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Old 11-29-2011, 12:25 PM
stephanie stephanie is offline
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 3,921
Default Re: Values Added: The Whirligig of Time (Glenn Loury & Walter Russell Mead)

Originally Posted by ledocs View Post
Do Walt and Mearsheimer claim that the Israel lobby explains everything about US policy to Israel?
They seemed to me to be trying to do so, or at least not clearly distinguishing the different reasons. They quite simplistically and unconvincingly dismissed other possible reasons in the article. Maybe the book is better on that point, but nothing I've read about it suggests so.

This gets to the point I made before, with which chiwhi agreed (I think). A detailed discussion of the mechanisms of how the Lobby, which W&M did not undertake, would be worth while. You'd have to break it into the actually lobbying groups, though, not just lump all vaguely Israel-positive interest groups together. In connection with that, you'd need specific analysis of why the US took various positions that are allegedly irrational or explained only by the Lobby. It would be also nice, of course, to give some context by talking about the other intersections of domestic politics and international policy.

If someone attempted to prove in a rigorous way that AIPAC and its immediate allies in the lobby are driving US policy towards Israel (in the sense that this faction is a determining necessary condition for explaining the policy, not in the sense that it is a necessary and sufficient condition for explaining the policy), that person would have a very difficult time getting the work published and might well be under constant death threat. I don’t know precisely what W&M did or did not do in their book.
You and I clearly have a different sense of the barriers here. I do think it would be extremely difficult to sort out cause and effect, and thus no matter how rigorous there'd be a lot of anger and accusations. On the other hand, there is a built in cheering section who would welcome even not particularly well-done work.

I don't think the reaction to W&M would have been more negative if the work was better from a social science perspective. My suspicion is that the reason they didn't do a good job from that perspective is that their field is not political science of that sort and they don't seem to have taken seriously the work and literature of the field. They just assumed it was enough to do what they did.

And I think it's a bit of a strawman to keep bringing up W&M in connection with the anti-semitism claim, because Walter didn't say that their analysis was anti-semitic. You seem to be assuming that I am or he was suggesting that it would be and defending by saying (which of course I know is true) that many Jews agree with their claim. But that's not how I understood Walter and, in any case, not what I'm saying. Walter seems to now think that Mearsheimer recommended an anti-semitic book, but I have no knowledge about or interest in that.

I think you meant to say, “There’s no problem if the interests are divergent.”
Yeah. (I was thinking of someone I know who has dual citizenship -- I was wondering after the fact if you might think I was trying to make some weird reference to you.) The US and France might disagree, but unless they come to the kind of hostilities that seem extremely unlikely, I don't see it as posing a problem, as suggesting that someone must choose between the two. No one seems to suggest -- outside of wars and the kinds of reactions that, say, those of Japanese and German descend got at some (including the internment, obviously) -- that having a tenderness for another country with which you feel some connection is disloyal. It's common in the US. It's talked about differently in some quarters re Jews and Israel and, these days, immigrants from Mexico/Latino groups on occasion.
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