Home/Daniel Larison/The Folly of Siding with Netanyahu

The Folly of Siding with Netanyahu

Bill Kristol comments on a new report about the administration’s anger towards Netanyahu and his ambassador, Ron Dermer:

So we have an angry president, increasingly desperate for vindication of his failed foreign policy, accelerating both his appeasement of Iran and his attacks on Israel. The good news is that the Republican party and the conservative movement—and most of the American people—stand with Israel and against President Obama.

Kristol’s remarks are worth noting because they make plain that Iran hawks see it as entirely appropriate to side with the head of a client government as he openly seeks to sabotage a major U.S. policy initiative. That’s not all that surprising, since hard-liners in the U.S. are bound to be in agreement with hard-liners in Israel, and they are just as likely to have the same antipathy for anyone attempting to resolve the nuclear issue through diplomacy. It should put to rest once and for all the absurd notion that Iran hawks want to strengthen the U.S. position in the negotiations. On the contrary, they want the negotiations to fail, and they are doing what they can to make that happen.

Kristol makes many errors here, but perhaps the most obvious one is his equation of supporting Netanyahu’s stunt with “standing with Israel.” The two are quite different, as many Israeli opposition politicians will be happy to confirm. There is also no evidence yet that “most of the American people” take the same position as Iran hawks in Washington, and I doubt that most Americans would take the side of a foreign leader, no matter which country’s government he happened to be leading. If Republican hawks were wise, they wouldn’t be going out of their way to identify themselves so closely with Netanyahu’s stunt, but that is what almost all of them are choosing to do. I suspect they will find that most of the public won’t be pleased by this, and it will give voters a powerful reminder why their party can’t be trusted on foreign policy.

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

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