Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Netanyahu tries to sabotage U.S. negotiations with Iran

It seems to me that Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, is doing his best to sabotage the negotiations between the U.S. and Iran regarding nuclear weapons, by demanding the results that he insists on in the negotiations, knowing that his demands kill the possibility of a deal.  And, perhaps worst of all, he presented his case to one half of the U.S. government, the Republicans.  The House of Representatives is controlled by the Reps, and is violently opposed to almost anything the executive branch. or the Democrats in general, stand for.  By teaming up with one U.S. party, Israel now has declared war on Obama, and on Democrats.  Is he out of his mind?

Why on earth should the United States be doing what Israel commands?  I know that Israel has had great influence on U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East in the past, but I think it is about time to put an end to that influence in a very decisive way.

The relationship between the U.S. and Israel has changed pretty dramatically with the end of the Cold War, it seems to me.  When the Soviets were dedicated to world domination, Israel was a valuable ally to the U.S. as a way of thwarting Soviet hegemony over the Middle East.  But the Soviet Union is gone, and although Israel is a nice ally to have for its intelligence assistance in the Middle East to help us deal with the Muslim civil and religious wars, Israeli interests aren’t any more important to U.S. interests than those of Saudi Arabia, or Turkey, or Iraq, or maybe even Iran.  They are all a bunch of Middle Eastern countries that refuse to play well together, and the primary interest of the U.S. seems to me to be to keep all of them from doing stupid things that will harm the U.S.  

I think that those who try to equate the Islamist nutcases with the existential threats that was posed by the old Soviet Empire are ridiculously wrong. The fundamentalist nutcases are dangerous, but mostly to themselves, using mayhem against us as a tactic in their religious civil wars.

It is certainly true that the U.S. Jewish lobby has had a death grip on U.S./Israeli relations for decades, but I think that influence is starting to wane a bit.  The primary argument for supporting Israel has become humanitarian since the end of the Cold War, but it is pretty hard for the average American, or at least for me, to see Israel as the victim as long as it brutalizes and dominates the Palestinians in its sphere of influence.  Israel really seems to feel entitled to subjugate the Palestinians and punish them at will.  Hezbollah is certainly terrible, but the Palestinians seem to me to be people who have had almost all of their freedoms taken from them by an Israeli police state. 

Maybe it’s time for the U.S. to make some real demands on Israel, like to grant basic freedoms and rule of law to the Palestinians, and to demand that Israel withdraws from the occupied lands.  But, time after time Israel expands their Israeli settlements, brutalizes the Palestinians, and seems to be secure in the notion that America will back them.  Why are we so passive with the Israelis?

And why on earth should America stand for Israel taking sides in the partisan divides in U.S. government for the purposes of sabotaging American diplomacy with Iran?