Andrew Sullivan comments on the U.S.-Israel relationship and the role of “pro-Israel” lobbying groups in our politics in a new essay. There are several things that I think Sullivan gets wrong, but perhaps the most significant and pervasive error in the piece is his repeated description of the relationship an “alliance.” He notes that the U.S. gets nothing in return for the extensive military and diplomatic support that it provides, he acknowledges that the US“suffers internationally” on account of its close relationship with Israel, and he marvels at how badly its government under Netanyahu has behaved towards the US Nonetheless, he writes, “I would defend the alliance despite this, because of my core belief in a Jewish state.” The trouble with all this is that there is no alliance and Israel is not our ally. Its government does not behave as an ally does, it has never fought alongside US forces in any of our foreign wars, and its interests are not aligned with ours as an ally’s should be. There is no formal treaty and no binding obligations that require our governments to do anything for the other.
There are few words in US foreign policy debates used more frequently and with less precision than ally and alliance. Our politicians and pundits use these terms to refer to almost every state with which the US has some kind of security relationship, and it always grossly exaggerates the nature and extent of the ties between our governments. The exaggeration in Israel’s case is greatest of all because it is routinely called our “most important ally” in the region, or even our “most cherished ally” in all the world. These are ideological assertions that are not grounded in any observable reality. Dozens of other states all over the world are better allies to the United States than the “most cherished ally” is, and they don’t preside over an illegal occupation that implicates the US in decades of abuses and crimes against the Palestinian people living under that occupation, but none of them enjoys the lockstep, uncritical backing that this one state does. The effect of this constant repetition is to make the U.S.-Israel relationship seem extremely important to US interests when it is not, and that serves to promote the “illusion of an imaginary common interest in cases where no real common interest exists.” It is this illusion as much as anything else that prevents a serious reassessment of the relationship.
A surprise revelation from a staffer in House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s (R-CA) office has everyone talking about whether the NSA has really ended its metadata collection of our phone calls and texts, which was authorized by the 2015 USA FREEDOM Act. They say they no longer need the data collection allowed by the Act. Is it true…or have they developed something else? On today’s Ron Paul Liberty Report:
American soldiers born decades apart in the state of New York, Ron Kovic and Maj. Danny Sjursen are two crucial dissenting voices that have experienced first hand the futility and brutality of America’s interventionist wars. Kovic, a marine veteran who was paralyzed in the Vietnam war, has spent the rest of his life fighting against the U.S. war machine. The film Born on the Fourth of July, starring Tom Cruise, was based on his book, works he’d hoped would combine with his activism to dissuade young people from buying into the toxic patriotism that leads Americans to fight destructive, ultimately pointless wars.
In the latest installment of “Scheer Intelligence,” Kovic tells Truthdig Editor in Chief Robert Scheer, “I couldn’t stop speaking against that war. I was arrested a dozen times, every single day was life and death. Every single day I know that there could be another young man like Ron Kovic being paralyzed, another young man from a town or a farm somewhere in this country, being killed in that war that had to stop.:
Yet Sjursen, who says he watched the film based on Kovic’s life before he was even of age to join the military, explains he sadly wasn’t able to hear past what he calls the “faux patriotism” that pushed him to attend the military academy West Point, as well as do tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“I think the fact that I didn’t learn the lessons from Ron Kovic’s story,” Sjursen laments, “[is] proof of the power of the masculinity that is associated with military service, and this notion of nationalism and patriotism. It’s so prevalent that it’s, in some ways, if it’s not fought every day…it will continue despite the lessons before us.”
Listen to their brutally honest discussion about the vital need to reframe patriotism in the age of the “forever wars” and the current state of the military industrial complex.
President George W. Bush’s vice president, Dick Cheney, is widely seen as the “real” president when it came to implementing an aggressive, neocon-approved foreign policy. Bush was seen as incurious putty in Cheney’s hands. Has Trump’s National Security Advisor John Bolton taken on that role in this Administration? Is Bolton the new Cheney? Tune in to today’s Ron Paul Liberty Report: