Tuesday, April 7, 2015
The Power Broker
For decades it seems that Israel has been the tail that wags the dog in regard to American Foreign Policy. It's nice to see the head finally taking some control over our FP, but of course that does not come without a fight. Obama not only faces a mad Republican Congress, but divisions within his own ranks, notably Chuck Schumer, who is slated to be the next Senate Democratic leader when Harry Byrd steps down next year.
Schumer is supporting a so-called "bipartisan" bill that would essentially allow Congress to reject any agreements made by the President, not that he doesn't already need Congressional approval to make such deals binding. What makes this bill particularly noxious is that it is a direct challenge to the President's authority, largely inspired by AIPAC, which lobbies both Republican and Democratic leaders in the defense of Israel's interests.
This very narrow world view has been promoted far too long, and has caused great damage in our foreign relations. It has stalled numerous peace talks in the Middle East, and put us in a defensive position in the United Nations, having to justify our unqualified support for Israel, despite the numerous times the country has broken UN resolutions regarding territorial expansion into the Palestinian homelands, which Israel continues to refuse to recognize as an independent state.
Schumer is firmly in the pro-Israel camp, unable it seems to see beyond this narrow view to the long term gains of reaching a nuclear agreement with Iran, regardless of whether Iran recognizes the state of Israel or not. It doesn't seem to cross his mind, or that of others bankrolled by AIPAC, that if Israel recognized Palestine, then Iran and other countries that don't recognize Israel wouldn't have a leg to stand on. But, for them Israeli recognition has to come first.
Fortunately, President Obama sees beyond this narrow view, while not losing sight of Israel's interests. You would never know this to hear Congressional leaders these days, who are bearing down hard on the President to pull out of these talks, lest they reprimand him like an insolent pupil, as if they know better.
What makes all this political genuflecting amusing is that the Obama administration is in league with the major countries of the world in this agreement. The P5+1 comprises the US, the UK, China, France and Russia, all permanent members of the UN Security Council, plus Germany and the EU. Not only that but there is strong support within Israel for this agreement, but unfortunately Bibi's word is taken by the media as the sole word of this country, which was bitterly divided in the recent parliamentary election.
I guess for guys like Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer the only international ally that counts is Israel, even if it means setting us apart from the rest of the world. It is a shame we reward this type of thinking by making these persons head of their respective political caucuses in the Senate, allowing them to buck the President for no other reason than the support they receive from AIPAC.
The United States shouldn't have to answer to Israel or serve as its "veto" in the United Nations, especially when this unquestioning support puts us at odds with the rest of the world.