August 22, 2013

Camp David: Good For Israel, Bad For America?

Below is an excerpt from, "Bacevich in ‘LA Times’: Camp David ushered in 4 decades of US militarism in Mid East" by Philip Weiss [Mondoweiss, August 21]:
The LA Times op-ed page has run an important piece by realist Andrew Bacevich saying that military aid to Egypt is symptomatic of a failed US policy across the Middle East of supplanting diplomacy with militarism. The aid was the price of the Camp David accords, and Bacevich argues that in the four decades before Camp David, the US had little military involvement in the region, while in the four decades since it has been endlessly mired in hostilities there.
The piece is a significant contribution to the theory of the Israel lobby. Myself, I am reductive about the role of the lobby: I think the special relationship has driven US policy more than national interest factors or military-industrial-complex factors. And this piece is evidence for my case: Camp David came out of the '67 and '73 wars and also the sudden emergence of the Israel lobby. Friends of Israel in the US demanded that the US guarantee Israel's security; and the peace treaty and the military largesse flowed from that. No doubt military contractors in the US have bought a lot of expensive wine because of this policy, as Chomsky would tell you. But the militarization has done nothing to enhance American access to Arabian oil.

Meantime, the militarization has helped Israel chiefly by reflecting and valorizing Israel's relationship with its neighbors. What a tough neighborhood, the Israelis always complained; well, now the US is the policeman of that neighborhood and venting in the same angry manner. And occupying Arab countries and experiencing suicide terrorism and fulminating about Islamists. Absent the special relationship, this wouldn't be happening.
America is like the big daddy, and Israel is the kid at the grocery store who screams and cries in front of everyone until the father gets the kid what it wants to shut it up. It is the most childish form of blackmail there is. Never in history has an ally conducted psychological warfare on a fellow ally, and a bigger one at that. This is so dumbfounding. Why does America tolerate Israel?

Israel needs to appreciate and be thankful for how nice America is to it, instead of using it's bought-and-paid for members in Congress to embarrass the president, or use the media to undercut the White House's message on all sorts of issues, from settlements on Palestinian land to foreign aid to Egypt. President Obama has suffered one too many insults from Netanyahu.

There is nothing worse in this world than a lack of gratitude towards one's friends, and this attitude towards Obama and America hurts Israel rather than helps it. Nobody likes a spoiled and entitled child.

I'm all for an Israeli state, but not like this, not with these methods, not when you demean yourself and your biggest friend by your actions and words.