Trump’s anti-interventionism helped him win, says Obama’s former Middle East adviser

US Politics
on 72 Comments

The U.S. press is playing down an important element of Donald Trump’s accession: his anti-interventionism.

Two days ago in Philadelphia, British Prime Minister Theresa May gave a speech on anti-interventionism that became a big story in the British press. BBC led its international broadcast with the news:

She talked of “the failed policies of the past”, before making her crucial declaration of new foreign policy doctrine: “The days of Britain and America intervening in sovereign countries in an attempt to remake the world in our own image are over.”

Here are May’s actual words to the Republicans in Philadelphia on January 26, describing the U.S. and British interest:

It is in our interests — those of Britain and America together — to stand strong together to defend our values, our interests and the very ideas in which we believe. This cannot mean a return to the failed policies of the past. The days of Britain and America intervening in sovereign countries in an attempt to remake the world in our own image are over. But nor can we afford to stand idly by when the threat is real and when it is in our own interests to intervene. We must be strong, smart and hard-headed. And we must demonstrate the resolve necessary to stand up for our interests.

May’s statement of course echoes Donald Trump’s statement, “America first– America first!” at his inaugural speech of Jan. 20th; but since then the American press has been largely caught up in the issue of the dark echoes of that phrase, or in characterizing Trump as an “isolationist,” without considering the substance of his objections to US military adventures.

The New York Times article yesterday about May and Trump as an odd couple completely eliminated her anti-interventionist statement of the day before. (Though an Associated Press article on May’s speech did appear on the Times website).

While this morning on NPR, reporter Scott Horsley characterized the agreement of the two leaders on this point as “superficial.”

they’re both pulling back a bit from international cooperation.

Clearly, our press is belittling an important issue. The rejection of US interventionism was part of the election campaign last year: Hillary Clinton supported regime change in Syria; her likely choice for Defense Secretary advocated for “limited military coercion” and a no-bombing zone enforced by the U.S. there.

One expert who has not missed this angle is President Obama’s former aide on Middle East issues, Philip Gordon, who spoke at length on the matter at an Israeli security conference earlier this week and said that Trump won in part because he represented “an American feeling that we have tried everything, it’s been costly, it’s been bloody, it hasn’t worked, and let somebody else take care of it.” Here are his comments in full:

As to … Pax Americana, I don’t know that we ever had full control over this region. But surely you have seen a gradual American disenchantment with its own role in the Middle East. And I think interestingly that has been exacerbated, leading to an administration that may want to wash its hands to a large degree of the whole region, because we’ve just gone through a phase where we’ve tried two very different approaches to this complex and difficult region.

One that said, we must use all of our power to resolve the region [the Bush administration]… We’re going to change the regime in Iraq, spread democracy. This is too important to us, we’re going to use our power to transform it…

When that didn’t work, you had a backlash… that said we can’t transform the region and what we need to do is to minimize our interests there and largely pivot to other regions… I think it has fueled a very large degree of– isolationism might be too strong, but Donald Trump, he won for a lot of reasons. But let’s just say at least that it did not seem to cost him that he seemed to be saying, This is just not our problem.

He said it even just the other day. We have been spending trillions of dollars, what do we have to show for it? And I think a lot of Americans sympathize with that attitude. Now it’s inconsistent like a lot of things are inconsistent, with the notion that we’re going to wipe Islamic extremism off the face of the earth, we’re going to stand up to Iran, … but I wouldn’t underestimate the degree to which Trump actually does represent an American feeling that we have tried everything, it’s been costly, it’s been bloody, it hasn’t worked, and let somebody else take care of it…

And I’ll end– to reinforce that point– by reminding, even in this presidential campaign, if you think about it– normally we swing back and forth, and the pendulum is just critical of whatever the current president is doing, and you go in the other direction….  Even the Republican candidates, and not Trump, who was much more isolationist…. they were not proposing to put 100,000 troops in the Middle East or to take risks. At the far end of the spectrum, you maybe had Lindsey Graham calling for 10,000 troops in Syria. I think that reflected the genuine American feeling that this is too hard and it’s too costly and let someone else deal with it.

The U.S. press ought to show more respect for this point of view. Gordon is now at the Council on Foreign Relations. He was special assistant to the president and White House coordinator for the Middle East, North Africa, and the Gulf Region from 2013 to 2015. Before that he was an assistant secretary of state under Hillary Clinton.

 

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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72 Responses

  1. jd65
    January 28, 2017, 1:34 pm

    Yes, maybe the rhetoric of Trump and other politicians (British, American, etc…) may be relatively “anti-interventionist” compared to earlier decades or other politicians/pundits/think-tank wonks. But I don’t believe for a second that Trump, May, or Clinton if she’d been elected, will truly become “anti-interventionist.” There’s too much money to be had in military interventionism. See May’s quote above:

    “But nor can we afford to stand idly by when the threat is real and when it is in our own interests to intervene. We must be strong, smart and hard-headed. And we must demonstrate the resolve necessary to stand up for our interests.

    They’ll talk one thing, and walk another. “Interests?” These oligarchs’ “interests” are in having their cake and eating it too. Along w/ everyone else’s cake. I hate them all, and they can all go to hell.

    • Citizen
      January 28, 2017, 5:27 pm

      You’re right that USA’s MIC profits too much to end regime change, perhaps they will do more indirectly, like the very lucrative sales of weapons/munitions to Saudi Arabia in Yemen; don’t forget we can always give Israel more military aid; the litmus test accompanying the last $38 Bn is, if Israel says it needs it to protect itself (LOL). Trump himself has stated he favors safe zones in Syria (as Hillary did). Who knows what else Jared Kushner can get him to do for Israel?

    • Mooser
      January 28, 2017, 10:37 pm

      “But I don’t believe for a second that Trump, May, or Clinton if she’d been elected, will truly become “anti-interventionist.” There’s too much money to be had in military interventionism.”

      That’s what I’ve heard! Why, some people say you can make more money in the “military interventionism” racket than you can licensing hotels and resorts and real-estate game.

      Thank God Trump doesn’t like money. And has the highest ethical standards.

    • CigarGod
      January 29, 2017, 9:51 am

      Yep, she seems to be saying: We are going to try to go on a diet and not take anymore bites out of your countries. But, we are going to fight tooth and nail to hold onto what we already have in our mouth.

      An old farmer story comes to mind:
      When asked about his three-legged hog, he responded that you shouldn’t eat a good hog all at once.

      May and the farmer have some genuine respect and compassion.

  2. JohnSmith
    January 28, 2017, 4:30 pm

    So what’s the deal with Jared Kushner supposedly yelling at the British about the Security Council resolution? I’d love to read an article about that here or elsewhere giving some sort of full coverage and context.

    My mind just boggles at the nerve (the gall) and the lack of self-awareness of that. Who does Jared Kushner think he is? I would already have said “He’s certainly no diplomat,” and then after hearing about his babyish rants I’d say it again.

    Kushner thinks he’s such a genius that he can just waltz into a field for which he has no training or aptitude and just do a super-dooper job….

    This guy is Trump’s voice of peace and reason in the Middle East?!! Problem solved!

    • Annie Robbins
      January 28, 2017, 7:45 pm

      Jared Kushner supposedly yelling at the British about the Security Council resolution

      do you have a link?

      • JohnSmith
        January 28, 2017, 9:34 pm

        It’s an AP story:

        “In a discussion with British officials, Kushner is said to have angrily denounced the United Kingdom’s decision to support a U.N. Security Council resolution condemning the expansion of Israeli settlements.”

        To me, considering Kushner in toto, “angry denunciation” may correctly be summed up as “yelling” and “babyish rants.”

        Anyway, it’s basically a throw-away detail in an AP story. One wants a lot more info.

        http://talkingpointsmemo.com/world-news/report-trump-tasked-kushner-managing-mexico-dispute-border-wall

      • Annie Robbins
        January 28, 2017, 11:21 pm

        not sure how far one could dig into this story. the paragraph before says

        Kushner and Bannon have been heavily involved in the Trump administration’s early dealings with some European partners, leading during both phone calls and in-person meetings with diplomats and government officials.

        that “discussion” may have been over the telephone. it also appears the source for the info was likely an anonymous diplomat. and while it may correctly be summed up as “yelling” or a “babyish rants”, it might not. i don’t know the nature of his character enough to judge. phil says he’s steely. one can angrily denounce without yelling and ranting.

      • Citizen
        January 29, 2017, 12:59 am

        5 things we learned about Donald Trump’s son-in-law #JaredKushner from his Vanity Fair profile http://www.salon.com/2016/12/06/5-things-we-learned-about-donald-trumps-son-in-law-jared-kushner-from-his-vanity-fair-profile/#.WI2EP_IMwlM.twitter

      • Citizen
        January 29, 2017, 1:58 am

        Who Is Jared Kushner? 16 Things You Need to Know About Donald Trump’s Son-in-Law. http://www.cosmopolitan.com/politics/a8293534/who-is-jared-jushner-trump-administration/ via @Cosmopolitan
        Has he received top secret clearance yet to view the president’s daily brief report? Trump has requested it.

      • marc b.
        January 30, 2017, 4:26 pm

        oy, citizen. i had read some similar articles before, but what a load of fluff. poking through all of the fawning about his manners, i would assume that his father (a frothing at the mouth lunatic – literally, not metaphorically) is trump’s ‘closest adviser’, and that junior is the ventriloquist’s dummy.

  3. Mooser
    January 28, 2017, 5:01 pm

    The U.S. press is playing down an important element of Donald Trump’s accession: his anti-interventionism.”

    There’s nothing ‘interventional” about what Trump is doing now, with immigration? Or is Trump just restoring the US’s “proper demographics”?

  4. HarryLaw
    January 28, 2017, 5:11 pm

    “The days of Britain and America intervening in sovereign countries in an attempt to remake the world in our own image are over. But nor can we afford to stand idly by when the threat is real and when it is in our own interests to intervene. We must be strong, smart and hard-headed. And we must demonstrate the resolve necessary to stand up for our interests.
    This statement by PM T May is contradictory, the attempt to make other countries in our own image is fine, but ‘if it is in our interests to intervene’, then she will do it. The interventions in Iraq, Libya and Syria were not prompted by humanitarianism or democracy, those interventions served larger geopolitical “interests”. In the case of Iraq and Syria the isolation and eventual confrontation with Iran is top of the agenda. The neocon mantra at the time of the Iraqi invasion was “Anyone can go to Baghdad, Real men go to Tehran.” Senior Bush Official. Anti intervention is a winner these days because the US/UK intervention in Iraq not only was a catastrophic failure in that Iran’s influence has grown exponentially in the region, also some US Generals think Iraq was the biggest mistake in American military history, this together with the Afghanistan intervention mean these wars will have cost the US taxpayer $6 Trillion dollars, that is $6,000,000,000,000 when all costs are taken into account [Linda Bilmes Kennedy Law School, Harvard Uni] Trump said these figures could have rebuilt the infrastructure of the US twice over. My appeal to our Prime Minister is, spare us the hypocritical soundbites and do something useful, for a start stop arming the Saudis who are committing war crimes in Yemen and the so called “moderate” terrorists in Syria.

    • Sibiriak
      January 29, 2017, 1:07 am

      HarryLaw : The interventions in Iraq, Libya and Syria were not prompted by humanitarianism or democracy, those interventions served larger geopolitical “interests”
      ——————-

      Extremely important point.

      Philip Gordon promotes this imperial mythology–the idea that the West tried with good intentions to promote freedom and democracy, but failed in the attempt (unfortunately, those Arabs/Muslims, backward,sectarian, just weren’t up to it).

      …we’ve tried two very different approaches to this complex and difficult region.

      One that said, we must use all of our power to resolve the region [the Bush administration]… We’re going to change the regime in Iraq, spread democracy. This is too important to us, we’re going to use our power to transform it…

      When that didn’t work, you had a backlash…

      —————–

      But “spreading democracy” was never the actual policy, just a false pretext.

    • Atlantaiconoclast
      January 29, 2017, 5:33 pm

      here here

  5. dbroncos
    January 29, 2017, 3:36 am

    1974 W F Buckley interview of Stephen Isaacs and John Cuddihy on Jews in American Politics. Included in the Q & A is a young and now very discredited Judith Miller asking Mr. Isaacs if he thinks there’s a bias in American media wrt coverage of Israeli’s and Palestinians.

    • jd65
      January 30, 2017, 12:14 am

      @ dbroncos: I checked a bit of that Buckley clip, and will absolutely be checking out the whole thing wen I’ve got some more time over the next couple days. Seemed to me like there was going to be much in there of keen interest. Thanks for posting it…

  6. JWalters
    January 29, 2017, 4:05 am

    “The U.S. press is playing down an important element of Donald Trump’s accession: his anti-interventionism.”

    Correction – Israel’s “U.S. press” is playing down Trump’s anti-interventionism. Keeping this background reality in view makes the motivations easier to see. Israel’s puppet media spikes a lot of important stories, as Mondoweiss has documented well. Interesting times.

  7. Kay24
    January 29, 2017, 5:42 am

    I wonder if Netanyahu would have been howling that it was anti-semitic if there was a ban on all Jews coming from Israel…

    “Earlier on Saturday, Netanyahu tweeted: “President Trump is right. I built a wall along Israel’s southern border. It stopped all illegal immigration. Great success. Great idea.”
    The comment was swiftly rejected by leaders of the Jewish community in Mexico, and prompted an unusually blunt statement from Mexico’s foreign ministry.
    “The Foreign Ministry expressed to the government of Israel, via its ambassador in Mexico, its profound astonishment, rejection and disappointment over Prime Minister Netanyahu’s message on Twitter about the construction of a border wall.
    “Mexico is a friend of Israel and should be treated as such by its Prime Minister,” the ministry said, noting Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray had only on Friday expressed his deep affection for Israel in an event marking Holocaust memorial day.

    http://www.juancole.com/2017/01/astonished-israels-netanyahus.html

    Nutty’s wall cut through Palestinian homes, farms, orchards, and divided families. Despicable.

  8. Theo
    January 29, 2017, 9:07 am

    As long as the USA, or any other country, finds that they have interests to be defended thousands of miles away from home, the non-intervention theory is just a maculator. As soon as Trump start closing US bases far away from home and stops replacing governments, only then can we hope for a lasting peace.
    Will he do it? I really doubt it and some should take away his smart phone, he acts like a 10 year old child!

  9. Mooser
    January 29, 2017, 3:25 pm

    “Will he do it?”

    You tell me. Trump’s “anti-interventionism”, so far:

    SEAL Team 6 Kills an 8-Year-Old Girl, Dozens More in Yemen Attack
    http://news.antiwar.com/2017/01/29/seal-team-6-kills-an-8-year-old-girl-dozens-more-in-yemen-attack/

    Trump Signs Order for ‘Great Rebuilding’ of US Military
    http://news.antiwar.com/2017/01/27/trump-signs-order-for-great-rebuilding-of-us-military/

    Of course, it’s not like Trump can issue an Executive Order to stop this, or Trump is the C-in-C of the military. Is there anything he can do about it?

    • Keith
      January 29, 2017, 5:21 pm

      MOOSER- “SEAL Team 6 Kills an 8-Year-Old Girl, Dozens More in Yemen Attack”

      You’re saying that he is acting like Hillary’s puppet? Following Obama’s script?

      MOOSER- “Of course, it’s not like Trump can issue an Executive Order to stop this….”

      Of course, it’s not like someone forced Obama to start it. Why the sudden interest in US militarism? It is so unlike you.

      • Mooser
        January 29, 2017, 6:10 pm

        .” Why the sudden interest in US militarism?”

        Like you, I am hoping for less interventionism. You got my hopes up.

        Seems like an area where Trump could get quick action, the US military, if he wanted to reduce interventionism. He is, you know, C-in-C. But I guess stopping immigration from non-Trump-hotel nations is more important.

      • Mooser
        January 29, 2017, 6:45 pm

        MOOSER- “SEAL Team 6 Kills an 8-Year-Old Girl, Dozens More in Yemen Attack”

        Keith: “You’re saying that he is acting like Hillary’s puppet? Following Obama’s script?”

        Yes (ROTFL) , perhaps Trump shouldn’t do that. He doesn’t have to, you know, he won the election. That’s what I would suggest.
        But I guess Trump does want to be “Hillary’s puppet” and “follow Obama’s script” huh? Sure doesn’t seem to want to change it too quick. Maybe next week!

      • Mooser
        January 29, 2017, 7:22 pm

        “In call, Mattis assures Liberman of ‘unwavering commitment to Israel”

        Poor Trump. Must be awful being Hillary’s puppet, following Obama’s script. If only Trump and his Cabinet could break the spell.

      • Keith
        January 29, 2017, 8:03 pm

        MOOSER- “Like you, I am hoping for less interventionism.”

        That is why you voted for Hillary? You thought she was a peacenik? Funny, I had the impression that she was a bit of a warmonger. Go figure!

        MOOSER- “You got my hopes up.”

        Is that what has you so excited? Me? Hope? Not much I can do.

      • Keith
        January 29, 2017, 8:25 pm

        MOOSER- “…perhaps Trump shouldn’t do that.”

        Why are you so upset over Trump not immediately reversing Obama’s policies? I thought you liked Obama. Revered him, actually. And now you are upset with Trump for maintaining continuity with warmonger Obama? Give Trump time. Eight straight years of war is a tough act to follow. Funny, you never criticize Obama for his warmongering, or his drone kill list, or his huge expansion of the Special Operations Forces now operating in over 130 countries (up from about 80). Does Moosey have a double standard? So that you can fully appreciate the deeds of your hero President, I once again link to Chris Hedges interviewing Glen Ford of the “Black Agenda Report” on the Obama legacy. Enjoy! https://dandelionsalad.wordpress.com/2017/01/23/chris-hedges-and-glen-ford-obamas-legacy-the-smashing-of-the-left/#more-182652

      • Mooser
        January 29, 2017, 8:42 pm

        “Give Trump time.”

        That’s funny, Trump didn’t need very much time for the important stuff he wanted. Repealing ACA, threatening SS and Medicaid (I know, retired dissidents have their own health-care and retirement plans, so that doesn’t bother you.) and immigration.
        But “Keith”, I think you could do us all a favor, and every week, we will tote up what Trump has done (and what a first week!), and then you can tell us what Hillary or Obama would have done, and we will all feel better.

        “Eight straight years of war is a tough act to follow.”

        Especially shameful after the peaceful years of international harmony under Bush, too.

  10. Atlantaiconoclast
    January 29, 2017, 5:30 pm

    It is precisely why I voted for Trump! Most of his haters don’t seem to have a clue that their failed candidate, HRC, was the warmonger. Not that this means Trump is some kind of Ron Paul whom I can trust to disentangle us from the ME.

    • Annie Robbins
      January 29, 2017, 5:53 pm

      Most of his haters don’t seem to have a clue that their failed candidate, HRC, was the warmonger.

      what? do you think every sanders supporter who didn’t vote for hillary voted for trump? believe me, we didn’t. a lot of people who do not like trump are well aware clinton is a warmonger. and she was not “my” failed candidate either. of course, i don’t categorize myself or everyother person protesting trump and his racist muslim ban as a “hater”. it’s really rightwing (and zionist) jargon.

      • Atlantaiconoclast
        January 29, 2017, 10:17 pm

        no, I don’t think many BS supporters voted for Trump at all

        I think the term racist, when thrown around so easily, is Leftwing jargon. Why make this Palestinian cause Left or Right wing? You will never succeed in ending the oppression of the Palestinians till you get the American masses of different ideologies on the same side.

        When I say Trump hater, I am referring specifically to those who didn’t seem to mind the awful neocon and neoliberal policies of Obama and HRC, but see such evil in Trump. I have no problem with dissent against Trump, just despise the lack of consistency among so many who hate him.

      • Annie Robbins
        January 29, 2017, 11:07 pm

        I think the term racist, when thrown around so easily, is Leftwing jargon.

        i called the muslim ban racist because it is. even Giuliani, in describing it, said it was set up as a “muslim ban”, and how to make it legal http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/316726-giuliani-trump-asked-me-how-to-do-a-muslim-ban-legally. i don’t throw it around easily, it’s a racist policy and when we discussed it the other day i explained why it was, so i’m not going into it again today.

        Why make this Palestinian cause Left or Right wing?

        hm, i think of it as left oriented because i’m left and i come at it from a human rights perspective. but i think there’s lots of reasons the right would also, naturally, be interested in it. fiscally among other reasons, like bending over for a little bossy country. i don’t think of it as left or right exclusively. i think of it as an american issue that should concern all of us.

        When I say Trump hater, I am referring specifically to those who didn’t seem to mind the awful neocon and neoliberal policies of Obama and HRC, but see such evil in Trump

        sorry, maybe i misunderstood you. anyway, there are many people who do not like hillary clinton and neoliberal policies who have a problem with trump. speaking personally, it doesn’t mean i oppose everything about him, ie, i think a rapprochement with russia would be a very good thing.

        I think phil is right about the press playing down anti-interventionism. i think it’s a big deal and the primary reason clinton lost among a large segment of the left (the anti war coalition). and i encounter this a lot on twitter (i am not on FB) this insistence it was all bernie’s fault and if it weren’t for bernie bros etc etc. but i felt all along i had to make a choice between supporting the slaughter of millions of muslims overseas or having all hell break lose domestically. and i felt Americans should suffer this time, not foreigners. that we should pay a price for the horror we’ve inflicted, instead of more foreigners. i didn’t vote for trump, but i wouldn’t replace him for hillary right now. i think we need to purge the neocons from influencing our foreign policy — hopefully once and for all. i think lots of americans feel that way. that’s not only about my feelings towards palestine and israel, it’s because of the havoc we’ve raised in so many countries in the middle east. i’m a non interventionist.

      • Mooser
        January 30, 2017, 1:12 am

        “, i think a rapprochement with russia would be a very good thing”

        And if Trump and his Cabinet aren’t the perfect guys to negotiate that deal and sell it to the American people, I don’t know who is!

        After all, as they say: “Only Nixon could go to Red China! But only Russia could go to Trump!”

        Just sayin’ I really don’t see anybody trusting Trump with Russia, or vice versa.

        “but i felt all along i had to make a choice between supporting the slaughter of millions of muslims overseas or having all hell breaks loose domestically”

        And just so I know, who is it how gets hurt when “all hell breaks loose domestically”?

        “i think we need to purge the neocons from influencing our foreign policy — hopefully once and for all.”

        Yeah! Drain the swamp!

        I’m a non interventionist.

        Generals Mattis and Flynn will see to it that intervening is kept to a minimum.

      • RoHa
        January 30, 2017, 10:55 pm

        “i’m left and i come at it from a human rights perspective. but i think there’s lots of reasons the right would also, naturally, be interested in it.”
        That looks as though you think that the right isn’t interested in human rights. It seems to me that the right is very interested in the classical rights of the individual, in personal liberty and freedom of speech. Many of their complaints against the left are couched in terms of protesting against violations of rights by the left.

      • Annie Robbins
        January 30, 2017, 11:02 pm

        i don’t think human rights is a big priority for the right. but in my response i tried to communicate i think the Palestinian cause has elements that interest both the Left and Right.

      • RoHa
        January 30, 2017, 11:14 pm

        “i think the Palestinian cause has elements that interest both the Left and Right. ”

        I saw that, but it is not to my point. My point is that I think you are mistaken in regarding human rights as being low on the priorities of right-wingers. I suspect that the rights that they emphasize are not the ones you wish to emphasize, but that is not the same as having little interest.

      • Annie Robbins
        January 31, 2017, 1:13 pm

        It seems to me that the right is very interested in the classical rights of the individual, in personal liberty …… I think you are mistaken in regarding human rights as being low on the priorities of right-wingers.

        i’m just not so sure i’d categorize “classical” rights as compatible with human rights

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Classical_liberalism

        These beliefs were complemented by a belief that labourers could be best motivated by financial incentive. This led classical liberal politicians at the time to pass the Poor Law Amendment Act 1834, which limited the provision of social assistance, because classical liberals believed in markets as the mechanism that would most efficiently lead to wealth. Adopting Thomas Malthus’s population theory, they saw poor urban conditions as inevitable; they believed population growth would outstrip food production, and they regarded that consequence desirable, because starvation would help limit population growth. They opposed any income or wealth redistribution, which they believed would be dissipated by the lowest orders.[14]

        Drawing on selected ideas of Adam Smith, classical liberals believed that it is in the common interest that all individuals must be able to secure their own economic self-interest, without government direction.[15] They were critical of the welfare state[16] as interfering in a free market. They criticised labour’s group rights being pursued at the expense of individual rights,[17] while they accepted corporations’ rights being pursued at the expense of inequality of bargaining power noted by Adam Smith:[18]

        either way, as i’ve repeated, i don’t think it’s necessarily a left or right issue. there are many reasons why the right would be interested in israel/palestine. for one thing, spending billions a year on a country that offers us very little in return. as far as the US/israel relationship, they are a welfare state.

      • MHughes976
        January 31, 2017, 9:46 am

        Those who believe in the right of private property (I’m one) might well be appalled by the degree of politically motivated expropriation not for the general good – theft – that Zionism has brought with it. Zionism has had wonderful success in drawing support from all the way across the political spectrum, which suggests that there is logical space for an equally broad opposition. Currently it is rather easy to portray suppprt for the Palestinians as a lefty fad, as if only extremists and eccentrics disliked seeing people excluded from their homes, disfranchised and subjected to rituals of humiliation.

      • oldgeezer
        January 31, 2017, 10:57 am

        @RoHa

        As another individual living outside the US it certainly doesn’t appear to me that the right is interested in either personal liberty or human rights at all.

        Leaving aside the issue of weapons/guns as that is a specific stated right in the constitution. Granted the meaning and interpretation is still hotly debated.

        The right certainly frames things in the language of rights, however, from my viewpoint the rights they seek are frequently the right to deny the rights of others.

        Certainly they are extremely active in fighting against any actions which might enable the equality of all people before the law. They have struggled long and hard to ensure members of the LGBT community do not have the rights accorded to nonmembers.

        A woman’s right to control her own body and access to proper reproductibe health care is another major issue.

        As zionists have used Luntz to come up with key buzzwords, often distorting their meaning, so has the right attempted to sell their agenda by misgraming the issues at hand. Of course there is no other way to sell the right to deny rights to any average person.

      • Mooser
        January 31, 2017, 4:20 pm

        “It seems to me that the right is very interested in the classical rights of the individual, in personal liberty and freedom of speech. Many of their complaints against the left are couched in terms of protesting against violations of rights by the left.”

        You are so smart, “RoHa”. Just to check up on you, I went to a bunch of right-wing sites, and that’s exactly what they say about it, too! You got it in one!

        This should explain better than I can.

      • Mooser
        January 31, 2017, 4:29 pm

        “It seems to me that the right is very interested in the classical rights of the individual”

        Oh, hooray for those “classical” rights. That’s mostly the right to reduce anybody you can to a condition of slavery.

      • Mooser
        January 31, 2017, 6:36 pm

        “there are many reasons why the right would be interested in israel/palestine. for one thing, spending billions a year on a country that offers us very little in return”

        The Right only objects to that when they can’t get in on it (which is seldom or never, c’mon), or America is encouraging democracy without killing people.

      • RoHa
        January 31, 2017, 10:25 pm

        “i’m just not so sure i’d categorize “classical” rights as compatible with human rights”

        Then I don’t know what you mean by “human rights”. The rights of life, liberty, property, security from oppression, and so forth, of the Locke/Paine/Wollstonecraft etc. tradition are rights held by human beings. Does that not make them human rights?

      • Annie Robbins
        February 1, 2017, 2:57 am

        RoHa, please link to a source defining “classical” rights (as i did), then maybe i can understand what you’re referencing, since obviously you ignored my source.

        if you don’t know what i mean by “human rights”, google it.

      • RoHa
        January 31, 2017, 10:28 pm

        Mooser, that article does not seem to be concerned with rights at all.

        (I think the writer has a point, mind you. If you insist on dividing society into tribal “communities”, and then on blaming one group for the ills of society, you should not be surprised to get a bit of backlash.)

      • echinococcus
        February 1, 2017, 6:12 am

        Annie,

        You guys from the young set cannot imagine it, but us old detritus used to have read our Tom Paine, Danton, Rights of Man and the UN Rights before there was any Google to google it.

      • RoHa
        February 1, 2017, 11:48 pm

        Annie, your link was just to Wikipedia, but even that laid out at least part of the standard classification of rights, using the “negative/positive” terminology. I prefer the more transparent “liberty rights/claim rights/group rights” terminology. (You will also see “first generation/second generation/third generation”.*)

        When I refer to “classical” rights, I am actually referring to the rights promoted by the tradition based on Locke, and advocated by such English-speaking luminaries as Paine, Price, Priestly, Wollstonecraft, and Godwin** as well as Thomas Jefferson and friends. Also by some Frenchmen.

        These are mostly the liberty rights of life, freedom from enslavement, freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, privacy, equal treatment under the law, and, of course, property. Right wingers seem to be very keen on that one.

        Many of those rights found their way into the US constitution.

        Don’t blame me for that. I wasn’t there.

        When I look up the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, I find that a lot of the rights on the list are exactly those “classical” liberty rights. There are also claim rights. (E.g. right to education.) So “classical” rights are human rights.

        http://www.un.org/en/universal-declaration-human-rights/

        Now, it may well be the case that some rights conflict with others. (You have seen that both MHughes and I suspect that group rights conflict with individual rights.) But that does not mean that right-wingers are not interested in human rights. They just prefer (usually) to put the emphasis on liberty rights.

        It may be, as old geezer suggests, that they are just pretending a concern for rights as a cover for their dastardly plans. The Shadow knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men, but I have no such powers. I can only guess, and my guess is that quite a few right-wingers are concerned with human rights. Especially the right to property.

        (*See, for example, Waldron’s essay in A Companion to Contemporary Political Philosophy , eds. Goodin & Pettit, Blackwell, 1993)
        (**They all knew each other. What a party!)

      • Annie Robbins
        February 2, 2017, 12:16 am

        that does not mean that right-wingers are not interested in human rights. They just prefer (usually) to put the emphasis on liberty rights

        so be it. tho there are quite a lot of rightwingers who could give a damn about liberty for palestinians.

      • RoHa
        February 1, 2017, 11:52 pm

        “us old detritus used to have read our Tom Paine, Danton, Rights of Man and the UN Rights before there was any Google to google it. ”

        Gosh, that was a long time ago, wasn’t it? I vaguely remember that it involved bits of some sort of thin, white, bendy stuff. Often a lot of those bits were tied together into a bundle, weren’t they?

      • echinococcus
        February 2, 2017, 2:57 am

        tho there are quite a lot of rightwingers who could give a damn about liberty for palestinians

        Not easy to understand that message, Annie. Are you suggesting that no one on the “Right” supports Palestinian resistance and/or opposes Zionism? That would be horribly wrong, as quite a number do, and you cannot have missed it. They are definitely “right-wingers”, as you say, being self-defined conservatives and libertarians with definitely capitalism-and-classical-democracy politics and respect for international law. Dr Ron Paul comes immediately to mind, or Buchanan, etc.

        So their classification would be quite independent of the intentional wicked confusion in the US that pretends to present goddam liberals, Democrats, interventionist warmongers, color revolutionists and other cogs of the reigning monopoly capital imperialism as some kind of “Left”.

  11. Mooser
    January 30, 2017, 1:41 am

    These people are not neocons.

    “Trump Advisor’s Son Deletes Twitter After Calling Executive Order A ‘Muslim Ban’

    Why, I can’t see Trump’s crowd giving the neo-cons the time of day. I mean, where’s the intersecting interest?

    • Annie Robbins
      January 30, 2017, 3:09 am

      rabid islamophobia?

      • Mooser
        January 30, 2017, 3:46 am

        “rabid islamophobia?”

        But it’s rabid Islamophobia from a non-interventionist viewpoint, of course.

        There’s nothing about rabid Islamophobia which has to turn a person into an interventionist! I guess Trump would rather fight them here then over there.

        I don’t know, “Annie”, it’s just that Trump and the gang of tricks are such smooth political operatives, with an exquisite sense of timing, short and long-range plans, and the ability, now that Trump is actually in office, to bring the American people to his side in the fight against “danger” by repealin ACA and threatening SS and Medicare.
        It’s like he’s playing 12 dimensional squelsch!

      • Annie Robbins
        January 31, 2017, 1:25 pm

        all that aside mooser, you asked “where’s the intersecting interest?”, and i answered.

        ie, i bet david horowitz and pam gellar are loving this muslim ban. netanyahu too.

      • Mooser
        January 31, 2017, 1:45 pm

        “all that aside mooser, you asked “where’s the intersecting interest?”, and i answered.”

        Yes. You didn’t have to answer like you did, but you did, but you did!

        And I thank you!

        “ie, i bet david horowitz and pam gellar are loving this muslim ban. netanyahu too.”

        ZOA is on board! First day, they knew it was the right thing! (I’ve linked couple times already)

      • echinococcus
        February 2, 2017, 1:33 am

        Just as O’bama’s (as one example among several) 60-day total ban on any persons from Iraq (because 2 ex-Baathists were found to be refugees), as another instance of damming the flow of refugees created by our own hands.
        With less fanfare and plenty flowery words, which to date is the only difference. The target buyer doesn’t correspond to the same profile.

  12. Talkback
    January 30, 2017, 8:26 am

    “Trump’s anti-interventionism”? So Israel or any other terrorist organisation are not going to get any money or weapons, right?

    • Atlantaiconoclast
      January 30, 2017, 11:27 am

      At least signs indicate he won’t be carrying out Israel’s Oded Yinon plan of ME destabilization.

  13. James Canning
    January 30, 2017, 2:06 pm

    Theresa May seems to comprehend the utter idiocy of the US invasion of Iraq in 2003.

  14. Boo
    January 30, 2017, 3:27 pm

    “Donald Trump’s desire to wash his hands of the Middle East resonated…”

    Well, he really ought to wash his hands. No telling where-all they’ve been.

  15. Mooser
    January 30, 2017, 4:08 pm

    “U.S. Official Confirms Iran Carried Out Ballistic Missile Test”

    Ah, time for Trump’s non-intervention policy to go into high gear!

    “We’re looking into that. We’re aware that Iran fired that missile. We’re looking into the exact nature of it, and I’ll try to have more for you later,” White House spokesman Sean Spicer said during a press briefing”.

    I’m certain Trump, Bannon, Miller and Spicer along with Mattis and Flynn, will conclude that non-intervention is the only way to go.

  16. catalan
    January 31, 2017, 1:51 pm

    for one thing, spending billions a year on a country that offers us very little in return – annie
    For perspective – the US currently spends about 700B for Defense, likely to soon reach 1 trillion under Trump. So the whole aid to Israel of 3 billion or so equals about half a day in military spending, soon to be a third of a day. Add to that most of it is a subsidy to the arms industry and actually it is a decent investment. If you look at it from a simply military point of view – for tiny spending there is a an effective American military outpost in the eastern Mediterranean.

    • Annie Robbins
      January 31, 2017, 1:55 pm

      effective American military outpost? in what way? and it’s not “3 billion or so”, it’s more like 4 billion or so.

      we give them 10 million dollars every single day. outrageous. and how many days, in the last 69 years, has there been a detachment of american troops stationed there? effectively, there has not ever been an american military outpost in israel.

      what our money is “effectively” doing, is colonizing the rest of palestine, expanding the israeli state. how is that in our interests?

      our national debt is over 18 trillion, what does israel give us other than false intel designed to get the US to fight wars in israel’s interests, not ours?

      https://wikileaks.org/clinton-emails/emailid/12171

      https://wikileaks.org/clinton-emails/emailid/18328

  17. catalan
    January 31, 2017, 2:14 pm

    we give them 10 million dollars every single day. outrageous. and how many days, in the last 69 years, – . Annie
    Yes. We also spend 2 billion a day on the military – that is 2000 million. How is it effective – well it can present a threat to enemies of the United States. No need to get into a debate about how useful Israel is – just noting that the amount spent – virtually all of it a subsidy to the us arms industry – is not all that significant. Because the US budget is so huge – about 7 trillion in spending every year – every line item sounds enormous to the average person, who mostly counts if he has money to pay for a Starbucks coffee cup. That’s why putting numbers without context is manipulative.

    • eljay
      January 31, 2017, 2:28 pm

      || catalan: … That’s why putting numbers without context is manipulative. ||

      Hmmm…this would explain why Israel puts number of Israeli deaths without context of:
      – its decades-long and on-going occupation and colonization of Palestine; and
      – the far-larger number of Palestinian deaths at the hands of the “Jewish State”.

    • Annie Robbins
      January 31, 2017, 2:29 pm

      No need to get into a debate about how useful Israel is

      how convenient for you! since they are not useful to us at all!

      That’s why putting numbers without context is manipulative.

      ok, here’s some context. U.S. total military assistance to foreign countries is $10.57 billion. almost 1/2 of that goes to israel! and for what? oh, you don’t go there. lol. no need to get into a debate about how useful Israel isn’t. Israel is costly to the US, it’s a one way street. they should be paying us instead and 60% of dems want them sanctioned over their settlement expansion according to the latest brooking poll.

    • Mooser
      January 31, 2017, 2:31 pm

      “catalan” you really can’t say the US owes a goddam thing to Israel, no matter what it spends on its own military.

      Israel is not a US State or even Territory. We have no obligation to give them a cent, and would be better off if we did not do so.
      And it does not profit the US to pay for Israel’s genocide and apartheid.

      If you want to claim the Israel is protecting the US from Palestinians or “Arabs” generally, go right ahead.

    • Mooser
      January 31, 2017, 2:33 pm

      “– every line item sounds enormous to the average person, who mostly counts if he has money to pay for a Starbucks coffee cup”

      Fortunately, rich, moneyed, guys like “catalan” from fust-rate Eastern European countries can take these large numbers in their stride, and explain them to us poor American Starbucks drinkers.

      “That’s why putting numbers without context is manipulative”

      What’s the context, chump? That if the US spends a penny on its own defense, it must give Israel money, and with no strings attached (quick “catalan” bring out the strings)
      That’s not “context”. It’s bullshit.

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