Originally Posted by ledocs
We have to distinguish between what "the US has ever believed" and what some "realists," like Walt/Mearsheimer, think the US ought to believe now.
The realist critique is that US policy is not consistent with what the US ought to do, according to realist views (or the views of some realists, like W&M). And I'm sure that's true. But the question is why not.
As I said before, I think a discussion of this would be interesting, and considering the domestic political aspects is part of that. However, there are lots of reasons unrelated to PACs that policy might be what W&M consider irrational, and if one starts with the idea that it must be rational (and rational in the way you see as rational, when the US does plenty of non-Israel-related stuff that I imagine Glenn would disagree with, as Walter noted), that skews the question. The Cold War caused us to pursue a certain set of policies in the Middle East, for example, that were then hard to pull out of afterwards (supporting dictators who were perceived as on our side). Part of that does end up being related to Israel now, but to see it as always and all about Israel seems to me to miss the big picture. I think if we talk about our policy in the Middle East, ignoring the effect of past policies and actions on what we do now makes little sense.
I also think -- and I know I keep saying this -- that focusing on AIPAC as an explanation for why our policy NOW seems to be more distorted is simply incorrect, a result of blinders. Maybe I'm wrong about this, maybe AIPAC has become a lot more powerful than in the '80s and '90s. But IMO the reason for the change, the reason different things are demanded of Obama than, say, George H.W. Bush is because of 9/11 and its lasting influence on American politics and opinion.
I don’t agree with this either.
Okay, then we will have to agree to disagree, as I thought Glenn was quite clear that he was reacting from a position of identification with the Palestinians. Many Americans, especially post-9/11 (whether you think this is rational or not) react from a position of identification with the Israelis. When the debate comes from deep identifications and not simply a consideration of interests or a more external consideration of fairness, I think the approach to the issue changes.
On the other points, probably more later. No time now.