Wait, the Neocons Actually Believe that Stuff?

by Jonah Goldberg

One of the amusing things to watch in the weeks and months ahead will be the effort of the usual suspects to explain why Israel’s alleged amen corner in America hasn’t coordinated its messaging better with Israel. As Max Boot and others have noted, a great number of the “neocon” democracy promoters are cautiously optimistic about events in Egypt, while the Israelis are downright miffed about America’s betrayal of Mubarak. Last night on Special Report, Charles Krauthammer made a good case for a hardheaded realism while Bill Kristol decried the “fatalism” of some folks on the right. If the Walt-Mearsheimer crowd’s version of reality were remotely sane, shouldn’t Bill and Charles be on the same page? Shouldn’t the folks at Commentary be rewriting memos from Jerusalem?

And while they’re explaining that, maybe they can also explain why there’s so little anti-Israel sentiment on display on the streets of Cairo. Oh sure, plenty of the protesters probably despise Israel and Mubarak’s cold peace with the “Zionist entity” but that’s not why Egypt and Tunisia are in tumult. As John Podhoretz wrote the other day:

The anti-Mubarak revolution won’t only topple an authoritarian regime. It will also topple 40-plus years of wrong-headed thinking about the causes of Middle East instability among the world’s foreign-policy cognoscenti.

In that view, the horrible relationship between Israel and the Arabs is the dominant issue for the Near East’s 20-plus nations and its 250-million-plus people — and the root cause of the region’s tempestuousness.

But now that Tunisia’s street revolt against a corrupt dictatorial regime has led to Egypt’s similar revolt only in a matter of weeks, with God knows what to follow elsewhere, the plain truth can no longer be denied: Israel is a sideshow.


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