Chas Freeman to the Middle East Policy Council: ‘American diplomacy has been running on fumes for some time. It is now totally out of gas’

Israel/PalestineMiddle EastUS Politics
on 35 Comments

Ambassador Chas Freeman’s address at the Middle East Policy Council‘s conference, “U.S. Grand Strategy in the Middle East: Is there One?” lays out the bare facts of the predicament we’re facing in the Middle East, sheltering the racist expansionist state of Israel. Freeman’s bluntness is something we’ve come to expect from him, but all too rare in Washington.

( 6:10 )

There has been no American-led peace process worthy of the name for nearly two decades. There is no prospect of such a process resuming. No one in the international community now accepts the pretense of a “peace process” as an excuse for American protection of Israel. Eleven years on, the Arab and Islamic peace offer has exceeded its shelf life. On the Israel-Palestine issue, American diplomacy has been running on fumes for some time. It is now totally out of gas and universally perceived to be going nowhere.

Sadly, barring fundamental changes in Israeli politics, policies, and behavior, the longstanding American strategic objective of achieving acceptance for the state of Israel to stabilize the region where British colonialism and Jewish nationalism implanted it is now infeasible. In practice, the United States has abandoned the effort. U.S. policy currently consists of ad hoc actions to fortify Israel against Palestinian resistance and military threats from its neighbors, while shielding it from increasingly adverse international reaction to its worsening deportment. In essence, the United States now has no objective with respect to Israel beyond sheltering it from the need to deal with the unpalatable realities its own choices have created.

The key to regional acknowledgment of Israel as a legitimate part of the Middle East was the “two-state solution.” The Camp David accords laid out a program for Palestinian self-determination and Israeli withdrawal from the territories it had seized and occupied in 1967. Israel has had more than forty-five years to trade land for peace, implementing its Camp David commitments and complying with international law. It has consistently demonstrated that it craves land more than peace, international reputation, good will, or legitimacy. As a result, Israel remains isolated from its neighbors, with no prospect of reversing this. It is now rapidly forfeiting international acceptability. There is nothing the United States can do to cure either situation despite the adverse consequences of both for American standing in the region and the world.

In the seventeenth century, English settlers in America found inspiration for a theology of ethnic cleansing and racism in the Old Testament. In the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, Jewish settlers in Palestine have invoked the same scripture to craft a parallel theology. The increasingly blatant racism and Islamophobia of Israeli politics, the kafkaesque tyranny of Israel’s checkpoint army in the occupied territories, and Israel’s cruel and unusual collective punishment of Gaza have bred hateful resentment of the Jewish state in its region and throughout the Muslim world. One has to look to north Korea to find another polity so detested and distrusted by its neighbors and with so few supporters among the world’s great powers.

The United States has affirmed that, regardless of how Israel behaves, it will allow no political distance between itself and the Jewish state. In the eyes of the world there is none. Israel’s ill repute corrodes U.S. prestige and credibility not just in the Middle East but in the world at large.

Israel does not seem to care what its neighbors or the world think of it. Despite its geographical location, it prefers to see itself as its neighbors do: as a Hebrew-speaking politico-economic extension of Europe rather than part of the Middle East. Nor does Israel appear concerned about the extent to which its policies have undermined America’s ability to protect it from concerted international punishment for its actions. The United States and Israel’s handful of other international supporters continue to have strong domestic political reasons to stand by it. Yet they are far less likely to be able to hold back the global movement to ostracize Israel than in the case of apartheid South Africa. America may “have Israel’s back,” but – on this – no one now has America’s back.

For a considerable time to come, Israel can rely on its US-provided “qualitative edge” to sustain its military hegemony over others in its region. But, as the “crusader states” established and sustained by previous Western interventions in the region illustrate, such supremacy – especially when dependent on external support – is inevitably ephemeral – and those who live exclusively by the sword are more likely than others to perish by it. Meanwhile, as the struggle for Palestinian Arab rights becomes a struggle for human and civil rights within the single sovereignty that Israel has de facto imposed on Palestine, Israel’s internal evolution is rapidly alienating Jews of conscience both there and abroad. Israelis do not have to live in Palestine; they can and do increasingly withdraw from it to live in diaspora. Jews outside contemporary Israel are coming to see it less as a sanctuary or guarantor of Jewish security and well-being than as a menace to both.

The United States has made an enormous commitment to the success of the Jewish state. Yet it has no strategy to cope with the tragic existential challenges Zionist hubris and overweening territorial ambition have now forged for Israel. The hammerlock the Israeli right has on American discourse about the Middle East assures that, despite the huge U.S. political and economic investment in Israel, Washington will not discuss or develop effective policy options for sustaining the Jewish state over the long term. The outlook is therefore for continuing deterioration in Israel’s international moral standing and the concomitant isolation of the United States in the region and around the globe.

This brings me back to the other main objective of U.S. policy in the Middle East: the nurturing of strategic partnerships with the largest and most influential Muslim states in the region. Iran and Syria have proven to be lost causes in this regard. Iraq is now more aligned with them than with America. Turkey is still an important U.S. ally on many matters but, with the exception of some aspects of relations with Syria, Ankara is following policies toward the Middle East that are almost entirely uncoordinated with those of the United States. The two pillars of the U.S. position in the Middle East beyond Israel are Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Neither can now be taken for granted.

Egypt is in the midst of a transition from American-aligned autocracy to self-determination under Islamist populism. It is not clear what sort of domestic political order this populism will shape but it seems certain that future Egyptian governments will listen less to the United States and demand more of Israel. The diversion to Egypt of a portion of the U.S. government’s generous annual subsidies to Israel long sufficed to secure Cairo’s acquiescence in the Camp David framework. This enabled Israel to pretend that it had achieved a measure of acceptance among its Arab neighbors despite its default on its obligations to the Palestinians and its escalating mistreatment of them. More importantly, it gave Israel the strategic security from Egyptian attack it had been unable to obtain by force of arms.

Populist Egypt’s passivity is very unlikely to be procurable on similar terms. Enough has changed to put the Camp David framework at severe risk. (This is true for Jordan as well. Jordan made peace with Israel in response to the Oslo accords, which the ruling right-wing in Israel systematically undermined and finally undid.)

Since 1979, the U.S. relationship with Israel has been both a raison d’être and essential underpinning for U.S.-Egyptian cooperation. It is now reemerging as a point of division, irritation, and contention between Americans and Egyptians. Egypt is once again an independent Arab actor in the affairs of its region, including Israel and Iran. It is no longer a reliable agent of American influence. It reacts to Israeli actions and policies calculatedly, with much less deference to U.S. views than in the past.

Islamist parties now dominate Egyptian politics as they do politics in Tunisia and among Palestinians. It is very unlikely that post-Assad Syria will be democratic but it is virtually certain that it will be Salafist. The so-called Arab awakening has turned out really to be a Salafist awakening. There is a struggle for the soul of Islam underway between Takfiri Salafists and conservative modernizers. In the traditionally Islamist states of Saudi Arabia and Qatar, this struggle is being won by the forces of tolerance, reform, and opening up. Elsewhere, as in Egypt, the outcome remains in doubt, but nowhere are Muslim conservatives, still less Salafists, at ease with expansionist Zionism or the sort of aggressive anti-Islamism that the United States has institutionalized in its “drone wars.”

In the wake of Washington’s abandonment of the effort to broker peace between Israel and the Palestinians, the impact of 9//11, the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq, and the transformation of a punitive raid in Afghanistan into a long-term attempt to preclude an Islamist regime there, the U.S. – Saudi relationship, once an example of broad-based strategic partnership, has markedly weakened. American Islamophobia has erased much of the previous mutual regard between the two countries. The United States continues to be the ultimate guarantor of the Saudi state against intervention from foreign enemies other than Israel. There is no alternative to America in this role. Nor, even when it regains energy self-sufficiency, will the United States be able to ignore Saudi Arabia’s decisive influence on global energy supplies and prices. But U.S. – Saudi cooperation is no longer instinctual and automatic. It has become cynically transactional, with cooperation taking place on a case-by-case basis as specific interests dictate.

Policy convergence between Washington and Riyadh continues but sometimes conceals major differences. This is clearly the case with Iran, where Washington’s interest in non-proliferation and desire to preserve Israel’s nuclear monopoly in the Middle East overlap but do not coincide with Riyadh’s concerns. If Tehran does go nuclear, Saudi-American disharmony will be glaringly apparent in very short order . Similarly, in Syria, the common desire of Americans and Saudis to see Syrians overthrow the Assad government masks very different visions about what sort of regime should succeed it and what the stance of that regime should be toward Israel, Lebanon, or Iraq.

The bottom line is this. U.S. policies of unconditional support for Israel, opposition to Islamism, and the use of drones to slaughter suspected Islamist militants and their families and friends have created an atmosphere that precludes broad strategic partnerships with major Arab and Muslim countries, though it does not yet preclude limited cooperation for limited purposes. The acceptance of Israel as a legitimate presence in the Middle East cannot now be achieved without basic changes in Israeli attitudes and behavior that are not in the offing.

U.S. policies designed, respectively, to pursue strategic partnerships with Arab and Muslim powers and to secure the state of Israel have each separately failed. The Middle East itself is in flux. America’s interests in the region now demand fundamental rethinking, not just of U.S. policies, but of the strategic objectives those policies should be designed to achieve.

Full transcript here.

This event was held January 16, 2013, in the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, DC.

(Hat tip Mondoweiss commenter Bumblebye)

35 Responses

  1. gingershot
    February 13, 2013, 4:05 pm

    Chas Freeman would make a great Deputy Sec of Defense as a Hagel appointment – can we even imagine what a man like Freeman could contribute as compared to a Paul Wolfowitz?

    I would just love to see the instantaneous and simulataneous apopletic demise of Dick Cheney, Lindsey Grahman, and William Kristol that would accompany that announcement

    • Kathleen
      February 13, 2013, 10:47 pm

      That would be amazing. There would be a collective heart attack among the warmongers

  2. ckg
    February 13, 2013, 4:13 pm

    The discussion later about the possibility of the 2SS led to these Freeman remarks:

    If I can add just a – just a few words: I think the objective of achieving acceptance for a democratic Israel in the Middle East is a very valid one. I don’t think it’s achievable under current circumstances. The two-state solution, which has been our mechanism for achieving it, is physically impossible now. It does not reflect political trends – read what Mr. Naftali Bennett is saying, and look at settler politics in Israel, and tell me that you have any basis for suggesting that Israel is not heading toward ethnic cleansing and the expulsion of a large part of its Palestinian population, and I will have an argument with you. I think we have to be realistic. A two-state solution at this point is a pious hope. It is lofty talk with no realism behind it.

    So if the objective for many reasons is the acceptance of a Jewish-dominated democracy in the Middle East – which I think would have enormous benefits to the region in terms of addressing some of the concerns about democratic evolution in the Arab world and elsewhere – if Israel were at peace and integrated into the region, I think the economic and political benefits, and the military benefits and the benefits in terms of stability would be enormous. And if it cannot be achieved with two states, then it’s going to have be achieved with one. And one means we have to accept that we are moving into an era in which this struggle is one for civil and human rights under the government of Israel in the area that it controls, which is all of Palestine.
    And I think anything short of recognizing that, and setting explicitly the objective of achieving human rights and civil rights for all who live under Israeli rule, is going to get us nowhere.

    He sounds like a realist to me.

  3. seafoid
    February 13, 2013, 4:31 pm

    Stunning speech . He does not pull punches . Israel is the Jewish settler state . Camp David bought it Egyptian ‘recognition ‘. For $2bn a year . Like Hefner buying love.

    And Israel depends on the kindness of strangers in DC . His point about jews of conscience turning away was well made.

    Israel is unmanageable. The Jewish tragedy is that arab opposition to Israel is not anti semitism . It is rooted inIsraeli intransigence and Israel’s lack of legitimacy . The original sin of the dispossession of the palestinians . Geopolitics . Not Christian persecution . A very different fish. They will never ever accept the destruction of Palestine.

  4. chinese box
    February 13, 2013, 4:39 pm

    Good speech–I’m not sure about that tie, though…

  5. pabelmont
    February 13, 2013, 4:51 pm

    Following gingershot: Or somewhere important in “State” — or in an Obama “kitchen cabinet” along with some realistic economists (Stieglitz?).

    • gingershot
      February 13, 2013, 5:31 pm

      This man is absolutely brilliant – what a waste, what a missed opportunity for America the neocons made sure of with their smear and successful destruction of his National Intelligence Council appointment. Schumer was a big culprit in that. Imagine if Freeman had been our ‘Middle East Peace’ negotiator rather than Dennis ‘Israel’s Lawyer’ Ross over the last 20 yrs. I don’t think there ever would have been 20 yrs and there would probably already be a 15 yr old 2-state solution at this point.

      Last December, Jim Lobe at Lobelog published some of Freeman’s delightful thoughts regarding the Hagel appointment and his tongue in cheek anticipation of the neocon/AIPAC debacle we are seeing unfold as they mobilized their smears against Hagel

      link to lobelog.com

      “The stakes (for Hagel) seem at first glance to be surprisingly similar. In 2009, I noted that “the outrageous agitation … [over my appointment casts] doubt on [the president’s] ability to consider, let alone decide what policies might best serve the interests of the United States rather than those of a Lobby intent on enforcing the will and interests of a foreign government.”

      “Those opposing him are making arguments that demonstrate their obsession with Israel at the expense of all other American interests. In the process, they are isolating themselves by offending a widening circle of thoughtful American patriots. Their effective abetment of self-destructive impulses in Israel has helped to create an ever more potent existential threat to that country. Their hubris now threatens their credibility here. Napoleon wisely said that one should never interrupt the enemy when he is making a mistake. These people are enemies of Israel as well as all that is decent in this country. Enough said.”

      heheheh – gotta love it – esp the Napoleon quip at the end…

  6. Bill in Maryland
    February 13, 2013, 5:02 pm

    Thanks Annie (can you please fix video link up top- plays Marwan Muasher’s talk).

    • Annie Robbins
      February 13, 2013, 5:04 pm

      okay! must be on robo or something. thanks for letting us know.

      edit: it’s working for me fine. can you refresh your page and start again?

      • Bill in Maryland
        February 13, 2013, 5:30 pm

        Freeman video now shows/works fine- thanks Annie!

  7. MRW
    February 13, 2013, 5:30 pm

    Realistic, refreshing, no nonsense thinking, without rancor or guile. Such a pleasure to listen to him.

  8. ToivoS
    February 13, 2013, 6:20 pm

    I guess the lobby knew what they were doing when they took out Freeman. This is one very sensible speech. Must say he certainly put in pretty clear words many things that I have accepted. This part stood out:

    The United States has made an enormous commitment to the success of the Jewish state. Yet it has no strategy to cope with the tragic existential challenges Zionist hubris and overweening territorial ambition have now forged for Israel. The hammerlock the Israeli right has on American discourse about the Middle East assures that, despite the huge U.S. political and economic investment in Israel, Washington will not discuss or develop effective policy options for sustaining the Jewish state over the long term.

    This is so obviously true. The US can react to specific circumstances but we cannot pursue broader strategic considerations for the simple reason, once articulated they might come in conflict with Israel’s perceived interests. That brings up a major question: What in the hell does Obama think he can accomplish by visiting Israel?

    I was surprised by this announcement. There is nothing he can do. Call for a settlement freeze? Blackmail Abbas to sit down and negotiate with Israel? Do a donkey for the Israeli public? I have absolutely no idea. This is a trip with much downside potential and no perceivable upside.

    • dbroncos
      February 13, 2013, 10:15 pm

      @ToivoS

      Obama’s trip has to be a show of gratitude to the big dollar Zionist donors for financing his campaign and padding the DNC coffers. He needs to show them that he remembers who he’s working for and that the DNC still needs their fat checks.

  9. Cliff
    February 13, 2013, 6:51 pm

    For Zionists, mentioning a 2SS is simply propaganda.

    It’s a talking point meant to present Zionists as reasonable. Everyone – including them – knows this. But they use the 2SS as part of their defense against BDS. BDS is apparently extreme because it is concerned with Palestinian human rights and NOT concerned with maintaining a ethno-religious majority of Jews (arbitrary) over non-Jews.

    • seafoid
      February 14, 2013, 1:31 am

      You have to go back 30 years. Israel needed a peace process to get recognition and gain acceptance from the neighbours. Zionism is a land grab that has never been formalised. They signed at camp david and oslo but bad faith is their DNA. The nukes and the lobby capture of DC can no longer hidethe existential nature of the Israel project’s difficulties.

      • Bumblebye
        February 15, 2013, 10:17 am

        As illustrated wonderfully in this video by Azizi bin Habeebi:

      • Annie Robbins
        February 15, 2013, 10:28 am

        awesome!

      • Bumblebye
        February 15, 2013, 10:45 am

        Annie, see this one as well:

        “Report This” (on the latest Gaza onslaught). Just. WoW.
        Describes Israel’s military philosophy as “an eye for an eyelash”.

  10. DICKERSON3870
    February 13, 2013, 7:13 pm

    RE: “The outlook is therefore for continuing deterioration in Israel’s international moral standing and the concomitant isolation of the United States in the region and around the globe.” ~ Chas Freeman

    MY CONCURRENCE: “Down, down, down we [the U.S.] go into the deep, dark abyss; hand in hand with Israel.”

    • bilal a
      February 13, 2013, 10:23 pm

      Partial Israeli infiltration and control of the American Congress seems deliberately designed to evoke classic anti semetic tropes. Is Zionism and Anti Semetism a coupled feedback loop?

    • American
      February 14, 2013, 9:54 am

      “MY CONCURRENCE: “Down, down, down we [the U.S.] go into the deep, dark abyss; hand in hand with Israel.”…Dickerson

      Exactly. The Israel and Lobby corruption in the US government and politics is so complete there is no way to turn it around.
      Now we just wait for the ending….either a big bang of some kind or a long, drawn out, slid into the abyss.

  11. Citizen
    February 13, 2013, 10:15 pm

    Thanks for the link to the transcript, Annie.
    Anybody who goes and reads the full transcript will be astonished. Freeman’s panel input was wonderful, but the other participants were all very good too. Here’s the link again–believe me, you will be impressed by the wisdom and strategic knowledge of the Middle East by all the participants. I sure hope Obama and Hagel know what the participants do. When you are done reading the transcript, if you had the slightest doubt the US has not been acting in its best interests for decades now, and is NOT acting in its best interests NOW, nor Israel’s in the long run, you won’t have any doubt .

    U.S. Grand Strategy in the Middle East: US interests not like Israel’s link to mepc.org:
    (Transcript needs 2B stabled on the forehead of each US Congress person.)

    The SNL skit was not harsh enough in revealing how puny our Congress is, assuming they know even a small handful of what the Middle East Policy Counsel does about strategic planning in the most key part of the world beyond the US borders.

  12. Kathleen
    February 13, 2013, 10:49 pm

    Thanks Annie and Bumblebye. Freeman is so smart and makes so much sense. No wonder he was knocked out of play by the I lobby (Schumer was part of that team knocking him out of play)

  13. agatharchides
    February 13, 2013, 11:07 pm

    His statements on Palestine are all very well, but he lost more than a bit of credibility with me when he said that Salafism is really the major cause of the Arab spring and that Saudi Arabia is being won over by reformers while Tunisia is about to become some radical Islamist hotbed. Egypt more Salafist than Saudi Arabia? Um, no, that’s not how it is.

    • Ellen
      February 14, 2013, 5:37 am

      But he did not say those things as you present. Never said KSA being won over by reformers. You said those things. Who is credible?

    • Rusty Pipes
      February 14, 2013, 6:05 am

      He says that the major beneficiary of the so-called Arab Awakening has turned out to be Salafism:

      Islamist parties now dominate Egyptian politics as they do politics in Tunisia and among Palestinians. It is very unlikely that post-Assad Syria will be democratic but it is virtually certain that it will be Salafist. The so-called Arab awakening has turned out really to be a Salafist awakening. There is a struggle for the soul of Islam underway between Takfiri Salafists and conservative modernizers. In the traditionally Islamist states of Saudi Arabia and Qatar, this struggle is being won by the forces of tolerance, reform, and opening up. Elsewhere, as in Egypt, the outcome remains in doubt, but nowhere are Muslim conservatives, still less Salafists, at ease with expansionist Zionism or the sort of aggressive anti-Islamism that the United States has institutionalized in its “drone wars.”

      You might interpret that to mean that Salafism is really the major cause of the Arab Spring. Or you might take that to mean that, considering many factors, including America’s compromised ability to exert influence as well as Salafists’ strengths in funding and organization, they have emerged as the parties best able to take advantage of the potentials opened up by the so-called Arab Awakening.

    • marc b.
      February 14, 2013, 9:16 am

      ditto to what ellen and rusty said. i don’t see the cause and effect language you attribute to freeman. and it’s not unusual at all for one interest to exploit the chaos and opportunities created in a revolutionary context. see the bolsheviks in russia, fundamentalists in iran, neither of which were the primary drivers of the overthrow of prior regimes, but certainly the beneficiaries.

  14. DICKERSON3870
    February 13, 2013, 11:35 pm

    RE: “In essence, the United States now has no objective with respect to Israel beyond sheltering it from the need to deal with the unpalatable realities its own choices have created.” ~ Chas Freeman

    MY COMMENT: Hence, the U.S. is “enabling” Israel.

    FROM WIKIPEDIA [Enabling]:

    [EXCERPT] . . . In a negative sense, enabling is . . . used in the context of problematic behavior, to signify dysfunctional approaches that are intended to help but in fact may perpetuate a problem.[1][2] A common theme of enabling in this latter sense is that third parties take responsibility, blame, or make accommodations for a person’s harmful conduct (often with the best of intentions, or from fear or insecurity which inhibits action). The practical effect is that the person himself or herself does not have to do so, and is shielded from awareness of the harm it may do, and the need or pressure to change. It is a major environmental cause of addiction.[3]
    A common example of enabling can be observed in the relationship between the alcoholic/addict and a codependent spouse. The spouse believes incorrectly that he or she is helping the alcoholic by calling into work for them, making excuses that prevent others from holding them accountable, and generally cleaning up the mess that occurs in the wake of their impaired judgment.[citation needed] In reality what the spouse is doing is hurting, not helping. Enabling prevents psychological growth in the person being enabled and can contribute to negative symptoms in the enabler.
    One of the primary purposes of a formal Family Intervention with alcoholics/addicts is to help the family cease their enabling behaviors. . .

    SOURCE – link to en.wikipedia.org

    • DICKERSON3870
      February 13, 2013, 11:42 pm

      P.S. ALSO SEE: “Enabling – When ‘Helping’ Doesn’t Really Help”, By Buddy T, About.com Guide, 3/05/11

      [EXCERPT] Many times when family and friends try to “help” alcoholics, they are actually making it easier for them to continue in the progression of the disease.
      This baffling phenomenon is called enabling, which takes many forms, all of which have the same effect – allowing the alcoholic to avoid the consequences of his actions. This in turn allows the alcoholic to continue merrily along his (or her) drinking ways, secure in the knowledge that no matter how much he screws up, somebody will always be there to rescue him from his mistakes. . .

      SOURCE – link to alcoholism.about.com

      AND SEE: “Are You an Addiction Enabler?”, Sunrise Recovery

      [EXCERPT] The problem of alcoholism or drug addiction is often shared by two people. There is a substance abuser and there is an enabler.
      The enabler may be a spouse, life-partner, relative or friend. The substance abuser and the enabler are partners in a co-dependent relationship that encourages or overlooks the abuser’s unhealthy behavior. The enabler makes excuses for and protects the substance abuser, often out of a misplaced sense of loyalty or love. As a result, the substance abuser’s problems with addiction are prolonged. . .

      SOURCE – link to drugrehabranch.crchealth.com

    • seafoid
      February 14, 2013, 5:18 pm

      He said the US is devoid of a strategy . It merely reacts . The Victoria Nuland trap .

  15. Sin Nombre
    February 14, 2013, 2:48 am

    My problem with Freeman is that he doesn’t really follow his own logic. If he doesn’t quite believe that the U.S. has no real interest at stake in blindly supporting Israel, he at least clearly believes our greater interests would be served by severing our relationship with it, or putting it on the same level as it is with other ME states.

    Okay, but what does he then say? Oh, he talks for paragraphs in mourning for there being no U.S. led peace process and blah blah.

    Essentially, he’s been subtly led off the tracks by the same sort of emotion that I see here in spades that, while mostly admirable, *is* still emotionally based, and that is having one’s sympathies for the Palestinians lead one that, paradoxically, plays precisely into the hands of the neo-cons: That the U.S. *should* still stay involved … only of course to weigh in on the Palestinian side.

    But we ain’t ever gonna do that, nor *should* we outside of just simply standing by and saying international law ought be followed, period. (And offering humanitarian aid to both sides as both sides seem to need it.)

    Out out out out out, that oughta be our mantra. No subsidizing Israel, no subsidizing the Palestinians, no subsidizing Egypt, no ponderously opining from half a world away on who should ultimately be sitting on which dunams of land and who should be allowed to return to Israel and who should not and blah blah blah blah blah, endlessly, as if, insanely, God planted the “right” answers to these questions under the Washington monument.

    There ain’t no absolute “right” answers down to the dunams and both parties have to fight to the point of where they will agree, and we have no interest in their fight other than to stay as far the hell out of the mess as possible, period.

    Again, even the title/lead-in to Freeman’s talk is bad: “American diplomacy has been running on fumes….”

    No, it hasn’t, it’s been running on hurting the hell out of American interests like crazy, not least with the 3+ billion per year we are sending to Israel (some “fumes” Freeman has apparently overlooked), and the worst idea in the world is to … gas us up again. Because everyone here I suspect knows exactly what the means again, which is yet another spectacular piece of sham that probably *both* parties over there are gonna start immediately violating and which in the end will just bring more disrepute on the U.S. most of all.

    Get out get out get out. Even a child knows that if you put your hand into a hornet’s nest after you start getting stung you don’t shove your hand in further, you get the hell out if at all possible. But no, even those who feel the sting worse like Freeman somehow let their sentiments overpower their reason, and despite their own words end up essentially saying “gee, just one more time if we shove our hand further in….”

    And, not just coincidentally … wanna know what prescription that would, far beyond all others, clearly be most popular and understood by the American public? It ain’t gonna be siding with the Palestinians to get this or that chunk of land, nor with the Israelis stealing this or that additional bit of land, it’s gonna be … get the hell out we got enough of our own problems.

    • Citizen
      February 14, 2013, 8:43 am

      @ Sin Nombre

      At least the US should link the decades-old $8.5 Million per day we give Israel to Israel withdrawing its settlement activity–and on a specific timetable. A POTUS in second term should have the courage to speak directly to the American people over the heads of Congress and AIPAC on the matter. The whole world would applaud, the US would regain a few shreds of higher grounds, a soft power the US once was able to wield as much as its military power.

      Israel would then, for the first time, be faced with actual responsibility for its choice.

      • Sin Nombre
        February 14, 2013, 10:40 pm

        @ Citizen:

        No, not even that. Mostly because that’s just a way to get sucked into the fog of “who is right and wrong” all over again and prevent Americans from seeing the clear choice of just getting us out, once and for all, period. Let our unconditionally withdrawn money do it’s talking to let Israel decide to keep trying to hang on to its bloody settlements; my bet is that some reason would then come to them. Offer to keep money flowing if they do “something” about them is just an invite to them to play more games with us.

        Out out out out out. That’s what our people understand, and want, because the only other option really is in in in in in, and haven’t we had enough of that, damn it?

      • CloakAndDagger
        February 15, 2013, 5:21 am

        Out out out out out, that oughta be our mantra.

        Yep, that’s what we in the Ron Paul faction of this blog have been saying.
        Ultimately, it is the self-interest of the US that motivates me primarily. It is also my belief that addressing the self-interests of the US will lead to an improvement of the plight of the Palestinians, but that does remain a secondary consideration.

        My country first. When we reach a point where we no longer have any serious domestic problems to deal with, we can look to helping others. Until then, let’s keep our money and our troops at home. Charity does begin at home.

      • Citizen
        February 15, 2013, 7:34 am

        @ Sin Nombre
        OK, I see what you mean; and Israel’s historical record certainly illustrates the old folk saying, “Give him an inch, and he will take a mile.”

        Technically, current US law has long dictated that any aid we give Israel must not go to the settlements, and that none of such aid will be used by Israel except for self-defense.

        But the trick written into these seemingly ironclad conditions is that there is no way to monitor, track Israel aid usage for compliance because our government has also made all aid to Israel fungible.

        To my knowledge, the only other country that has ever received de facto unconstricted US aid is Egypt, at least once. But aid to Egypt itself is a subset of aid to Israel in the first place.

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