Mideast, Getting Colder
A tale of two damaging American presidents.


 LOPEZ: Would the world be better off with Qaddafi still around?

BLUM: At least Qaddafi had been put in his place by a former U.S. president — George W. Bush — to the point where he had relinquished his nuclear-weapons program. When he saw what America did to Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, he figured he’d better not push the United States too far. In addition, when you take into account that the Arab League was on the side of NATO in fighting Qaddafi, you can understand that you’re not talking about good guys versus bad guys.


: Who suffers the most in the aftermath of the “Arab Spring”?

BLUM: The Iranian people who tried to topple the mullah-led Ahmadinejad regime. They are the biggest losers here. They watched helplessly as Obama abandoned them in June 2009, when they were being gunned down in the streets by the Islamists who had taken over in 1979 — with the help of Jimmy Carter. They then witnessed the U.S. president supporting protest movements in Arab countries that were clearly about to fall into Islamist hands. The other key groups suffering are Christians throughout the Middle East.

: Should the global Christian community, such as it is, care more about what’s happening to Christians post-“Spring”?

BLUM: I assume that the global Christian community is greatly concerned about what is happening to their brethren in Muslim countries. The problem lies with those Christians who blame Israel for the plight of Christians rather than recognizing the true culprits.

: Is the second Obama administration going to be the second Carter administration that the world never saw?

BLUM: It is even worse than that. Unlike Iran during the Carter years, Iran today is about to possess nuclear weapons. And unlike the Soviet Union — with which Carter was trying to negotiate over its weapons — Iran is run by ayatollahs who, as Professor Bernard Lewis argues, are not deterred by death but rather are buoyed by it. As for domestic damage that Carter could have wreaked in a second term, Obama has an even bigger head start. What he is doing to health care will change the face of the American economy beyond recognition.

: How does the “Arab Spring” pose “a serious threat to the very ideals that the United States and Europe insist are at its root”? Do you have a prophecy that assures you of this?

BLUM: All anyone has to do is pay attention to the writings, teachings, preaching, and stated goals of political Islam. I have always believed that one should respect the ideology of one’s enemies. They say what they mean, and they mean what they say. Then they act on it. I don’t need a prophecy to assure me of this. I live in Israel.

: Your next line is no casual one: “And basing foreign policy on such fantasies is serving to hasten the spread of the most pernicious form of extremism since the Third Reich — only this time it is equipping itself with long-range nuclear missiles.” Isn’t that a bit much to predict?

BLUM: As was the case with Hitler and Stalin, the Iranian regime has global aims and an ideology that goes beyond borders. Enabling the spread of ideas that run counter to the Judeo-Christian ethic, which is the basis for democracy, is suicidal. Do we have to reach the point at which millions of people die before waking up to the reality that there is an evil force that has to be defeated?