The Neocons And The Putin-Netanyahu Alliance

Michael Brendan Dougherty notes the many differences between Israel’s and Russia’s predicaments and foreign policies, but he also sees a deep neocon dilemma:

For some neoconservatives, Benjamin Netanyahu is the totem of “moral clarity” on the international scene. And yet, these same writers will say that Obama is being played for a fool over Crimea. If Obama is a fool for not opposing Putin strongly enough, what does that make of Bibi’s moral clarity? Bill Kristol worries that Obama is placating Russia, and has said that Obama’s “weakness” has invited Russia’s aggression in the Ukraine. What has Israel’s silence done? When Kristol says that America should be making Putin’s friends pay a price, surely he doesn’t mean Israel.

Here’s a thought experiment. Imagine if France or Britain or Germany had abstained in the UN vote on the annexation of Crimea, and robbed the US of international support. Do you think Bill Kristol would not have mentioned it? Of course not. We’d be reading the umpteenth Weekly Standard piece on the feckless appeasers and ninnies of Old Europe. But when Israel does the same thing … crickets. Or even, in fact, lionization of Netanyahu as a strong figure on the world stage – compared, of course, with president Obama. After a while you notice something about this faction: when they are engaged on obvious inconsistency, Israel – not America – is almost always the reason why. And they will always, in that instance and that instance alone, blame America first.