Perry’s Backs Greater Israel – With Cowboy Boots On, Ctd

Andrew Sullivan —  Sep 22 2011 @ 11:35am

Bill Clinton says what needs to be said: the GOP's theologically-based foreign policy is awful for the US and dangerous for Israel:

“There’s an enormous reservoir of support for Israel in the Christian evangelical community, and a lot of them believe — as some of the more militant subgroups do — that God meant for all Judea and Samaria [the West Bank] to be in the hands of Israel. … I’m sure there are hundreds of thousands of people that have never missed church on Sunday in Texas who believe it.”

Clinton also said Perry and Republicans in Congress are willing to capitulate to Israel on too many issues. The former president summed up his views on the GOP perspective as, “‘You guys [Israel] do whatever you want — keep the West Bank. We’re coming back, we’ll have the White House and Congress, and we’ll let you do whatever you want.’”

That's about right – and it's deeply damaging to the US's wider interests in the world, especially in defusing Jihadism. Larison weighs in on Perry's Israel comments:

What is obnoxious is that Perry takes it as a tenet of his faith that he ought to endorse a particularly close relationship with another state. The “clear directive” doesn’t leave room for considerations of national interest or changed circumstances. That suggests that he would support that relationship in its current form no matter how costly it might become to the U.S., and it would mean that there is virtually nothing that an Israeli government could do that would make him change his position. Then again, there is something a bit more honest in straightforwardly admitting to uncritical and reflexive loyalty instead of pretending that support depends on supposed strategic value or shared political values.

It is an extraordinary statement of theological foreign policy. Perry, it becomes clearer and clearer, is Bush without the sophistication or conscience. You'll notice that at no point does the factor of the Arab Spring come into view. Indeed, Perry seems to view all Arab and Muslim states as a threat which must not be "appeased". What are the odds, do you think, that he has weighed what Fayyad has done these past few years and made a calculation of how to support forces of democracy and reform in Palestine rather than empower Hamas some more? About as high as the odds of him actually doing due diligence on a death warrant.

In that sense, Perry is the best thing for Jihadism in a very long time. In the end, the fundamentalists of all stripes feed each other's paranoia and worldview. Until the religious war they truly seek can play out.