A brilliant 1981 article reveals Obama's prequel. . .
The late Daniel Patrick Moynihan's 1981 article, Joining the Jackals, chronicles the serial miscues & misconceptions made by then-president Jimmy Carter, now being reenacted by the current administration (and, BTW, shared by pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel Hillary).
Moynihan's essay centered on UN Security Council Resolution 465 (March 1, 1980), which condemned Israel for its continued presence on territories outside the 1949 Green Line. 465's key clause provided:
5. Determines that all measures taken by Israel to change the physical character, demographic composition, institutional structure or status of the Palestinian and other Arab territories occupied since 1967, including Jerusalem, or any part thereof, have no legal validity and that Israel's policy and practices of settling parts of its population and new immigrants in those territories constitute a flagrant violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War and also constitute a serious obstruction to achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East;
In effect, as Moynihan noted, 465 accused Israel of war crimes in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which governs protection of civilians in time of war. DPM then shredded the claim:
In a word, according to Resolution 465, Israel is an outlaw state, guilty of war crimes. (Not the Vietnamese invaders of Cambodia, or the Soviets in Afghanistan. Israel!) Its alleged capital is not its capital at all—“Jerusalem or any part thereof”—and it is in illegal occupation of territory now for the first time designated “Palestinian.”
Here, then, was the triumph of everything the Soviets and the “Rejectionists” had stood for: the repudiation of everything Sadat, and for that matter Begin and Carter, had sought. Yet the United States voted in favor of this resolution. Shortly thereafter the administration stated that this had been a “mistake.” It was no mistake at all. Resolution 465 reflected the view of the majority of members of the United Nations, and the U.S. Mission there had simply come to accept that view. Their conception of the world, by now shared in Washington, gave them no alternative.
DPM noted that the 4th GC was a response to the Nazi atrocities carried out under military occupation during WW-II:
Equally ominous, although at this point restrained, was the reaffirmation of earlier Council statements that the Fourth Geneva Convention “is applicable to the Arab territories occupied by Israel since 1967, including Jerusalem” and the strict injunction upon Israel “as the occupying Power, to abide scrupulously by the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention.” Now, the Fourth Geneva Convention on the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War is one of a series of treaties designed to codify the behavior of Nazi Germany and make such behavior criminal under international law. This particular convention applied to the Nazi practice of deporting or murdering vast numbers of persons in Western Poland—as at Auschwitz—and plans for settling the territory with Germans. The assertion that the Geneva Convention also applied to the West Bank played, of course, perfectly into the Soviet propaganda position that “Zionism is present-day fascism.”
DPM turned to a subsequent colloquy on the Hill between Carter's then-SecState, Cyrus Vance (who two months later resigned over the Iran hostage rescue mission) & two senators (one was DPM), with regard to 465's first two clauses, which stated that the UNSC
1. Commends the work done by the Commission in preparing the report contained in document S/13679;
2. Accepts the conclusions and recommendations contained in the above-mentioned report of the Commission.
After noting that Vance had told Congress that "accepts" merely meant "received"--which DPM flatly contradicted, based upon his tenure as UN Ambassador during the Ford administration--DPM wrote:
Something quite extraordinary was happening here. It is of course possible that the members of the U.S. Mission had simply not told the truth to the Secretary of State. (They had evidently been less than candid on some other questions concerning the resolutions—informing him, for example, that references to Jerusalem had been excised from the text when they had not.) But how could a lawyer of Cyrus Vance’s ability believe such an untruth save that at high and low levels alike the men of our government were deceiving themselves? The Carter administration had failed in its objectives at the UN; but to admit that failure was to cast in doubt the view of the world that justified the very existence of the administration. And to protect itself from having to face this failure, the administration had begun to undermine Camp David itself—its one great success.
DPM then went through a series of anti-Israel resolutions adopted in December 1980 by the General Assembly, which included one stating that the GA
Expresses its strong opposition to all partial agreements and separate treaties which constitute a flagrant violation of the rights of the Palestinian people, the principles of the Charter, . . . [etc].
DPM notes that thus the Carter administration abstained--in the UN, a US abstention to an anti-Israel resolution is a de facto endorsement of same. In effect the US had accepted the proposition that the Camp David Accords were a war crime!
Early in the essay DPM captured the Carter worldview--one embraced today by Obama:
But there was another and newer strain of thought, one much at odds with the traditions of Truman and Kennedy. This was the view that had emerged in the course of the Vietnam war to the effect that the United States, by virtue of its enormous power, and in consequence of policies and perhaps even national characteristics that were anything but virtuous, had become a principal source of instability and injustice in the world. We were, in short, a status-quo power, and the status quo we were trying to preserve was abominable. By contrast, a more positive future was available to mankind if it could break out of the American dominion. Much has been written of this, and one need not expand. For my part the most evocative and excruciating memory of the onset of this point of view was the day that a group of former Peace Corps volunteers, protesting the war, ran down the American flag at Peace Corps headquarters in Washington and ran up that of the Vietcong.
Through the 1970’s this view grew in strength within the Democratic party. It was most often to be encountered when issues of defense were involved. In an article written in November 1980, R. James Woolsey, who served with distinction as Under Secretary of the Navy in the Carter administration, described how
". . . leaders of many of the interest groups that claim to represent the traditional Democratic constituencies have convinced themselves over the last decade or so that they must be the enemies of increased American military power."
[Woolsey] explained why these constituencies had come to feel this way:
"What you spend on tanks you can’t spend on schools or welfare, nor can you keep it.. . ."
There was a precise corollary to this doctrine of self-denial in defense, and it flowed from the idea that the political hostility which the United States encountered around the world, and especially in the Third World, was, very simply, evidence of American aggression or at least of American wrongdoing. The aggression could be military, but just as often it would be diagnosed as economic (the role of the multinational corporation) or ecological (plundering the planet to sustain an obscenely gross standard of living). Often it would be presented as nothing more specific than not being “on the side of history” or “the side of change.” No matter, the prescription was the same. If the United States denied itself the means of aggression, it would cease to be aggressive. When it ceased to be aggressive, there would be peace—in the halls of the United Nations no less than in the rice paddies of Southeast Asia.
WSJ pundit Dan Henninger sees a constant Democratic party refrain starting with George McGovern in 1972, a policy of bluff, rarely backed up by military force. It hardly works at all these days, he writes.
Compounding Israel's troubles is what reporter Matti Friedman documented: a deeply-entrenched anti-Israel bias in press coverage. Favorable news about Israel is suppressed; unfavorable news about Palestinians--even openly -genocidal Hamas--is suppressed. This is done as to the Palestinians in part due to reportorial leftward bias, but also to protect lives of reporters: Hamas has threatened to kill those whose coverage of Hamas showed how barbaric the group truly is.
Bottom Line. There is no sign that the Democratic Party today is ready to return to Truman-JFK policies. President Obama's replay of his failed predecessor's foreign policies exemplifies Karl Marx's famous dictum that history repeats itself, first as tragedy, then as farce.
Letter from the Capitol, LFTC, Foreign Policy, National Security, Conservative Politics