Thursday, March 19, 2009

Goure on Israel

Daniel Goure of the Lexington Institute has quite an amusing post which speaks body bags about the blinkered world-view and unfounded assumptions which define the thinking of the Israeli Lobby and their fellow travelers. Actually, Goure appears to doubt the existence of an Israeli Lobby in something of the same way that J. Edgar Hoover once claimed to doubt the existence of the Mafia.

At any rate, here is Goude describing his beatific vision of a glorious future in which Israel and the U.S. walk hand in hand through a common adventure in reshaping the Middle East:

The reality is that no so-called Israel lobby is necessary to impact U.S. Middle East policy because our interests and those of Israel are largely congruent. Whether it is the natural affinity of democracies; our shared political and social modernity; the common opposition to Soviet expansionism during the Cold War; the sharing of intelligence; technology cooperation; equal distance, politically speaking, from the internecine political warfare that consumes the Arab world; a mutual determination to defeat terrorism; or a shared culture…Israel and America are in accord. What is the basis for our strategic relationship with the Arab nations? The answer is one word, oil. Absent oil, Israel alone would continue to hold our interest in the region. If the Obama Administration is successful in weaning the U.S. from its addiction to oil, Israel alone will be of strategic interest to this country. At least that will be the case until democracy and representative governance takes hold elsewhere in the region.

Of course, many of us would vastly prefer that "absent oil" the United States have no strategic interests of any kind in the Middle East....perhaps we could station a cultural attache there, but beyond that, nothing at all. Absent oil, we would have little need for a forward military base and none at all for any entangling alliances. Let the Saudi Royal Family and the Knesset paddle their own canoes. Unfortunately the oil reserves will not run dry all at once and, as they get scarcer and more expensive, it is more likely than not that all the great powers will deal themselves a hand in a bloody contest that will make The Great Game look like a round of pinochle. Imagine a world without struggles for control of the Crimea, without Suez Crises, without future 9/11s. It seems to me to be a pretty picture for Americans. For Israel it may look a bit different.

I feel very little concern little concern for what I feel is Israel's increasingly tenuous relationship with representative democracy. Further, in light of Israel's irksome tendency to spy on the United States, to mention the "sharing of intelligence" seems a trifle ironic. I do not perceive that America is at war with the tactic of terrorism, no matter how deplorable it is - this kind of sentimental claptrap is a residue of the bankrupt Wilsonism of the Bush administration. As to representative government taking hold in the region, let's wait for it to take a good,firm hold in Israel first, shall we?

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