Cokie Roberts: More People Should Fear the United States

cikieDuring a rather typically narrow corporate media discussion of the crisis in Gaza, ABC This Week pundit Cokie Roberts (7/13/14) weighed in to say the real problem in the region was the absence of fear of the United States:

It’s, you know, a real absence, though, of American leadership in the region, because I think that you’ve got these rockets going into Gaza from Syria and Iran. And, you know, we just haven’t made a strong enough presence in that region to have people be afraid of this country.

And so I think there’s a sense that, you know, they can get away with anything they want to get away with.

Roberts is repeating Israel’s claims that rockets launched from Gaza toward Israel were smuggled into the occupied territory by Syria and Iran–assertions whose validity is often accepted by US media without much scrutiny (FAIR Blog, 3/11/14).

Nonetheless, her point is that the threat of US military force would stop allowing people to “get away with anything they want to get away with.”

Let’s look at recent history in the region. The United States led a disastrous and bloody war in Iraq. Nearby, the US is winding down a long war in Afghanistan. The US led a military campaign to remove Muammar Gadhafi from power in Libya–resulting in a violent and chaotic state. US drones attack Yemen and Pakistan.

What precisely would Roberts want the United States to do in order to instill more fear among weaker nations? The United States is the most prominent backer–financial and otherwise–of Israel, which is unleashing a massive military campaign that has killed close to 200 people in Gaza, most of them civilians. During Israel’s last full-scale assault on Gaza, in December 2008/January 2009, Israel killed some 1,391 people, 344 of them minors.

Would more bombing of Gaza teach someone a lesson about what they can “get away” with? Should the US pick a different country to threaten in order to send that message?

For the record, the ABC roundtable had two right-wingers–ABC fixture Bill Kristol and GOP strategist Ana Navarro–paired with former Obama aide David Plouffe and Roberts. So I guess she might count as one of the liberals.



About Peter Hart

Activism Director and and Co-producer of CounterSpinPeter Hart is the activism director at FAIR. He writes for FAIR's magazine Extra! and is also a co-host and producer of FAIR's syndicated radio show CounterSpin. He is the author of The Oh Really? Factor: Unspinning Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly (Seven Stories Press, 2003). Hart has been interviewed by a number of media outlets, including NBC Nightly News, Fox News Channel's O'Reilly Factor, the Los Angeles Times, Newsday and the Associated Press. He has also appeared on Showtime and in the movie Outfoxed. Follow Peter on Twitter at @peterfhart.