Many downplay the significance of the US Congressional elections. It is the six-year slump, they say. But the truth is nonetheless glaring. By all accounts, Tuesday the George W. Bush era came to a close.
The consequences of this turn of events on Israel will be dramatic. Unfortunately, it is doubtful that anyone has explained them to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert ahead of his scheduled visit to the White House next week.
Across the political spectrum in Washington today there is a sense that after years of wavering, in the wake of the Democratic victory in Tuesday's Congressional elections, President Bush transferred control over American foreign policy to his father's anti-war advisors.
The President's announcement of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's "resignation" Wednesday signaled the transfer of control over the war against radical Islam from Bush's team to Bush pere's team. Robert Gates, Bush's nominee to replace Rumsfeld, served as his father's deputy national security adviser and CIA director. Gates, who will arrive at the Pentagon from his present position as President of Texas A&M University where Bush I's presidential library is located, is closely associated with former national security advisor Brent Scowcroft and former secretary of state James Baker. He is a member in good standing of the Arabist wing of the Republican Party which dominated the President's father's administration.
In recent years, Gates made one notable foray into the world of international affairs. In 2004 he collaborated with Zbigniew Brzezinski, former national security advisor in the Carter administration. Like former president Jimmy Carter, Brzezinski is one of Israel's greatest adversaries in US policymaking circles. It is hard to recall a problem, conflict, crisis or war in the Middle East over the past thirty years that Brzezinski has not managed to blame on Israel.
Gates and Brzezinski co-chaired a Council on Foreign Relations-sponsored Task Force charged with recommending a US policy for dealing with Iran. In July 2004 they published their recommendations. The Task Force called for the Bush administration to directly engage the mullahs and to use "fewer sticks and more carrots" to convince the regime in Teheran to stop enriching uranium, and to stop supporting al Qaida and the insurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan. In an effort to convince the Iranians to cooperate, the two recommended that the US discard regime overthrow as a policy option and move more forcefully to establish a Palestinian state as quickly as possible. They also recommended that the US pressure Israel not to take any military action against the Iranian nuclear facilities arguing that such Israeli actions would undermine US national interests.
Caroline B. Glick is the senior Middle East fellow at the Center for Security Policy in Washington, D.C., and the deputy managing editor of The Jerusalem Post, where this article first appeared.
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