‘The Unseemly Spectacle’
This article is from the archive of The New York Sun before the launch of its new website in 2022. The Sun has neither altered nor updated such articles but will seek to correct any errors, mis-categorizations or other problems introduced during transfer.
No Israelis need apply seems to be the New York Times view in respect of the debate over deal President Obama has struck with the Iranian ayatollahs. “What should be a thoughtful debate has been turned into a vicious battle against Mr. Obama, involving not just the Republicans but Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu,” the Gray lady complains. “The unseemly spectacle of lawmakers siding with a foreign leader against their own commander in chief has widened an already dangerous breach between two old allies.”
What is the Times actually saying here? Are those who agree with the critique being leveled against the Iran agreement disloyal Americans who side against their own country and with the Jewish state that is the target of the ayatollahs’ A-bomb? If the lawmakers opposed to the deal are siding with a foreign leader against their own commander in chief, is the commander-in-chief siding with the ayatollahs against America’s own congress? By the logic of the Times, on which side was John Kerry during the Vietnam War?
“Ahistorical” is one of the thunderbolts of derision the Times hurls at the “demagoguery” it perceives in this debate. It avers that President Nixon “normalized relations” with Red China when it was “considered” a “Communist menace.” In fact relations weren’t “normalized,” if that’s the word for it, until recognition in 1979, five years after Nixon had resigned the presidency. Permanent normal trade status wasn’t reached until 2000. More than 40 years after Nixon went to China, by the way, it is still “considered,” if not by the Times, a “Communist menace.”
Then again, the Times cites as evidence of the ahistorical nature of the demagogues in this debate the fact that President Reagan signed a “landmark missile agreement with the Soviet Union, which had fomented unrest worldwide and persecuted Jews.” The Times appears to be referring to the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. But wait, why was it that Reagan didn’t just ink that parchment and take it to the Security Council of the United Nations to have them trap the Senate under the U.N. Treaty? Why did he submit it to the Senate for ratification?
Plus, the Times reminds us that Reagan “even negotiated with Iran after the Islamic Revolution, selling it arms to use in its struggle with Iraq and using the proceeds to arm Nicaragua’s contra rebels in defiance of Congress.” Of what the Times does not remind us is the fact that when Reagan made his Iranian demarche, the Times itself accused him of an “astonishing pattern of lawless activity.” It called the question of whether the administration could investigate itself “probably irrelevant.”
The Times even suggested that the sooner one or both houses of Congress launched their own probes the better. Yet now that the Congress is doing just that in respect of Mr. Obama’s pact with the Iranians, the Times is fit to be tied. It is suggesting that no Israelis need apply in this debate. And it’s questioning the patriotism of those who share Prime Minister Netanyahu’s concerns. It’s calling them demagogues who are not only ahistorical but hypocritical. An unseemly spectacle, indeed.