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Jewish World Review Nov. 7, 2000 / 9 Mar-Cheshvan 5761

Sam Schulman

Sam Schulman
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The Clinton Legacy: A world in flames --
ONE OF the oddest things about this election season is how the press has ceded the "international" issue to the Clinton/Gore team.

When George Bush handed the presidency to the Clinton administration, what did he get? A world so pacified that for the first year or more of his administration, Clinton didn't even have to pay attention to world affairs. Saddam was bottled up. Russia was on its knees. Yugoslavia was restive, but so far, not disturbing the peace of the world.

The PLO's leadership was in Morocco, urging on rock-throwing attacks by unarmed young people in front of a sympathetic media. Israel's northern villages were protected by a buffer zone in south Lebanon which excluded terrorists. The question for Israel was how to secure its existing frontiers against PLO infiltration.

China was weak and shamed by its Tianamen Square slaughter in front of the world's media. The military operation against Iraq showed the world that American firepower could subdue a regional power with relatively little sacrifice on our part.

Now, look around us. Saddam, nearly fully re-armed, is threatening his neighbors again, and knows exactly the measure of his enemy's resolve and firepower, both of which are substantially less than it was in 1991. Moreover, he is armed with the result of 10 years of secret research and manufacture of deadly weapons which he carried on virtually without oversight, despite our right, duty, and ability to carry it out.

Russia has been invited back into the heart of Europe, and its leaders have been accommodated and nursed with U.S. money. China has been allowed to rattle its sabers at a neighboring nation's democratic exercise of power-with absolute impunity. Yugoslavia was first allowed to tear itself apart while the west watched, under the eyes of Clinton's first secretary of State, Warren Christopher; then its worst butchers were allowed to stay in power by Clinton's second proconsul, Richard Holbrooke. Finally, under the hamfisted Madeleine Albright, the west intervened at an inopportune moment, an intervention which had three results: First it caused the temporary expulsion of nearly a million ethnic Albanians, then it caused the permanent ethnic cleansing of a quarter of a million ethnic Serbs, and finally, it demonstrated the absolute impotence of U.S. airpower against a small military establishment which was left virtually unharmed by weeks of "precision bombing."

And Israel? Thanks to the relentless "even-handed" diplomacy of Clinton and his proconsul Martin Indyk, Israel is no longer worrying about terrorist infiltration and rock-throwing demonstrators. Now the demonstrators are armed, and the problem with its frontiers is not to maintain their security, but their very existence. The question now is whether Israel will be allowed to keep some of Jerusalem, or even its pre-1967 borders, or whether it will be rolled back to the UN partition plan of the 1940s, with a Palestinian right of return which will finally destroy the Jewish state. All this has not been the result of conflict, but of Clinton's "peacemaking" and his unashamed meddling in Israel's elections.

Thanks to Clinton/Gore, by the time children now in school come to adulthood, the world will be far closer to its complexion before Reagan. Our current allies in Asia and the Middle East will be challenged by much more powerful and wealthy adversaries; our regional enemies in areas like the Middle East will be armed and supported by them, and well able to make serious mischief; and the Jews of Israel may be wondering which of the countries with Holocaust Museums might be induced to give them refuge.

Eight years of Al Gore's "experience" in world affairs has served to make the world a much more dangerous place. Is there a single potential enemy to U.S. interests that is not many times stronger and more confident now than there was before 1992? Has there ever been a time since 1973 when Israel's security and very existence was more threatened? And this is the administration which will be getting the vote of the vast majority of American's Jews.

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JWR contributor Sam Schulman is deputy editor of Taki's Top Drawer, appearing in New York Press, and was formerly publisher of Wigwag and a professor of English at Boston University. You may contact him by clicking here.


© 2000 by Sam Schulman