Sunday, September 04, 2005

'Taming American Power': Not Bad Nation

As the U.S. and Israel negotiate an additional aid package that may exceed as compensation for Israel eliminating its illegal colonies in Gaza, Stephen Walt's new book offers a timely reminder that what pleases Israel and its diligent supporters does not always comport with U.S. interests. As the nation still grapples with its great failure in New Orleans it may be a good moment to ask why it is that the USA persists in a dole program for Israel, which sustains a European standard of living. Every time you hear a Bushie or a Senator or Congressman say that we can't afford this or that vital program, perhaps one should ask themselves why we transfer $3 billion a year to Israel, not to mention supplemental gifts, which all in combination often serve to buttress an intransigence that undermines not serves U.S. interests.
'Taming American Power': Not Bad Nation - New York Times: "The most controversial part of the book is Walt's analysis of the role of national lobbies in the United States, particularly the Israeli lobby. Walt does not condemn this lobby for acting in Israel's interest. Lobbies exist to influence policy. But he does bring out just how damaging the results of Israeli influence have been, both in terms of direct harm to American interests and in creating Muslim perceptions of American bias, hostility and hypocrisy. ''It is one thing to pay a price for taking steps that are clearly in the U.S. national interest,'' he writes, ''but it is quite another matter to place U.S. security at risk doing something primarily on behalf of some other country.'' For raising this vital issue, on which so many others are silent, Walt deserves special thanks.
Anatol Lieven is a senior research fellow at the New America "

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