Emboldening the Enemy

May 17, 2021 Updated: May 19, 2021

Commentary

Once again, a Democrat is in the White House, and once again, the Middle East is on fire. This might seem like an odd, even tendentious, statement. But it’s supported by the past half-century of history.

Granted, the region has long simmered with ethnic and religious hatreds. And certainly there has been periodic flare-ups during periods of Republican control—such as the Beirut bombing of 1982, when Ronald Reagan was president. But Democratic control of the U.S. government seems to virtually guarantee a regional upheaval, and already we’re seeing this under the Biden administration.

Under Trump, the Middle East was relatively placid for four years. Indeed, against conventional expectations, Trump engineered a truce between Israel and some of its longtime antagonists. Longtime Democratic stalwart John Kerry, now climate czar under Biden, warned that no agreements were possible in the Middle East without involving the Palestinians. Trump showed the ludicrousness of this assertion. Israel now has working relationships with Bahrain, Jordan, United Arab Emirates, and even Saudi Arabia.

Ironically, it’s this dramatic shift of power in the Middle East that has partly provoked Palestinian rage. The triggering incident is a dispute between Palestinian refugees who refuse to relocate and Israeli settlers who claim to have the title deeds to the homes those refugees are living in. What normally would be a real estate dispute has escalated into major clashes between the Israeli military and the Hamas terrorists who control Gaza.

Hamas’s confidence in firing rockets into civilian centers in Israel—rockets that would do far more damage were it not for Israeli interceptor technology—is partly driven by the expectation that Israel can no longer count on its traditional ally America. Why? Because the Muslim radicals in the Middle East know that the Biden administration is beholden to its progressive or leftist faction, one led by such figures as Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.).

These leftists are openly on the Palestinian side. They view Israel as a colonial occupier of Palestinian land. In itself this is ironic. The very people who say Native Americans own the title deeds to the United States because they were its original inhabitants refuse to grant the Jews the title deeds to the land on which they were the original inhabitants. In any event, the Biden administration’s refusal to unequivocally back Israel, as Trump did, encourages and emboldens the Hamas terrorists.

But this is not a new story. It was the Carter administration that brought Islamic radicalism onto the world stage, by helping to bring about the downfall of the Shah of Iran. With the Shah’s abdication in 1979 and the Ayatollah Khomeini’s ascent to power, radical Islam for the first time got control of a major state. Khomeini was the first Islamic leader to call America the Great Satan and to encourage suicide attacks against America in the name of religious martyrdom, and “death to America” continues to be the guiding slogan of the Iranian revolution even four decades into its malevolent tenure.

Carter regarded the Shah as a dictator with a secret police and declared he could not, in good conscience, support him. By withdrawing American support—by pulling the Persian rug out from under the Shah—Carter guaranteed his downfall and replacement by someone far more hostile to American interests, namely Khomeini. Emboldened by Carter’s behavior, Iranian radicals seized the U.S. embassy in Tehran and took its employees as hostages. Tellingly, the hostages were only released on the day of Reagan’s inauguration, some say out of fear of what Reagan might do to Iran if the hostage crisis persisted.

Fast-forward to the Clinton years, during which we now know the seeds of 9/11 were sown. In 1996, Osama bin Laden declared war against America and, that same year, radical Muslims detonated a massive bomb at the Khobar Towers military installation in Saudi Arabia. Clinton denounced the action but did nothing. Two years later, Al Qaeda launched bomb attacks against the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, causing hundreds of deaths. Clinton ordered a halfhearted counterstrike against an installation in the Sudan and a raid on an Al Qaeda facility in Afghanistan that turned out to be largely unoccupied. Even when, in October 2000, Al Qaeda orchestrated a suicide attack on the U.S.S. Cole, blasting a 40-foot hole in the ship’s hull and killing 17 sailors, Clinton basically did nothing.

Absurdly, Clinton would later contend he made every effort to get bin Laden. Yet from 1996, when bin Laden moved from Sudan to Afghanistan, until 2000, the year preceding the 9/11 attack, bin Laden was not in deep hiding. He gave sermons in the Kandahar mosque. He spoke openly on his satellite phone. He even did media interviews, including one with CNN’s Peter Arnett and one with John Miller of ABC News. Isn’t it strange that these media figures could find bin Laden but not the Clinton administration? No wonder bin Laden felt emboldened to strike so lethally and catastrophically against America.

Fast-forward again to Obama, who had his own Middle East crisis in 2011, the so-called Arab Spring. This was an indigenous revolution, a response to repression and corruption that are unfortunately endemic in the Muslim countries of North Africa and the Middle East. Yet the most telling result of the Arab Spring was the collapse of a major U.S. ally, Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, who was replaced by the candidate of the radical Islamic group the Muslim Brotherhood. Meanwhile, the Iranian regime had its own internal upheaval but emerged intact and unscathed.

Obama played an active role not only in encouraging the Muslim Brotherhood but also in withdrawing American support for Mubarak. As with Carter, Obama did it for supposedly moral reasons. Obama said he had to support the democratic process in Egypt, even if it produced a result harmful to U.S. interests. Yet in 2009 when there were equally massive demonstrations in favor of democracy in Iran, Obama fell silent. He refused to support the democracy movement, which was eventually crushed by the mullahs. Bottom line: Obama, like Carter and Clinton, pursued policies that undermined America’s allies and American interests and strengthened America’s declared adversaries.

So what can we expect, this time, from the Biden administration? Surely not a reckoning with the lessons of the past. What we can expect, I’m afraid, is that this crew will behave like Democrats. They will dither and stall in a manner that demoralizes our Israeli ally and encourages the radical Muslims affiliated with the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and Hamas in Gaza. Israel will likely survive, and perhaps even prevail, but if it does it will be no thanks to the feckless foreign policy team running the show while Biden sits motionless and stares aimlessly into the distance.

Dinesh D’Souza is an author, filmmaker, and daily host of the Dinesh D’Souza podcast.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.