Waving aside any pretense of diversity, invoking seldom heard themes of merit and competence, President Barack Obama is about to appoint to his cabinet three of the most naive older white guys that ever walked up the Capitol steps.
For an administration that has made “diversity” a worn shibboleth for almost every other series of appointments, why this sudden departure from generating a photo-op like a Benetton ad of Christmas past? Were there no “wise Latina women,” “academically distinguished African-Americans,” or “experienced white women” available? What is it that makes these three candidates so phenomenal as to cause Obama to drop the diversity consideration?
All of these candidates are rabidly pro-Islam, pro-Arab, or both. All are apologists for those causes. All are strong proponents of Obama’s vision of the world, a diminished U.S. military, and a more sympathetic outreach to Islam.
The nominee for director of Central Intelligence, John Brennan, has told audiences that Jihad is internal struggle, and not Holy War. Brennan thinks Jerusalem is Al-Quds, and that conflating Islam with the actions of those who yell “Allah Akbar” before they blow themselves up is simply wrong.
Brennan wants to engage the Iranians and is against sanctions, though engagement has been ongoing for decades through the European Union, and has simply allowed Iran to move forward with the creation of nuclear weapons.
Brennan’s advocated policy with regard to Iran is all too reminiscent of the behavior of the Department of State vis-à-vis William Dodd, in 1933 the newly appointed American ambassador to Berlin. In their treatment of the Jews, the Nazis had exposed to Dodd what they really were. But State dismissed the Jews as being of no consequence and pressured Dodd to engage the Nazis and even to attend the Nuremberg rallies, which Dodd detested and managed to avoid.
Similarly, that Iran publicly announces its murderous intentions toward Jews is of no consequence for the Obama administration. “Let Hitler have his way with them [the Jews],” Hitler admirer and publishing tycoon Charles Crane told Dodd in an interview arranged by the Department of State before Dodd’s departure for Berlin. So too, the Obama administration is unmoved by Iran’s repeated and public calls for genocide against the Jews.
Like Brennan, Obama’s nominee for secretary of Defense, Charles Hagel, espouses engagement with Iran and has embraced the Islamic narrative of the Arab/Israeli conflict. On several occasions, Hagel refused to denounce Arafat’s use of terrorism. He has become an apologist for Palestinian suicide bombings, claiming that desperate people resort to desperate measures. Hagel has consistently seen Israel as the obstacle to resolving the conflict.
In November of 2003, Hagel, along with John Kerry — Obama’s nominee for secretary of State — refused to vote for the Syrian Accountability Act, which was designed to hold Syria accountable for its support of terrorism and its occupation of Lebanon. Only four senators refused to vote for the act; Obama’s nominees for secretary of Defense and secretary of State are two of them.
As late as 2009, Charles Hagel was still advocating a policy of supporting the butcher of Damascus, Bashar Al-Assad. Maybe Hagel got it right on Iraq, but he has totally blundered on Syria. Could it be that Hagel has been simply consistent in supporting Arab regimes that are in an adversarial relationship with the United States? Support for Saddam Hussein and support for Bashar Al-Assad would just be different manifestations of the same consistent mindset.
No one has been as effusive in his praise for Bashar Al-Assad as John Kerry, who made five trips to Damascus and became a public-relations mouthpiece for the Syrian dictator long after human rights groups had detailed and denounced his brutal regime. Kerry saw Assad as moving Syria into a new relationship with the U.S. and giving up its alliances with Iran in the formation of a Shi’a crescent stretching from Tehran to the Mediterranean. Kerry strongly advocated Israel’s returning the Golan Heights to Syria, in what must be one of the stupidest proposals by an American diplomat in recent years. One shudders to imagine Israel’s strategic situation if she had done so, given the consequences of the raging civil war in Syria.
One of Kerry’s first jobs as secretary of State will be to convince the man he once called his close friend, Assad, to retreat into exile so that the bloodshed will end. Will Kerry do this, or run interference for his friend?
Clearly Obama is not a Muslim, but Obama is the first Muslim president in the sense that Bill Clinton was the first black president. Few holders of the presidency, or even candidates for it, have been as sympathetic to the Islamic world as has been Obama, and these three appointments confirm a perspective that is far removed from the mainstream view of what American interests are in the world. The second Obama administration will pursue the same failed policies in international relations and national security as the first, hoping insanely for a different set of outcomes.
If you believe that the Islamist threat can be dissipated by engagement, then you will cheer these appointments. But if you believe that the Islamist threat is rooted in its traditions, culture, history, and statecraft, then you can not help but fear the disaster the continuation of Obama’s policies will perpetuate with these three men.