Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Prophetic scholars who nailed the Israel lobby's role in the Iraq war confirm that now Obama is under the thumb of Israel-firsters on Iran

Washington’s new antiwar movement

Two "realist" scholars lead the resistance to the Israeli campaign to drag the U.S. into another Mideast conflict
(Salon) -- by Jordan Michael Smith --

Before they became famous — or infamous, depending on one’s perspective — for their article (later turned into a book) called “The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy,” professors Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer were best known for their prescience about the Iraq War. Right before the U.S. invasion in 2003, they called it “an unnecessary war” and said Saddam Hussein’s “nuclear ambitions — the ones that concern us most — are unlikely to be realized in his lifetime.” They even spent $38,000 to place an ad in the New York Times saying that that war would not serve America’s national interests.

But the controversy over their depiction of the Israel lobby overshadowed their foresight about Iraq, unfortunately. Lest anyone think they would avoid the issue in the future, however, Walt and Mearsheimer are back with their first jointly written piece since they responded to critics of their Israel Lobby thesis. On Monday they published an Op-Ed in the Financial Times once again locating Israel at the heart of U.S. foreign policy and and once again seeking to stem a campaign for war, this time in Iran.

“Mr. Obama should continue to rebuff Israel’s efforts to push him into military confrontation with Tehran, while reminding [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu the true danger to Israel lies in its refusal to allow a viable Palestinian state,” Walt and Mearsheimer write. “If the US and Israel had a normal relationship, Mr. Obama could make his disagreements with Mr. Netanyahu plain, and use the bully pulpit and America’s substantial leverage to help Israel rethink its course.” Alas, they note, the Israel lobby prevents Obama from exerting his authority over what should be a client state...

I spoke with Walt and Mearsheimer, separately, about why they decided to reenter perhaps the most delicate ring in the American political debate. The Op-Ed came about because the British-based FT asked the two political scientists to write it.

“I think it is extremely unlikely that the New York Times would ask us to write such a piece,” Mearsheimer said. “It’s hardly surprising that a newspaper outside the United States asked us to write on Netanyahu’s visit, and an American newspaper like the Times or the Washington Post did not.”

Indeed, though Mearsheimer was a frequent guest on the Op-Ed pages of those papers before “The Israel Lobby” was published, he has not appeared since...MORE...LINK

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