Apparently, the only qualification a Republican needs for foreign policy cred is being pro-Israel and anti-Muslim, and showing it by refusing to talk to one of the two parties in a conflict that has bedeviled the Middle East for more than half a century.
As when Indiana Governor and stimulus hypocrite Mike Pence traveled recently to Israel (because knowing how to climb aboard an airliner and let somebody else fly you across the world to Israel means you know your foreign policy stuff) and met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in order to tell him how much he loved and supported Israel.
Did he meet with any Palestinians? No, he did not. As OneNewsNow tells us,
Pence was also invited to have a Christmas dinner in Ramallah with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas while in Israel, which the Republican governor didn’t accept – a decision that earned him kudos from pro-Israel activist Gary Bauer.
Bloomberg reports that Kevin Madden, a Romney adviser, as saying,
It’s important for prospective candidates to have a full command of the issues related to our national security and foreign policy relationship with a crucial ally. There’s no better way to develop diplomatic relationships and learn firsthand about the security challenges there than visiting Israel.
Without meeting the Palestinians? How does that work, exactly? You can understand the Russian-Ukraine crisis by visiting only one of the two countries?
Pence is clear: “US should aspire to be on side of the table with Israel.” Without even attempting to understand what is happening there, he has made up his mind. No doubt based on the Bible rather than the facts on the ground.
According to Pence, his words to Netanyahu were: “Israel is not just our strongest allies in the region, Israel is our most cherished ally in the world. If the world knows nothing else, let it know this: America stands with Israel.”
You remember Romney’s No. 1 foreign policy principle, of course:
President Reagan’s former chief advisor on domestic policy and anti-gay bigot Gary Bauer is president of American Values and a member of the executive board of Christians United for Israel. This is the Gary Bauer who told the Values Voter Summit this year that President Obama is “more interested in defending the reputation of Islam than he [is] in saving the lives of Christians.”
Of course, Bauer doesn’t think gay lives should be saved either, as former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop explained, “[B]ecause he believed that anybody who had AIDS ought to die with it. That was God’s punishment for them.”
So yes, voting for Mike Pence is voting to take a gigantic 500-year step backward. For the record, Mike Pence also has some very bizarre ideas about gays. No surprise, I suppose, given his support for 7 Mountains Dominionism, which has very bizarre ideas about the United States.
And it’s not just Gary Bauer thinking this way, as OneNewsNow tells us:
Tom Pauken served on Ronald Reagan’s White House staff and later became chairman of the Republican Party of Texas. He thinks Pence may be contemplating a 2016 presidential run.
“Clearly Mike Pence is trying to burnish his foreign policy credentials,” he offers, “and his pro-Israel stance is very strongly supported in evangelical circles – and evangelicals vote very heavily in a Republican primary. So I think that’s the connection he’s trying to make.”
Gosh, that’s great. But Israel is not the only foreign country in the world, or even the only American ally, and Evangelicals are not the only voters. Clearly, Pence, Pauken and Bauer love that small tent the GOP has fashioned for itself.
Pauken went on to say: “And he had a strong pro-Israel record [in Congress] before he was elected governor. But foreign policy is more than a stance on Israel.”
Oh! So Pauken does realize that Israel is not the only other country in the world!
“The real issue is how best to combat the threat of radical Islam.”
So other countries don’t exist, and the only thing that matters besides Israel is Islam.
OneNewsNow tells us that “In Pauken’s opinion, that’s the central foreign policy issue of the upcoming presidential campaign.”
So to win as a Republican, foreign policy must focus on Israel and Islam.
That’s a pretty limited set of criteria there. Have these guys forgotten that we live in the United States of America? That we are, in fact, Americans and not Israelis? That some American citizens are actually Muslims?
This is how big Israel is. Britain is not a big country. As you can see, Israel isn’t as big as Britain.
It’s not even as big as Scotland. In fact, Israel is only slightly larger than New Jersey.
Just for the sake of a sense of proportion here, this is how big Israel is compared to the Arab world:
And this excludes Iraq, Pakistan, India and Indonesia. You get the idea. There are LOTS of Muslims. It’s the second biggest religion in the world after Christianity.
So what Pence and others are saying is that that tiny little blue area is more important than that huge pale yellow area. That we should love that tiny blue area as much or more than we love ourselves, and hate that pale yellow area.
What’s funny is that in other areas, Bauer does care about proportion, as when he says that,
“I’ve never seen an administration so obsessed with pushing the rights of a really miniscule segment of the American population,” in reference to gays. And despite his own obsession with gays, including thinking they should just all die already.
One does not have to be anti-Israel (let alone anti-Semitic) to question the wisdom of a foreign policy that places Israel’s (or any country’s) interests even above our own. If anything, at this point, after the ethnic cleansing in Gaza, Americans should be questioning our unquestioning support for Israel.
Pence is thinking about running for president of the wrong country. He should immigrate to Israel and try his luck there. Clearly, ideological and religious fanaticism has blinded him to the bigger picture. This is not surprising, of course, given the Bible’s own endorsement of ethnic cleansing.
That kind of thinking might make sense in Tel Aviv. Not so much in Washington D.C.