GOP candidates show more loyalty to a foreign country (Israel) than their own
Republican presidential candidates do the United States a disservice in trying to bind an American president to the policies of Israel and its leader, Benjamin Netanyahu. Whatever happened to GOP foreign-policy realists, like Bush I?
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Nonetheless, in the recent Florida Republican debate, Romney intoned there should not be “an inch of space” allowed between the US and its allies, referring to Israel. Romney and Perry need to recognize that Israel is Israel’s best friend; Israel is not America’s best friend. Recall the 1980s case of Jonathan Pollard and his criminal espionage on behalf of Israel within the Pentagon, or the 1967 brutal Israeli attack on the USS Liberty, in which 34 American sailors were killed.Skip to next paragraph
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More recently, former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who served both Presidents Bush and Obama, suggested the US gets nothing in return from its alliance with Israel. Jeffrey Goldberg, writing for Bloomberg View and citing senior US officials, reported that Mr. Gates told Obama that Netanyahu is ungrateful. Gates also reportedly said Netanyahu endangers his country by refusing to grapple with Israel’s growing isolation and its demographic challenges by keeping control of the West Bank.
Perry may be proving his bona fides among Christian Zionists. But one has to ask if he really believes Jews will rally about him, what with his religious ties to those Evangelicals who pray for the Rapture – the return of the Messiah to Israel, which many interpret as subsuming Jews and turning them into Christians.
Perry had huevos rancheros on his face when he recently called on Palestinian leaders to recognize Israel’s right to exist, to renounce terrorism, and to negotiate face to face with Israelis. Is Perry unaware that Palestinians agreed to all that in the 1993 Oslo Accords? Yet without so much as a blush, Perry called Obama’s Middle East policies “naive, arrogant, misguided, and dangerous.”
US voters need to care about foreign policy, lest we find ourselves dragged into broader conflicts. With the exception of candidate Jon Huntsman Jr., the Republican presidential candidates are woefully out of their element in foreign policy. Mr. Huntsman, a former ambassador to China, knows the world well, but he stirs little enthusiasm among the GOP rank and file.
Whatever happened to GOP foreign-policy realists like former President George H.W. Bush and his Secretary of State James Baker? Both brilliantly responded to the fall of the Iron Curtain and engineered German reunification without war in Europe. Mr. Baker, perhaps the best secretary of State since George Marshall in the late 1940s, should be giving today’s crop of Republican presidential candidates tutorials, reminding them that their primary loyalty is to the United States, not a foreign country.
Walter Rodgers, a former senior international correspondent for CNN, writes a biweekly column.