In The absence of U.S. leadership makes the world more dangerous than ever former vice-presidential candidate Joe Lieberman has, in a few brief sentences, summarized my writings on the subject of the US-Israel “special relationship” in context of the US retreat into isolationism, a subject I have been commenting on since 2003. In his Washington Post op-ed the senator noted that he has attended “half” the Munich Security Conference meetings since it was established fifty years ago but none, “has been as troubling as the one held this month... because the world has never seemed as dangerous and leaderless as it does now.” It was at this Conference that the US and Russia concluded their “agreement” on Syria which Lieberman describes as yet one more retreat by Obama” and only enhances Putin as the go-to person to save Obama from embarrassment. “Almost no one in Munich,” he wrote, “thought it would work,” and shared his concerns with an Arab diplomat who agreed. “And when we return to Munich next February,” the diplomat commented, “it will all be much worse.” Lieberman, as have often written over the past decade, recognizes that a weak America leaves behind a, “vacuum in the heart of the Middle East,” and vacuums demand filling. In the present instance Russia is all but being courted by Obama to compensate for his failure of leadership and responsibility (multiple “red lines” in Syria, for example). And, as his predecessor President Bush failed to recognize the consequences of replacing Iraq’s admittedly imperfect Sunni regime with a Shia one (the Iran factor), so does Obama fail to recognize the consequences arising from ceding the Middle East to Russia (Putin’s navy in the Mediterranean; his army to the north: a Russia-dominated EU cut off from the distant US).“In a conversation with the leader of a European ally,” Lieberman commented, “some of us asked what the United States could do to be most helpful to him and his country. His answer was direct: “Elect a president who understands the importance of American leadership in the world.”“That,” the senator agreed, “ would be in our national interest and is also wise counsel to American voters as we decide whom to support in this year’s topsy-turvy presidential election.”As America’s retreat from the world is a bi-partisan policy (Bush/Obama), and as the American electorate in its wisdom voted two consecutive clearly unqualified for international leadership presidents: What possibility that “this year’s topsy-turvy presidential election,” where both Democrats are on board with Obama’s global “strategy” while the likely Republican (since the policy thrust is already bi-partisan what matter regarding Israel?) is likely the anti-party/anti-politics Donald Trump.
Lieberman’s despair going forward does indeed seem well-justified.