliment for your insights.

3/09/2007 05:29:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Spengler @ Asia Times has touched on the same notion several times. Like Wretchard, Spengler is pretty damn good. He sounds a little superior, usually, but that's because he is a little superior, usually. "Spengler" is a nome de plume--sometimes I wonder who he really is.

3/09/2007 06:59:00 AM  
Blogger allen said...

Looks like King Abullah is not alone. This should be a big help in reaching a deal.

“How much chutzpa, insensitivity, and foolishness is there in a person that dares compare the situation of the Palestinians in the Territories to the state of the Jews at the Warsaw Ghetto in World War II? This is even more so when we are talking about the leaders of Germany's Catholic Church.”
German Church's comparison of Israel to Nazis clear anti-Semitic expression

3/09/2007 12:28:00 PM  

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