President Barack Obama’s stunning about-face on U.S. policy toward Israel—saying that it needs to recede to its pre-1967 war borders as the starting point for negotiations to create an independent Palestinian state—could be the beginning of a bold new initiative in U.S. foreign policy.
Why stop there? Why not, for example, as part of ongoing U.S. negotiations with Mexico, give back the territories in Arizona and New Mexico the United States gained in the 1853 Gadsden Purchase as a preliminary offer to settle the problem of illegal immigration? And, if that’s not enough, offer to give back Texas as well.
Or, to win the love and respect of the French people, return the lands involved in the Louisiana Purchase to France. Or promise to pull the United States back to its pre-1776 borders as part of a negotiation with everyone who may still hold a grievance over the outcome of the U.S. war for independence. [Check out a roundup of political cartoons on Obama.]
On the world stage, Obama could ratify his Nobel Peace Prize by asking the Spanish to return to their pre-1492 borders or insist that the United Kingdom give back Scotland to the Scottish, making William Wallace’s dream a reality. To bring peace to the Balkans, he might propose that the countries of middle Europe be reassembled into the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
There are a whole host of territorial disputes just waiting for Obama’s firm hand and innovative approach, not just in the Middle East, but all over the world. [See political cartoons on the Middle East unrest.]
The reality is that his demand of Israel makes the United States look foolish and, more importantly, unreliable as an ally. It’s a dangerous thing, something anyone old enough to remember the Carter years would do well to remember.