The US needs to assure its allies that it won’t walk away from them when the
going gets tough, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, widely expected to run
in the 2012 Republican presidential primaries, said on Tuesday.
in an interview with The Jerusalem Post
, was responding to the criticism heard
increasingly in Israel in recent days that the US unceremoniously abandoned
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, a strong US ally for the past 30
:Huckabee evokes right of Jews to live in all of IsraelHuckabee: Events in Egypt create ‘tenuous situation’
One of the “fallout factors” from the upheaval in Egypt, Huckabee
said when asked if Israel needed to be concerned that under certain
circumstances it, too, could be cut loose by Washington, “is that it is going to
be incumbent upon the US to reassure its allies that there is not going to be a
consistency of abandonment when it comes to difficulty and troubles that a
nation might face.”
Huckabee, routinely showing up in national polls as
one of the Republican presidential frontrunners, said the Obama administration
should have acknowledged the positive accomplishments of Mubarak’s tenure,
including his preservation of peace and security in Egypt over the past three
decades, and that he kept the peace with Israel.
“This would not have
required us to approve everything he did, or deny the rights of the people of
Egypt to demand a change of government,” Huckabee said. “But I think it would
have been an important symbol to send to the rest of the world, that we don’t
just walk away from long-standing allies.”
Huckabee said the
administration’s mistake in not having nodded in any way toward Mubarak is
compounded when contrasted with its inactivity when demonstrators took to the
streets in Iran in 2009 to protest the elections there.
Huckabee said, Iran is “anti-American, anti- Israel, anti-peace, and it wants to
build a nuclear stockpile so it can blow up the world. It would have been a
little helpful had [US President Barack] Obama offered some form of support and
accommodation for the protesters in Iran a year ago.”
Huckabee said that
Americans were torn, on the one hand, between recognizing the desire of the
Egyptian protesters for more freedom and democracy, and, on the other hand,
being fearful that the end result could be a more authoritarian government than
the one being replaced.
“An uprising like this is usually a three-act
play,” he said. “The first act is when the citizens take to the streets, and –
if successful – they overthrow the government. Act two is when
wellintentioned, well-meaning reformers try to form a government and lead. The
chances are that they are unprepared and lack an organization and institutional
capacity to lead a government. And that leads to act three.”
concluding act, he said, is “when a well-organized extremist movement – in this
case the Muslim Brotherhood – steps in and becomes far worse than what was
before. We saw that in Iran, and essentially during the Russian
It is the third act, Huckabee said, that everyone needs to
fear in Egypt.
If the true reformers are not able to step into the
vacuum, the Muslim Brotherhood most likely will, “and they are bad people,” he
Huckabee is currently in Israel on a private visit, his 13th to the
country. He met with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Monday, and on
Wednesday will begin leading a group of Christian pilgrims to holy
sites. As he has done in the past, Huckabee has made a point during his
visit of doing something very few US politicians do – visiting West Bank
settlements and Jewish neighborhoods in east Jerusalem.
Huckabee said he
was unconcerned that these visits or his strong support for the settlements
might harm him politically in the US.
Although Huckabee has not yet
officially declared himself a candidate and has not begun aggressively raising
campaign funds, this week a GOP political consulting firm called Strategic
National put him way ahead of Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich and Tim
Pawlenty in Iowa, where the first caucuses will be held in a year’s
Huckabee won those caucuses in his unsuccessful bid in 2008 to win
the Republican nomination.
“It may not be popular position, but I think
it is the right position,” Huckabee said of his support for the settlements.
“I’d rather have people angry because they knew where I stood, rather than
because they thought I stood somewhere and it turns out I didn’t.
really comes down to this,” he said. “Do the Jews have an indigenous right to a
homeland or not? If they do, what is that homeland? Is it the boundaries that
are indigenous boundaries that go back thousands of years? And if there is a
decision on the part of Israel to yield over land, whether in Judea or Samaria,
the question would be, what do they get for that? That is their decision, not
Huckabee said that so far what Israel got in return for giving up
land was “rockets in their bedrooms, synagogues and businesses. I’m not sure why
you would keep giving more land away. What do you want? More rockets, more
encroachment, more violence?”
Huckabee said he was also not concerned that his
position on the settlements and east Jerusalem might detract from his stature in
the eyes of many international leaders.
The person who should not be seen
as serious, Huckabee said, is he who would “continue to put forth a doctrine of
land for peace, when the ultimate definition of insanity is to keep doing the
same thing over and over and expecting a different result.
“How does any
rational person honestly believe that we are going to end up with a peace
agreement as long as we are not asking anything of the Palestinians in
acknowledging the right of Israel to exist, but we ask the Israelis to continue
to let their borders get closer and closer, bringing closer the people who hate
them and want to see them annihilated. I don’t think that’s rational. I don’t
take people seriously who believe that.”
Huckabee said that in the 1980s
people also did not take Ronald Reagan seriously when he called the Soviet Union
the “evil empire” and said the US and the world would be far better off “with a
strong defense, rather than a weak one.
“They called him naïve, and he
was an object of derision for much of the international community,” Huckabee
said. “But when the Berlin Wall fell, when the Soviet Union collapsed, nobody
was laughing at him then.”