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Surviving anti-Semitism smear, Walt and Mearsheimer seem to have influence in high places

Israel/Palestine
on 90 Comments
Mearsheimer, photo by Varsha Sundar in the Chicago Maroon

Mearsheimer, photo by Varsha Sundar in the Chicago Maroon

When Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer published their paper on the Israel lobby eight years ago, one of its openings was that two scholars with prestige status signaled that they were willing to risk the anti-Semite smear. They surely knew the label might be applied to them; still they went ahead with their ideas, which now seem tame (the lobby has a stranglehold on Congress, the lobby pushed for a war); and they were duly tarred as anti-Semites, by some fairly august claimants. But one of the victories of the last year is that both political scientists are not only still on the case, but they seem to have a more respectable following than ever– with Obama reflecting their thinking on Syria. The lesson is that the anti-Semite smear, while a libel that can hurt career and reputation and scare jousters from the field, has lost its sting because it has been thrown around so meretriciously.

Here are two items involving the profs:  The neoconservative Lee Smith has anointed Walt the next George Kennan, saying that he is influencing Barack Obama in the same way that Kennan, a Cold War-horse, influenced John Kennedy. Smith wants to hurt Obama by advancing his claim; but Scott McConnell celebrates the synchronicity as a sign of Obama’s realism.

What is the evidence?

After Walt wrote a piece at Foreign Policy saying the U.S. should become an off-shore balancer in the Middle East– “Given this turbulent, complex, and poorly understood situation, the last thing the United States should do is try to play referee or try to impose its preferred political formula on these events”– Obama struck a similar line in his November interview with David Remnick, when he spoke of achieving “geopolitical equilibrium” in the Middle East:

conflicts and competition still exist in the region but… it is contained, it is expressed in ways that don’t exact such an enormous toll on the countries involved, and [it allows] us to work with functioning states to prevent extremists from emerging there.

As for Mearsheimer, the National Interest has published an important piece by the realist scholar that takes on elitist liberal-interventionist ideas more forcefully than any article I’ve read. Called “America Unhinged,” the piece argues that the U.S. has no dog in the Syria fight and no ability to affect the outcome, and– this will be echoed by the left– the price of liberal interventionism has been the loss of civil liberties at home to a national security state and the destruction of American example abroad by the murderous drone attacks.

Here’s some of Mearsheimer’s Syrian argument, in which he says that toppling Assad would make Iran more of a nuclear threat rather than less of a threat.

[T]here is no question that America’s disastrous war in Iraq strengthened Iran’s position in the Middle East, mainly by bringing a Shia-dominated government to power in Baghdad. But Iran is nowhere close to having the capability to become a hegemon in the Gulf. It does not have formidable conventional forces, and nobody worries much about it conquering any of its neighbors, especially because the United States would intervene to stop it.Nor is it clear that Tehran is pursuing nuclear weapons. The consensus opinion in the American intelligence community is that it is not. But even if that judgment proves wrong and Iran acquires a nuclear arsenal, it could not use that capability to dominate the Persian Gulf. Nuclear weapons provide states with little offensive capability and thus are ill suited for spreading Iran’s influence in its neighborhood. Furthermore, both Israel and the United States have nuclear weapons and would never tolerate Iran achieving regional hegemony….

no matter how powerful one thinks Iran is today, losing in Syria is not going to diminish its economic or military power in any meaningful way, although it will curtail its regional influence somewhat. But that outcome has two possible consequences for the United States, neither of which is good. One is that Tehran is likely to go to great lengths to keep Assad in power, complicating Washington’s efforts to depose the Syrian leader. However, if Iran does lose in Syria and thinks it is America’s next target for regime change, its incentive to acquire a nuclear deterrent will increase. Thus, toppling Assad is likely to make Iranian nuclear weapons more, not less, likely.

Obama in the New Yorker piece and Trita Parsi at Foreign Policy both have all but said that this is now foreign policy, that the U.S. is prepared to leave Assad in power. Obama:

[W]hen I hear people suggesting that somehow if we had just financed and armed the opposition earlier, that somehow Assad would be gone by now and we’d have a peaceful transition, it’s magical thinking…. [O]ur best chance of seeing a decent outcome at this point is to work the state actors who have invested so much in keeping Assad in power—mainly the Iranians and the Russians—as well as working with those who have been financing the opposition to make sure that they’re not creating the kind of extremist force that we saw emerge out of Afghanistan when we were financing the mujahideen.”

Walt also said the U.S. has no real interest in the Syria battle. “[W]e manage to convince ourselves that Iran is a Very Serious Threat to U.S. vital interests. Ditto the constant fretting about minor-league powers like Syria, North Korea, Muammar al-Qaddafi’s Libya, and other so-called ‘rogue states.'”

What follow are extended excerpts of that Mearsheimer piece. Taking sides in Syria only fuels extremism:

The claim that the United States should treat Syria as a core strategic interest because it is a hotbed for terrorism also suffers from a number of flaws. For one thing, terrorism is not a serious enough threat to justify intervening in Syria, especially with military force. Moreover, intervening in countries like Syria is precisely what helps trigger the terrorism problem. Remember that the United States faced no terrorism problem from Syria before the Obama administration threw its weight behind the effort to oust Assad from power. Indeed, Syria helped the United States deal with its terrorism problem after September 11. It gave Washington valuable intelligence about Al Qaeda—information that helped stymie attacks on American targets in Bahrain and Canada—and it was deeply involved in the Bush administration’s program of extraordinary rendition…

By backing the campaign against Assad, the Obama administration has helped turn Syria into a haven for terrorist groups. In fact, groups that loathe the United States dominate the armed opposition to Assad. Moreover, many Western governments now worry because their citizens are flocking to Syria and joining the rebels. The apprehension is that they will become radicalized and return home as full-blown terrorists. Intervening in Syria will just make the terrorism problem there worse, unless, of course, Washington helps Assad defeat the rebels and return to the status quo ante. That is unlikely to happen, however, because Obama is committed to arming the rebels.

But backing the rebels certainly does not solve the terrorism problem, as the most powerful groups are comprised of jihadists who hate America. Furthermore, if the United States gets more deeply involved in the conflict, the actors supporting Assad—Hezbollah, Iran and Russia—are likely to up the ante themselves, increasing the prospect the war will drag on for the foreseeable future. And the longer the civil war lasts, the stronger the jihadists will become within the opposition forces.

Mearsheimer also argues that we can’t end the suffering in Syria by taking sides there:

Another moral argument says the United States should intervene in the Syrian civil war because it is a humanitarian disaster. Many thousands of civilians have died, and the Assad regime has gone so far as to murder people with poison gas. It is deeply regrettable that civilians are dying in Syria, but intervention still makes little sense. There is no compelling rationale for entering the war and no viable strategy for ending it. If anything, American entry into the conflict is likely to prolong the war and increase the suffering.

Syria is in the midst of a brutal civil war, and such conflicts invariably involve large numbers of civilian casualties. That is especially true in cases like Syria, where there are sharp ethnic and religious differences, and where the fighting often takes place in urban areas, increasing the prospects of collateral damage…

IT IS WIDELY BELIEVED in the American national-security establishment that Washington has the capacity to fix the problems that plague countries like Egypt and Syria and that the key to success is to turn those countries into democracies.

This is certainly not true in Syria. The United States has no viable strategy for ending the conflict there, much less turning Syria into a democracy. Indeed, it seems clear that the Obama administration made a fundamental mistake when it opted to try to remove Assad. Washington should have stayed out of Syria’s business and let the Syrian people determine their own political fate, whatever the result….

I found his article most moving on the human costs of the disastrous wars in Afghanistan and Iraq:

The fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq has exacted a huge price from the U.S. military—especially the army and the Marines. More than 6,700 soldiers have been killed so far in those two conflicts, and over fifty thousand have been wounded in action, about 22 percent with traumatic brain injuries. Furthermore, as always happens in war, many of the combatants are psychological casualties, as they return home with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or depression. The Department of Veterans Affairs reported in the fall of 2012 that more than 247,000 veterans of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars have been diagnosed with PTSD. Many of those soldiers have served multiple combat tours.

It is hardly surprising that the suicide rate in the U.S. military increased by 80 percent from 2002 to 2009, while the civilian rate increased only 15 percent. And in 2009, veterans of Iraq were twice as likely to be unemployed as the typical American. On top of all that, returning war veterans are roughly four times more likely to face family-related problems like divorce, domestic violence and child abuse than those who stayed out of harm’s way. In short, the small segment of U.S. society that has fought in these recent wars has paid a huge price for its service, while the vast majority of Americans have stayed out of uniform and paid no price at all.

Proponents of the Iraq War like to claim that these human costs are deeply regrettable, but that it is a price that the United States had to pay in the wake of September 11. But Iraq was an unnecessary war:…

He says, Get out of Afghanistan now.

[B]oth of these wars are lost causes. The Iraq that the U.S. military left behind after a decade of occupation is teetering on the brink of civil war, and anger at the United States runs deep among its people as well as its leaders. In Afghanistan, a corrupt and incompetent leader has consistently undermined American efforts to pacify and stabilize that country. There is little doubt that when U.S. troops finally leave, there will be fighting across Afghanistan and the Taliban will emerge as the most powerful force in the land. The herculean efforts of the American military in both Afghanistan and Iraq have been in vain….

The ability to conduct these wars doesn’t merely affect foreign countries. It chills our country too. Notice Mearsheimer’s praise for Snowden and Manning:

An unchecked executive, however, does not simply accumulate great power. It also engages in behavior that involves breaking the law or operating in secrecy, largely to avoid public scrutiny and judicial or congressional review. In this regard, the checks and balances built into the U.S. system encourage executives to act in secret, because that may be the only way to get things done quickly. Leaders do not act this way because they are evil, but because they believe the country’s security demands it. In the tradeoff between security and civil liberties, they almost always come down on the side of security. After all, a country’s highest goal has to be its survival, because if it does not continue it cannot pursue its other goals. Given the exaggerated fear of foreign threats that permeates the American national-security establishment, it is unsurprising that Presidents Bush and Obama have pursued policies that endanger liberal democracy at home.

This tendency toward law breaking and the violation of individual rights explains in part why the executive has a deep affection for secrecy. Both the Bush and Obama administrations engaged in illegal or at least questionable surveillance of American citizens, which they wanted to hide from the public, Congress and the judiciary. This is one reason Obama has seemed so determined to severely punish Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning and Edward Snowden, and more generally why he has gone to war against reporters and whistle-blowers with unprecedented fervor. The president boasts that he leads “the most transparent administration in history.” If true, it is because of the reporters and whistle-blowers, not Obama, who is deeply committed to government secrecy.

And a policy of assassination overseas makes us criminals and hypocrites in the eyes of the world, except for Afghanistan and Israel.

LET US CONSIDER in more detail how the national-security state threatens America’s liberal political order…

Because it has been impossible for the Obama administration either to prosecute or release the detainees, it appears to have little interest in capturing new prisoners and bringing them to Guantánamo, where they would be subjected to indefinite detention. So instead, Obama apparently decided to assassinate suspected enemy combatants, virtually anywhere they are found. While it may be easier to kill them rather than hold them forever and be criticized for adding to the mess at Guantánamo, the ramifications of this new policy may be even more poisonous.

Drones, of course, play a central role in this assassination strategy. Obama has a kill list known as the “disposition matrix,” and there is a meeting every Tuesday in the White House—it is called “Terror Tuesday”—where the next round of victims is selected. The extent to which the Obama administration has bought into this strategy is reflected in the increased frequency of drone strikes since November 2002, when they first began. Micah Zenko wrote in the Financial Times in May 2013 that there have been “approximately 425 non-battlefield targeted killings (more than 95 per cent by drones). Roughly 50 took place during Mr. Bush’s tenure, and 375 (and counting) under Mr. Obama’s.”

This assassination strategy leaves hardly any room for due process. Indeed, the CIA is authorized to kill young males who are not known to be terrorists, but are merely exhibiting suspicious behavior, whatever that might be…

A comment by former CIA director Michael Hayden in 2012 captures just how misguided Obama’s assassination strategy is: “Right now, there isn’t a government on the planet that agrees with our legal rationale for these operations, except for Afghanistan and maybe Israel.”

What makes these policies even more alarming is that the national-security elites who execute and support them fervently believe in “American exceptionalism.” They are convinced that the United States is morally superior to every other country on earth. It is, so the story goes, the “light of the world,” a shining city on a hill. Americans stand tall and see further than other peoples, as Madeleine Albright put it. These elites obviously do not look in the mirror. But, if they did, they would understand why people all around the world think hypocrites of the first order run American foreign policy…

This line sums up the populist political values of the piece.

Hopefully, the backlash over Syria is a harbinger of things to come, and the public will increasingly put limits on the elites’ penchant for pursuing imperial missions.

P.S. Jeffrey Goldberg once smeared Walt and Mearsheimer as anti-Semites, because he felt that about them, then said later that the Jewish community responded to the scholars in “a defensive crouch.” He has gone into a similar crouch when it comes to boycotting Israel. But he defers to his gut: “I suddenly felt queasy”… and “I find the idea… viscerally offensive.” Defensive crouching, gutchecking– it’s emotional blackmail.

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About Philip Weiss

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

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90 Responses

  1. just
    just
    February 9, 2014, 12:17 pm

    Thanks for this. I will read it more carefully later today when I have the time..

    What leaps out at me, though, is that while he writes of the tremendous cost to the lives of US military in Iraq and Afghanistan– he never mentions the tremendous and devastating cost to the lives of the Iraqis and Afghans and their countries by our military……

    “The herculean efforts of the American military in both Afghanistan and Iraq have been in vain….”

    There’s a reason for that! I was against both of them and still find both to have been totally unnecessary, wrong and massively destructive. We are responsible for unimaginable pain, suffering, loss and rage.

    It’s disturbing, to say the least.

    • jsinton
      jsinton
      February 9, 2014, 6:41 pm

      My sentiments exactly. Who cries for the women and children? The sons, brothers and uncles? Yet we are expected to be overwhelmed with grief when our brave warriors fall? Where is our lesson of Vietnam?

      • Citizen
        Citizen
        February 9, 2014, 10:20 pm

        @ jsinton & just

        Well, couldn’t we start with the suffering of our soldiers and their families, just for starters? Other than a token “Thanks for your service,” on the small chance the average American will meet one of the 1% who fight our wars, I see no sign our government (cutting veterans’ benefits) or the average American cares about the veteran
        or his family. When they talk about them, it’s just cheap, easy tear or two. So how can anyone get Americans to care about the foreign victims of our wars? There’s no conscription, and that’s part of the price of that state of affairs–it’s not all good we have a volunteer army, is it?

      • just
        just
        February 10, 2014, 2:33 am

        I have friends, family, and others who have served that I have seen come home broken– having “served” and yet forgotten by everyone but close friends and sentient people. Being ‘for the troops’ when the war is on is all well and good, but the fact is, is that support forever left the US after WW2. Putting a yellow ribbon magnet on a bumper is just a Walmart feel-good act. It costs about a buck. Never mind the human cost or the win to the MIC.

        War breaks the military folks, their families, their spirits when it is not felt by everyone & seen by everyone. The coffins coming home are not seen by everyone. People turn their eyes away in horror if they happen upon a survivor with extreme injury– within and without– and then they go get a McChicken, a Happy Meal, a Latte and try to ignore it or even rationalize it. We, as a country, have lost any sense of rhyme or reason. I will spend every last moment of my life working for peace, justice, and the ‘real’ America– the one I learned about so long ago.

        War sucks, and eternal war sucks eternally. Our military deserve a rest, and real jobs, healthcare and a government and citizenry that THINKS.

        Otherwise, re-institute the draft.

      • MRW
        MRW
        February 10, 2014, 4:32 am

        Otherwise, re-institute the draft.

        The only way to correct the attention. Should be done now.

      • Citizen
        Citizen
        February 10, 2014, 7:12 pm

        @ MRW
        Conscription? Now that would be interesting. Most American boys don’t register for the draft, although college-bound or current boy college students do have to register as a precondition for getting a federal college grant or loan. Not so the girls; they don’t have to register, not even to get a fed college grant or loan.

      • Bumblebye
        Bumblebye
        February 10, 2014, 9:28 am

        And there should be a special (permanent) surtax on the profits of war profiteers that goes to fund the needs of vets.

        It should also apply to politicians who take us into wars and then suddenly become obscenely wealthy after leaving “service” – a la Blair.

      • Citizen
        Citizen
        February 10, 2014, 7:38 pm

        Did you know there’s an on-going debate about the military draft online? http://www.debate.org/opinions/is-a-military-draft-a-good-thing-for-governments-to-have-in-place-permanently

      • Kathleen
        Kathleen
        February 10, 2014, 9:39 am

        This is quite the composition of interrelated pieces. Read some but not all. A great deal here. But I had some of the same reactions. And yes most Americans do not give a rats ass about how many people have died in Iraq, Afghanistan from our drones. Nope nope nope they have to put pictures of their kids up on fb, their last vacation and the last time they took a shit. So terribly shallow and complacent are most folks that it is depressing. “where are our lessons from Vietnam?” So many of us who protested against Vietnam were lobbying like mad, protesting in the streets before the invasion of Iraq in D.C., New York, across the nation. I talked with so many WWII, Korean, Vietnam , Desert Storm Vets who were out on the streets at these protest. Many of them against the invasion and were taking direct action against it. Was so fascinating to watch the news so closely at that point. They would show the few folks off to the sides smoking some pot on the evening news as if those were the folks who made up the bulk of those crowds. They did not interview the crowd of WWII etc Vets that I had the honor to march with in New York Feb of 2003. No the media did not show those mostly fellas on the evening news. Some of them who would cry when you would talk about the U.S. entering another potentially horrific military action. Our news seldom showed any pictures of dead Iraqi people or American soldiers. One sanitized disaster.

        What did our media, military learn from Vietnam. Get rid of the draft and do not show Americans what is really going on. Perverted and criminal. Makes me sick to my stomach when I think about the bulk of Americans not caring.

      • Citizen
        Citizen
        February 10, 2014, 11:21 am

        @ Bumblebee (no reply button)

        And that will happen when there’s also a special permanent surtax on Wall St transactions, with the tax funds going to…..where would be best? To continually audit and monitor The Fed? Towards a new public campaign finance system? Or where? Into a public referendum option to end and replace the current tax code? For the vets also?

  2. bilal a
    bilal a
    February 9, 2014, 12:33 pm

    Interesting, Goldberg prefaced:

    ” Israeli politicians on the extreme right who suggest that Kerry is anti-Semite, or a hater of Zionism, or the spawn of Satan, or whatever, are idiots.”

    Goldberg is breaking with his evangelical zionist ‘idiots’ base here, ‘spawn of satan’ is not an Israeli turn of phrase.

    https://www.google.com/#q=Obama+is+spawn+of+satan

    • Krauss
      Krauss
      February 9, 2014, 1:19 pm

      Oh, how you are naive. Goldberg is just adjusting his sails for the wind. Taking on the hard-right in Israel is very easy, it’s like Christie taking on the nutcases in the Christian hard-right while pushing the economic policies that are as extreme if not more extreme. Just like Bush always liked to talk about “compassionate conservatism” and then, 5 years later, admitted in a speech to the ultra-wealthy 0.1% that “you are my base”.

      Goldberg is merely trying to do what he always does, deflect the heat on the easy targets in the Zionist community but keep the fundamental ideology intact, Apartheid and all.

      I’m not surprised some people will fall for this. But I am disappointed that a reader of Mondoweiss would, because only naifs and the ignorant do.

      • Kathleen
        Kathleen
        February 10, 2014, 9:40 am

        nailed it

    • MRW
      MRW
      February 10, 2014, 4:33 am

      ‘spawn of satan’. He’s identifying with the Evangelicals.

  3. CitizenC
    CitizenC
    February 9, 2014, 12:43 pm

    Stephen Walt and others will be speaking at the National Summit on the US-ISRAEL Relationship on March 7 in Washington. See

    http://natsummit.org

    • Krauss
      Krauss
      February 9, 2014, 1:19 pm

      Thank you, very good catch!

    • Kathleen
      Kathleen
      February 10, 2014, 9:41 am

      Another thank you. Would sure like to attend. Hope Phil and team are able to go and video.

  4. seafoid
    seafoid
    February 9, 2014, 1:06 pm

    I think the sacrifice s made by the personnel who actually fought these 2 wars that were so vital for Zionism mean that Israel will have to fight its own wars from now on. And did Israel, so quick to milk PR attention from every humanitarian tragedy, contribute anything to the costs of all the soldiers broken fighting for Feith and Wolfie ?

  5. Krauss
    Krauss
    February 9, 2014, 1:25 pm

    I sneer when I hear some leftists deride the word “patriot”.

    Mearsheimer shows very clearly that he is a genuine American patriot, his loyalty to this country exceeds all other obligations and loyalties he may other have.

    But he also shows he has a deep concern for those affected by these idiotic and militaristic policies, most of them not Americans.
    The problem is realism will remain, however: it is most powerful in the wake of interventionist excess.

    As he noted, most Americans never felt the pain these soldiers went through on a personal level(even if you count friends and family). Over time, these things will be forgotten and a bunch of careerists who are bored but want to see stuff blow up will try to re-create the mistakes of the past.

    What’s needed is something more than just a memory to sustain this, because the memory will fade. Realist foreign policy has to be better on the ideological and theoretical framework, so that that the imperialist impulse gets crushed as a pre-emptive.

    And I think Mearsheimer is onto the right way: broaden the field beyond just the narrow scope of national interest and look more at the human drama and the grave consequences this kind of interventionism – whether by liberals or by neocons or by both – has had.

    Because people are ultimately more moved by morality and ethical arguments than by logic – I wish it was otherwise, but it isn’t. The reason why the interventionists won before is because they will say “why do you want to allow the slaughter to continue?!”. It didn’t fly in Syria because people remember the last few times those arguments were made and the results were disastrous.

    But there has to be a better and more intellectually/philosophically force powering the realist arguments in a decade or two’s time. Mearsheimer’s article is a good start – but it is just a start.

    • MRW
      MRW
      February 10, 2014, 4:37 am

      Good points, Krauss. But don’t forget, Mearsheimer can only publish in places where he is a member. You haven’t seen him on the op-ed of the NYT in the last eight years years, have you? Not a chance.

  6. American
    American
    February 9, 2014, 1:37 pm

    Fanastic.
    Mondo needs to include more of the undiluted realist view of US interest like Walt’s. I think it would attract even more readers and give us more intelligent debates concerning Israel and I/P than the constant troll food fights and good Jews, bad Jews, anti semites, ancient history and all the other tit for tats.

    This to me was one of the best articles Walt ever did on explaining US interest and the absurd flaws in the neocons ideology. And what was US policy—‘offshore balancing”….before the neos and Israel Zionist gained such influence in Washington. Everyone should read this.

    http://www.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2013/11/21/us_middle_east_strategy_back_to_balancing

    Walt also did an excellent piece on how to survive and overcome the I-First assaults the few, the proud and the brave are subject to when taking on I-Firstdom.

    Surviving While Grabbing the Third Rail
    http://washingtonnote.com/surviving_while/

    • Rusty Pipes
      Rusty Pipes
      February 9, 2014, 11:56 pm

      Thanks for the links. These three points from Walt seem most relevant to the trollish presence on this thread:

      3. Never Get Mad. Let your critics throw the mud, but you should always stick to the facts, especially when they are on your side. In my own case, many of the people who attacked me and my co-author proved to be unwitting allies, because they lost their cool in public or in print, made wild charges and ad hominem arguments, and generally acted in a transparently mean-spirited manner. It always works to your advantage when opponents act in an uncivil fashion, because it causes almost everyone else to swing your way.

      Of course, it can be infuriating when critics misrepresent your work, and nobody likes to have malicious falsehoods broadcast about them. But the fact that someone is making false charges against you does not mean that others are persuaded by the malicious rhetoric. Most people are quite adept at separating facts from lies, and that is especially true when the charges are over-the-top. In short, the more ludicrous the charges, the more critics undermine their own case. So stick to the high ground; the view is nicer up there.

      4. Don’t Respond to Every Single Attack. A well-organized smear campaign will try to bury you in an avalanche flurry of bogus charges, many of which are simply not worth answering. It is easier for opponents to dream up false charges than it is for you to refute each one, and you will exhaust yourself rebutting every critical word directed at you. So focus mainly on answering the more intelligent criticisms while ignoring the more outrageous ones, which you should treat with the contempt they deserve. Finally, make sure every one of your answers is measured and filled with the relevant facts. Do not engage in ad hominem attacks of any sort, no matter how tempting it may be to hit back.

      5. Explain to Your Audience What Is Going On. When refuting bogus charges, make it clear to readers or viewers why your opponents are attacking you in underhanded ways. When you are the object of a politically motivated smear campaign, others need to understand that your critics are not objective referees offering disinterested commentary. Be sure to raise the obvious question: why are your opponents using smear tactics like guilt-by-association and name-calling to shut down genuine debate or discredit your views? Why are they unwilling to engage in a calm and rational exchange of ideas? Let others know that it is probably because your critics are aware that you have valid points to make and that many people will find your views persuasive if they get a chance to judge them for themselves.

  7. American
    American
    February 9, 2014, 1:50 pm

    If the Walts and Mearsheimers and Freemans were the regular guest experts on US overseas issues in the MSM you would see a even bigger push back on neoism and zionism by the public. The portion of the public that believes in all the phony threats to the US they are fed would soon lose their fears when they heard the real facts.

    • jsinton
      jsinton
      February 9, 2014, 6:47 pm

      A clear sign of the corruption of the MSM in my view, along with so many others.

  8. American
    American
    February 9, 2014, 2:00 pm

    ”Obama struck a similar line in his November interview with David Remnick, speaking of achieving “geopolitical equilibrium” in the Middle East:..”

    Walt also predicted some time ago, a year or more, a ‘turning by Obama’ to the realist position of US interest in the ME.
    At the time he wrote that I didnt dare to hope Walt was right considering the overwhelming Isr-Z-interest and pressure all around Obama—-however I do think we can see signs of that now.

    • Blownaway
      Blownaway
      February 9, 2014, 6:14 pm

      Nothing will change Obama is not a leader, he’s a politician. Netanyahu understands that more than anything and “he knows how to move Americans”

  9. DICKERSON3870
    DICKERSON3870
    February 9, 2014, 2:32 pm

    RE: “Americans stand tall and see further than other peoples, as Madeleine Albright put it. These elites obviously do not look in the mirror. But, if they did, they would understand why people all around the world think hypocrites of the first order run American foreign policy…” ~ Mearsheimer

    MY COMMENT: May Harold Pinter rest in peace!*

    * SEE: “A Rare Indictment of US Atrocities”, By Gary G. Kohls, consortiumnews.com, 2/06/14

    [EXCERPT] British playwright Harold Pinter won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2005. For me, his acceptance speech was an important glimpse into – and sort of a summary of — the innumerable documentable U.S. war crimes that were facilitated by the multinational corporations, national security apparatus and political and military leaders that shaped American foreign policy since World War II.
    True patriots must be honest about the dishonorable, dark side of their own nations. In the case of the United States – and its willing accomplice, his own Great Britain – Pinter (who died in 2008) saw that reality clearly.
    There are obvious parallels between Pinter’s powerful speech and Martin Luther King Jr.’s courageous “Beyond Vietnam” speech of April 4, 1967, almost four decades earlier. Both indicted American foreign policy, but – while King focused on the Vietnam bloodbath then being waged by President Lyndon Johnson – Pinter concentrated on the slaughters in Central America under President Ronald Reagan and on the Iraq War, which was launched by President George W. Bush with the smooth-talking help of British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
    In Pinter’s Nobel speech, after reflecting on some of his own plays – and their often ambiguous grasp of what is real and what is not – the playwright declared that in the realm of history and politics, “As a citizen I must ask: What is true? What is false?”
    Pinter continued, “Before I come back to the present I would like to look at the recent past, by which I mean United States foreign policy since the end of the Second World War. I believe it is obligatory upon us to subject this period to at least some kind of even limited scrutiny, which is all that time will allow here.
    “Everyone knows what happened in the Soviet Union and throughout Eastern Europe during the post-war period: the systematic brutality, the widespread atrocities, the ruthless suppression of independent thought. All this has been fully documented and verified. …
    “My contention here is that the U.S. crimes in the same period have only been superficially recorded, let alone documented, let alone acknowledged, let alone recognized as crimes at all. I believe this must be addressed and that the truth has considerable bearing on where the world stands now.
    “Although constrained, to a certain extent, by the existence of the Soviet Union, the United States’ actions throughout the world made it clear that it had concluded it had carte blanche to do what it liked. . .

    PINTER’S RECITATION OF AMERICA’S AUTROCITIES CONTINUES AT – http://consortiumnews.com/2014/02/06/a-rare-indictment-of-us-atrocities/

  10. DICKERSON3870
    DICKERSON3870
    February 9, 2014, 2:46 pm

    RE: “Moreover, intervening in countries like Syria is precisely what helps trigger the terrorism problem.” ~ Mearsheimer

    MY COMMENT: Certain right-wing elements in the U.S., Europe and Israel would dearly love to “trigger the terrorism problem”.

  11. Justpassingby
    Justpassingby
    February 9, 2014, 2:50 pm

    Scary when you think that war on Syria, Iraq, Iran by US is just made to make israel happy. Scary also that most americans and people all over the world dont know this.

  12. James Canning
    James Canning
    February 9, 2014, 2:55 pm

    Bravo. Great piece. Walt and Mearsheimer gain from foolish accusations that speaking the truth about Israel/Palestine somehow is “anti-Semitic”.

  13. DICKERSON3870
    DICKERSON3870
    February 9, 2014, 2:57 pm

    RE: “And a policy of assassination overseas makes us criminals and hypocrites in the eyes of the world . . .” ~ Mearsheimer

    BRANDEIS – Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis elaborated in Olmstead v. United States (1928):

    “In a government of law, the existence of the government will be imperiled if it fails to observe the law scrupulously. Our government is the potent, the omnipresent teacher. For good or for ill, it teaches the whole people by example. Crime is contagious. If the government becomes a lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for the law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy.”

    • American
      American
      February 9, 2014, 3:20 pm

      Justice Louis D. Brandeis was a active Zionist leader who did not apply that ‘observing the law’ to Israel He is the typical US zionist hypocrite.
      Too bad he’s dead and not around to have to look at what he helped create in Israel and face his own hypocrisy.

  14. Balfour
    Balfour
    February 9, 2014, 3:14 pm

    Eight years ago Alan Dershowitz took glee in successfully pressuring Harvard to withdraw “The Israel Lobby” from its working paper academic forum published under the Harvard auspices and logo. At the time Dershowitz claimed in both the academic and popular press that “The paper contains three types of major errors: quotations are wrenchedly out of context, important facts are misstated or omitted, and embarrassingly weak logic is employed.” Dershowitz also went so far as to publically smear Walt and Mearsheimer as bigots for implying that pro-Israeli special interest groups held a prominent position in American policy making. Eight years later, the public failure of AIPAC to commit the USA to do Israel’s bidding over Iran has proven Walt and Mearsheimer to be fundamentally correct in their arguments, and Dershowitz’s continued rigidity in limiting open, public discussions on Israeli/ USA relations is rapidly diminishing his role in shaping the conversation defining USA/ Israel relations.

  15. seafoid
    seafoid
    February 9, 2014, 3:30 pm

    W and M was 07. Since then we had the palestine papers, cast lead, lehman, 2 flotillas, the unesco fiasco, the un vote, the us vetoes, numerous settler housing initiatives, the danon interview on al jaz, bibi at bar ilan, the bds machine, abbas given the run around, the attack on the presbyterians, iraq and afghan failure, Obama in cairo, egypt revolution, egypt counter revolution and the declared end of the 2ss. Constants throughout have been Zionist intransigence and lobby railroading, The bots had enough time to demonstrate good faith. They chose not to.

    Consequences are always interesting.

  16. mijj
    mijj
    February 9, 2014, 3:36 pm

    the “smear” of “anti-semite” is coming to be seen as a badge of integrity. And, of course, this creates a different context within which all previous uses of the “smear” will be regarded.

    (In christian mythology, the actual original sin in the garden of eden was Adam’s lie (ie. embellishment/exagguration) to eve about what god said about the fruit of the tree of knowledge. The distortion of truth enabled a train of events which led to the expulsion. Of course, christianity, being what it is, eve gets the blame. But, as written, adam’s lie is the original sin.)

  17. lobewyper
    lobewyper
    February 9, 2014, 5:10 pm

    Walt and Mearsheimer have spoken truth to power and narrow self-interest, and are winning. They will ultimately widely be recognized as intellectual heroes and patriots.

  18. Blownaway
    Blownaway
    February 9, 2014, 5:59 pm

    Obama may be a realist, but he’s also just another politician. Today the Times of Israel said Kerry has no backing from Obama to confront Israeli intransigence and therefore his entire framework has collapsed. I’m constantly amazed at how Bibi can continuously bitch slap Obama into submission. He has weakened this country forever in the eyes of our adversaries for a few votes and a few millions. He’s just as afraid that AIPAC will make him pay by supporting Republicans for mid year senate change

    • Citizen
      Citizen
      February 9, 2014, 10:30 pm

      @ Blownaway
      You beat me to the punch: http://www.timesofisrael.com/kerry-fails-to-get-obama-backing-to-confront-israel-on-peace-terms/

      Doesn’t Kerry’s final solution timetable run out in a month or so? He’s going to have egg on his face for not even being able to get the parties to agree to a framework–with very little in that slightly fleshy framework for the Palestinians except for a bigger Gaza-like rump “state” infused with a big pile of US taxpayer dollars as start up capital for Palestinian business folks. And Israel won’t go for Kerry’s slice of Jerusalem for the Palestinians. Obama knows it. Yet I don’t see why Obama should obstruct Kerry at this point, do you? Why isn’t he backing Kerry’s best effort?

    • annie
      annie
      February 9, 2014, 11:10 pm

      the Times of Israel said Kerry has no backing from Obama to confront Israeli intransigence

      hmm, my personal opinion is jumping the news with lies is a tactic to get confirmation of refutation while setting the meme.

      White House reaffirms Obama support for Kerry peace push
      02/10/2014 01:14

      Reports in Israeli media to the contrary are “totally false.”

      http://www.jpost.com/Diplomacy-and-Politics/White-House-reaffirms-Obama-support-for-Kerry-peace-push-340894

      everyone knows there will be no ‘framework agreement’ worthy of taking seriously. so preemptively throwing kerry under the bus takes the heat off the sides. i hope palestine doesn’t agree to any watered down agreement designed to stretch this out forever. it has to be a framework that represents something tangible or why bother. obama has 3 more years in office. he’s probably weighed upside/downside of being in the WH while palestinians went to the UN.

      not the worst scenario if you ask me.

      • Blownaway
        Blownaway
        February 10, 2014, 1:10 am

        Annie
        I’m a American born in Palestine. As long as I can remember my mom would say our best hope is a second term president who isn’t worried or afraid to do the right thing because he has nothing to lose. Well she’s been dead for a long time and I’m 57 now and were still waiting for a second term president with cojones. But what I realized is its about party preservation. There is always someone that needs to get elected. It’s ridiculous to think the US under any circumstances will do the right thing. Increasingly do the right thing anywhere in the world. Things need to get done in spite of the US by an informed global citizenry fed up with the hypocracy of their governments and the global cost of failing to solve this most fundamental problem….in modern time there exists a people that are militarily ruled and abused by a hostile power

      • James Canning
        James Canning
        February 10, 2014, 7:05 pm

        Fine post. And I entirely agree opinion worldwide needs to be marshalled, to end the occupation of the WB.

  19. schlemiel
    schlemiel
    February 9, 2014, 6:21 pm

    Didn’t Walt and Mearsheimer get a 400,000 dollar advance from a major publishing house for writing their book? That right there makes a mockery of the paranoid notion of an all powerful Jewish lobby controlling the media.
    Of course, the notion that they were doing something brave, defiant, and even risky was exactly the sort of publicity that helped sell their book, which is not a particularly scholarly piece to begin with. The only people who praise it are activists, not experts.
    But the final piece is when, after publishing their book and not being destroyed by the omnipotent, nefarious Zionists, people like Weiss can proclaim Walt and Mearsheimer’s triumph over said lobby.

    • lobewyper
      lobewyper
      February 9, 2014, 7:53 pm

      Well, schlemiel,

      I believe W & M couldn’t get their LRB article on the same topic published by the mainstream press in the US due to fear of anti-semitic smears. Call it the lobby, call it the “vigilance” of the MSM, but nonpublication here was spearheaded by powerful Zionists (including gentiles). Don’t try to make a straw man to then knock down. Weiss has never implied that all Jews support Israel.

      • Citizen
        Citizen
        February 9, 2014, 10:39 pm

        @ lobewyper
        Correct. No US publisher would publish their LRB article. I’d like to see schlemiel’s evidence re any advance M & W got for their book.

    • Shingo
      Shingo
      February 9, 2014, 10:30 pm

      Didn’t Walt and Mearsheimer get a 400,000 dollar advance from a major publishing house for writing their book?

      From which publisher? How is it that they had to go oversead to get it published because no publisher in the US would touch it?

      That right there makes a mockery of of your claim that the notion of an all powerful Jewish lobby controlling the media is a paranoid one.

      Of course, the notion that they were doing something brave, defiant, and even risky was exactly the sort of publicity that helped sell their book, which is not a particularly scholarly piece to begin with

      It’s funny how you clowns, who have been trying to bring Walt and Mearsheimer down for 8 years, have also been babbling about their piece being poor scholarship, while similarly being unable to explain why.

      The only people who attacked it were propagandists, not experts.

    • traintosiberia
      traintosiberia
      February 10, 2014, 12:46 am

      Your argument presupposes that defeat could never visit a superior army,loss can never take the crown away from a defending champion in the final game. Napolean had never been a real successful invader,that Hitler never could have marched into France as he was defeated by enemy Russia – would seem plausible line of argument according to your way of approaching the new develments in AIPAC and in other Israeli lobbies.
      Russia indeed something brave,defiant,and ultimately successful against Napolean and against Hitler.

    • traintosiberia
      traintosiberia
      February 10, 2014, 12:56 am

      The money sounds a lot but the book was not commissioned as was Exodus. The book did not become a best seller the way the American Zionist Emergency Council
      of Silver and Weizman made the book by name, Palestine,Land of
      Promise by W C Lowdermilk a best seller – by buying in bulk .

    • Sibiriak
      Sibiriak
      February 10, 2014, 1:20 am

      schlemiel:

      the paranoid notion of an all powerful Jewish lobby controlling the media.

      “All powerful”? Strawman. How about: “a very powerful pro-Israel lobby strongly influencing the media and politicians.”

      • Sumud
        Sumud
        February 10, 2014, 5:17 am

        Hmm Sibiriak – I would say instead: “a very powerful pro-Israel lobby including certain politicians and members of the media.”

        It would seem silly to exclude people like Goldberg from the lobby – it’s not as if he takes instruction from AIPAC – he’s a true believer, of his own volition.

        That phrasing doesn’t quite capture the intimidation tactics the lobby employs to influence other non-believers and to squelch dissent but it’s more accurate than schmeliel’s obvious attempt to associate ‘Protocols’ rhetoric with W&M .

      • Sibiriak
        Sibiriak
        February 10, 2014, 6:08 am

        Sumud:

        Hmm Sibiriak – I would say instead: “a very powerful pro-Israel lobby including certain politicians and members of the media.”

        It would seem silly to exclude people like Goldberg from the lobby – it’s not as if he takes instruction from AIPAC – he’s a true believer, of his own volition.

        Well, whenever it comes to terminology there is always a choice between lumping and splitting. For analytical clarity, I personally would prefer to use the term “lobby” for political lobbying, media influencing, and public-opinion-shaping organizations. Thus the pro-Zionist-Israel lobby would be a subset of all pro-Zionist-Israel forces in the U.S. or globally. I believe there are sources of Zionist power and support which are independent of “the lobby”. YMMV

    • puppies
      puppies
      February 10, 2014, 1:42 am

      @ Schlemiel (good name) – Still fighting that battle given up by your hierarchic superiors? You look like Hiroo Onoda (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/18/world/asia/hiroo-onoda-imperial-japanese-army-officer-dies-at-91.html)
      Or Sleeping Beauty.
      Try commenting in the National Enquirer, somebody may just believe you for an instant.

    • MRW
      MRW
      February 10, 2014, 5:01 am

      Didn’t Walt and Mearsheimer get a 400,000 dollar advance from a major publishing house for writing their book? That right there makes a mockery of the paranoid notion of an all powerful Jewish lobby controlling the media.

      Because the “all powerful Jewish lobby controlling the media” is Jewish? (No Gentile owns or controls a major publishing firm these days.)

      In any event, an advance against future earnings is de rigueur in the publishing industry, has been for over a century in this country, and 400Gs is not excessive for two guys with a publishing history writing a book. Or are you hand-waving again at the theatre EXIT door?

      The only people who praise it are activists, not experts

      Guess you must have been snoozing under a rock in the West Bank when the LBR article, the precursor to the book, came out, because its sensation among experts led to the book contract. But hey, Israelis can be forgiven for not being the sharpest knives in the drawer; that’s why you had to let Russians in to fuel your Start-Up Nation.

  20. lobewyper
    lobewyper
    February 9, 2014, 6:29 pm

    @Blownaway

    The Times of Israel is merely offering an opinion (unless it has successfully penetrated the White House, which I doubt). The Times is obviously attempting to prod Obama to obtain greater cooperation from Netanyahu. Why would Obama permit Kerry to go on a fool’s errand? If he is so doing as the Times claims, the truth will eventually become evident. Not only would Obama look like a weak idiot, the hypocrisy of American middle eastern policy toward the I-P conflict would once again be made clear in a very public way.

  21. traintosiberia
    traintosiberia
    February 9, 2014, 6:52 pm

    “. , there isn’t a government on the planet that agrees with our legal rationale for these operations, except for Afghanistan and maybe Israel.”
    He is wrong. India supports the continued droning in Yemen Somalia,Pakistan,and Afghanistan. The media shapes the narrative and chooses the words in a way that shows to its public, who could be eager to hurt any Muslim anywhere ,the reluctance but necessity of the assassination project from US perspective. Its media is like Israel when it comes to Arab and Muslim countries. Even the Facebook and other popular social websites are replete with innuendo and racial epithet against the Arab spring ,against Palestine,against Iran. Its Hindu ideologues caricature and deplore Morsi while welcoming Modi and other BJP zealot .

  22. Nevada Ned
    Nevada Ned
    February 9, 2014, 8:20 pm

    The arguments about the Israel Lobby advanced by Mearsheimer and Walt were not new. What WAS new that two pillars of the foreign policy Establishment advanced those arguments in public. And of course it was great having the case against the Lobby collected in one place instead of scattered in multiple locations.

    Mearsheimer and Walt are IMHO two exemplary members of the ruling class intellectuals, who said, in effect, the Lobby has too much power, and continuing the Special Relationship (US/Israeli) has caused problems in the past, and are leading to bigger problems in the future.
    The typical Congress Critter, too timid to defy the Lobby in public, is not going to provide real leadership on this crucial question.

    • MRW
      MRW
      February 10, 2014, 4:47 am

      The typical Congress Critter, too timid to defy the Lobby in public, is not going to provide real leadership on this crucial question.

      Because we elect idiots.

  23. Shingo
    Shingo
    February 9, 2014, 10:34 pm

    Has anyone read Goldberg’s appalling and pathetic piece or propaganda and spin? He’s not even trying to hide his desperation and hackery. it reads like it was written by one fo Bibbi’s speech writers.

    How about this example of him excerting bile?

    Kerry makes the argument that Israel will face new, and intensified, boycott pressure if peace talks fail, and he may be right. But by publicly discussing this possibility, he is providing fuel to the forces aligned against Israel (and keep in mind that most boycotters are not opposed to Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, but instead to the idea of a country for the Jewish people). He is also terrifying Israelis, and terrified Israelis are not the sort of people who will make dangerous compromises for peace. Hunkering-down and waiting for Kerry’s ship to sail back to the U.S. is a more predictable outcome.

    So Goldberg maligns all proponents fo BDS as not wanting peace, but wanting to destroy Israel and that claims that the only way to get Israelis to agree to peace is to smother them in more kisses.

    The guy is a pathetic joke.

    • annie
      annie
      February 9, 2014, 10:56 pm

      (and keep in mind that most boycotters are not opposed to Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, but instead to the idea of a country for the Jewish people)

      this is the hasbrats new big tamale. i’m not impressed.

      • American
        American
        February 9, 2014, 11:30 pm

        Defunding the illegal settlements equals delegitimization equals anti-Semitism equals destruction of Israel as a Jewish state .

      • puppies
        puppies
        February 10, 2014, 12:42 am

        @Annie – Lest we get carried away and imagine that opposition to Zionism has any uniformity, I’d like to remind you that Goldberg is right about some boycotters; I don’t know if that is a majority, as he says, or if we are in a minority but a number of people definitely oppose the idea of a country for “Jewish people” –this includes all the defenders of the so-called one-state solution (ie the anti-Apartheid version thereof.)

      • Daniel Rich
        Daniel Rich
        February 10, 2014, 4:19 am

        @ Puppies,

        I remember Saddam Hussein during a speech, when he finally stepped into the limelight in the early days of his career. “Gentlemen…, we have a traitor in our midst…”

        I also vividly remember the look in the eyes of his audience as one after another ‘traitors’ were dragged outside [and most likely shot on the spot].

        Did you write that speech?

      • Sumud
        Sumud
        February 10, 2014, 5:26 am

        … or if we are in a minority but a number of people definitely oppose the idea of a country for “Jewish people” –this includes all the defenders of the so-called one-state solution (ie the anti-Apartheid version thereof.)

        Pardon me?

        You should be more careful about assigning motives to people.

        In recent years I have switched from advocacy of two- to one-states and this is purely pragmatic. Simply, Israel has made two viable states impossible, so why expend any energy in that direction?

        I’m not opposed to a country for “jewish people” per se – though obviously could only support one that doesn’t treat it’s non-jewish citizens as second-class…

      • Sibiriak
        Sibiriak
        February 10, 2014, 6:47 am

        Sumud:

        I have switched from advocacy of two- to one-states and this is purely pragmatic. Simply,Israel has made two viable states impossible, so why expend any energy in that direction?

        One thing I don’t get about this argument: If Israel has the power to make two “viable” states impossible, why does Israel NOT also have the power (even more so) to make one democratic state impossible?

        Alternately, if it’s a question of compulsion , wouldn’t it be far easier to compel Israel to give up some or all Zionist settlements in the West Bank than compel Israel to give up Zionism entirely?

        I also have never seen a definition of “viable”, nor the criteria by which such viability is determined.

      • Sumud
        Sumud
        February 10, 2014, 11:05 am

        [moderators can the missing REPLY buttons please be fixed!]

        If Israel has the power to make two “viable” states impossible, why does Israel NOT also have the power (even more so) to make one democratic state impossible?

        Sibiriak: good question.

        You don’t really need to listen to me on this, various Israeli leaders including both Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert have said that if Palestinians switch to a struggle for one-person/one-vote across mandate Palestine, Israel will not be able to resist finally giving everyone the vote. Which will be the end of Israel as there will be a Palestinian voting majority who will likely enact right of return for the refugees.

        So, while Israel has lots of power in the equation currently, BDS is equalising that and at a certain point will overpower Israel. Maybe tomorrow if the Ehuds are to be believed – it’s a decision for Palestinians to make, not me (when they give up on two-states as impossible).

        A number of things might then happen:

        1. Unilateral Israeli withdrawal from all of Area A and B – will not mean end of conflict so BDS will continue (first last resort)
        2. Unilateral Israeli withdrawal to the line of the apartheid wall, partial evacuation of settlements – also not end of conflict os Israeli occupation on 8% of West Bank continues including the precious land over the mountain aquifers (second last resort)
        3. Unilateral Israeli withdrawal to the 1967 lines, full evacuation of settlements. Still not end of conflict as RoR and compensation remains unresolved but if Israel were to do this I think a permanent peace agreement could be had fairly easily (third last resort)
        4. Some other black swan-type event such as a revolt of the IDF among ideological settlers who then embark on mass killings in the West Bank – likely resulting in international intervention and then…?
        5. Sanity might prevail and a new state possibly called the Republic Of Jerusalem might emerge (this is a name Taxi and I decided on since the conflict is resolved with neither Israel or Palestine the victor) which will involve equal rights for all citizens, a return of the refugees and everyone lives happily ever after (you might call this fourth last resort).

        Of course, all of this is speculation, and other than tossing around ideas in conversation I spend very little energy on one- or two-states. Nothing will happen until the balance of power has shifted anyway. I don’t really think two-states is absolutely impossible, just not currently.

        On viability:
        • interconnected bantustans are not viable
        • a state without water is not viable
        • a state not in full control of it’s borders etc. is not a state.

        I think water is probably the major issued for viability – Israel steals VAST amounts of Palestinian water from the three West Bank aquifers. The settlers are Israel’s “useful idiots” and their installation on ground above the aquifers is not coincidental. Israel’s strategy has been to install the settlers and agree if forced by the US and the world to a Palestinian state without water – but they neglected to factor in Palestinian sumud and the wild card of one-person/one-state which has the potential to upend the whole lot.

      • James Canning
        James Canning
        February 10, 2014, 2:23 pm

        Your assumption is that areas of West Bank with large numbers of illegal Jews cannot be part of Palestine.

      • puppies
        puppies
        February 10, 2014, 3:50 pm

        @Sumud – Well, I am definitely opposed to a “country for Jewish people”, and even the idea of a “Jewish people” is ridiculous –the very essence of Zionism. And a lot of other people I know do agree with that, so I will presume to know what they and I think. Anyway, there is no place for a country for “X people” in Palestine if they are parachuted from elsewhere; no problem if they agree to be citizens like everyone else, provided the Palestinians accept it through an independent and sovereign organ.

      • eljay
        eljay
        February 10, 2014, 9:52 am

        >> … I’d like to remind you that Goldberg is right about some boycotters; I don’t know if that is a majority, as he says, or if we are in a minority but a number of people definitely oppose the idea of a country for “Jewish people” …

        A country for “Jewish people” is as much an unjust and supremacist construct as a country for “Scientologist people”. I object to both.

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        February 10, 2014, 6:39 pm

        eljay, why do you hate Tom Cruise and John Travolta?

      • Sumud
        Sumud
        February 10, 2014, 7:51 pm

        On a “country for jewish people”, it really depends on the format whether I can support it or not.

        With BDS in mind:
        – if Israel withdraws to the 67 lines with mutually agreed equitable land swaps;
        – if the right of return is recognised and refugees are offered the option of return or generous compensation;
        – if Palestinian Israelis are given full and equal rights including the removal of government funding discrimination and if citizenship in Israel becomes “Israeli” rather than “jewish” or “arab”…

        …then if Israel wants to identify as a jewish state – which would be token only – that’s fine with me. It’s a nuanced but real difference. If this is the final resolution I think Palestinian Israelis will also have to be vigilant in the future to make sure their civil rights are not eroded.

        There are a few road blocks to the above 3 criteria:
        – “equitable land swaps” are practically impossible since Israel cannot offer land with equitable value, which would be land with aquifers underneath.
        – Israel probably can’t offer high enough compensation $$$ to keep the number of returning refugees as low as it wants.

        If Palestinians move to one person/one vote – which means the end of Israel as a jewish state in any form – I’m still wondering whether Israel’s leaders will elect to unilaterally withdraw from some portion of the West Bank to preserve a jewish state, or whether they will finally enable transition to a single state with equal rights for all.

        Any opinions?

      • puppies
        puppies
        February 10, 2014, 8:01 pm

        @Canning – “Your assumption is that areas of West Bank with large numbers of illegal Jews cannot be part of Palestine.”
        Why not? I’d say as long as they are eligible to becoming legal residents, for example
        – they immigrated in accordance with sovereign and independent Palestinian regulations, i.e. not by some mythical “Law of return”
        – they are disarmed, conform to all local laws, pay their taxes and pay fair market value for land and resources
        – conform to all other requirements issued by a sovereign Palestinian government,
        why not?
        If I had any skin in the game I’d surround them by an-8-foot “fence” with projectors, machine guns and troops –these babies don’t look like they would submit to any earthly law.

      • James Canning
        James Canning
        February 11, 2014, 7:39 pm

        @Puppies – – Yes, provided compensation was paid, and Palestinian laws were obeyed, let the illegal Jewish settlers become legal.

      • Sumud
        Sumud
        February 10, 2014, 8:08 pm

        James – yes.

        In a two state format, if there are jewish settlers who want to live permanently in the West Bank they should be given that option, but only if they are willing to become Palestinian citizens.

        I like options! They let people exercise a degree of autonomy and self determination. For the same reason, I advocate that with regard to Palestinian refugees, they should individually be given the option of return or some form of compensation. Israel can regulate the amount of refugees returning by offering higher or lower compensation amounts, and Palestinian refugees are given real agency to decide their future. It’s long overdue.

        Back to settlers, it would probably be very good in the long term for a Palestinian state to have a law abiding jewish minority. Good in terms of reconciliation I mean.

      • James Canning
        James Canning
        February 11, 2014, 7:43 pm

        Sumud – – I too see potential, long-term, for reconciliation, if Jews regularise their presence in Palestine. Long-term.

      • Sibiriak
        Sibiriak
        February 10, 2014, 9:23 pm

        Palestinians may recognize Israel as the the national state for the Jewish People.

        http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4486331,00.html

        Justice Minister Tzipi Livni may have hinted Sunday that a dispute over Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state – a major sticking point in the ongoing peace talks between the two sides – could be resolved soon…

        […] The committee was discussing an amendment to the State Education Law, which would see the addition of an article stating, “Educating for the value of the State of Israel as the national state of the Jewish people.” […] Livni and Pensioner Affairs Minister Uri Orbach (Habayit Hayehudi) began bickering over the issue.

        Orbach told Livni: “For us, it is clear that Israel is the Jewish national state, which the Palestinians will never accept.”

        But, according to those present at the debate, Livni retorted: “Wait, you’re in for a surprise. What if they would be willing to acknowledge us as the national state for the Jews, would you be willing to divide the land then?” Orbach cynically responded: “Even without recognition I would be willing to do that.”

      • puppies
        puppies
        February 12, 2014, 3:38 am

        @Canning – Again deciding for the owners of the land, aren’t we? What if they prefer jus sanguinis–citizenship by parentage? It’s their land, and they’ll write the laws through a future independent and sovereign state. Not their Quislings. So I don’t think you have a voice.

      • James Canning
        James Canning
        February 12, 2014, 2:02 pm

        Yes, the laws of Palestine would be for the Palestinians to determine. However, making a deal with Israel, and trying to protect the Green Line as the border of Palestine, may entail making some arrangements.

      • MRW
        MRW
        February 10, 2014, 4:41 am

        You beat me to it, annie. Goldberg’s boo-boo aside in the middle of the paragraph broke his argument and revealed his venality, but the beauty thing is that Americans are not buying his style of horseshit anymore. Not out here. But I won’t say anymore. I want Goldberg on his high horse. I want Netanyahu clumping up his shoes in excrement.

      • MRW
        MRW
        February 10, 2014, 5:05 am

        boo-hoo

      • eljay
        eljay
        February 11, 2014, 7:14 am

        >> eljay, why do you hate Tom Cruise and John Travolta?

        Enough with the “anti-Scientologific” smears!

        ;-)

      • puppies
        puppies
        February 13, 2014, 11:11 pm

        @Canning – I suspect that if a major worldwide upside-down leaves the US paralyzed, amn independent and autonomous Palestine will not even think of recognizing the 1967 line. Just as world opinion, which correctly sees it as a right-of-conquest line. Again, force ratios change a lot and unexpectedly,while rights remain.

    • Sibiriak
      Sibiriak
      February 10, 2014, 1:28 am

      terrified Israelis are not the sort of people who will make dangerous compromises for peace.

      As if putting no pressure on Israel will increase Israeli willingness to compromise. And the compromises are NOT dangerous! And Kerry is not asking for much compromise from Israel, anyway.

      • MRW
        MRW
        February 10, 2014, 4:44 am

        “terrified Israelis?” I thought they were busy being the new technological/LGBT/feminist/democratic haven on the planet. Who has time for terror?

  24. Daniel Rich
    Daniel Rich
    February 10, 2014, 2:29 am

    Bottom line is, you can’t be smeared with an Apartheid word and pap[al] smears are dealt with elsewhere. I watched ‘Lone Survivor’ last night. Quite ‘funny’ how we can go into country XYZ and extra judicially kill ‘bad guys.’

    An estimated 40% of the homeless are Vets. Please keep that in mind the next time you step over one…

    Number of homeless vets drops, but VA goal might be out of reach

  25. MRW
    MRW
    February 10, 2014, 4:45 am

    Mearsheimer’s article is superb. Read it. Download it. Pass it around.

  26. Robert767
    Robert767
    February 10, 2014, 9:48 pm

    I am sorry but when Americans talk about the human cost of war in Iraq and completely fail to mention the huge cost in IRAQI lives-bearing in mind the war and invasion/occupation was a rolling war crime-I feel nauseous.

  27. Helena Cobban
    Helena Cobban
    February 10, 2014, 10:01 pm

    Phil, I really do think it’s a problem when you write about John M: “I found his article most moving on the human costs of the disastrous wars in Afghanistan and Iraq”… and then proceed to quote only what John writes about the costs to Americans. Right, I know that Americans (of whom I am one) are humans… but we are by no means ALL of humanity! In fact, we are < 5% of humanity! And the human costs of the United States' wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to Iraqis and Afghanis have been many, many times higher, per-capita and even just in raw numbers, than the human costs to Americans. Pus, the US invasions of their countries has effectively destroyed most of whatever physical and social infrastructure they both had prior to the invasions. So please don’t ever represent the “human” costs of wars as applying only to Americans…. Bad enough, the effects those wars/invasions had on U.S. families. But 1,000 times worse, the effects they had on our brothers and sisters in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    • just
      just
      February 11, 2014, 7:33 am

      Well said, Helena. The Iraqis and Afghans are still suffering because of our wanton violence and maniacal thirst for “revenge” post 911.

      Revenge that was totally misdirected and benighted. Yet, our “foreign policy” remains largely unchanged, much to my shame and our disgrace. Both countries are still reeling from our terrible actions– and it is our fault entirely. Few will admit it. Instead I hear from too many in America that “they were living in the ancient past anyway, they’ve been killing each other for centuries anyway, they are ungrateful for the help and all the billions that we gave them, etc.” Just more blaming of the millions of victims…and nobody will admit that we not only destroyed massive numbers of people, infrastructure, antiquities/ culture, but WE LOST both wars militarily and morally– at an enormous cost to human lives.

      • Citizen
        Citizen
        February 11, 2014, 8:09 am

        If memory serves, Mearsheimer’s long speech, linked by Phil Weiss, does go on to note the native casualties in America’s interventionist wars in the Middle East, and, he includes the innocent dead due to our drone attacks.

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