October 1st, 2023


Signs of the times

Cal Thomas

By Cal Thomas

Published May 13, 2021

Signs have been a part of Middle East lore dating back to biblical times. People in the region take them seriously, which is why the signs emanating from the Biden administration are having serious ramifications.

Recent rioting on the Temple Mount and rocket attacks on Jerusalem and other civilian areas from Hamas bases in Gaza signal that statements and actions (and inactions) by the Biden administration are creating a political vacuum that terrorists and dictators are eager to fill.

The Trump administration had supported Israel over those who wished to destroy the Jewish state. Now, President Biden is returning to the policies of President Obama's administration, which clearly placed Israel low on its priority list, encouraging its enemies.

In Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and elsewhere, the sign is clear: Progress made by the Trump administration in forging peace deals with the UAE, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan is now off the table. This administration will try to deal with dictators and terrorists who have no intention of living up to any promise they might make. Why should they amidst signs of weakness and pressure on Israel from Washington?

U.S.-born Israeli writer Caroline Glick says the region recognizes that "the U.S. has changed sides, the Saudis no longer believe that with Israel they can contain Iran. So now they are hoping to cut a deal with the ayatollahs."

Since Democrats gained control of the presidency and Congress, the Middle East has been returning to previous behavior. Mullahs have ramped up their heated sermons against Israel and vile labeling of Jews, reminiscent of a not-too-distant past in Nazi Germany. Anti-Semitism is also rising in Europe.

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All the U.S. does is issue tepid statements. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said, "While we urge de-escalation on all sides, we also recognize Israel's legitimate right to defend itself, to defend its people and its territory."

This is meaningless if policies don't follow.

The Taliban is in the process of retaking Afghanistan as U.S. troops withdraw. It clearly sees this sign as an invitation to return to the days of mandatory burqas for women, denying females jobs, education and other freedoms they have recently enjoyed. A re-established base for al-Qaeda may soon follow.

Another sign taken seriously by enemies of Israel and the West is the Biden administration's determination to re-enter nuclear talks with Iran, a country whose religious and political leaders have refused to stop their enrichment of uranium and have not been deterred in their determination to eradicate Israel. Bargains with the devil do not end well. See Dr. Faust and the Munich Agreement for examples.

Trump administration policies were working in the Middle East (with the exception of unilateral withdrawal from Afghanistan). A strong Israel and peace with at least some of its neighbors is the best deterrent against Islamic terrorism.

The Biden administration is again engaging in wishful thinking and the belief that American morality can be transposed on others who do not share it. Such a process has proven folly wherever it has been tried. One might think lessons would have been learned by now.

It doesn't help that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been unable to form a government and is on trial for alleged corruption, or that the possibility of a Labor Party government could try to appease Israel's enemies.

In scripture there are at least 85 references to signs. A Google search will reveal how relevant they have always been, especially in light of what is happening in the Middle East and other current events.


Cal Thomas, America's most-syndicated columnist, is the author of 10 books.