Roger L. Simon

Revenge of the Arabists

It’s ironic that the Arabist viewpoint, long associated with the Republican Party, is resurfacing through Kerry Campaign porte parole Richard Holbrooke. Appearing on the O’Reilly Show, Holbrooke lumped Israel together with Syria and Saudi Arabia as countries on which a Kerry Administration would put pressure. Considering what we have learned in the last few years of the Palestinian disinterest (particularly its leadership) in a two-state solution, this is Arabist realpolitik with a vengeance. Two birds are killed here with one stone – the Israelis (obviously) and possibly democratic Arabs (ironically). The superficial argument is that increased pressure on the Israelis will somehow bring forth democracy or democratic behavior among the Palestinians and their allies. But the reverse has almost always been true. It encourages irredentist dreams of a Palestinian State all the way to the Mediterranean. What the Palestinians (and by extension the Syrians and the Saudis) need is a heavy dose of reality, not fantasy. There is an innate cynicism in all this about the Arab mentality (that they can never have a democracy) that borders on the racist. Friends of Israel who think the Kerry Administration (wink, wink) will treat our ally the same as the Bush Administration has ought to reread Krauthammer. (via Michael Totten)