As tensions escalate between the administration and Israel, there seems to be growing concern that the American people at large are getting wise to their own interests; an anxiousness over whether we will start looking more closely at whether Israel’s national security interests are in fact, American national security interests. Mostly because the protracted conflict could be putting our troops overseas risk. As John Mearscheimer wrote this week, “if that message begins to resonate with the American public, unconditional support for the Jewish state is likely to evaporate.”
Prime Minister Netanyahu’s treatment of visiting VP Biden in announcing new settlements crossed a line, critics have pointed out across the board. Neoconservative hawks here in the U.S are playing those implications down, of course, seeming very sensitive right now to the suggestion that American-Israeli interests in the region may be diverging.
The assumptions Gen. Petraeus presented to the Senate Armed Services Committee wrongly attribute â€œinsufficient progressâ€ in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and â€œa perception of U.S. favoritism for Israelâ€ as significantly impeding the U.S. military mission in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan and in dealing with the Iranian influences in the region. It is that much more of a concern to hear this coming from such a great American patriot and hero.
The Generalâ€™s assertions lead to the illusory conclusion that if only there was a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the U.S. could successfully complete its mission in the region.
Funny this doesn’t sound much different from what David Makovsky of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy said on PBS’ News Hour on Tuesday:
…This is a very contested point that General Petraeus raised today, because, look …nobody serious believes that, if you solve this conflict, it is an open sesame, and it unlocks all the other or any conflicts in the Middle East… Where our disagreement is whether this will fundamentally make a difference in the way America is perceived. I mean, we all would agree, I would think, that, you know, if people are shooting at America in Iraq or Afghanistan, it’s because of that local conflict…
[Extremists] don’t say, oh, there was progress on the Arab-Israeli front, no shooting today. So, that’s not the issue. The issue is, is this a layer of anti-Americanism that is fundamental? And I would argue that there is like 20 layers there. This might be one out of 20, and it should be resolved for its own reasons, but it’s not decisive in these other theaters.
But does any of us think that al-Qaida will go away if this issue is solved? They never cared about this issue at all. They’re a Johnny-come-lately to this question.
Oh really? Is that why a U.S military commission at Guantanamo Bay convicted this al Qaeda PR man, for editing and disseminating this video in before his capture in 2004? Because al Qaeda was a ‘Johnny-come-lately’ to the Palestinian cause? Maybe I missed something.
Furthermore, I think it is disingenuous to suggest that the longstanding partnership between the U.S and Israel has not fomented extremism in the region, when it was a primary goal of the neoconservative war planners to overthrow Saddam Hussein as part of a greater vision of “securing the realm” just a decade ago. And whatever happened to ‘The road to peace in the Middle East goes through Baghdad’?
A little jingle that’s lost its juice, I guess, now that there is a pro-Iranian government in Iraq, which no matter how the elections shake out, does not seem to be going anywhere.