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Old 12-19-2011, 01:12 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 Florian View Post
How is it immoral for experts on international relations to disagree about what harms or advances the American national interest in the ME?
Of course it's not. Again, I think Mead's point was a lot more limited than people are making it.

That is, after all, the kernel of the debate between W/M and their opponents.
I wish it were. It seems not to be, and not to be in part because W&M do not have a concrete definition of the "Israel Lobby" and how it works. What I'm arguing is that more detailed work -- the kind of exploration that it seems ledocs and I would both favor -- would protect against the "immoral" accusation, not draw it, at least not from Mead himself. (And again, W&M don't limit their "Israel Lobby" to a collection of Jewish lobbies, and thus W&M were not who Mead was initially referring to with his "immoral" comment. Glenn brought up W&M as support -- mistakenly, IMO -- for his initial description, and rather than merely pointing out that the "Israel Lobby" includes Christian Zionists, etc., Mead went off on a tangent about his current issues with Mearsheimer.)

And why is it immoral to say that an organisation like AIPAC wields disproportionate influence in the formation of American policy in the ME?
Again, I don't think anyone was claiming that that statement alone is immoral.

It's impossible to talk about these things without it being within a much broader context. If we talk about the influence of lobbies, including ethnically-related or religiously-associated lobbies, on foreign policy, I don't think talking about AIPAC comes across as problematic at all. If we talk about the real ways that lobbying activities by specific groups affect the actions of politicians or how various factors influence how issues get presented, again, I don't think that's what is being criticized.

Again, adding specifics prevents the "immoral" criticism from appearing (to me, anyway) at all valid. Phrasing it in the general way that Glenn did initially, while not particularly worth criticism given the context -- context that shows that Glenn is not anti-semitic -- does seem to me to make the actual discussion of the question that he was really interested in less likely. That question being why the disconnect between US policy and what Glenn's natural instincts and sympathies are, as well as between US policy and what Glenn sees as in the US's best interests.

Part of the reason for this disconnect is that there are a chorus of voices that see even the slightest departure from support for the most hardline things Israel might due as "anti-Israel" or "an attack on Israel" and -- for reasons that we could discuss -- those are accusations that politicians seem to perceive as very harmful to them. Lost donations are probably part of this, but I think there's more to it. And I think that things have clearly become more this way recently, even when the views of American Jews, especially the younger generation ones, seem to have become both less concerned with Israel and more willing to criticize Israel on average.
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