Obama’s Advisors – A Source for Concern

Ynet (Hebrew edition), July 23, 2008

Senator Barack Obama, the Democratic presidential candidate, is not a key member of the Senate Committees on Foreign Relations, Armed Services or Intelligence.  He has not initiated/led any significant legislation and has not devoted himself to national security issues. He surged into the Senate and the presidential race from the Illinois local-political-social arena.  Obama relies on a battery of experienced advisors, who influence/shape his world view and maybe even US policy and US-Israel relations for the next 4-8 years.  However, the record of his advisors – most of them served in the Carter and Clinton Administrations – constitutes a source for concern.


For instance, Tony Lake served as the influential Director of Policy Planning under Secretary Cyrus Vance and President Jimmy Carter.  He played a lead role in the policy, which stabbed the Shah of Iran – a most loyal ally of the US in the most critical area to US interests – in his back, thus facilitating the rise of Khomeini to prominence, which has constituted a tailwind to the Islamic revolution.  Lake was the luminary and National Security Advisor of President Clinton, who shaped a policy, which approached international and Islamic terrorism as a challenge for law enforcement agencies rather than for the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs-of-Staff.  Lake’s policy defined terrorists as criminals who should be brought to justice, rather than wartime lethal enemies who should be brought down on their knees.  The outcome of Lake’s world view has burdened the US and the Free World since September 11, 2001. 


Susan Rice served as John Kerry’s senior foreign policy advisor in his 2004 presidential campaign.  She wanted to appoint Jim Baker or Jimmy Carter – the most anti-Israel Secretary of State and President since 1948 – as the Special Emissary to the Arab-Israeli conflict.  Rice was an Assistant Secretary of State under Secretary Albright and President Clinton, representing a world view, which blames the West for the predicament of the 3rd World, identifying Israel with the West and the Arabs with the 3rd World.  Just like Condoleezza Rice, Susan Rice examines the Palestinian-Israeli conflict through the lenses of American Black struggle for civil rights, classifying Palestinians as the supposed oppressed Blacks.  If MLK would know that he is compared to Abu Mazen and Arafat – the role models of hate education, homicide-bombing and systematic violation of commitments – he would declare: “I Have a Nightmare!”


Madeleine Albright was Clinton’s Secretary of State, promoting Susan Rice.  Albright considered Arafat a genuine partner for peace negotiation and a potential ally of the USA.  She transformed Arafat into the #1 Frequent Visitor to the White House, overlooked documentation of Arafat’s loathsome terrorism and anti-US policy, lobbied Congress for larger foreign aid to Arafat and enhanced his standing in Western capitals.  Albright advanced a policy of negotiation-rather-than-confrontation with terror regimes.  Hence, the absence of an effective preventive counter-terrorism policy and the lack of appropriate retaliation to the Islamic terrorist bombing of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania (300 murdered) and bombing of the USS Cole (17 murdered).  The policy of negotiation-rather-than-confrontation was interpreted by Islamic terrorists as weakness, thus paving the road to the 2001 Twin Towers and Pentagon terrorism (almost 3,000 murdered).


Zbigniew Brzezinski’s and Lee Hamiltons long track record is replete with failures and problematic Israeli aspects.  As Carter’s National Security Advisor, Brzezinski led a policy of US pessimism in face of the 3rd World and spearheaded the initiative, which facilitated the 1979 Khomeini volcanic eruption and its continued aftershocks.  He has been one of the staunchest hostile critics of the Jewish State, considering Israel a strategic liability, contending that US support of Israel stems from political expediency, supporting recognition of Hamas and criticizing Israel for its, supposed, belligerence during the 2006 Lebanese War. 


Lee Hamilton demonstrated cold-critical attitude toward Israel while serving as the Chairman of the House Subcommittee on the Middle East, embracing Arafat as a supposed moderate leader.  Hamilton is the co-chair, along with Jim Baker, of the “Iraq Study Group,” which recommended a US dialogue with rogue regimes.  It defines the Arab-Israeli conflict as the crux of Middle East turbulence and terrorism.  Therefore, he calls for sweeping Israeli concessions as a panacea for regional malaise.  How intriguing to believe that a resolution of the 100 year old Arab-Israeli conflict would be a solution for the 1,400 year old Inter-Muslim turbulence?!


Obama should be welcome warmly in Israel.  However, one should not delude oneself about the prospect of influencing the world view of his advisors.  Therefore, it is incumbent upon the Jewish State, and its supporters in the USA, to upgrade their efforts on Capitol Hill, which has been a most effective locomotive of the mutually beneficial US-Israel cooperation.  Congress is equal to the Executive in constitutional power, and it reflects the most authentic attitude of the American People toward the Jewish State.