U.S. President Bush presented his Reagan-style worldview in his June 28, 2005 speech to the nation: No “disengagement” (retreat) from – but a decisive offensive on – terrorism, on the terrorists own breeding grounds.
In word and deed, Bush has put forth an expanded version of Reagan’s 1986 attack on Qadaffi’s political, economic and military terrorist infrastructure.
In contrast to his father, the President’s worldview is influenced by lessons learned from previous U.S. “disengagements” (retreats) in 1979 (following the US Teheran embassy takeover by terrorists), in 1983 (following the murder of 300 Americans in Lebanon by Hizballah terrorists) and in 1993 (following the lynching of US Marines by Muslim terrorists in Somalia).
These “disengagements” fueled anti-US Islamic terrorism, resulting in major terror attacks on US targets in 1993 (Twin Towers #1), 1995/6 (murdering US
GIs in Saudi Arabia), 1998 (blowing up the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania) and 2000 (murdering 17 sailors of the U.S.S. Cole in Aden) and
culminating on 9/11 (Twin Towers #2).
Bush is determined to avoid Clinton’s mistakes. The latter chose to “disengage” from terror centers, made due with limited attacks on terrorist bases, and tried to enage in a dialogue and ceasefires with terrorist-sponsoring regimes.
Clinton’s disengagement from a head-on confrontation with terrorists facilitated terrorists’ engagement with U.S. population centers.
Bush’s worldview is influenced by both his Texas state-of-mind and by his religious values. Contrary to his father, the Connecticut aristocrat, Bush is loyal to the Texas colloquialism: “You don’t disengage (get off) from the horse, precisely when the horse is bucking.” Bush admires Moses, Joshua and Caleb, and is critical of the vacillation displayed by the ten other biblical spies who were intimidated by the nations of Canaan, and who proposed “disengagement” from the Promised Land.
To Bush – and to Vice President Dick Cheney, the cowboy and historian from Wyoming – “disengagement” from terror would be a blow to their
values and state-of-mind. “Disengagement” from terrorism is opposed to Bush’s struggle of good against evil, freedom versus tyranny, truth in face of lies.
In his June 28 speech, Bush has put forward a worldview fundamentally opposed to the “disengagement” plan: “The proper response [to terrorism] is
not retreat, it is courage… They think that they can force us to retreat; they are mistaken… We either deal with terrorism abroad, or we deal with them when it comes to us…”
Therefore, the US would not fund “disengagement”, an initiative that would cost the Israeli tax payer at least NIS $3.5BN (half annual defense budget!).
Therefore, Bush is not committed to reward Israel for “disengagement”, but has only issued a friendly, ambiguous and a non-binding statement (April 2004).
Thereofre, Bush did not initiate “disengagement”, but rather accepted it after four months of pressure by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon (with the urging of the State Department, and in order to prevent a political entanglement with Israel’s friends in the US during the months leading up to the 2004 presidential election.)
Therefore, Vice President Cheney, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, and Congressional leaders are skeptic about “disengagement”.
Therefore, the President and Congress will not go to the wall should Israel call off “disengagement”. They will make do with short-term pressure, which
will be dwarfed compared to the brutal pressure that failed to move all Israeli prime ministers from 1948 to 1992.
In 1981, Reagan imposed a four-month arms embargo on Israel, following Israel’s destruction of Iraq’s Ozirak nuclear reactor. However, following
the short-term crisis, Israel benefited from a significant strategic cooperation that persists to this day.
President Bush has learned from Reagan’s errors (“disengagement” from Lebanon in 1983), and has stood fast and strong in Afghanistan and Iraq, opposing “disengagement” from terrorist strongholds there. Bush admires Israeli democracy, which – like its US sister – provides checks and balances, in order to prevent a tyranny by the Executive.
Does Sharon share the same traits?