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19 February 2011

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LeaNder

powerful, Dr. Brenner. I have to keep "muddle through" in mind. How and when did the sausage get into the German equivalent: durchwursteln.

FB Ali

All this is indisputable. The advice given by Dr Brenner is impeccable.

The problem is the one pointed out quite often on this site - the Israeli influence (even control) on policy-making in Washington. To end that, as again often pointed out, would require the reconstruction of a big chunk of the US political system (especially the influence of money in it).

steve

"Four, it is suicidal to pretend that the United States somehow can revert to the foreign policy perspective ante with just a few tactical adjustments. That is most certainly true in regard to its servile relationship with Israel."

It seem then that the US veto of the UN resolution condemning the Israeli settlements is "suicidal" as you put it.

I cannot fathom the reasons why the US did not abstain. And, yes, I understand the servile relationship with Israel, but at some point the irrationality of our Israeli policy and the harm it does to US interests beggars belief.

Clifford Kiracofe

To realign its regional strategy, the US would have to drop its Israel-centric foreign policy and readjust relations with the Arab states, Turkey, and Iran.

The pro-Israel Lobby dominates the White House and the Congress.

Thus, given present US domestic politics, it is likely we will stay wedded to our mutual suicide pact with Israel.

Other major powers -- China, Russia, EU states, Japan -- can make adjustments. As they are less constrained by international Zionism, they may be in a position to exploit new opportunities offered by the "winds of change" in the region.

The fact is that the Arab "Street" (public opinion) despises US foreign policy. We just vetoed a UN resolution condemning Israeli illegal settlements. What signal does that send about Obama and about the US to the Arab Street?

Sidney O. Smith III

The good professor writes, “America flying blind”.

When flying blind, you need a good co-pilot who can help with intuitions.

When flying over the Middle East, at least right now, I suggest Rabbi Teitelbaum as a co-pilot.

Ok. I am sorry. Let try to describe in language more acceptable to the Huffington Post crowd. When paradigms no longer work, your collective unconscious has to start informing your consciousness. You know, like Arjuna in the chariot when he learned that he had no paradigms and then started listening to Krishna. Yes, that’s it…Krishna will get you the audience among Huffington Post crowd. Couple the Bhagavad Gita with Jung’s process of individuation in your title and that should increase your readership among the Huffington Post crowd.

Uh oh, my co-pilot just told me to look down at a Tahrir demonstration:

http://mondoweiss.net/2011/02/tahrir-demonstrators-say-they-aim-to-liberate-jerusalem.html

Brig. Ali

I am still studying your fantastic article and will respond soon. I do have a question I would like to impose on you and Col. Lang at some point re: the architecture of Chartres Cathedral.

Cal

Every word true Dr.Brenner.
Particularly about our servile behavior regarding Israel and it's affect on our real interest.

My head is going to explode any day now from years of trying to figure out why Americans aren't as mad as hatters over the Israeli subversion of our politics and government.

I keep blaming the MSM for covering and propagandizing for Israel and our Israeli congress....just because I don't want to believe Americans wouldn't be lopping off heads if they understood what was really happening.

Cal

What signal does that send about Obama and about the US to the Arab Street?....
Posted by: Clifford Kiracofe

LOL..that Obama is a vacant lot with a drop box for campaign donations. The US is yesterday, the last American out of the United States of Israel please bring the flag.

Fred

Perhaps Obama should stop listening to advice from a JCS advised by Major Kass?
http://www.jcs.mil/biography.aspx?ID=93

"in the wake of September 11, 2001, she participated in the development of the National Strategy for Combating Terrorism ..." how's that working out after ten years?

Then again maybe Obama just misses advice from someone who refused to service in the US armed forces in the first gulf war but decided instead to serve in Israel's:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rahm_Emanuel

Instead of experts in the USSR and political hacks the President should actually find someone who is an actual expert in the region. I'm sure there are zero former officers from the armies of Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Iran, Iraq or any other Middle Eastern country serving in D.C. Why should we have any of Israel's? It's apparent that their advice has been a disaster for the US.

Norbert M. Salamon

The confusion about foreign policy is rooted in an inability of the political class [including AIPAC] to realize that the USA economy is unsustainable a la Business As USUAL, if not on the edge of collapse.

So the policy is muddle [as described by Dr. Brenner] through any issue by slight prefabrication to out right hypocracy, trusting that postpone and pretend is a workable solution to the ME [or any other] crisis.

Notwithstanding the subservience to Israel [as folowing the ill concieved notions of AIPAC] the reality is that the USA can not afford the 5th fleet in Bahrain, can not afford the last veto at the UN, can not afford $150 million bribe to some Egyptian groups, as the USA can not afford the ever growing national and related public debts, nor can it afford a divided Congress.

All the triangulqations followed by the political class [and underwritten by MSM] by both parties is based on trying to find the winning line to the 2012 election. If these politicians do not get serious, it is propable that by 2012 it will be too late for recovery of lost opportunities, both internally and externally.

William P. Fitzgerald III

Dr. Brenner,

I'd like to repeat an observation I made after one of your previous posts. It is that those at the top of our political and bureacratic hierarchies are not likely to be knowlegeable about specific areas and problems. They have to rely on the experience and advice of professionals in the agencies and departments concerned. Thus, the continuing purge of "Arabists" and others from positions of influence in the State Department and the ascendency of the Israel First crowd have greatly lessened the probability of objective advice moving upward through the chain. I suppose this begs the question, how and from whom will come any adjustment of our Near East policy premises and strategy?

WPFIII

WILL

from the Brigadier
"The problem is the one pointed out quite often on this site - the Israeli influence (even control) on policy-making in Washington. To end that, as again often pointed out, would require the reconstruction of a big chunk of the US political system (especially the influence of money in it)."

It is not a question of money but who runs the country. the money in ancillary to that.

i have explained all this before. how the modest IQ spread at the center due to the Guassian distribution or bell curve means that even though the Jewish percentage of the U.S. population is nominally 2%, one of every American with an IQ of over 140 is a Jewish-American. this is where the rubber hits the road as far as innovation, leadership, medicine, engineering, politics, you name it.

the sea-change is going to have to come from that Jewish-American leadership- those 14 U.S. Senators, three Supreme Court Justices, 43 U.S. Representatives, the owners of Facebook, Google, Oracle, Crown Industries, etc.

honestly, i can't see it coming from anybody else. look how walt & mearsheimer have been tarred & feathered.

Bobo

"Muddle Through" What else are you going to do? There are more characters in the ME looking to capture power out of this Awakening of Arab Nationalism than you can shake a stick at. All you can do is make sure you have contacts with each group so when the cards are on the table you can help in picking them up. Granted this servile relationship with Israel will be our downfall.

My bigger concern is we have a President who looks like he wants to be in the crowds versus looking for solutions for what happens next.

Now of course we have our own awakening that is starting to rear its head. State governments are broke and the Tea partiers have elected governors who are going after public servants and their benefits. Where are the sensible people who will cut budgets and raise taxes to get us back on a pay as you go basis.

Patrick Lang

Michael Brenner

"They have drawn a line of blood between themselves and their people that will endure."

An interesting thought in the context of US history. pl

jon

Well said, Dr. Brenner. I think it's worth remembering that diplomacy is about relationships between nations. Individuals, sectors, classes, religions, industries, sex, all can have important and necessary, but subordinant roles. The US Government has longstanding ties and value with many of the leaders whose reign is now being assaulted. And many, including myself, are deeply sympathetic to the upwelling demands for freedom and democracy from the people.

It would be wrong for the US to offer too much hope or to promise to intervene on behalf of demonstrators. Not only would that be meddling in another country's affairs, it might also be a false promise - as we saw with HW Bush's encouragement for Iraqi's to rise up after the first Gulf War, only to abandon them to helicopter gunships and liquidation battalions.

And while it might be right to abandon a dictatorial ally when there's a scuffle in the streets, it sets a bad example with other allies who already have reason to question our motives and resolve. Yet it is more foolish to stand against an inrushing tide.

I'm heartened to recently learn that Obama had commissioned and received this past summer a report about social unrest in various mideast countries. It seems that he was prescient and trying to get ahead of the curve. And he has been rather consistent in giving measured support to existing rulers, while pushing them to initiate dialog and change.

There does not seem to have been too much effort exerted to implement the findings of that study. It would seem that there is a lot of unproductive deadwood at State and in the intelligence branches. Good luck clearing that out, without creating another new agency to sit on their heads.

Much as we might like to believe, the US does not and cannot control every event throughout the world. Freedom seems to be contagious, but all if this is happening because people are fed up with their governments and want better lives. I hope that their efforts and sacrifices will not be wasted.

PeterHug

WILL -
If you want me to be impressed with your intelligence and/or the huge impact of genius Jewish-Americans on the cultural and intellectual heritage of the United States, you probably need to add a word or two to this... "one of every American with an IQ of over 140 is a Jewish-American."
:)

William R. Cumming

Clearly something or someone had moved the bureacracy to conduct the Presidential Review Memorandum activity last summmer recently disclosed in the MSM! Possible the movement of a certain individual to the NSC before that indicates who led the review. Since the events have largely transpired that were the purpose of the review it is clear that the Administration had almost 1/2 a year for a policy reset and did nothing. Important that that PRM be released publically even if partial redaction is necessary. Subject for the appropriate committees on the hill? Also given the existence of that PRM appears no one was caught flat footed just many unable to comprehend the significant permanent changes already occurring in ME. And wondering if that PRM had been released prior to the election what would have been the impact?

Malcolm Steinberg

When a man with the influence of Henry Kissinger becomes a member of the board of directors at US corporations, I would suggest that US foreign policy is little more than an agency for corporate interests. This example is just a tip of the iceberg, as the oil industry in general is considered a vital geo-political instrument not just of energy but power of the first magnitude. James Baker being a chief of one of the most powerful oil law firms acting as a auditor of progress in the occupation of Iraq is another fine example. The form of government is of little concern when dealing with corporate 'necessity'. Rectifying this conflict of interest is the burden which will continue until it is resolved.

Walrus

Col. Lang; it is nice having a pet Hasbara, or Two, around, especially when you watch them try and throw their colleagues under the bus in desperation:

Theodore Lewis:

"The free trade agreement disasters, which resulted in the destruction of our manufacturing infrastructure and the flooding of America with imigrants, who stole our finite remaining jobs and continue to do so, right now,actively discriminate against Americans with the support of multi-national corporations which have bled our treasury dry. They are the problem. We have had our head in the sand for too long, the damage is done. We need to take back our country, it has nothing to do with Israel or AIPAC"

Malcolm Steinberg:

"When a man with the influence of Henry Kissinger becomes a member of the board of directors at US corporations, I would suggest that US foreign policy is little more than an agency for corporate interests. "

Peter Principle

At what point do the permanent government types in Washington (including the ones temporarily holding the official titles) realize that the Arab Revolt 2.0 is a tiger that can't be ridden much further without fatally undermining the House of Saud -- linchpin of both U.S. security policy in the region AND the global oil market?

And is that the point where said permanent government types frantically try to throw everything into reverse, and begin burning up the back channel with cables to assorted dictators, medieval sheiks and kleptocrats (the ones still in power, that is) urging them to shoot their own people?

Or are they all like the neocons -- ideologically trapped by their desire to see America (and, by extension, themselves) as among the good guys, even if that means risking the oil lifeline that is the reason for our heavy-handed involvement in the domestic affairs of these countries in the first place?

Oh well. Nobody ever said that running a global resource empire while at the same time posing as the international tribune of democracy would be easy.

William R. Cumming

My guess is that SAUDI FDI [Foreign Direct Investment] in the US is rapidly growing.

Hey maybe our economy will survive if all those petrodollars from Arabia are repatriated.

rjj

Theodore Lewis, try to keep up. It's The Chinese.

http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2011/01/02/think_again_american_decline

Here you go:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wKVQWGzAA0A

confusedponderer

Theodore Lewis,
the 'Arab Lobby'? What 'Arab Lobby'? Are you serious? That's a very diverse group you're referring too, so diverse in fact that it is pretty much preposterous to name it that way.

It has been made up to justify the existence of the pro-Israel lobby - after it has become impossible to deny it in the wake of the Walt and Mearsheimer book - i.e. it has been invented to suggest that they do just represent 'some other side of the story', that it is 'just another lobby'. Nonsense!

The pro-Israel lobby is quite extraordinary. They are also relatively closely knit and easily identified groups, with an impact disproportionate to their numbers.

Impact as in dominating foreign policy vis a vis Israel (read: about total deference to) under the two last presidents, never mind which party was in power. That's quite a feat.

The 'Arab Lobby' on the other hand is largely a myth ...

In short, despite the money that some Arab countries spend on PR firms, the "Arab lobby" is not a meaningful political force when it comes to the broad thrust of U.S. Middle East policy, and certainly not on issues affecting Israel. But you don't have to take my word for it. You could ask former President Bill Clinton, who said that AIPAC was "better than anyone at lobbying in this town," or former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who called it "the most effective general-interest group … across the entire planet." Former Senator Fritz Hollings (D-SC) said upon his retirement that "you can't have an Israel policy other than what AIPAC gives you around here," and former Congressman Lee Hamilton (D-IN) who served for 32 years, said "there's no lobby group that matches it ... they're in a class by themselves." Or consider the words of the late Senator Barry Goldwater (R-AZ) who said "I was never put under greater pressure than by the Israeli lobby, nor has the Senate as a whole. It's the most influential crowd in Congress and America by far." Even a journalist named Jeffrey Goldberg once referred to AIPAC as a "leviathan among lobbies." The "Arab lobby" is Lilliputian by comparison.

And that's why the former head of AIPAC, Morris Amitay, once noted that "we rarely see [oil and corporate] interests lobbying on foreign policy issues. … in a sense, we have the field to ourselves." Or as AIPAC's former legislative director, Douglas Bloomfield, told the BBC in 2003: "AIPAC has one enormous advantage. It really doesn't have any opposition." Precisely.

LeaNder

circles?

They could not stomach the thought of John Mc Cain, mostly because of his affinity for Israel, right, so therefore Mc Cain was 'nuts',HOLD YOUR NOSE AND VOTE DEMOCRAT! ...
Why is it a constant fixation with Israel?

Fred

"...immigrants, who stole our finite remaining jobs and continue to do so, right now, actively discriminate against Americans with the support of multi-national corporations which have bled our treasury dry. They are the problem…."

Theodore, really? Why the rant?

"They" didn't steal finite job. Employers hired them to suppress wages. You know, supply and demand. Demand for labor high, supply low wages rise, unless you import cheaper labor..

But then again Texas, California and New Mexico were once part of Mexico. This is just the return of the Diaspora.. "the people kept faith with it throughout their Dispersion and never ceased to pray and hope for their return to it and for the restoration in it…" (sound familiar?)

What could you possibly have against the return of Mexican's to what was once a part of Mexico?

Then again maybe most left Mexico because they couldn't find a livable wager there. Shocking given that Carlos Slim, the richest man on earth, is a Mexican citizen.

Too bad America didn't export the union movement instead of exporting union jobs. But don't worry, take a look at what is happening in Madison, Wisconsin. Governor Walker created a 'crisis' by pushing through an additional $130 million in un-funded tax breaks and then 'discovered' the budget crisis, which he wishes to pay for by forcing only some public sector union employees to pay for - but not the unions that endorsed them. The fact that labor leaders agreed to the cuts is immaterial to him as he will not now negotiate, he continues to demand an end to collective bargaining. No mention of Israel or Arabs. But it is definitely a battle about power.

Patrick Lang

Theodore Lewis
your commenrs are too long. brevity is a virtue. pl

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