Sen. Lindsey Graham recently assured Netanyahu that Congress works for Israel, not the United States
Over the last few years, Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina has been extremely critical of President Obama’s foreign policy. Whether it’s about Libya, Syria, ISIS or Iran, Graham has repeatedly stated that Obama prefers to “lead from behind.”
Obama, unlike his hawkish predecessors, has favored a more inclusive approach when it comes to foreign policy. Instead of going in alone, Obama has rightfully looked to NATO and the United Nations to take the lead when it comes to military and diplomatic action. For some reason, Sen. Lindsey Graham and his Republican Party cohorts have branded this type of strategy as a weakness in the President.
You can debate whether or not Obama’s strategy is a “sign of weakness” or constitutes “leading from behind” if you want to. But what Lindsey Graham pulled recently is the exact definition of both.
Shortly after Christmas, Graham paid a visit to Israel and met with everyone’s favorite chickenhawk, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. When doing so, Graham all but bowed down before him to pledge his allegiance.
“I wanted to come here in the most desperate way before the new Congress reconvenes, to let you and the people of Israel know that the United States Congress, above all entities in America, has your back in a very bipartisan way,” Graham said. “The Republican Party now runs the House and the Senate, and things will be a bit different.”
“Mr. Prime Minister, of all the leaders in the entire world, you’ve had the most consistent message regarding Iran: Beware of the Iranians – they lie, they cheat. To those who believe the Iranians have not been trying to develop a nuclear weapon, if you come to America, you should not be allowed to drive on our highways.”
The Republican lawmaker went on to say that he believes that further sanctions are a better option than the diplomatic solutions being explored by President Obama and his administration. Undermining Obama notwithstanding, what Graham said next was the real kicker:
“I’m here to tell you, Mr. Prime Minister, that the Congress will follow your lead.”
That’s right, a senator vowed to follow the leader of a foreign nation. Apparently leading from behind is only acceptable if the behind belongs to Netanyahu. Imagine a sitting Senator assured the leader of France or Germany that the U.S. congress would ‘follow their lead’ when it came to their own foreign policy. How patriotic…
Not only did Lindsey Graham show a willingness to lead from behind, he also demonstrated his weakness by once again selling out to the powerful pro-Israel lobby which cares more about Israel than the United States.
Still, Graham wasn’t finished. Before a United Nations vote on a timeline for Palestinian Statehood, he said the following:
“Any effort by the French, the Jordanians or anyone to avoid direct negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians over the peace process, anyone who tries to take this to the UN Security Council will be met with a violent backlash by the Congress that could include suspending funding to the United Nations. We will not sit back and allow the United Nations to take over the peace process.”
Violent backlash? Against the French or the UN? Idle threats aside, I wonder who else sees the irony and hypocrisy here. Lindsey Graham pledged that congress could suspend funding to the United Nations, the same institution that created the current state of Israel in the first place. The UN helped Israel, but shouldn’t be allowed to help Palestine. Furthermore, someone should also remind Graham that peace is the whole purpose of the United Nations to begin with.
2015 is just getting underway, but it’s clear from the start that Obama is in for a long two years of dealing with unpatriotic, ass-sniffing, moneygrubbing chickenhawks like Sen. Lindsey Graham and his ilk.
For the record, of the nine votes Palestinians needed in the UN, they came up one vote short (8 in favor, 2 against, 5 abstentions.) They will likely try again soon as the makeup of the Security Council changed January 1st.