JINSA CEO Makovsky in Washington Post on Obama Administration’s Failures in the Middle East

Can we agree to stop cozying up to Iran?
By Jennifer Rubin

Can we agree to stop cozying up to Iran?
By Jennifer Rubin

Two Democrats from the center-left Brookings Institution, Steven Pifer and Strobe Talbott, write that eight “former U.S. national security practitioners — the two of us, plus former U.S. representative to NATO Ivo Daalder, former undersecretary of defense Michèle Flournoy, former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine John Herbst, former deputy undersecretary of defense Jan Lodal, former NATO European commander James Stavridis and former U.S. European Command deputy commander Charles Wald –” are calling for a sharp reversal in U.S. policy on Ukraine. They call for:

First, the White House and Congress must commit serious money to Ukraine’s defense: $1 billion in military assistance this fiscal year, followed by an additional $1 billion each in fiscal year 2016 and 2017. Congress should not only authorize assistance, as it did in the Ukraine Freedom Support Act last year, but also appropriate funds.

Second, the U.S. government should alter its policy and begin providing lethal assistance to Ukraine. To be sure, most of the above funds would go to nonlethal assistance. For example, the Ukrainian army desperately needs counter-battery radars to pinpoint the source of enemy rocket and artillery fire, which cause about 70 percent of Ukrainian casualties.

But the Ukrainians also need some defensive arms, particularly light anti-armor weapons. The antitank missiles in the Ukrainian inventory are more than 20 years old, and a large proportion of them do not work. U.S. anti-armor weapons could fill a crucial gap.

Third, the U.S. government should approach other NATO member states about assisting Ukraine, particularly those countries that operate former Soviet equipment and weapons systems compatible with Ukraine’s hardware.

This is one instance in which the president’s policy is so abjectly wrong that even Democrats cannot support him. This is not the only one.

The president’s multiple failures in the Middle East are largely attributable to a hugely dangerous notion: that we can reverse historic alliances with Sunni monarchs and Israel to reach a sort of detente with Iran. This noxious idea is permeating many separate actions, all disastrous: serial concessions to Iran in nuclear arms talks; refusal to remove Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as the bloody civil war dragged on and jihadists intervened; turning a deaf ear on the Green Revolution; our attempt to broker a deal to end the Gaza war on terms more favorable to Hamas (the Qatar plan) than one the Palestinian Authority, Israel and Egypt all favored; refusal to confront Iran on state-sponsored terrorism and arms transfers; ignoring Hezbollah’s ongoing violations of the U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701; allying ourselves with Iran-backed rebels in Yemen and the overt hostility toward Israel. The notion that we could abandon our allies, cozy up to Iran — whose ambitions and values are antithetical to our own — and bet on a radical Islamic country’s desire for normalized relations with the West is absurd and is wreaking havoc in the region. “Obama doesn’t see us at war with radical Islam partly because he’s taken sides among elements,” says Michael Makovsky of the pro-Israel group JINSA. “He’s sympathetic to Shia radicals in Iran and its proxies and allies in Lebanon, Syria and Yemen, and has been sympathetic to (Sunni) Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Gaza and Turkey, but he opposes Sunni radicals al-Qaeda and Islamic State.” He warns: “His most consistent regional policy seems to be realignment toward our traditional enemy Iran and against our traditional regional allied states–Israel and Sunni Arabs. This is his biggest and most dangerous failing, as the strengthening regional power of Iran and its growing nuclear potential represent the preeminent and immediate strategic threat to U.S. interests.”

Click here to read in the Washington Post


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