by Lawrence Davidson, To the Point Analyses, 8/5/1
Part I – National Interest or Lobby Interest?
President Obama and his congressional colleagues are carrying on an established, yet clearly dangerous, tradition of U.S. foreign policy — the mixing up of national interest and the parochial interests of powerful lobby groups. Indeed, given the way U.S. federal politics has long operated, national interest is, except in rare cases, an impossible notion. This is because almost all politicians and both political parties are so tied to, and financially dependent upon, powerful lobby groups that they cannot formulate independent positions on issues important to these lobbies. Thus, what is put forth as national interest is most often the interest of a particular interest group with too much money buying too much influence.
In today’s foreign policy arena this conflation of the general and the particular is best seen in U.S. policies in the Middle East. Here are four recent examples:
* The renewal of “peace talks” between the Israelis and the Palestinians is presently big news. The Obama administration casts itself as the “honest broker” bringing the two sides together to renew negotiations after a three-year hiatus. However, the United States has never served as an “honest broker” between these two parties and this is one of the reasons that their conflict has remained unresolved so long.
Why can’t the U.S. be the “honest broker”? Because the American government is in no position to formulate an independent policy reflecting the nation’s national interest in a just and therefore lasting peace. The Zionist lobby (made up of both Jewish and Christian Americans) is so powerful that the vast majority of politicians and both political parties will not defy it. So the U.S. position is always pro-Israel.
That is why the Obama administration recently appointed Martin Indyk “special envoy to shepherd [Israeli-Palestinian] talks toward a final settlement.” Indyk is an outright Zionist whose lack of impartiality contributed to the failure of peace talks under the Clinton administration. There is no secret about this, nor is there any apparent embarrassment on the part of the Obama administration at simultaneously claiming to be a worthwhile mediator while assigning an overtly prejudiced envoy to the talks. …
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