Friday, February 12, 2010

Sarah Palin, Iran, Al Qaeda and Israel

By Bernie Quigley

- For The Hill on 2/12/10

In the end, coming to terms with Iran and coming to terms with Al Qaeda is the same thing. It requires a uniform, unqualified, resolute American political temperament which we do not now have and as yet have never had. Because we Americans – American Jew and gentile alike - haven’t yet fully come to terms with Israel. And success with Iran and Al Qaeda will require a resolute and unqualified American – not European, not the UN, not the world – life or death commitment to Israel. Put simply, success in the Middle East requires full commitment by all Americans to the defense of Israel at all costs (lives, fortune, fate). Possibly the only person who can unite Americans in this way is Sarah Palin.

Since the rise of the Ayatollah Khomeini in 1979 and the taking of Americans hostages shortly after, it has been impossible to imagine this kind of political cohesion in the liberal northeast. But the election of a soldier to the Senate in Massachusetts potentially brings us back into alignment with our older traditions.
We have fought in the Middle East since Desert Storm as we fought in World War I, the Mexican War and Vietnam. All of those ambitions ended in derision and divided America. The war/wars in the Middle East must not end like this. They must follow through to a clear victory for the United States and Israel.

Last week, William Kristol, publisher of the conservative Weekly Standard and one of the first supporters of Sarah Palin, expressed disappointed when she endorsed libertarian Rand Paul, son of Ron Paul, for Senate in Kentucky. But Sarah Palin also gave money to the leading mainstream conservative Lindsey Graham, the Senator from South Carolina. Paulite libertarians fiercely oppose American foreign policy on Israel and any outside intervention. Graham fiercely supported the war on Iraq. But Palin, like many others today, possibly supports some of the libertarian economic and cultural policies of Paul and the Austrian economists but also supports the strong and independent foreign policy of Graham and John McCain. Both these principles today are running together, particularly in the Tea Party Movement.

The Tea Party Movement is heartland based, where the vast majority of American soldiers and officers are from. There is no conflict in holding these two positions. It is forming a new context; a new political paradigm. One which Palin shares some aspects of and advances.

Kristol is still thinking in a context created when New York liberals and conservatives divided among themselves back in New York in the 1950s, when thinking between left and right in America found champions such as Norman Mailer, Gore Vidal and Alfred Kazin on the left vs. Irving Kristol, Norman Podhoretz and Midge Decter on the right. Decter, Podhoretz and Co. embraced the Christian heartland and brought it into mainstream conservative politics. Mailer hunkered down in opposition in Provincetown and sent his money to Ted Kennedy.

The key discussion today in America will no longer be between the Irving Kristols and the Gore Vidals. It will be between Tea Party conservatives in the red states and traditional conservatives like Kristol. This is the meaning of Scott Brown in Massachusetts. It brings us in New England into the mainstream trends forming in the American heartland. It makes it possible here for the first time since Jack Kennedy to begin to think concretely about specific foreign policy issues at their core, and the fate of Israel is the core of turmoil in the Middle East.

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