McCain’s Folly

From PJ Media:

In the eyes of tens of millions of Egyptians, Senators John McCain’s and Lindsey Graham’s recent words and deeds in Egypt — which have the “blessing” of President Obama — have unequivocally proven that U.S. leadership is aligning with the Muslim Brotherhood.

Egyptian media is awash with stories of the growing anger regarding this policy…

…What did McCain do and say in Egypt to earn the ire of millions of Egyptians?

Most offensive to Egyptians — and helpful to the Brotherhood’s cause — is McCain’s insistence on calling the June 30 revolution a “military coup.” In reality, the revolution consisted of perhaps thirty million Egyptians taking to the streets to oust the Brotherhood. McCain is either deliberately misconstruing the event, or believes the story as told by Al Jazeera and Ambassador Anne Patterson. In this narrative, at least an equal amount of Egyptians did support Morsi, and the military simply overthrew him against popular will. Al Jazeera has actually broadcast images of the millions of anti-Morsi protesters and identified them as pro-Morsi protesters, disinformation which was quickly adopted by Western media…

I don’t know what is motivating McCain – lingering belief that “politics ends at the water’s edge” might be it…though you’d figure a man who spent years in the Hanoi Hilton and ended up a veteran of a lost war would understand that its been many decades since the American left (now led by Obama) believed that politics ends at the waters edge.  Continued ire at Rand Paul’s brand of foreign policy – which is considered by McCain to be a replay of the pre-WWII isolationism – is probably playing a role.  And, of course, there is McCain’s desire to shine in the Ruling Class – to be the “Maverick”, which in liberalese is “Republican who will do our bidding”; to be written up in glowing terms in the MSM; to be interviewed by sympathetic MSMers on TV who will give him a chance to take a swipe at fellow Republicans.  But whatever the motivation, it is complete folly.

It is, of course, secondary to Obama’s folly – but that we take as a given until January 20, 2017.  For Republicans the problem is that with McCain and others out there giving cover to Obama, it becomes harder for us to both distance ourselves from Obama’s failures and, more importantly, to craft the radically new approach to foreign policy which is necessary because of Obama’s follies and the rapidly changing conditions around the world.  This isn’t the Cold War (and yet Obama still negotiates arms control agreements with Russia as if it still were); this isn’t even the post-Cold War (a brief moment in time between 1989 and 2001 when we could have re-ordered the world to our heart’s content, but didn’t).  This is a new era – a new ear of international anarchy resultant upon the end of America’s complete predominance.  We are still, by very far, the most powerful nation in the world (any nation  going to war with us – absent Obama as President – would be committing national suicide) but we are no longer able to act as we wish and when we wish and we are confronted with the challenges of Islamism and rising Chinese imperialism.  These elements have the makings in them of World War Three and we need to craft policies which will head that off…or, if that can’t be done, ensure we are in the best possibly position to win the war.  Obama’s policies are working, blindly, towards such a war while at the same time putting us in an ever worse position…McCain coming along and giving Obama cover on this is disastrous.

My view about Egypt is slightly hopeful – I fully understand that a lot of the anti-Muslim Brotherhood people are really just the Even More Muslim Muslim Brotherhood types…people who make the MB look tame by comparison.  But, still slightly hopeful – the last thing we need right now is a policy where we blunder about in Egypt while the people there are working out their destiny.  Quiet support for genuinely secular parties in Egypt, silence on actual political developments, a curtailment of US military aid (though not a complete cut-off…we want to make certain the troops remain paid so that they are less likely to revolt; mostly, stop sending them planes, tanks and other sorts of weapons) and watch developments.  We’ll soon know who winds up on top in Egypt – and if we had played our cards right, we might even have started with good will from an anti-Islamist Egyptian government.  Now we’ve just pissed everyone off..the MB for not firmly backing Morsi; the More Muslim Muslim Brotherhood because they are just creeps; the democratic forces because we are undermining them.

No Republican should have anything to say about Obama foreign policy except criticism – because it is stupid and destructive policy.  But we should hardly spend much time on that – we should spend most of our time thinking about what really needs to be done and then arguing for the changes we want.  It is a pity that McCain has decided to cap his political career – I believe it unlikely he’ll run again – by doing one, last disservice to his nation.  Better to stay home and be silent, Senator McCain, then to bookend a hero’s life with the story of how he helped Obama ruin things.

In Regard to the Muslim World, What Do We Do Now?

The key take-away of the recent events in the middle east, for me, is that whatever we were trying to do in the Muslim world, it is now in shambles.  Whether one wants to take the leftwing/Islamist view that Islam is angered by our wrongdoing or if one wishes to point out that Islam has been the aggressor for more than a thousand years is immaterial – whether it is war or the olive branch we were trying to bring to the Muslim world, both our war and peace policies have failed.  We have no victorious war while also having no peace.  However we go forward, we should go forward as a blank slate.  The first thing for us to do, then, is to figure out what we want.

The Muslim world is a billion people sitting on a strategic crossroads and also containing a very large amount of the exceptionally valuable substance, oil.  This reality is just there – it can’t be argued with.  Whatever we might want, our policy has to take in to consideration that it is there and has to be dealt with.  So, the first thing we can dispose of is any concept that we can just entirely walk away and pretend it doesn’t matter.  For good or ill, the United States will be involved in the affairs of the Muslim world.  That said, we still have to define what we want our involvement to be.

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Egyptian PM: Peace With Israel “Not Sacred”

From the Jerusalem Post:

Egypt’s Prime Minister Essam Sharaf said a peace deal with Israel was not “sacred” and could be changed for the benefit of peace or the region.

His comments, made in an interview with a Turkish television channel and broadcast on state television, were the strongest yet by the new government which took over after president Hosni Mubarak was overthrown in February.

“The Camp David agreement is not a sacred thing and is always open to discussion with what would benefit the region and the case of fair peace … and we could make a change if needed,” he said in the interview…

My suggestion to Israel is that they re-open the “discussion” of peace by pushing the Egyptians out of the Sinai.  When you’ve got them by the privates, it is said, hearts and minds will follow…the Suez Canal is one of Egypt’s few money-makers and Israeli control of it might remind Egypt’s government of just why the Sadat regime sought a peace treaty in 1979.

Israel is in her most difficult position since just prior to the 1967 war – rising Islamism; Turkish hostility (it looks as though the Turks are asserting themselves for the Palestinians in order to forestall Iranian efforts…but, no matter, it still works out bad for Israel); threat of Iranian nukes…and a US government which actually believes that Israeli/American actions are the cause of the conflict (instead of it really being nothing more than a manufactured issue by Islamic leaders who want a short cut to personal power and wealth…and scapegoating Jews is just easy).  Israel had to both tread carefully but at the same time be willing to act with lightening speed to disrupt the Islamists.

Right now, those Islamsits are looking forward to re-starting the war with Israel – confronting Israel with massive terrorist attacks from the West Bank, Gaza, Sinai and southern Lebanon.  Israel, caught between four fires, will be terribly vulnerable.  Better if one or more of the fires could be put out before it gets started.  As Israeli re-occupation of the West Bank is impractical (ties down too many Israeli units in occupation duty), the logical place to strike is in the Sinai…minimal Egyptian civil popualtion to control, it cuts off Gaza (thus putting that fire out) and would allow the IDF to concentrate on south Lebanon and the West bank with their southern and western fronts secure.

The worst thing Israel can do is just hunker down – MacArthur was once asked his formula for defensive war.  His answer?  “Defeat”.  Sitting there and waiting for the terrorists to strike won’t help…better a spoiling attack against them, throwing their plane in to confusion and allowing Israel a breathing space until a new American government comes to power…hopefully one with a more realistic understanding of the Islamists.

Islamist Mob Breaks in to Israeli Embassy

From the AP:

Protesters broke into the Israeli Embassy in Cairo Friday and dumped documents out of the windows as hundreds more demonstrated outside, prompting the ambassador and his family to leave the country. The unrest was a further worsening of already deteriorating ties between Israel and post-Hosni Mubarak Egypt.

Egyptian police made no attempt to intervene during the day as crowds of hundreds tore down an embassy security wall with sledgehammers and their bare hands or after nightfall when about 30 protesters stormed into the Nile-side high-rise building where the embassy is located…

This is the end of the peace treaty – the Egyptian government either will not or cannot enforce the terms, which would include the security of the Israeli embassy in Cairo.  What form of government will finally emerge in Egypt remains unknown…but until that government does emerge and indicates its policies, no reliance can be placed on agreements made under the Sadat/Mubarak regime.  A new peace treaty will have to made – and only if the new Egyptian government indicates a willingness to have true peace with Israel.

The ultimate lesson here is to place no reliance on deals with  tyrants – Sadat was, indeed, a great and wise man…but he was a tyrant, and his successor was a tyrant, and only as long as the tyranny remained in power would any agreement be honored.  Tyrant gone, so is deal…better to have never made the deal, as if there hadn’t been a peace treaty Israel would be on the Suez, not worrying about attacks from the Sinai in to southern Israel.

Back to square one in the middle east…except now there is an even more virulent spirit abroad in the Muslim world.

Israeli-Egyptian Tensions Rise

From Y-Net:

Large Egyptian army forces are battling Jihad operatives in the Sinai Peninsula Tuesday as Israel maintains its heightened alert on the tense southern border with Egypt.

Israel upped its military presence along the border, including the deployment of two navy war ships, following a terror warning that had been received indicating that a cell comprising of 10 operatives was in Sinai and was planning to attack Israeli targets. Earlier this month, terrorists killed eight Israelis after infiltrating the border from Sinai…

The peace treaty limits the number of soldiers Egypt can maintain in the Sinai – it must be remember that the Sinai provides Israel with strategic depth vis a vis Egypt (and, of course, Egypt vis a vis Israel).  For Israel’s security, the Sinai must either be Israeli, or it must be demilitarized so that in event of war, the IDF can swiftly seize all or most of it, thus protecting southern Israel.  The Egyptian troops being sent to the Sinai are going with Israeli consent…with Israel, I guess, hoping that the Egyptian army will curb the actions of the terrorists.

It is to be hoped this will work out – but I doubt the reliability of the Egyptian army as an anti-terrorist force.  Will the Egyptian army really go to work with a will against the terrorists?  Or will it make a few spectacular raids while tacitly allowing the terrorists to maintain their forces and launch attacks on Israel?  Time will tell – though Israel would at this point have been better off if they had never bargained land for peace in 1979.  Now that Egypt risks becoming Islamist, the Israelis will come to regret they gave up their excellent defensive positions along the Suez Canal.

Facing the Truth About Egypt

Representative Kay Granger (R-TX) says cut off Egypt if peace is threatened – from the Jerusalem Post:

Washington’s $2 billion in annual aid to Egypt will be cut off if Cairo backs out of the peace treaty with Israel, Congresswoman Kay Granger – whose job as chairwoman of the US House appropriations foreign operations subcommittee means she literally writes America’s annual foreign aid bill – told The Jerusalem Post on Monday.

“The United States aid to Egypt is predicated on the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel, and so the relationship between Egypt and Israel is extremely important,” the eight-term Republican from Texas said in an interview…

This is only sensible – in order to secure peace between Israel and Egypt, the United States and Israel went about 100 extra miles to secure Egypt’s agreement.  It must be remember that Egypt was the clear loser in two wars of aggression launched against Israel.

As a result of those two wars, Israel had gained and retained firm control of the Sinai…and could easily have pressed far beyond the Suez Canal at will.  Israel was under no moral or legal requirement to return a square inch of formerly Egyptian territory…heck, Germany has more claim to East Prussia these days than Egypt had to the Sinai after the Yom Kippur War.  But Israel sincerely wanted (and still wants), peace.  It seemed not too great a price to free Israel from the renewed threat of war with Egypt…and so Israel agreed to surrender to the losers in the matter of the Sinai.

For the United States, it was a matter that Egypt had played a huge role in messing up the Middle East, forcing the United States to expend vast amounts of time and resources fixing what Egypt had broken.  But we also wanted peace between Israel and Egypt – and so we figured a relatively endless number of billions of dollars was worth it.  In the end, what Egypt – the aggressor/loser – got was all that Egypt had justly lost, plus a massive, monetary bribe from us to make peace.  And so peace was made – but the price of peace on Egypt’s part is to not in any way, shape or form threaten Israel.

Right now, that is shifting…and if the Moslem Brotherhood gains even partial power in Egypt in the upcoming elections, then that shift will become more pronounced.  The price Egypt must pay for breaking the terms of the peace treaty is to lose the bribe we offered…and we’ll leave it up to Israel if they want to take back Israeli territory in the Sinai (and I think they should – forthwith, before the new Egyptian government gets organized and, perhaps, moves major military forces in to the Sinai).  A deal is a deal, and the Egyptians are breaking it…and I don’t have any concern at all about why Egypt might be doing this.  It is immaterial…there can be no justification, and so all deals are off.  The Egyptians must be instructed that the losers can make no demands…and can’t ever change the terms.

It is high time we learned that you can’t play around with things like this – watching and waiting and hoping things will come out right just doesn’t work.  The graves of Egyptians and Israelis are already being dug due to Egyptian actions…the quicker things are resolved, the fewer there will be.  It is a matter of acting forcefully in the near term in order to cut off a catastrophe in the long term.

The Crisis Between Egypt and Israel

Getting a little hotter while diplomats scurry – from the New York Times:

Diplomats scrambled to avert a crisis in relations between Egypt and Israel on Saturday, and the Israeli government issued a rare statement of regret for the killing of three Egyptian security officers by an Israeli warplane.

Tensions between the two countries, which on Saturday led Egypt to announce that it would recall its ambassador from Tel Aviv, reached the worst point since the Camp David peace accords three decades ago, spurred by a burst of violence along their shared border in the Sinai Peninsula. A series of attacks there killed eight Israelis on Thursday; the Israeli government then retaliated against Gaza-based militants, and the three Egyptians died in the crossfire…

My question: were the security officers in Gaza?  If so, why?  If they were, then it is yet another indication that at least elements of the Egyptian government are fomenting war between Egypt and Israel.  That is really the crucial issue…not who killed whom, but why certain people did certain actions.

Naturally, the diplomats will miss this – their whole desire will be just to paper over the cracks and essentially pretend that nothing happened.  But something has happened…and it is a disturbing development in that Egypt may be in the process of breaking the peace treaty.

The best course of action right now is an assertive stance by Israel – a refusal to allow things to slowly disintegrate.  Put the Egyptians on the spot – do they want peace, or do they want war?  Either all attacks from Gaza cease, or not.  That is the price of real peace between Egypt and Israel at this moment – anything less than that means war, even if conventional battles are put off for months or years.

No More Arms to Egypt

A bit of Obama foreign policy insanity noted over at Commentary:

While everyone in Washington was concentrating on the debt crisis this week, the Obama administration attempted to slip through a questionable arms deal that requires serious scrutiny. Though it got little attention, the Defense Department officially notified Congress on Friday that it was authorizing the sale of 125 M1A1 tanks to Egypt as well as other weapons, equipment, parts, training and logistical support. While most of the military sales to Egypt have sailed through without objection in the more than 30 years since it signed a peace deal with Israel, this is the first such sale since the fall of the Mubarak regime earlier this year. Which is exactly why the sale ought to be held up until the unsettled situation in the most populous country in the Arab world is better understood…

Until we see what sort of government emerges in Egypt, we should presume the worst and that means not providing Egypt with arms and support which could at some date be used against us or our allies.  The deal to arm Egypt with America’s best weapons was predicated upon Egypt firmly adhering to the Camp David accords and peace with Israel…already we see the rising Egyptian political class calling in to question these basic issues.  Wisdom dictates that we proceed with caution.

It is to be hoped that some how, some way, a non barbarous regime rises in Egypt.  If that is the case, we can resume arms shipments and make up for anything we denied them during the transition period.  According to the linked article, Congress has 30 days to object and thus halt the deal – I hope the House GOP leadership takes up this issue and forces a halt.  If Obama won’t use common sense in this matter, someone else will have to step up.