Meet the new axis of oppression
Two split-screen events in one day last week displayed new global alliances ready to clash, Cold War-style. In Poland, America tried to push Mideast peace. At the same time, a gang of rogues united in New York to support Venezuela’s crumbling Marxist dictatorship.
The more consequential event was the two-day summit, organized by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, that drew to Warsaw top Mideast leaders. Critics in Europe and the media who derided the summit as nothing but an anti-Iran yawner overlooked significant developments with far-reaching ramifications.
The other, mostly unreported, spectacle was at United Nations headquarters. Jorge Arreaza, the foreign minister of Caracas’ illegitimate government, was flanked by ambassadors from China, Russia, North Korea, Iran, Syria, Cuba, the Palestinian Authority and others. Waving the UN Charter, he denounced an evil US-led “plot.”
In a news conference, Arreaza described how American agents, guns in hand, are preparing to invade and rob his country. Actually, America sides with Venezuelans who seek an end to their nightmare. Washington has been attempting to peacefully deliver food and medicine, while regime thugs block the border.
After Arreaza’s show, Russia’s UN ambassador, Vassily Nebenzia, went on to dismiss the US-led Mideast powwow in Poland. “It’s an anti-Iranian gathering,” he told me. “That’s what’s going on in Warsaw today,” adding that Moscow sees no value in such a pile-up.
Moscow’s critique was echoed elsewhere, and, sure enough, opposition to Iranian expansionism was indeed what drew Sunni Arab leaders to Warsaw. But there was more to that summit.
In one panel, moderated by veteran peace negotiator Dennis Ross, the United Arab Emirates’ foreign minister, Abdullah bin Zayed, said, referring to Israel, “Every nation has the right to defend itself.” Gulf state colleagues agreed. They noted that Israeli-Palestinian peace is crucial for regional stability — but would be hard to achieve while Iran backs Palestinian extremists.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chummily exchanged views with Arab leaders, a spectacle unseen since the groundbreaking 1991 Madrid conference. And at that time, unlike in Warsaw, none of the Arabs sided with Israel on anything.
Meanwhile, the Palestinian Authority declined an invitation. Ramallah fears the “deal of the century,” devised by President Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and now scheduled to be published after the Israeli election in April. It’s said to lean heavily on warming Arab-Israeli ties, as seen in Warsaw.
Ramallah, though, would sooner jump on any anti-US bandwagon. Just as they sided with Saddam Hussein in the first Iraq War, Palestinians now choose the wrong side on Venezuela. The Palestinian UN envoy, Riad Mansour, boasted 50 countries and counting are now in the emerging global pro-regime coalition.
That group’s performance was reminiscent of the UN’s Cold War-era theater of the absurd. Turns out Russia (occupier of Crimea) and China (usurper of islands and territories) support the UN Charter’s call for “respect for territorial integrity.” North Korea and Iran back another ideal — opposing military threats to other countries. Palestinians, unable to unite at home, proudly speak of unity among UN members. Who knew?
But what about Western Europe? Skeptical of America’s approach to Iran and Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking, all but Britain sent low-level representatives to Warsaw. The Europeans pounced as Vice President Mike Pence called on them to leave their beloved Iran deal. Yet, according to Dennis Ross, they were “alarmed” as Arabs and Israelis exchanged horror stories about Iran’s behavior in the region.
And at the UN, European diplomats outright ridiculed the Caracas-supporting farce and expressed support for Washington’s adept handling of the Venezuela crisis.
When push comes to shove, Europe still shares enough values with America and will remain allied with us despite all the ups and downs. Adding new allies from the Arab world, even those that don’t share such values, will be a bonus.
Such an alliance is especially necessary, now that the rogues have united at Turtle Bay and beyond, and as a new global confrontation looms.
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