John Mearsheimer explains America’s Israel lobby


OCALA, Fla., February 4, 2014 — American foreign policy is at a crossroads. 

With the Middle East in a period of rapid transition, neoconservatism losing public support, and current foreign aid programs proving to be unsound investments, the time is ripe for serious change.

The question is this: What sort of change will we have? Considering the power of special interest groups, one might wonder if we’ll have any change at all.

Among the foremost American public intellectuals pushing for change is John Mearsheimer. A longtime professor at the University of Chicago, his scholarly work has made him world famous. His ideas have generated ample praise and controversy.

Speaking of controversy, during the years ahead, how important should Israel be for our nation’s interests in the Middle East?

“Given that the United States has and will continue to have a special relationship with Israel that has no parallel in world history, Israel will have a significant effect on American interests in the Middle East,” Dr. Mearsheimer explains to Communities Digital News. “Unfortunately, those effects will be largely negative.  Although it is not politically correct to say so, Israel is a major strategic liability for the United States.

“It is one of the principle causes of our terrorism problem and it has played a key role in causing the United States to pursue foolish policies toward countries like Egypt, Iran, and Iraq.”

John Bolton is a man with very different opinions. He served in several Republican administrations, holding the posts of assistant attorney general and undersecretary of state. By far, though, he found most prominence as ambassador to the United Nations, a position secured for him by George W. Bush.

Last January, Ambassador Bolton told this journalist that “Israel is a critical ally in the world’s most volatile and dangerous region. As Iran gets perilously close to succeeding in its twenty-year effort to wield a deliverable nuclear weapon and as the threat of terrorism continues to grow throughout the Middle East. Israel’s vital roll becomes even more vital. Israel will soon face an overwhelmingly important decision about whether to use military force again Iran’s nuclear weapons program.

“As of now, the most likely outcome is that, given the failure of diplomacy and the inadequacy of international sanctions, Iran will reach its goal.” 

What is the basic function that the Israel lobby has regarding American foreign policy?

“The lobby works assiduously to make sure that the United States provides Israel with abundant foreign aid and diplomatic support, even when Israel is pursuing policies that are not in the American national interest,” Dr. Mearsheimer says. “This is the essence of the special relationship.  What this means is that when US and Israeli interests clash, which sometimes happens, AIPAC and most of the other groups that make up the lobby almost always side with Israel and against the United States.

“Indeed, it is hard to think of a case where the lobby sided with the White House when an American president and an Israeli prime minister clashed.  That is certainly true with regard to President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu.”

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