Saturday, August 04, 2007

Ronald Bleier: The Israel Lobby, the role of the grassroots and the radical Bush- Cheney Regime

My article, “The Israel Lobby, the Grassroots and the Radical Bush-Cheney Regime,” is available at: http://desip.igc.org/radicalbushcheney.html

My article is a revised version of a talk that I gave at a conference on U.S. Policy in the Middle East at LaGuardia Community College on May 10, 2007.



My review of some of the details of the power of the Lobby to force the U.S. to adopt policies at variance with its own interests in peace and stability in the Middle East and elsewhere will be familiar to many readers. In addition, I point to the role of the grassroots supporters of the Lobby who play an all too evident, although as yet minimally analyzed, role in effectively supporting Israel’s largely unrestrained militaristic and expansionist policies.

Here’s an excerpt from my paper on the role of the grassroots

But only a tiny fraction of these grassroots pro-Israeli people, are Lobby activists. It’s the Lobby that “actively work[s] to shape U.S. foreign policy in a pro-Israeli direction.” A tiny number of activists directing Lobby policy would matter less if the few reflected the many. But often, on key issues like the war against Iraq, these Lobby activists represent the extreme right wing of the Israeli ruling elite and not the great majority of the rank and file. For example, most of my secular friends and family are passionately opposed to George W. Bush and his policies, especially the Iraq war. At the same time, they are strong supporters of Israel. If you were to ask some of these people, as I have done, if they see a connection between their support for Israel and Bush’s ability to pursue a war against Iraq, they would be confused. They wouldn’t understand such a question. Most express their full and unquestioning support of Israel. They don’t see Israel as an aggressive, oppressive state. They see Israel as beleaguered, attacked on all sides, especially by the media.

For example, even in the case of the entirely unprovoked and horrific Israeli war against Lebanon in 1982, the grassroots typically downplayed Israeli aggression and war crimes if they didn’t take the easier route of total denial. And lesser Israeli atrocities like Prime Minister Shimon Peres’s summer pre-election bombardment of Lebanon in 1994, or Sharon’s 2004 assassination of Hamas leader, wheelchair- bound Sheik Yassin, and a month later his successor, Abdel Aziz Rantisi, generally fly well below their radar. And to the extent Israel’s supporters are confronted with any unpleasant or critical information on Israeli policy toward the Arabs in the news, they tend reflexively to blame the media.

Thus the Lobby is empowered because most Jewish and Christian and other gentile supporters of Israel will fall into line and effectively support even the most oppressive and pitiless Israeli policies. If they are somehow made aware of some of the brutal and shocking details, they view Israeli actions as necessary for its defense. Atrocities against Muslims and Arabs are minimized, because in their worldview, “those people” aren’t humanized, and are often identified as enemies or terrorists. Similarly in any particular congressional or presidential race, supporters of Israel don’t generally see themselves voting to bolster the power of the Lobby. They vote for a politician and/or for the party they prefer. At election time, support for Israel is rarely an issue. Typically the grassroots correctly take for granted that the candidates they vote for also fully support Israel.

***


Heretofore, in the decades preceding the 90s, the baleful effects of Israel’s brutal polices and its role in destabilizing the international order have been relatively limited, and by and large restricted to the peoples of the Middle East, especially to the Palestinians and other Arabs, with the caveat that in order to successfully pursue its goals, Israel required and acquired sufficient control of the White House and Congress from even before the creation of the State in 1948. The Lobby’s control has become more and more sophisticated and viselike through the decades and the various U.S. administrations. But now that an extraordinarily vicious and reckless U.S. administration is in power, a perfect storm has been created that may be irrevocably moving the U.S. into –who knows? --the final catastrophe that is the logical outgrowth of the iniquitous and improbably successful substitution of the bogus “war on terror” for the previous Communist demon.

Read more:
http://desip.igc.org/radicalbushcheney.html

Ronald Bleier
http://desip.igc.org

4 comments:

GodSend said...

The great danger of Zionism is that it will unleash a tsunami of anti-Semitism, with the many clueless grass-roots supporters of Israel unwittingly helping to create that very scenario!

Alan Hart's book "Zionism: The Real Enemy of the Jews" hits the nail on the head.

If Jewry doesn't wake up to this threat VERY soon and put an end to Zionism, the sword of Damocles may well come down on their heads.

Who will be to blame?

Ronald said...

Alex sent me this email. (Thanks, Alex)
Thanks Ronald, for giving us a very interesting paper: the Israel Lobby, The Grassroots and the Radical Bush-Cheney Regime...
I have some comments on the paper to share with the readers of your blog.

1) On the issue of whether the Lobby directs US policy against its national interest...

Ronald agrees with Mearshimer and Walt that it does. In a footnote to his paper Ronald defines national interest this way: “By U.S. interest, I’m thinking of maintaining peace and stability in the region, justice for all of the peoples of the Middle East, upholding relevant UN resolutions, and international conventions like the Geneva conventions and so on...

In my opinion this amounts to ignoring the imperial policy of the capitalist ruling class, which is reactionary because of its intrinsic economic basis (expansion thru re division of the world’s vital resources for the purposes of competition and profit)
There is no question that Mideast policies are being set according to parameters favored by the Lobby in alliance with the neocons who hold key places in the executive as well as both political parties. And while it is true, as Ronald argues, the Lobby has for almost forty years (and longer if we count the intervention of Jewish bankers on behalf of Russian Jews at the turn of the century) be effective in this regard.

But the problem as the ruling class defines it is not instability...The problem as they see it is that the outcome of the policies enacted by the neocons are cracking the US world wide hegemony. And hegemony is what ensures a favorable arrangement for the US ruling class as a whole in its quest for monopoly control of the world’s resources. Hegemony is vital to maintaining advantage in world wide competition for markets…capital investment, control of raw materials, etc.
In sum, Ronald is wrong that the normal state of imperial systems is stability...
on the contrary instability, born of intense global competition between groups of international capital, is the norm!
..


2) Where does the lobby get its money?
This issue is not addressed. Ronald does a good job showing how historically, political decisions of our government have been shaped in favor of Israel Still he seems to be suggesting that AIPAC is the primary lever of the lobby for exacting pro Israel decisions from congress..It promotes or opposes candidates for office and often is very effective. Very true. But also true is that a small number of activists, (no doubt mostly Jewish, or christian Zionists) provide the means of getting out the vote and flooding not only politicians but also the media and businesses with negative e-mail….whenever someone boycotts Israeli goods, or says anything negative about Israel. And such activities spring from a myriad of Jewish organizations, that have many

donors. But these organizations get their seed money from wealthy Jewish billionaires….


Who are these billionaires? Michael Steinhard comes to mind. He funds Birthright Israel, an organization dedicated to making sure that Jewish children know that being a Jew means being
loyal to Israel. I guess this is where the self of the Jew which should be embraced and not hated, comes from...
Then we have billionaire Haim Saban, who calls himself an Israeli/American and bankrolls the conservative pro-Israel Democratic leadership group as well as Hillary Clinton…
In Interviews he has made no attempts to hide his desire to influence politicians and media with his money….(see Haaretz. F:\'You made it big, you jerk!' (Con't) - Haaretz - Israel News.mht)
There are other high rollers calling shots for the Lobby, but these two examples are instructive…
No question these two gentlemen are members of the RC, but as Lobby enablers, they have steered US Mideast policy in directions harmful not just for all Americans regardless of class in general but especially so for ruling class in general….
We shall see if the rude awakening of these capitalist elements, together with the anger of the masses towards the war without end in Iraq, can reverse the inertia in policy caused by the lobby…

Alex

Ronald said...

Tim (I've removed his last name for privacy reasons) sent me this email and I replied--see below, but my email was returned, so I'm confused. And if Tim would like to get in touch with me, I'd like to write to him) Meanwhile, here's the exchange.)

Tim wrote:


Hi, I read your recent article on the Israeli "grassroots" with great
interest. It is very heartening to see people like yourself raising
this issue in such an informed and forthright way.

I just want to point out one thing I would differ with - your view
that Pres. Kennedy's opposition to Israel's nuclear program was
"merely proforma". You should read "Israel and the Bomb" by Avner
Cohen.

http://www.amazon.com/Israel-Bomb-Avner-Cohen/dp/0231104839/ref=sr_1_1/002-9398091-0188853?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1186560119&sr=1-1

In his first message to the newly elected Israeli prime minister Levi
Eshkol on July 5, 1963, Kennedy raised the issue of Dimona and
inspections, saying that "this government's commitment to and support
of Israel could be seriously jeopardized if it should be thought that
we were unable to obtain reliable information on a subject as vital to
peace as the question of Israel's effort int the nuclear field." (pg.
154)

Eshkol, David Ben Gurion, and Golda Meir were quite shocked by this
blunt and undiplomatic language, which they viewed as an infringement
of Israeli national sovereignty (pgs. 159, 162). "For the White
House, the letter to Eshkol was the culmination of a five-month effort
to find ways to stop Israel from developing a nuclear weapons
infrastructure (for details, see chapter 7)" (pg. 155).

When Golda Meir probed US Ambassador Walworth Barbour regarding the
seriousness of the situation, "Barbour replied that Kennedy's concerns
were 'deep and sincere,' and the nuclear issue was the only subject
Kennedy had originally raised with him two years earlier on the eve oh
his departure to Israel. Barbour noted that Kennedy had also raised
the issue of Dimona with him in 1962" (pg. 163).

Anyway, thanks again for your courageous and important article. As an
admirer of President Kennedy I did want to clarify that one point.

Tim

Ronald replied:

Many thanks for finding my blog and for your kind words. It's so nice to see informed interest out there in these crucial issues.
You're right. I should get around to reading the Avner book. I suppose that I haven't rushed to do so because of the powerful impression made on me by Seymour Hersh whose book which covers the same subject, The Sampson Option, paints a pretty convincing picture of a sophisticated JFK fully aware that in the face of the Lobby he could do nothing more than raise the issue. According to Hersh, JFK understood that he was absolutely helpless on this issue.
You can do even more to further my laziness by reading the Hersh book yourself and reporting on your impression of whose version is the more compelling.
(From the selections you cite, one can gather that Kennedy was simply raising the issue and the Israeli response could indicate that both parties well understood where the power lay.)

Ronald

Ronald said...

Exchange with John:
John wrote:
Ronald,

Do you accept the premise that, absent the Israel Lobby (defined, let us say, as all Jews in the U.S. who support Israel), the remaining people with real power in the United States (the corporate/government elite) would adopt a very different foreign policy in the Middle East, one that viewed its interests as, to use your words, achieving "peace and stability in the Middle East"?

If you do accept this premise then what evidence is there for it?

If this premise were true, wouldn't people with real power in the United States be trying to change U.S. Middle East foreign policy to one that was not the current pro-Israel policy? Wouldn't they be working to counter the Zionist lies? Afterall, these people are rich and have the financial independence and the means to mount a public relations campaign to expose the Zionist lies, and presumably they would do this if they believed the Zionist agenda for U.S. foreign policy went against their interests. Is there any evidence that people with such power in the U.S. are trying to undermine the Zionist agenda? I don't see any. Do you?

--John

Ronald replied:
Thanks John. It’s so nice (and so rare) to get thoughtful responses.

I don’t know if I accept your premise, but my view is yes, there’s a mountain of evidence that the Lobby has driven U.S. Middle East policy in ways inimical to the decision makers. One of several that I give in my article is the Truman example (a longer version is posted on my website) where he was unable to force Israel to accept the return a significant number of refugees by withholding a $49 million loan tranche when such a sum was real money. Check out my article and Jeff Blankfort’s stuff passim for what I consider overwhelming evidence.

Item: When you use the phrase those with real power you may be pointing to the theory that presidents and vice presidents and leaders of congress are puppets of those with real power. In that case why would they kill JFK, MLK, RFK, Paul Wellstone, Abraham Lincoln, et. al. Puppets don’t need to be rubbed out. As you can infer, I heartily reject such notions. I believe that it's Cheney (and Bush) who are the decision makers – with some nuances of course, but they respond to outside pressures far less, a universe less, than any other administration.

Item: As students of the work of Ronald Bleier know (smiley), I consider Bush-Cheney to be exceptional, unlike any other previous post WWII administration. So I think it would be good if analysts began putting Bush-Cheney in an entirely new category.


Here’s a relevant section from my article.


The Iraq War and the Israel Lobby as partner and enabler
One of the most often cited explanations for the Bush administration’s early determination to invade Iraq is that the war served Israel’s interests in crushing a secular and independent Arab nation opposed to Israel’s domination of the Middle East. Here’s the way Mearshimer and Walt put it. “Pressure from Israel and the Lobby was not the only factor behind the U.S. decision to attack Iraq in March 2003, but it was a critical element.”


I think that’s a fairly accurate statement, but the professors omit the purely American/neocon agenda that is deeply rooted in the exceptional Bush-Cheney regime. From this American perspective, the Israeli Lobby becomes not an end in itself, but rather an enabler of the right wing nihilist agenda of permanent war. The purpose as well as the consequence of Bush and Cheney’s hyper- militarist bellicosity is to return Iraq to Year Zero, that is to say, to destroy the possibility of civil life in the country and to destabilize the rest of the Middle East. Such a program has the whole hearted support of the Lobby because only by means of the long term occupation of the country can Israel be assured that a threat to its domination of the Middle East will not arise from a potential powerful challenger.

This Israeli based concern helps to explain why Bill Richardson is currently (and for the foreseeable future) alone among the Democratic challengers for the 2008 presidential nomination who has called for a complete and total end to the U.S. occupation of Iraq. The other major candidates such as Hillary Rodham Clinton, Barak Obama and John Edwards all insist on an indefinite, albeit smaller, U.S. occupation of the country. Why? Clearly they are mindful of Israel’s concerns.

Could there be any more clear indication of how deeply the poison of Zionism, the ideology of a Jewish state in the former Palestine, and the elevation of Israel’s agenda over and above U.S. security interests has penetrated the American political system?

Typically in all previous post WWII administrations there has been a fundamental tension between United States and Israeli interests for the good reason that Israel’s agenda is expansionist, expulsionist and expressly anti-Arab. The Israeli agenda is not only against the interests of the U.S. because of Middle East oil, but also for the simple reason that it has not been in the U.S. interest to make Israel’s enemies our enemies. Thus it’s not surprising to find substantial strain and frustration on the part of U.S. governments because of their inability to pursue the legitimate interests of the United States in the Middle East.

The one outstanding exception is the Bush-Cheney administration. Despite one significant dust up between President Bush and Prime Minister Sharon over Israel’s large-scale incursion into the West Bank in 2002, the Bush administration is considered the very best U.S. government from Israel’s perspective because it embarked on the Iraq war, because of their shared goal of destroying Palestinian nationalism, and the Bush-Cheney preoccupation with maintaining area instability.

The Lebanon War –Bush-Cheney’s shameless exceptionalism
The 34 day July-August 2006 Israeli war against Lebanon including its brutal bombardment vital infrastructure and the wholesale destruction of Lebanese towns and villages provides an example of the striking divergence by the Bush administration from former U.S. administrations. According to press reports, Israel and the U.S. together secretly planned this war in the spring when Olmert visited the U.S. It seems that the Israelis were not prepared for such a relatively long war, and were taken unawares by the U.S. refusal day after day, week after week to call for a cease-fire. Such a theory might explain why the Israeli military incursion into Lebanon seemed so purposeless and ineffective and why in the end Israel suffered such a public relations disaster.

In addition, if certain press reports are to be believed, in the course of the July-August war, the U.S. pressed the Israelis to extend the war to Syria. Wisely the Israelis refused, understanding that such a war piled on top of the ongoing fiasco would not be in their interest.
***
(see article on my website for documentation)
***

I wonder if this helps to clarify our positions somewhat.
On one side all previous post war administrations. Yes, the evidence is clear that the Lobby has effectively worked against the interests of the US as suggested above and below.
On the other: The Bush-Cheney regime -- the decision makers -- have effectively used the Lobby in pursuit of their mad, suicidal agenda of endless war. (With a footnote that Bush himself was for a short time embarrassed by the power and the arrrogance of Sharon wielding the power of the Lobby.)
--Ronald


John replied:

Hi Ronald,

I guess we both agree that the question on the table here is important because, depending on the answer, different kinds of responses (in the U.S., to Zionism) make sense. If the entire American elite is pro-Israel for their own class reasons (my premise), then we need to build a movement that aims to take power away from that elite (which would entail driving a wedge between the working class general public and the elite.) On the other hand, if a substantial section of the elite share our opposition to Zionism for whatever reason (that's your premise, right?), then it is only necessary to ally with that section of the elite against the pro-Zionist section (and this would mean NOT doing anything that would drive a wedge between the "good" elite and the working class public.) So the question is not simply an academic one.

Now I would like to respond to the elements of your argument (phrases in italics indicate which part of your argument I'm referring to.)

1. "Truman failed to get Israel to accept the return of the refugees." I think this is historically correct. But what is the significance of this fact with respect to deciding between our two premises? It shows that Truman was unable to make Israel do as he wished. But the fact that Truman opposed Israel on the refugee question hardly supports the premise that American foreign policy was dictated by Israel (or an American Jewish lobby) against the wishes of the American elite. Had that been the case, then Truman would have rubber-stamped Israel's refusal to let the refugees return, no?

2. "Those with real power." Most people who study power in the U.S. agree that it resides in the people who are members of elite organizations like the Council on Foreign Relations, the Committee for Economic Development, the Brookings Institute, and so forth--namely the owners of large fortunes (like the Ford and Rockefeller families), the officers of the large corporations and foundations, and selected individuals (vetted for their loyalty to the former) from academia, the media, labor unions and "social-change" groups (like Jesse Jackson.) Nobody gets nominated by either major political party who isn't backed by this elite. Serious politicians (ie those who want to get elected) adapt their views to garner the support of this elite. Thus Obama went from being quite supportive of Palestinian rights when he was a nobody (according to Ali Abunimah, who heard him in person speak on the topic back then), to being an over-the-top darling of AIPAC now. If Presidents have been assassinated for going against the elite's wishes, as you state, then that only demonstrates the power of the elite relative to that of the individual who sits in the Oval Office, no? In either case, how does this question relate to whether or not the elite go along with the pro-Israel foreign policy willingly (my premise) or unwillingly (yours)?

3. "The Iraq War and the Israel Lobby as partner and enabler."

You assert that the purpose of the Iraq war (destroying Iraq) has the support of the Israel Lobby. This is a true fact. But again, this fact doesn't support your premise against mine, nor mine against yours. If the entire American elite has reasons of its own for destroying Iraq, then my premise is satisfied. If a substantial portion of the American elite, on the contrary, does not want to destroy Iraq, then this would support your premise. But you don't attempt to show that a substantial part of the American elite oppose the Iraq war aims. Instead, you explain the lack of opposition by any othe the American elite by saying that it shows "how deeply the poison of Zionism...has penetrated the American political system." Well, which is it? #1 The entire elite has "gone Zionist" (which is consistent with my premise, not yours) or #2 Many in the American elite are opposed to Zionism (which is consistent with your premise, not mine.) If you pick "#2" then you need to provide some evidence of this elite opposition to Zionism. Instead you provide evidence for "#1."

Instead of providing evidence for #2, you simply make assertions. You write, "The Israeli agenda is not only against the interests of the U.S. because of Middle East oil, but also for the simple reason that it has not been in the U.S. interest to make Israel’s enemies our enemies." Well, maybe YOU think the pro-Israel foreign policy is against the interests of the U.S. (elite, that is) but maybe you are wrong; or maybe you are right and all of the key elite decison-makers are wrong. In either case, your premise requires evidence that a substantial number of elite decision-makers agree with you (about a pro-Israel foreign policy being against their interests.) Where is that evidence? My premise is that the key elite decision-makers disagree with you about what is in their interest. They think a pro-Israel foreign policy is very much in their interest. I also think they are right. Here's why. Israel's ethnic cleansing weakens the working class and strengthens the elite in the Middle East, and also in the U.S. To the extent that a Jews versus non-Jews conflict dominates in the Middle East, all elites (including the Iranian, the Saudi etc.) are strengthened. Furthermore, the Orwellian War on Terror needs a credible "enemy" and Israeli ethnic cleansing, coupled with the media keeping the ethnic cleansing a secret from Americans, makes Americans view Palestinian (and Muslim) resistance to Israel as anti-Semitic hate, i.e. "terrorism"--just what the War on Terror needs to be effective in controlling Americans.


4. "The Lebanon War –Bush-Cheney’s shameless exceptionalism."

You write that the Bush-Cheney support for Israel's brutal bombardment of Lebanon's vital infrastructure "provides an example of the striking divergence by the Bush administration from former U.S. administrations." Again, even if this is true, it doesn't demonstrate that the Bush administration has diverged from the desires of a substantial section of the American elite TODAY, does it? One could just as well point to the fact, equally irrelevant as far as choosing between your premise versus mine, that previous Israeli administrations never destroyed Lebanon's infrastructure before like they did last summer. Facts do not by themselves constitute an argument--they need to be relevant facts. You present many facts that demonstrate why Zionism is very bad. And you present facts that demonstrate that the U.S. government is indeed pro-Zionist. But neither of these points is an issue when it comes to choosing between your premise versus my premise about who we must defeat and who we can ally with in the effort to stop the U.S. from supporting Israel.

Curiously, you write, "In addition, if certain press reports are to be believed, in the course of the July-August war, the U.S. pressed the Israelis to extend the war to Syria. Wisely the Israelis refused, understanding that such a war piled on top of the ongoing fiasco would not be in their interest." How does this support your premise? If anything it undermines it. Your premise is that U.S. foreign policy is determined by Israel. But here you claim that U.S. foreign policy went against the ("wise") wishes of Israel.

SUMMARY

The only evidence that would support your premise (that much of the American elite opposes the pro-Israel foreign because they believe it goes against their interests) would be either #1) evidence of actual elite OPPOSITION to the U.S. government's pro-Israel foreign policy (such opposition might include, for example, a public relations campaign to expose the Zionists by telling the truth about them--how they are racists and also how they have always betrayed ordinary Jews even during the Holocaust) or #2) evidence that elites who oppose a pro-Israel foreign policy are afraid to express their opposition. You have provided neither category of evidence. You even cite the absence of elite opposition to the pro-Israel foreign policy as proof of how much the poison of Zionism has taken control of Ameican politics, which amounts to affirming that the entire elite is pro-Zionist, which is my premise, not yours. Asserting that the pro-Israel U.S. foreign policy is against U.S. elite interests is not evidence for your premise. The logical flaw in your argument is the same as if somebody argued for the premise that Jesse James robbed banks only because "the devil made him do it," by asserting that it was not in Jesse James's interest to rob banks because it only led to him being put down by the law. But maybe Jesse James robbed banks because he wanted the money.

--John

Ronald replied and then John replied (with comments intermixed begining with Ronald:)
Thanks John, once again, for your thoughtful response. I’m only embarrassed because I doubt I’ll be able to match you. Perhaps the best approach for me is to begin (and end?) I’m afraid somewhat repetitiously by responding to the paragraph below.
You wrote:

2. "Those with real power." Most people who study power in the U.S. agree that it resides in the people who are members of elite organizations like the Council on Foreign Relations, the Committee for Economic Development, the Brookings Institute, and so forth--namely the owners of large fortunes (like the Ford and Rockefeller families), the officers of the large corporations and foundations, and selected individuals (vetted for their loyalty to the former) from academia, the media, labor unions and "social-change" groups (like Jesse Jackson.) Nobody gets nominated by either major political party who isn't backed by this elite. Serious politicians (ie those who want to get elected) adapt their views to garner the support of this elite.


If most people think the CFR, Rockefeller, labor unions and etc. and etc. are behind the major initiatives of this administration like the Iraq war, the war on the middle class, the destruction of the civil service, the politicization of the justice dept, the planning and execution of 9/11, the threats for widening the war, the 2006 war against Lebanon, and on an on, than I would have to say that I see it differently. It’s the Weekly Standard and its ilk that REFLECT the thinking of Bush-Cheney, and the vicious Kissinger who supports them, and the even more vicious Elliott Abrams who implements their vision who we are dealing with. I think a proper analysis of what’s going on would stress the exceptionalism of Bush-Cheney, and show how they have built on the mechanisms of government and power to so successfully implement their dark, suicidal vision.

Ronald: all of the individuals you mention above (Cheney, Kissinger, and Abrams) are members of the CFR. The only one missing is George Bush, but his father G.H.W. Bush is a CFR member. Furthermore, although the Weekly Standard editor, William Kristol, is not a CFR member, his similarly inclined father, Irving, is. Note also that the CFR includes the entire spectrum of phony American political "differences" because the real basis for admission (by invitation only) is proven loyalty to the plutocracy. Thus CFR members also include Bill Clinton and Jesse Jackson on the "left" as well as John Negroponte on the "right." (see http://www.mega.nu:8080/ampp/roundtable/CFRA-Elist.html.) In fact, between 1961 and 2004 all thirteen of the Secretaries of State, ten of the fourteen Secretaries of Defense and eleven of the fourteen Directors of the CIA had been CFR members.

I’m trying to find support for my notion that the familiar tropes of Empire and Imperialism don’t fit the current reality, or only overlap it in some places (use of military power, wealth transfer to the rich) simply because counter intuitively they are not creating or adding wealth or value, but their only purpose is destruction, and their enemy is civilization.

Ronald: old empires, like the Roman and British, drained their home-nations treasury. The empire only enriched the upper class, at the expense of the larger home country population. This hasn't changed.

As you see, it’s a rather lonely road I’m on. But whining will do me little good. My job if I’m willing to undertake it, is to put it in a way that will be persuasive.


You wrote:

I guess we both agree that the question on the table here is important because, depending on the answer, different kinds of responses (in the U.S., to Zionism) make sense

My emphasis is not so much (or at all?) on the progressive response to Zionism, militarism, nihilism, but rather in an analysis, or merely a description of Power.

Ronald: the response to Power will depend, logically, on one's description of Power. The two are intimately related; if you emphasize one and not the other it doesn't matter, because if the description is wrong the response will be wrong too. There are two descriptions of Power in the context of understanding why the U.S. supports Israel. One description (yours, apparently) says that the Power is the Jewish Lobby, not the entire American corporate elite. The other (mine) says it is the entire American corporate elite. Those who say it is the Jewish Lobby argue that important sectors of the corporate elite, like Big Oil and weapons manufacturers, are harmed by America's pro-Israel foreign policy and are therefore natural allies in any effort to end the pro-Israel foreign policy of our government. I have been saying to those who advocate this view that it is not supported by any facts. Nobody can show that the American billionaires in these (or any other) industry are using their considerable power to oppose U.S. support for Israel, and nobody can provide a credible explanation for why they don't use their power this way if, as it is claimed, the pro-Israel policy goes against their interests. The only argument given is an absurd one--that the Big Oil and Defense Industry billionaires are afraid of being called anti-semites. But why would billionaires with complete personal financial independence and security be afraid of this when, in contrast, people like you and I--with no financial security and independence, who must worry about losing our jobs--are NOT afraid to speak out against Zionism?

For example, on the latest Democrat capitulation on FISA, I’ve so far searched in vain for a description/analysis for my theory that Harry Reid and Pelosi were prevented from stopping the cave in to Bush by AIPAC, and all the other notables running for president similarly were able to vote against it while at the same time bowing to the real power.

I’m a little afraid we’re talking past each other here. Hopefully though, it’ll give a clue to where I am on some of these issues.
Ronald