by Shoshana Bryen
American Thinker (Blog)
April 24, 2013
As a U.S. senator, Chuck Hagel went to great lengths to assure people he was not the “Senator from Israel,” and he seemed surprised when people objected to his remark, “The political reality is … that the Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people up here.”Â It was never clear who should have been offended – Jews and/or Israelis, or the colleagues Hagel implied were “intimidated” or were in fact “Senators from Israel.”
It is that same Chuck Hagel – now secretary of defense – who is in Israel to conclude details of a proposed U.S. arms package including the KC135 refueling aircraft and Osprey V22 transport aircraft.Â The Osprey had not previously been released for sale abroad.Â And the KC135 had been denied to Israel by the Bush administration for fear it would appear that the U.S. was encouraging Israel to consider an attack on Iran.Â The Obama administration is selling it for precisely that reason.Â “Iran presents a threat in its nuclear program and Israel will make the decisions that Israel must make to protect itself and defend itself,” Hagel said.
It isn’t only weaponry. Â Hagel pointedly asserted, “Israel and the U.S. see the threat of Iran in exactly the same [way] … [s]o I don’t think there’s any daylight there. When you break down into the specifics of the timing of when and if Iran decides to pursue a nuclear weapon, there may well be some differences but generally I believe our intelligence is generally very close to each other.”Â He visited Yad Vashem.
To begin with, Secretary Hagel’s boss, President Obama, appears to have had a bit of an epiphany about the Middle East, about instability, and about Israel.Â Indeed, Mr. Hagel said President Obama had made “not only maintaining[,] but improving Israel’s qualitative [military] edge a top priority.”
But there is a bigger picture here.
President Obama came to office determined to change the discourse with countries and groups with which the U.S. had rocky relations in the past – among them Iran, Syria, Palestinians, and the broader “Muslim world.” Â He set the stage with his Cairo speech, blaming the West for “tension [that] has been fed by colonialism that denied rights and opportunities to many Muslims, and a Cold War in which Muslim-majority countries were too often treated as proxies.”Â He promised a new American posture, and he delivered.
The president reached out to the Iranian government and did not respond to the people’s democratic protest of the 2009 election; he restored the American ambassador to Damascus and eased the embargo on airplane engines and other goods to Syria (did those engines end up in planes being used now to bomb Syrian citizens?); he demanded a settlement freeze from Israel on behalf of the Palestinians; he embraced Turkey’s Islamist-leaning government; and he invited the Muslim Brotherhood to the Cairo speech over the objection of President …read more