Salon on Mearsheimer and Walt

My article on the Mearsheimer and Walt piece, “The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy,” is out in Actually, my discussion focuses on the noise around the article, not its substance.

The substance seems to me unobjectionable. A congressman told me not so long ago, “Juan, I’m glad you’re speaking out on the Israeli-Palestinian issue, because we can’t.” He meant by “we” the US Congress. What has happened to Mearsheimer and Walt is illustrative of what he meant by “can’t.” Mearsheimer admits that the two of them will never now be considered for a government position (e.g. National Security Council).

In contrast, a known Neocon sleazeball, who shredded the US Constitution and lied to Congress, such as Elliot Abrams, can be forgiven and then brought into the National Security Council to run US policy toward . . . Israel and Palestine. After Abrams lied to them, Congressional leaders vowed in the late 1980s that Abrams would never be allowed to come before them again. But they just rolled over when W. brought him into the White House.

See also the response of Michele Goldberg, also at Salon.

The links to the original are given here.

What is striking is that no mainstream American publication has to my knowledge published an Arab-American response. They are after all millions strong, and generally have an interest in the subject. One Arab-American response is that of Joseph Massad, which faults the article for shifting blame from the rightwing, anti-liberation policies of the US for decades onto the Israel lobby.

Actually, I think Joseph is wrong about this one. Eisenhower, e.g., had a policy of fighting communist movements in the third world but of supporting national liberation movements that did not strike him as likely to ally with Moscow. Thus, he twisted De Gaulle’s arm to get out of Algeria. He thought that it was dangerous to allow colonial powers to repress mere nationalist movements, lest the nationalists be pushed to the left and into Moscow’s arms. Assumptions of constant perfidy in Washington are as unrealistic as assumptions of constant idealism. In this regard, realists like Mearsheimer and Walt are right.

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