I do have a bit of a quibble with Prof. Walt's analysis in the first pragraph of the excerpt quoted by Phil.
Trump's "fondness" for foreign dictators is certainly not a new or strange phenomenom in American politics. Let's not play dumb. There are plenty of instances in modern and contemporary history where American politicians, sitting vice-presidents and PRESIDENTS from BOTH parties have praised and/or expressed sympathy/admiration for foreign dictators who served American geopolitical interests regardless of how corrupt or brutal their regimes happened to be.
From FDR's support of Rafael Trujillo in Dominican Republic and his support AND praise of the elder Somoza in Nicaragua in the 1930s; Carter's praise of Reza Pahlavi and his Iranian "Island of Stability"; Reagan's praise and support for Ferdinand Marcos in the Phillipines, Zial ul-Haq in Pakistan, Mobutu Sese Seko in Zaire and Augusto Pinochet in Chile, all these ruthless and/or kleptocratic strongmen where considered reliable bastions of anticommunism, therefore open praise/admiration was not only permited but encouraged in Washington political circles.
Obviously, Putin's great sin is not his authoritarian rule or penchant for intimidation or brutality. it's the fact that he's not in Washington's pocket and does not serve Washington's interests.
As to having to "do business" with countries that do not share particular American "political values" ( assumming he reffers to rule of law, free speech and human rights), Prof. Walt again sounds a little too disingenous for a man of his knowledge. The US doesn't just "do business" with some of the countries he mentioned, it provides military and economic support to the tune of billions of taxpayer dollars, as well as diplomatic inmmunity that makes it next to impossible for these regimes to be held accountable on the international stage for their crimes and abuses, whether it be at the UN or other world bodies. The Egyptian military coup against Morsi, Israel's Gaza massacres and the US-backed Saudi war in Yemen come to mind.
Despite all his brilliance and insight, it seems Prof. Walt is not fully honest in providing an accurate geopolitical background, neccessary for a better appraisal of current electoral politics.
You make a interesting and persuasive argument as to why the era of Netanyahu must come to an end. Yet I can think of a few significant issues that might preclude your
reasoned scenario from coming into fruition as you believe it will.
First: I don't believe the end of Netanyahu will mark the end of AIPAC's influence as the tip of the spear of the Israel Lobby. While it is true that AIPAC identifies more closely with Likudnik thinking, it is ultimately a bipartisan entity. Both labor and likud fully support the work of AIPAC in the United States even as AIPAC itself refuses to acknowledge that settlements are a key obstacle to Palestinian statehood, fail to denounce the settlement enterprise as illegal under international law, is highly unlikely to call for a removal of all settlements or a full withdrawal of the Israeli military from the West Bank and is dead set against the Right of Return. Moreover, the lobby's money still remains extremely powerful in shaping the political discourse and legislative agenda of elected officials regarding Israel.
Second: The coming battle between liberal Zionists and anti-Zionists in the public sphere may not get the exposure it needs to seep into mainstream political discourse. Even now, whatever "debate" is allowed in the mainstream media on Israel is carefully circumscribed to AIPAC, a "mainstream" organization and J Street, which is often portrayed as "leftist" even though J Street is a center-right organization and differs from AIPC more in terms of style than substance, often ending up espousing positions that sound very much like AIPAC-lite. The Zionist gatekeepers in the MSM do a very efficient job of keeping the debate, when allowed, confined to the positions ascribed to those two "extremes".
Third: the current framework for negotiations to "end" the Occupation is based around the so-called Kerry Initiative, which basically allows for the formation of a truncated, bantustanized political entity that would amount to, in the words of Shlomo Ben Ami, a "state minus". The Israeli military would still have a detrimental presence in the PTs for "security purposes", most of the settlers would remain in place and the issue of ROR will be killed for good. As sad as it sounds, the Palestinian Authority, which has become the de facto manager of the Occupation, is likely to go along with such a plan, despite the the fact that it would essentially be a capitulation of quintessential Palestinian rights under international law. I doubt such an outcome would be acceptable over the long term to those grassroots Palestinian organizations, movements and individuals that have worked and struggled so hard during all these years to bring a just solution to the conflict. To see the corrupt, opportunistic leadership of the Palestinian Authority be bribed or cowed into accepting this shameful deal would be a profound insult and disappointment to all those people whose blood, sweat and tears that have gone into making BDS an internationally potent movement against the occupation, oppression and dispossession of the Palestinians.
In short, like many folks here in this site, I do believe that the Netanyahu/Likud/Bennet/Lieberman axis is the greatest unifying and energizing factor for the anti apartheid, anti-Zionist, pro-equality, pro-human rights movement to have even more traction and exert even more pressure to bring about meaningful change in Israel/Palestine. I am doubtful that another round of labor/liberal Zionism will amount to any significant movement towards a just peace.
"Those at the receiving end of the intifadeh". Nice way of putting it Yonah. Those poor israelis... having to withstand that irrational, barbaric, frenzy of violence that just overwhelmed the benevolent souls who enforced the benevolent occupation that brought so much joy to those ungrateful Palestinians.....
Lest you forget history Yonah, the first intifadeh was a heroic display of militant, non-armed resistance against 30 plus years of brutal military occupation. It was mostly young people, spontaneously rising up against their overlords, sick and tired of living lives of oppression and despair. Rocks, slingshots and burning tires against the vast power of the Israeli military machine. "Break their bones", ordered the so-called "peacemaker" Yitzhak Rabin. Those who dared to rise up and seek freedom where shot, beaten, imprisoned, tortured and killed by the thousands. What came after the first intifadeh?
We all reap what we sow Yonah. The seeds of rage and desperation were sown long ago by the Irgun, the Lehi, the Hagganah, the Nakbah, Deir Yassin and Lidda. Even now, Israel keeps sowing those seeds through its ongoing ethnic cleansing and dispossession of what little remains of a land and a dignified future for Palestinians.
Your hasbara is getting old and stale Yonah. Moreover, moral consistency seems to be in very short supply in your neck of the woods.