I Hear They're Also Funding North Korea

David Brooks offers up a fairly novel line of attack on John Mearsheimer and Steven Walt:

There seemed to be a time, after 9/11, when it was generally accepted that terror and extremism were symptoms of a deeper Arab malaise. There seemed to be a general recognition that the Arab world had fallen behind, and that it needed economic, political and religious modernization. . . .

The events of the past three years have shifted their diagnosis of where the cancer is — from dysfunction in the Arab world to malevolence in Jerusalem and in Aipac. Furthermore, the Walt and Mearsheimer paper on the Israel lobby has had a profound effect on Arab elites. It has encouraged them not to be introspective, not to think about their own problems, but to blame everything on the villainous Israeli network.

Yes, it's true. The main obstacles to political and economic reform in the United States are . . . American critics of current US Israel policy. Please. Any nice Jewish boy can tell you that Arab political elites were pretty damn good at deflecting attention of their own shortcomings and onto Israel long before The London Review of Books decided to publish the infamous article. The key variable here -- as Brooks has it in the previous sentence -- is not Walt and Mearsheimer, but "the events of the past three years." America suffered a serious and deadly terrorist attack that, fortunately, did not damage our nations key sources of economic or military strength and, indeed, had the consequence of strengthening our hand politically. As Brooks notes, it opened up a hopeful moment in international relations. But rather than seizing the moment, the Bush administration squandered it.

(Actually funding the DPRK -- our friends in Ethiopia)