The Consequences of the Obama Administration’s Misunderstanding of Terrorism

In his speech at the UN last month, Benjamin Netanyahu highlighted the similarities between Islamic State and Hamas—an analogy summarily dismissed by the State Department. But Netanyahu is right, argues Matthew Continetti, and the administration’s failure to admit it is symptomatic of a reigning ideology that fundamentally misreads the dangers of radical Islamism and cannot but lead to a failed response. Continetti writes:

For [George W.] Bush, terrorism consisted of immoral deeds committed by evil men animated by anti-Western ideology. Obama downplayed such judgmental language. He preferred an interpretation of terrorism as discrete acts of wrongdoing by extremists, driven by resentments and grievances such as the American failure to establish a Palestinian state, American support for secular Arab dictatorships, American forces in the Middle East, U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the terrorist prison at Guantanamo Bay, and, infamously, an anti-Islamic YouTube video. “The logic that follows,” [security expert Katharine] Gorka writes, “is that once those grievances are addressed, the extremism will subside.”

Some logic. Six years into the Obama presidency, not only has the vocabulary of jihad been removed from official rhetoric and counterterrorism policy, but troops have been removed from Iraq, troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, the administration has condemned Israeli settlement activity while coddling Hamas’s backers in Ankara and Doha, “torture” has been banned, the White House intends to close Guantanamo unilaterally, Hosni Mubarak was abandoned in favor of the Muslim Brotherhood, and the president is desperate for a partnership with the Islamic theocracy of Iran.

Read more at Free Beacon

More about: Barack Obama, Hamas, ISIS, Radical Islam, State Department, War on Terror

If Iran Goes Nuclear, the U.S. Will Be Forced Out of the Middle East

The International Atomic Energy Agency reported in May that Iran has, or is close to having, enough highly enriched uranium to build multiple atomic bombs, while, according to other sources, it is taking steps toward acquiring the technology to assemble such weapons. Considering the effects on Israel, the Middle East, and American foreign policy of a nuclear-armed Iran, Eli Diamond writes:

The basic picture is that the Middle East would become inhospitable to the U.S. and its allies when Iran goes nuclear. Israel would find itself isolated, with fewer options for deterring Iran or confronting its proxies. The Saudis and Emiratis would be forced into uncomfortable compromises.

Any course reversal has to start by recognizing that the United States has entered the early stages of a global conflict in which the Middle East is set to be a main attraction, not a sideshow.

Directly or not, the U.S. is engaged in this conflict and has a significant stake in its outcome. In Europe, American and Western arms are the only things standing between Ukraine and its defeat at the hands of Russia. In the Middle East, American arms remain indispensable to Israel’s survival as it wages a defensive, multifront war against Iran and its proxies Hamas and Hizballah. In the Indo-Pacific, China has embarked on the greatest military buildup since World War II, its eyes set on Taiwan but ultimately U.S. primacy.

While Iran is the smallest of these three powers, China and Russia rely on it greatly for oil and weapons, respectively. Both rely on it as a tool to degrade America’s position in the region. Constraining Iran and preventing its nuclear breakout would keep waterways open for Western shipping and undermine a key node in the supply chain for China and Russia.

Diamond offers a series of concrete suggestions for how the U.S. could push back hard against Iran, among them expanding the Abraham Accords into a military and diplomatic alliance that would include Saudi Arabia. But such a plan depends on Washington recognizing that its interests in Eastern Europe, in the Pacific, and in the Middle East are all connected.

Read more at National Review

More about: Iran nuclear program, Israeli Security, Middle East, U.S. Foreign policy