…we can’t want it more than they do.
But what we can make sure of is, is that we are constantly present, constantly engaged, and setting out very clearly to both sides our belief that not only is it in the interests of each party to resolve these conflicts but it’s also in the interest of the United States. It is a vital national security interest of the United States to reduce these conflicts because whether we like it or not, we remain a dominant military superpower, and when conflicts break out, one way or another we get pulled into them. And that ends up costing us significantly in terms of both blood and treasure. [As quoted by Laura Rozen on Politico.]
- The canard about not “wanting it more than they do,” while theoretically accurate regarding an “honest broker” situation, is patently ridiculous in light of the fire hose of American weaponry with which Washington feeds the Israeli rightwing addiction to violence.
- Obama’s gentle reference to the U.S. “one way or another” getting “pulled into” conflicts is also a bit too cute. Was he, perhaps, referring to getting pulled in by looking the other way while a former U.S. candidate for president was being denied entrance to Gaza or to getting pulled in by pretending that it would be Iran who would introduce nuclear arms to the Mideast or by rushing jet fuel to Israel so it could bomb out of existence the civilian infrastructure of southern Lebanon? Yes, indeed, with all the pulling here and there, running a superpower is a thankless job.
“I don’t think that anybody believes American lives are endangered or materially affected by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” said Mr. Wexler, who has close ties to administration officials. “That’s an oversimplification. However, you’d have to have blinders on not to recognize that there are issues in one arena that affect other arenas.”
- A Palestinian outraged by Israeli repression that is supported by the U.S. might join an anti-U.S. terrorist movement or provide material support to such a movement;
- A Muslim from any part of the world might be similarly motivated out of sympathy for the unjust treatment of Palestinians, knowing that it is only U.S. support that enables Israel to behave this way;
- A radical group might be motivated in part by the repression of Palestinians;
- A radical group might exploit the repression of Palestinians whether it sincerely cared about them or not;
- Americans might become confused into equating the protection of Israel with fighting a war against Islam, i.e., come to view the whole complex set of linkages between the West and Islam through simplistic zero-sum glasses;
- Israeli militarists might exploit the conflict to suck the U.S. into an unnecessary war with an opponent of Israel that could, were it not for Israeli extremism, otherwise have cooperated to mutual benefit with the U.S. [See, for example, Orly Halpern’s revealing account of official Israeli hypocrisy on Iran 3/24/10 on the Foreign Policy Mideast Channel.]
*By “blank check alliance” I intent to distinguish the unique U.S. alliance with Israel, which has essentially been posited on the assumption that Israel can do no wrong, and all other U.S. alliances, which allow for disagreement and are maintained because desirable for national purposes.