Greenwald on Foreign Policy Dogma

Let us quit this farce that US policy is independent of Israeli interests. It is not and has not been since prominent Jewish political actors (and I am not necessarily referring here to the professional politicians in the House and Senate) went neocon and began to work through the Republican Party, as well as the Democrats.

What a critical journalist needs to do is to accept and clearly articulate that in the American political realm, US foreign policy interests (and even many domestic interests) are not conceived as separate from Israeli interests. What we need to examine critically are: What are the contradictions this presents? That means we need to articulate: Where is Israeli policy headed? We cannot understand US foreign policy until we learn to talk publicly about what Israeli leaders want and intend.

Could there be a coalition of leftists in the US and the Middle East to oppose the foreign policy establishment with democratic demands?

Here is what is popularly known about the Iraeli-US-UK foreign policy dogma:

1) Displaced and dispossessed non-Jewish communities and countries must be continuously disrupted.
2) Israel must be stabilized and provided the financial and military support to be an affluent society–its citizens must enjoy strong market positions.
3) US oil must be provided the military to appropriate resources, such as oil, in the non-Israeli Middle East. (So that China and Europe cannot get or buy them without going through US and British capital.)
4) US, UK, and Israeli military industry must be provided sufficient public funding to profit strongly from their role in the appropriation of resources in the non-Israeli Middle East.
5) US and UK financial capital must be protected and given free reign, in order to maintain political strength in the US and support Israel.
6) The Saud family and other despots must rule Middle Eastern countries in a way that prevents state-building and social progress in the non-Israeli Middle East. That is, Enlightenment-informed policy and culture must be averted to maintain balkanization and disruptability.
7) In exchange for supporting elite absolute rule in foreign policy, American religious leaders and institutions must be given pork barrel contracts and funding to run vestigal domestic public social services and education. American voters/consumers/taxpayers are encouraged to justify this exchange with the lofty notion of hastening the Christian Armageddon. As well, public quiescence is assured in Israel-US-UK through the proliferation of security, military, communications, and intelligence jobs.
8) Israel-US-UK must justify repressing Middle Eastern resistance to the above policy with the “terrorism” rubric.
9) Oil dynasties will not see their sons (“terrorists”) killed in support of publicity campaigns.
10) As the extreme focus on the Middle East has allowed socialism to resurface in Latin America, the US counters state and society-building in Latin America with ideological denunciations and poorly-planned coups.

What we would like to know is: Given its un-negotiably undeomcratic operation, does this foreign policy dogma have any redeeming value at all for uninterested parties, like the general American public? What does this foreign policy do to democracy in the US, and the MIddle East? (How) does this foreign policy dogma strain the US economy or put non-elites in an uncompetitive position? *Why* do Isareli strategists and the Israeli-US-UK foreign policy establishment feel this policy is the necessary route? There are more questions.

Below I quote Glen Greenwald in bulk (though editing out a bit).

Wednesday August 8, 2007 12:50 EST
The foreign policy community
Glen Greenwald

America is plagued by a self-anointed, highly influential, and insular so-called Foreign Policy Community which spans both political parties. They consider themselves Extremely Serious and have a whole litany of decades-old orthodoxies which one must embrace lest one be declared irresponsible, naive and unserious. Most of these orthodoxies are ossified 50-year-old relics from the Cold War, and the rest are designed to place off limits from debate the question of whether the U.S. should continue to act as an imperial force, ruling the world with its superior military power.

Most of the recent “controversies” involving Barack Obama’s foreign policy statements — including his oh-so-shocking statement that it would not make moral or political sense to use tactical nuclear weapons to bomb isolated terrorist camps as well as his willingness to attack Al Qaeda elements inside Pakistan if the Musharraf government refuses (as they did for some time) — were not “controversial” among the Establishment on the merits. They were “controversial” (and “naive” and “irresponsible”) because they breached the protocols and orthodoxies imposed by the Foreign Policy Community governing how we are allowed to talk about these issues.

This was vividly illustrated by the sharpest exchange from last night’s debate, where both Hillary Clinton and Chris Dodd excoriated Obama for his comments on Pakistan, not on the ground that Obama’s statements were wrong on the merits (i.e, not that we should avoid military action inside Pakistan under those circumstances), but instead on the ground that he committed the sin of actually discussing with the American people what our foreign policy would be.

The Foreign Policy Community is more secretive than the Fight Club. They believe that all foreign policy should be formulated only by our secret “scholar”-geniuses in the think tanks and institutes comprising the Foreign Policy Community and that the American people should not and need not know anything about any of it short of the most meaningless platitudes. They are the Guardians of Seriousness. “Serious” really means the extent to which one adheres to their rules and pays homage to their decrees.

It is hard to overstate how self-important and impressed with itself is the bi-partisan Foreign Policy Community. When I was attempting this week through a series of e-mail exchanges to convince a reluctant Michael O’Hanlon to agree to an interview with me about his field trip to Iraq, he explained his reluctance this way: “I have gone light on what people say about your work. I have not slammed you the way various people have told me you’ve slammed me. I have simply said that people tell me you go after scholars very very hard.”

People in the Foreign Policy Community refer to themselves and each other as “scholars,” and they have a long list of Byzantine rules with which one must comply in order to be permitted to participate in our country’s foreign policy discussions.

Over the past couple of days, there has been a continuation of the ongoing dispute between Matt Yglesias and Michael Rubin, a “Resident Scholar” at the American Enterprise Institute. The lastest dispute concerned an attack by Rubin on journalist Mark Leon Goldberg over an article Goldberg wrote a couple of years ago about an AEI event. Over at National Review’s Corner, Rubin attempted to explain why this petty dispute was, in fact, so important:

“The point, Matthew, is not how many years ago the incident was: Everyone in the policy community assesses which journalists regardless of ideology are honest and accurate and which perhaps take too many liberties, if only so we know who is serious or honest enough to talk to regardless of ‘what their politics may be.'” (Please remember to read this extremely narrowly as “what end of the Republocrat network they get their bread buttered on.”)

The Foreign Policy Community — our establishment “scholars” — were almost unanimously supportive of George Bush’s invasion, worked themselves into a lather over Saddam’s WMDs and mushroom clouds over U.S. cities, stayed silent in the face of obvious Bush abuses and excesses, embraced the most manipulative and fictitious neoconservative doctrines, and they still continuously issue all sorts of theoretical constructs to justify America’s increasingly militaristic and imperial role.

There is no real dispute within it about the most fundamental foreign policy questions we face (which is why the “liberal” Brookings Institutional “scholars” are so pro-war and work so cooperatively with the neoconservative AEI). And they not only have a monopoly over deciding who is Serious and who is not, but also in declaring which issues are off-limits from real debate. The foreign policy disasters of the last six years, at least, are their doing.

As Powers points out, the Foreign Policy Community has proven itself to be reckless, irresponsible and deeply unserious. These “scholars” have lost the right to judge anyone or to declare anyone else unserious. It is long past time to aggressively challenge their most precious orthodoxies.

There are few issues more vitally important than destroying the supremacy and monopoly of our Foreign Policy Community and forcing a re-examination of our most fundamental assumptions about America’s role in the world. To the extent that Obama’s campaign will continue to challenge not only the establishment’s orthodoxies by the Establishment itself (and whether he will remains to be seen), that can only produce vitally needed outcomes.

See Greenwald in for the following update: Where was the Foreign Policy Community — our establishment “scholars” — when all of this was happening?

Greenwald’s critique of the Foreign Policy Cabal’s “seriousness” discourse:

Let us also take note of the bizarre fact that the Rules of Seriousness seem to allow someone to run around talking about attacking, invading, and bombing everyone except for the people who actually attacked us on 9/11. All the Serious People cheered on the invasion of Iraq and talk openly about attacking and bombing Iran and Syria. None of those countries, of course, had anything to do with 9/11, but no matter. The Serious People are free to speak as openly and explicitly as possible about new wars with those nations.

But Barack Obama speaks of the possibility of attacking the actual individuals who attacked us on 9/11 if we know where they are and Pakistan leaves them be, and suddenly, he is a terribly Unserious and Naive and Irresponsible person for suggesting such a thing. Apparently, it is very Serious to ponder new wars on a whole list of countries and groups provided they had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks.

One would be equally remiss if failing to note that people like Mike Rubin, who reside in the belly of the neocon beast, who wanted to turn Iraq over to Ahmad Chalabi, and who devotes his life to fueling the flames for a new war with Iran, still thinks he is in a position to designate who is “serious” and who is not, and his friends at Brookings Institution, who hosted AEI’s Fred Kagan when it was time to unveil his Surge Plan, would undoubtedly agree. In the Foreign Policy Community, arguing in favor of new wars never removes one from the Realm of Seriousness provided — as the Obama “controversy” proves — the new war targets have nothing to do with any actual attacks on our country.


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