Victor Davis Hanson outdoes himself:
In short, a bankrupt Greece of only 11 million people, residing in one of history’s most dangerous neighborhoods, has few strong friends other than the United States. The same is true of Christian Armenia, which likewise is relatively small and near to historical enemies in Turkey and Russia.
The line about Greece is rather strange, and the remark about Armenia is even more so. In the last decade, relations between Turkey and Greece have been improving, and the U.S. has consistently pursued policy in the Balkans contrary to the wishes of most Greeks. Our government has pushed to bring Macedonia into NATO despite Greek objections. Armenia has a very close relationship with Russia, which has not been an enemy of Armenia in many decades, and the U.S. has generally sided with Turkey and Azerbaijan in the region since the time of the Karabakh war. Of all the countries in the world to choose as evidence that the U.S. takes the side of small, weaker nations, Armenia is one of the worst examples he could pick. The U.S. doesn’t take Armenia’s side over Karabakh, and Armenia is much more closely aligned with Russia and Iran in any case. Hanson also claims that Armenia and Kurdistan are democratic states, which tells us that he doesn’t pay much attention to the internal politics of either place. Freedom House does not consider Armenia an electoral democracy, and anyone familiar with Armenian elections would understand why.
It’s silly beyond words to treat the U.S. relationship with Israel an an example of supporting “tiny, vulnerable nations,” but there is no mystery surrounding U.S. reasons for backing smaller nations against larger regional powers. If a great power is interested in acquiring clients and satellites, it is presumably doing this to increase its own influence in a given region. The larger regional powers are naturally going to resent this intrusion into their part of the world, and their smaller neighbors are going to accept the great power’s presence to balance against the regional powers. When the U.S. backs “tiny, vulnerable nations,” this is not because of some innate desire to help the weak and persecuted, but because in so doing the U.S. is able to project power with the support of local states and nations.
Update: It is worth noting that Paul Kane, who wrote the controversial Taiwan op-ed to which Hanson refers, has explained what he was trying to do. Kane’s explanation shows that his real argument has nothing to do with Hanson’s subject, and Hanson was one of many to miss Kane’s point.