The WaPo’s main house neocon, Jackson Diehl, had a typically arrogant op-ed today in which he huffed and puffed about Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim in these terms:
- His transition from pro-American democrat to anti-Israeli zealot is sobering…
Matt Yglesias picked up on that and added this wise commentary:
- As best I can tell from Diehl’s column, Anwar hasn’t stopped being “pro-American” or a democrat, so it’s difficult to see what the nature of the “transition” is. Indeed, if I’m understanding Diehl correctly what he’s saying about Anwar (and also about Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan) is that he’s heated up his rhetoric on Israel precisely because as a democrat seeking political reform in Malaysia under difficult circumstances he needs to be responsive to public opinion.
In terms of “pro-American,” it’s always difficult to know what people mean by this term. Clearly, though, Malaysia is very far away from Israel and not the kind of country that’s engaged in global power projection. I would think that we would therefore judge the pro-Americanness or not of a Malaysian politician primarily in terms of his attitude toward regional issues in Southeast Asia…
His bottom line was,
- certainly it would be odd to make Israel the… the main criterion by which we judge a politician.
I beg your pardon, Matt? In just about all of the U.S. mainstream political discourse this is still exactly the criterion by which politicians all around the world get judged. You should surely know that.
Indeed, the situation is ways beyond “odd.” It’s downright lunatic. Not to mention extremely destructive of the true interests of our country’s people.
Still and all, it’s good that Matt Yglesias called Diehl out on his rampant Israel-first-ism.