A few days ago a highly sensitive article was written by Jeffrey Goldberg in the Atlantic, titled The Crisis in US-Israel Relations is Officially Here. The big focal point by news media around is that a White House/ State Department representative was quoted as saying ‘The thing about Bibi is, he’s a chickenshit’. While such a phrase is insulting and one that is especially shocking when used in reference to a US ally, I think it says mounds about the administration itself.
I recall my grandmother, Sybby, once talking with me regarding the use of curse words and insults. She started off with ‘if you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say it at all’. She continued with highlighting that often using swear or derogatory words is representative of your own frustrations or inabilities, rather than the person being insulted. Understanding this thinking pattern, let’s see how the US is doing in the Middle East:
- The US did not take a stance on Bashar Assad, which led to a civil war with now around 200,000 people dead and the formation of ISIL.
- The US withdrew its troops from Iraq after the surge and now Iraq is upside down with the recent influx of ISIL. Even worse, the US was slow to aid the rag tag Kurds and Yazidis of northern Iraq.
- The US lifted economic sanctions against Iran in good faith regarding nuclear talks and has not made progress and lacks teeth for when they fail next month.
- The US was unable to bring the Palestinian Authority to the table for progressing peace negotiations. And even worse, the PA filed to join international bodies to begin bypassing future negotiations.
- The US efforts regarding ISIL have been largely ineffective, as we cow-tow to the likes of Recep Erdogan (Turkey) and the dysfunctional Iraqi government.
The only country that has cooperated with the US wishes is Israel. Not only did Israel come to the peace negotiation table as it has done in the past, but Bibi Netanyahu put all settlement construction on hold, released a very very large number of Palestinian prisoners who are murders. All when Bibi knew many of the people of Israel would be against such decisions. With the Arab Spring and Radicalization instability going on around the Middle East, such actions in my opinion were anything but chickenshit.
I suggest the White House take a step back and look at their last six years in the Middle East and rethink their position. Clearly the strategy of appeasement of radical organizations and cold shouldering trusted allies is not working well. In my opinion, it is time to do the right thing:
- Establish economic sanctions against Iran when nuclear talks fail, because they will fail, and sanctions are the greatest and most severe weapon against the Mullahs.
- Deliver modern day weapons to the Kurds to defend themselves and fight ISIL effectively. In addition, we should back their intent for self determination.
- Hold the Palestinian Authority accountable for failure to progress peace negotiations and do not placate them with pre-conditions.
- Support Egypt in its post-Mubarek evolution and fighting of the Muslim Brotherhood.
We have allies. If they act like allies, we should treat them well. It takes courage to step up and do what’s right. Calling someone a ‘chickenshit’ when we are not doing the right thing is in my opinion ‘the Pot calling the Kettle black’.