Diana West

The United States and European Union are now cranking aid back up -- sure, in humanitarian dribs and drabs, but this is probably just the beginning -- and still no concessions. This doesn't sound like successful statecraft.

On the other hand, it seems that statecraft is no longer the craft of our state. After predictions of cash and gas shortages, and a couple of stories about sick Palestinian babies made the papers -- youngsters languishing "because funds have been withheld from the West" (oil-rich Islam is never to blame) -- the United States blinked. Or, rather, we teared up. Acting like an emotional individual rather than the leader of the Free World, the United States traded its goals and principles (pressuring Hamas, not supporting terrorists) for a big wet hanky. But notice Hamas didn't get weepy over its own young and decide to "save the children" by simply recognizing Israel's right to exist. Nor did any of Hamas' oil-rich Muslim brethren feel moved to come to the rescue, either. No. Hamas remained true to its creed (Kill the Jews), the Arab-Muslim world sat tight, and the United States gave in on its anti-terrorist stance and agreed to airlift necessities -- which is a disgrace.

Of course, the administration would probably emphasize that it's "only" $10 million worth of Band-Aids and such; and it's not going to Hamas officials, it's going to Hamas constituents -- or maybe even Fatah constituents, whose outlook on life and Israel is so different from Hamas that they support the Al Aqsa Martyr Brigades. (Yes, I'm being sarcastic.) But there is more to this incident than $10 million, Band-Aids  or Hamas. What we are witnessing is the stumbling behavior of a superpower that doesn't know how to act either super or powerful.

Maybe waging a nebulous "war on terror" has hopelessly confused us. Maybe finding ourselves in the costly business of making the world safe for sharia has muddled our objectives. But if we cannot retrieve the simple, precious principle that took us into war -- you're either with us or you're against us -- not only will we never achieve victory, we won't even know what it looks like.


Diana West

Diana West is the author of American Betrayal: The Secret Assault on Our Nation's Character (St. Martin's Press, 2013), and The Death of the Grown-Up: How America's Arrested Development Is Bringing Down Western Civilization (St. Martin's Press, 2007).