Fine words, guaranteed to please the conservative base, but he’s more confident about this than I am. Thanks to Turkey’s NATO status and its (rapidly deteriorating) distinction as a secular-ish Muslim state, my hunch is that Democratic and Republican administrations alike will bend over backwards in the years ahead to keep them in the western fold. Which isn’t, of course, to say that we’d side with them against Israel, merely that “triangulation” between the two nations will remain the status quo on our end unless and until Turkey throws its lot in fully, rather than partially, with Iran et al. And why would they do that? They can get a lot more out of us by being a formally friendly thorn in our side.
Even so, Noah Pollak wonders where the outrage is.
What Barack Obama clearly is not learning is that his campaign to put “daylight” between the United States and Israel is creating serious strategic risks: it is an invitation to the region’s dictators and terrorists to test just how far they can needle and provoke Israel, knowing that when they push too far — such as we saw last week with the flotilla — there will be no consequences from an American president who has proved himself virtually incapable of speaking with moral clarity about the enemies of Israel.
Over the past few months, the Turkish prime minister has staged an Islamist coming-out party, with a display of thuggish bravado matched in the region only by Nasrallah and Ahmadinejad — and Obama says nothing. Syria is supplying ever more dangerous weapons to Hezbollah, and Obama not only says nothing but is also trying to reward Syria by returning the U.S. ambassador to Damascus. Iran conspires in ever more creative ways to extend its power across the Middle East and into the Mediterranean, and Obama does nothing. He appears not even to realize that these forces are escalating their war of words and deeds against Israel as a way of humiliating America and Barack Obama himself by showing the world that a great power is doing nothing as one of its closest allies is ambushed by terrorists and pummeled by the “international community.” What we lack in military and economic strength, the Islamists are saying, we more than make up for in audacity, willpower, and solidarity with our allies. And they are right.
Speaking of “daylight,” The One met with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas today, after which he called the Gaza blockade “unsustainable” and promised another $400 million in humanitarian aid for Palestinians . That ought to buy him a few points in Middle Eastern opinion polls as the anti-American backlash to the new Iran sanctions gets hopping.