Saturday, September 01, 2007

Mearsheimer and Walt

David Seaton's News Links
Mearsheimer and Walt both belong to the "realist" school of power politics. In this view of world affairs, nations have permanent "interests", not permanent allies. If a country is useful to the USA at any moment it is protected and if not it isn't. We support a military dictator in Pakistan because it useful to do so and we strangle Cuba because it opposes our policies.

America's permanent interests in the Middle East are: access to oil at a reasonable price, free movement of goods and warships through the Suez canal and more recently that its regimes not export terrorists to the United States and its "clients".

During the Cold War, specifically after the Six Day war of 1967 where Israel thrashed, trashed and humiliated the Soviet Union's clients, Israel was seen to be a valuable asset for the USA in the Middle East and much interest was shown in fostering the relationship. Perhaps the most important dividend of supporting Israel was to woo Egypt, the most important country in the region, away from its alliance with the USSR. Israel then became America's "watchdog" in the ME.

What is more curious is Norman Finkelstein's theory that these American Jewish elites themselves only really became interested in Israel when the Jewish state became a major strategic asset for the USA. (Before 1967, Zionists were seen to be too socialist for American elite taste) These Jewish elites, again according to Finkelstein, have used their role as "intermediaries" of Israel as a tool to pry open the doors of American power elites and join the WASP elites at the trough.

If the by any chance Israel were ever to be seen as a gross liability to US interests (as it seems to be now to many observers here and abroad), and that for the Jewish elites being seen to promote Israel a handicap to their access to those corridors of power, than these Jewish elites might suddenly cool off toward Israel considerably. I remember an article written by Charles Krauthammer (sorry no link) during last summer's war in Lebanon where he bluntly and nastily (Krauthammer the antisemite?) warned the Israelis that military failure would have such an effect on the "special relationship".

This why I think that the book will not be "ignored", just as Mearsheimer and Walt's LRB article was not ignored. Because although the Jewish elites of America are very powerful and influential, they are not the only powerful and influential ones in America and I think that a lot of coldblooded, thin lipped, rich old WASPs of the Brent Scowcroft, James Baker variety have come to the conclusion that Israel, far from being a strategic asset, is now a geopolitical millstone around America's neck. And these "old, white men" want these views fully aired and debated and the more effort Foxman and Dershowitz (to name two) make to "silence" the book, the more it will sell and the more people will talk about it. That is why the professors were encouraged to write the article and that's why the book is getting a top publisher.

As this collides with the neocon fall campaign to start a war with Iran, I think we are going to see one of the nastiest political seasons in Washington since the late 1850s. DS

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