Five years ago today, Walt and Mearsheimer gave Americans the vocabulary to discuss a central issue

What stood out from the first page was the tone—measured but firm, uncompromising but not strident. Every assertion seemed precisely weighed, put forth without exaggeration, flamboyance, or polemical excess. Also striking was the absence of gratuitous deference towards the opponent. There was no pulling of punches, no telltale signs of anxiety about the consequences of an argument taken too far, or indeed made at all. Such was my first reaction to reading John Mearsheimer’s and Steve Walt’s Israel Lobby paper, posted five years ago today on the website of Harvard’s Kennedy School, and published in shorter form in the London Review of Books. It had arrived at the opening of business one morning in an email from Michael Desch, then a professor at Texas A&M’s George H. W. Bush School of Government. I sent it across the hall to my colleague Kara Hopkins, a woman a generation my junior, somewhat less engaged than I by the Middle East, and certainly less persuaded that a coterie of neocons had gotten George W. Bush on a leash and were leading him this way and that. Three minutes later I walked into her office, where she had the paper up on her screen. “This is exactly what I believe,” said Kara, words that I had never heard from her before on any subject, much less this one. 

American Christians who are neither ignorant nor bigots have a difficult time finding the right words to discuss Israel and its special relationship to the United States. Anyone with knowledge of European history knows of the connection between discourses about Jewish power and anti-Semitism. Inevitably this history has intruded on American discussions of Israel and its lobby. Save a handful of exceptions, mainstream dissent from the special relationship with Israel has taken the form of the dry aside or the understated sentence or two published amidst a lot of other stuff, almost as if the author hoped it would not be noticed. Occasionally public figures at the end of their careers made remarks that more resembled outbursts, the parting shot of the seventy- five year old senator or aging general. But more often than not, ever sensitive to the perils of anti-semitism, Americans let their fears of contributing to injustice shut off necessary debates. People rolled their eyes or took refuge in wry remarks: “What’s the matter with the rest of them?” said a friend upon seeing a Washington Post story about the 360 members of Congress who had showed up to pay homage at one of AIPAC’s annual gatherings. 

The reasons differed for every individual, and were composite. There was the worry about offending close Jewish friends or colleagues, concerns over possible adverse professional consequences, or the general inhibitions associated with the Jewish power/leading to anti-Semitism/leading to the Holocaust nexus.* The result was that critical analysis of the special relationship was shoved to the margins of American political discourse. The discussions may have been richer and more involved on the Marxist and anti-imperialist Left than on the quasi-isolationist Old Right, but in neither case did they much influence the political mainstream. Even in the wake of the Iraq disaster, with the looming prospect more American wars in the Middle East, Israel’s role was alluded at most in passing, but seldom really pursued. 

The evasions could be almost comical.

In the second issue of The American Conservative, in the fall of 2002, we published an outstanding 8000 word essay by Paul Schroeder, a distinguished diplomatic historian, who argued that Americans had a great stake in preserving an international system which inhibited preventive wars of the sort Washington was preparing to wage against Iraq. After being granted 8000 words, Schroeder added some footnotes, the fourth of which stated, inter alia, “It is common for great powers to try to fight wars by proxy, getting smaller powers to fight for their interests. This would be the first instance I know where a great power (in fact, a superpower) would do the fighting as the proxy of a small client state.” 

To Schroeder’s consternation, this footnote was the only item from his argument mentioned a few months later in a Washington Post oped, where it was cited it amongst other examples of the supposed anti-semitism of Iraq war critics who had deigned to notice that the push for war was connected to Israel. 

Five years ago, John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago and Stephen Walt of Harvard stepped directly into these bogs of understatement, circumlocution and the relegation of major points to footnotes. Here are some of the points the two made in the first pages of their paper:

For the past several decades, however, and especially since the Six Day War in 1967, the centerpiece of U.S. Middle East policy has been its relationship with Israel. The combination of unwavering U.S. support for Israel and the related effort to spread democracy throughout the region has inflamed Arab and Islamic opinion and jeopardized U.S. security…

More importantly, saying that Israel and the United States are united by a shared terrorist threat has the causal relationship backwards: rather, the United States has a terrorism problem in good part because it is so closely allied with Israel, not the other way around…

This situation has no equal in American political history. Why has the United States been willing to set aside its own security in order to advance the interests of another state?

In the essay that followed, the two backed up these and other equally forceful assertions with tightly-argued, factually-based paragraphs and extensive footnotes. They were not, of course, the first pioneers in pursuing this subject from an establishment vantage point: on at least two occasions, the Israel subject had been addressed by Americans of comparable eminence. George W. Ball, probably the wisest figure to hold high positions in the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, had late in life co-authored with his son an important book on America’s “entangling alliance” with Israel —a book whose antecedent was in an article written for Foreign Affairs in the late 1970’s, proposing that America “save Israel from itself” by stopping its incipient campaign to colonize the West Bank. A few years earlier, Senator William Fulbright, probably the leading foreign policy intellectual among Americans who held elective office in the postwar era, bemoaned the Israel lobby’s influence, and pushed for an American security guarantee for Israel within the 1967 borders.

Both Fulbright and Ball came to the subject at the close of long careers. In contrast Mearsheimer and Walt published their paper during their professional primes. Their argument had none of that “Now I can finally say it” quality; instead the authors arrived with every intent of carrying their argument forward. They had tenure at two of the country’s top universities. They had reached the top of a profession which rewards clear writing and thinking, and possessed the argumentative eloquence that comes from years of lecturing before the nation’s brightest students. They were political moderates—whose careers had placed them squarely in the “vital center” of American academic foreign policy discourse. They were fully prepared to go larger, and in eighteen months turned the paper into a best-selling book

Of course it mattered somewhat that the Israel lobby used every tool at its disposal smear the authors and bury their argument. Every journal and newspaper that had ever felt the need to stress its “pro-Israel” credentials published a negative review of the book. (The Israel Lobby received generally far more favorable reviews in Europe and, in fact, in Israel.) But the sheer volume and intensity of the attacks on the paper may have been self-defeating. By April 2006, it seemed that everyone with an interest in foreign policy had read the article and was eager to talk about it. (I would note that in that month I went on a trip with a church group to Syria, Israel, and the occupied West Bank, on a schedule that included five or six meetings a day for ten days. Excepting the purely religious figures, it is no exaggeration to say that every single Arab intellectual, government or NGO official we met with mentioned the Mearsheimer and Walt paper. It was also the very first topic raised by Owen Harries, the very wise retired editor of The National Interest, at a private dinner I gave in his honor when he was visiting from Australia that May. )

Like the original essay, the book itself was a blend of precise analysis and exact documentation. As a resource it is unparalled. If someone confidently asserts that Israel and its backers had nothing whatever to do with encouraging the United States to invade Iraq ( a “canard” is the usual dismissal phrase), one can find in The Israel Lobby five or six pages of quotes from television appearances and opeds by leading Israeli political and military figures, who utilized their untrammeled media access to convey their war-mongering points to the American public. The same holds true for dozens of other subtopics of their broader subject: precise generalizations, supported by facts, authoritatively and contextually presented in a rhetoric that neither overheats nor backs down.

There are several different frames of reference in which to discuss Israel, the Palestinians, and the United States. One potentially critical new front is now being opened by some Jewish liberals, who charge that Israel’s longstanding occupation policies contravene Jewish values. But important as this argument is, it initiates a debate in which the vast majority of Americans have no standing to participate.

This underscores the achievement, and the yet unrealized potential, of Mearsheimer and Walt’s essay and book. As international relations scholars and centrist “realists,” the two examined the American relationship with Israel through the prism of American national interests and values—or at least the non-racist and democratic values America has aspired to for most of the past century. They found the Israel relationship deficient on both counts. In doing so they not only wrote a milestone paper and book— what political work in the past decade comes close to The Israel Lobby in importance? They provided the tens of millions in the vast American political center with a vocabulary and a conceptual frame to discuss a subject of critical importance to them. Non-Jews especially, for the reasons discussed above, desperately needed such a vocabulary, for without it they were all but mute. No matter that this potential remains, as yet, relatively underutilized: it is still there, ready to be deployed. In the long run, this may prove the greatest contribution of the two scholars, one which far surpass what the book has achieved thus far. 

*These inhibitions included the fear of offending other non-Jews. My wife, whose father was a UN official with extensive responsibilities for Middle East peacekeeping, grew up with a far more critical attitude towards Israel than I had. It was not until my own (previously neoconservative) views began to change in the mid 90’s, fifteen years into our marriage, that she acknowledged to me some of her pro-Palestinian sympathies.

About Scott McConnell

Scott McConnell is a founding editor of the American Conservative. The former editorial page editor of The New York Post, he has written for Fortune, The New Criterion, National Review, Commentary and many other publications.
Posted in Israel/Palestine

{ 40 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. annie says:

    thanks scott, excellent essay.

    • clenchner says:

      “One potentially critical new front is now being opened by some Jewish liberals, who charge that Israel’s longstanding occupation policies contravene Jewish values. But important as this argument is, it initiates a debate in which the vast majority of Americans have no standing to participate.”

      This Jew agrees. Which is why supporting W + M is so much more useful than carping on Jewish liberals or spending a lifetime in the far left salt mines. W+M are pretty good at backing arguments with facts, not feelings.

    • Citizen says:

      Yes, annie. Couldn’t agree more. Scott’s essay is extremely powerful. I viewed the book the same way Kara Hopkins did when I opened it up and began reading. It’s about time somebody showed the true stature of Mearsheimer and Walt–they made me believe America still exists. They are Americans speaking reality about our lost government and best values sans any tribalism or practical political bias. The two of them alone are worth more than all our MSM pundits and think tanks combined. I’d like to see a Clint Eastwood-directed movie about them, and the making of The Israel Lobby. Thank you so much Scott Mcconnell for sharing with us here on Mondoweiss. I’ll do my best to spread your article around the social network platforms.

  2. And for their troubles, their reward was….

    BTW, it’s easy enough to understand why Mcconnell is no longer employed by the News Corp. of Rupert Murdoch.

  3. Kathleen says:

    Great piece. While Mearsheimer and Walt opened the how the I lobby operates door a bit more… this discussion has been taking place for decades. Happenning far more now which is a good thing.

    Fulbright

    The Fulbright Endeavor
    What is the Fulbright Endeavor? Arkansas Senator James William Fulbright was an internationalist thought leader in the United States Senate. Fulbright’s record encompassed staunch multilateralist support for the creation of the United Nations, opposition to the disastrous war in Vietnam and Joseph McCarthy’s communist witch hunt.

    Like George Washington, Fulbright fought to expose and regulate the foreign financed and influenced grassroots groups and lobbies seeking unconditional “passionate attachments” to foreign nations. His insistence that US lobbying groups adhere to established US statutes was grounded in his commitment to the rule of law. Fulbright’s belief in foreign agent registration requirements were anchored in his legal studies and US Department of Justice experience; he earned a law degree from George Washington University Law School in 1934. In the same year, he was admitted to the Washington, DC bar and became an attorney in the DOJ anti-trust division. This legal expertise would serve Fulbright well as he fought to expose one of the most complex and opaque chains of interlinked nonprofit corporations ever to be assembled in the United States: the nascent Israel lobby.

    IRmep’s Fulbright endeavor taps the senator’s legacy of fearless confrontation of foreign operatives who continue to insist that they operate in a legal realm separate and above established US law and the national interest.

    • Kathleen says:

      What is the Institute for Research Middle Eastern Policy?

      The Institute for Research Middle Eastern Policy (IRmep) is a Washington-based nonprofit organization that studies US-Middle East policy formulation. Founded in 2002, the Institute became an independent private non-profit tax-exempt organization in 2003. IRmep’s Center for Policy & Law Enforcement examines how balanced and vigorous law enforcement can improve trade, economic development and America’s international standing. IRmep’s Israel Lobby Archive documents and provides citizen access to initiatives of one of the key driving forces of policy formulation in the US political process.

  4. Scott,
    I had an entirely different impression of the article. My read of it was of a polemic, blameful, exagerated, careless to consistently distinguish between the fascistic themes of ‘no Jew should be allowed near a president’ and the acknowledgement that ‘AIPAC undertakes legal and rational but partisan lobbying efforts’.

    I found the book to be a great improvement, but still inconsistently described the lobbying organizations as not a monolith, but then described their functional affect as monolithic (not a quote).

    • Donald says:

      ” but then described their functional affect as monolithic (not a quote).”

      If the shoe fits. Settlement building never stops, and neither does aid for Israel. Israeli atrocities never stop, and neither do speeches by American politicians whitewashing them. If the mainstream pro-Israel lobbies were doing anything positive on this subject , our politicians wouldn’t sound like such pathetic sycophants.

    • Colin Murray says:

      Spy Trade: How Israel’s Lobby Undermines America’s Economy is an outstanding follow-up read which is both extremely well-researched and documented.

    • Citizen says:

      If memory serves, Dicky Witty, M & W used the term “a loose coalition.” Are you saying its not? There’s 100 pages of sources, often taken from the horse’s mouth(s), and often, as reported by their abundant fellow travelers in the MSM organs. The net effect is derived from what the special net was built to catch and leave out. Another author refers to this loose coalition as the “transparent cabal.” And the proof is in the pudding.

    • tree says:

      So, you have finally read the book then, Richard? For the longest time you insisted that you hadn’t and wouldn’t.

      a polemic, blameful, exagerated, careless to consistently distinguish between the fascistic themes of ‘no Jew should be allowed near a president’ and the acknowledgement that ‘AIPAC undertakes legal and rational but partisan lobbying efforts’.

      Well, at least you’re using single quotation marks to denote a ‘scare quote’ versus a real quotation from the article. Please cite an example from the article of the “fascistic themes of ‘no Jew should be allowed near a president’”. After all, if that was your impression, and you actually read the article, then you should be able to cite a passage to support your critique. I’d be interested to see what you believe is “fascistic” in the W&M article.

      • The theme of ‘Better not let a Jew near a president’, the old canard. Or, ‘Jews control the media’. Or, ‘Jews control THE campaign money’.

        The fascistic MO is to drop in some canard into an otherwise ‘rational’ argument.

        Its not that they are fascists in the slightest. But, the themes are, which is why care is so damn critical in how their work is presented (or Phil’s).

        And, why I was so disappointed and insulted at the presentation of the article, and of Mearsheimer’s defenses as presented on you-tube clips.

        • Donald says:

          Richard, you were asked to cite something from W and M that supported your claim that they said ‘Better not let a Jew near a President’. You didn’t–you just repeated your claim.

        • Chaos4700 says:

          WHY the hell do you not know what fascism is yet, Witty? Seriously. Look it up. Right now. If the Google is to hard for you, go get Webster’s off your shelf, dust it off and read it there.

          It’s like you’re using the word “fascist” like you would have used the word “terrorist” a few years ago. Which is, anything that clashes with your agenda.

          Call us when Congress is on a witch hunt against Jews the same way they are against Muslims right now. Then maybe the stuff you say won’t be utter crap.

        • James North says:

          Donald (Job): You’ve got Richard again. Watch him hide now.

        • I described my impression. I work. I’m not doing an academic analysis of the article or book.

          You do know what the word “functional” means, Donald?

        • Citizen says:

          Witty: “Better not let a Jew near a president.”

          “canard”

          Witty claims this theme dominates W & M book the same as the notion the “loose coalition” of Israel Firsters is just another K St lobby. People here keep asking him to point to passages in the book illustrative of his claim, but so far he has not.

          Witty also has not pointed to anytime in world history other than the US-Israel “special relationship,” that a great state, let alone the only superpower state, has been led (and consistently led) by a small client state. So much so that there is effectively no gap at all between Israel’s view of its best interests and the US view of its best interests.

          AIPAC
          American Israel Public Affairs Committee

          AmericanIsrael

          AmIsrael

        • Sumud says:

          Witty: “Better not let a Jew near a president.”

          “canard”

          Witty claims this theme dominates W & M book…

          Not even, Citizen: RW’s claim about not letting a jew (or jews) near the president was clearly in reference to the W & M article, NOT the book. So he doesn’t need to read a whole book to select passages to support his claim, just one article.

          Here’s the link to it at LRB, Richard:

          The Israel Lobby

          You said:
          I described my impression. I work. I’m not doing an academic analysis of the article or book.

          I’ve good news: I don’t think anyone wants to interrupt your work, or is asking for an academic analysis. Just a few passages that support your claim…

        • Sumud,
          I read the whole book, maybe three years ago. I don’t own it, and don’t remember quotes.

          I do however remember impressions and experiences.

        • Donald says:

          Richard, you were just given a link to the article, so you could find some passages that suggest that, as you claim, W and M don’t want Jews near the President.

          “You do know what the word “functional” means, Donald?”

          That’s not a meaningful response to my earlier comment, Richard. I pointed out that if the major pro-Israel organizations criticized Israel for their human rights violations, it would provide space for American politicians to feel comfortable doing the same. Imagine how different US politics would be on this issue of instead of people with the views of David Harris you had people with the views of Michael Lerner heading the major Jewish organizations that speak out on Israel.

          Even J-Street is pathetic on Israeli human rights violations–they sound much like the typical politician (Obama, for instance) or like you much of the time. That is, there is forthright and stern condemnation of Palestinian murders and nothing remotely comparable when Israel murders Palestinians.

          If you want a reasonable two state solution that is acceptable to Palestinians then the US will be unable to act as an honest broker. Of course that’s been true all along.

        • James North says:

          I’m sure Richard does “work,” but that didn’t prevent him from making 5286 comments on this site last year. If he reduced that number to, say, only 3000-4000, he could still “work,” and also have enough time for the minimal research to try and back up his preposterous claims.
          As it is, he owes Walt and Mearsheimer an apology. He accused them of “not wanting Jews near the president,” which is a lie and a libel.

        • Woody Tanaka says:

          “WHY the hell do you not know what fascism is yet, Witty? ”

          Exactly. The notion that antisemitism is somehow inherently “fascist” is historical gibberish. The original fascists, the Fascists, weren’t ideologically antisemitic in the way, for example, the National Socialists were. The Fascists’ antisemitism was a policial act done at the urging/under the pressure of the National Socialists (who were not, themselves, a fascist group, contrary to popular misconception, but an outgrowth of the völkisch movement.)

  5. hophmi says:

    And lo, W & M, hallowed be their names, published a completely unoriginal text blaming the organized Jewish community for the Iraq War.

    And lo, it was chock full of mistakes and overreaches, lumping disparate groups together because, apparently, these groups had Jewish connections, cataloguing Jewish members of the Bush Administration as if they were the only ones there and as if they acted on the basis of their religion rather than as Americans, and of course, ignoring widespread public support for the war in the first place.

    And lo, the pro-Palestinian movement trumpeted their cause and bowed down to their eminences, even though their book made not one whit of difference in the court of public opinion on the Israeli-Palestinian issue, because most people do not buy their ridiculous theory.

    • Cliff says:

      Yea because ‘most people’ A) care soooo much about world affairs and B) educate themselves well C) are represented accurately by honest polling.

      Get lost hophmi. It’s 11:00 AM, too early for your cheap made-for-TV hyperbole.

    • Chu says:

      “hallowed be their names”
      great point Hophmi. They should be commended for starting this debate. In the end they will help to create a greater peace. The Israel Lobby needs to be dismantled and these guys brought the big wrenches to start the project. So I commend them and so should you. You’ll see oneday this eradication of Palestinians for Jewish land is a rotten concept. But your too sheltered in your community to notice, BK boy.

      And further you would say the same crap about their publication, as you would the Goldstone report. Your not
      credible enough to be taken seriously.

    • MarkF says:

      The rediculous theory that the U.S. should treat Israel like any other country as opposed to a welfare state?

      If Israel is the Jewish homeland, shouldn’t it be us Jews that finance it and not a Christian country?

      And lo, Israel said lo, and continues to accept the Christian tax dollars from their closest alley even though lo, that alley is broke but can’t seem to say lo to Israel.

    • Citizen says:

      It’s a big book, hophmi, with 100 pages of source footnotes. Your review is rather skimpy. Care to be a tad more specific about any part of it? Or is that your very own unoriginal prayer not so cleverly disguised as a comment? Ditto re Scott’s article–care to specify what was wrong with that? Did you even read it?

      This blog is not made for prayers. Go to your favorite religious worship site and unleash your inner you there.

    • annie says:

      did you read the post hophmi?

      As a resource it is unparalled. If someone confidently asserts that Israel and its backers had nothing whatever to do with encouraging the United States to invade Iraq ( a “canard” is the usual dismissal phrase), one can find in The Israel Lobby five or six pages of quotes from television appearances and opeds by leading Israeli political and military figures, who utilized their untrammeled media access to convey their war-mongering points to the American public. The same holds true for dozens of other subtopics of their broader subject: precise generalizations, supported by facts, authoritatively and contextually presented in a rhetoric that neither overheats nor backs down.

    • hophmi if Walt and Mearsheimer don’t do it for you then I suggest “The Transparent Cabal” by Stephen Sniegoski or “Guilt By Association” by Jeff Gates. Petras has turned out some good material on the subject, as has Grant Smith.

      link to amazon.com

  6. eee says:

    When the actual papers of the Bush period will be declassified in the future, their book will be treated just like the “protocols of Zion”.

    • Kathleen says:

      yep if you and others who want to shut down the debate based on facts and not fiction have your way

      • MarkF says:

        Wait a second Kathleen, you mean it was fiction when Bibi plastered our op-ed pages before the war telling us Saddam was going to explode suitcase nukes in our cities?

        You mean he lied to us about the matter of how urgent it was to go to war against Iraq?

        Lo, say it ain’t so.

        Sure is a good thing we learned our lesson and that we’re not going to fall for the same tricks against Iran…..

        • Kathleen says:

          And with the MSM insistence on recycling the Iraq warmongers (Paul Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld, Chertoff, Kristol, Kenneth Pollack (on Chris Matthews the other night) Bolton, almost always ending the spin coming out of their mouths with bad bad bad Iran and then Terri Gross, Rachel Maddow repeating the unsubstantiated claims about Iran and other talking heads never ever challenging these unsubstantiated claims…As Seymour Hersh has written about Iran is the “The Next Act”

    • Citizen says:

      Yeah, I noticed we have a lot of new appointed czars and a really bloated secret security police here in the USA last decade or so. So, eee, which American Czar dynasty did M & W work for when they concocted their fiction to divert attention? Did you find that information in their 100 pages of footnotes? Are you saying they are FBI agent scribblers? CIA? Let’s get them rascals before we get too enmeshed in unAmerican activities.

  7. Taxi says:

    You say five years ago today? Well in that case:
    Happy Birthday to you
    Happy Birthday to you
    Happy 5th Birthday dear Truth about Aipac
    Happy Birthday to Truuuuuuuuuth.

  8. Chu says:

    “One potentially critical new front is now being opened by some Jewish liberals, who charge that Israel’s longstanding occupation policies contravene Jewish values. But important as this argument is, it initiates a debate in which the vast majority of Americans have no standing to participate.”

    -I dont think that this is a bad thing. This front can still coexist with the other multi tiered issues the public can raise against Israel’s imperial plans. But it cant be the sole front – that would be a debate loser in public. (Trotskyism/Leninism redux at city college)
    The one question, does the United States benefit when Israel carries out policies that are opposed to human rights and our Constitution? For me, no way. Look at how much more effective we could be in the current Middle East authoritarian scenarios, yet we are viewed as hypocrites for supporting Israel’s manifest destiny policy- that we once used a more than a century ago.
    This is like the British supporting an ally in 1920′s that is a major global slave trader, after it passed it’s slavery abolition act in 1834. Simply put, it damages their prestige.

    W&M did a great thing in this publication. Years later you can still recommend the publication to those that are unaware of the problems that exists with this ally. I brought the publication up with my grandmother and she told me all about Eisenhower and Israel. The conversation is only getting started for most Americans. Word is spreading, a grass roots effort, that cannot be quelled. Both side of the political sphere can agree on this, which is really powerful when you think about it.

    • piotr says:

      “… contravene Jewish values”.

      That always puzzles me. It is simpler with Livonian values. We, Livonians, never mistreated an ethnic minority more that it deserves, we dance very good Polka and our sausages are second to none. But Jewish values?

  9. piotr says:

    Were W & M unoriginal, deluded, none, or both?

    I do not think that they were deluded, because Israel was very officially advocated the war, although there was an almost funny element to it: the advocacy was for a package of regime changes in Iraq and Iran. The advocacy of war had many elements that turn to be delusional in the hindsight, but they were there. Israel-linked thinking was that the war will “remodel Middle East” in a way that once for all will solve sucurity problems for Israel. Oil-linked thinking was that (a) our strategic position will give us control over oil, other effect of “remodeling”, (b) we will flood world with oil from enormous Iraqi reserves combined with our superior technology etc. Politics-linked thinking was that the war will give such a glorious victory that GOP will become a natural ruling party for at least generation, and it will be able to fix social problems like spending too much money on deadwood (supporting seniors with Social Security and Medicare) and not enough on the military.

    Now, if pro-Israeli thinkers were afraid that a botched occupation of Iraq will lead to sectarian Shia government in Iraq and a dreaded alliance Iran-Iraq-Syria-Lebanon (dominated by Hezbollah), the right wing think tanks that provided intelectual muscles to Bush Administration would perhaps weight against the war, and I am sure that they could be effective. But they were idiots and they did not. They really thought about US dominated Umma from Afghanistan to Morocco where Israel would feel as cozy as Canada between 48 states, Alaska and Greenland.

    In that sense, the interests of Israel and American imperialism was the same, but it was not from fact-based universe. How the right wing ideology degenerated to rank delusions? In part, by purging more realistic thinkers as “Arabists”, which unfortunately, can be linked to Israel lobby. The problem is that non-Jewish right wingers are usually utterly ignorant, and the Jewish ones are both biased and articulate.

    • Citizen says:

      From what I remember off the top of my head, initially PNACers and Israel wanted the US to take care of Iran first, then Iraq– to inititate the New American Century, but they and Israel bowed to Bush Jr-Chaney’s desire to take Iraq first….and the rest is history, with the neocons still occupying influential slots, still pushing, as Israel is, to take on Iran, Israel’s first choice bugaboo. Of course in Obamaland, the PIPs have joined the necons in this pursuit. The telltale common linkeage, the dots to connect, are always signaled by conflation of US & Israel’s best interests–just as if the US soil was actually located on a hill right next to Israel’s, and equally subjected to HAMAS rocket attacks.