CONGO (BRAZZAVILLE) 89
Finding new sources for 17% of our imported oil through diplomacy, alternative energies and improved efficiency seems like a much more practical strategy than "bringing democracy' to the Middle East.
The other argument is that Israel is America's best ally, the only democracy in the Middle East. American foreign policy has never put a big premium on democracy e.g. Chile, Iran, Guatemala, Cuba. United States foreign policy always has been about its own interests. Israel's military is ranked 11th in the world, yet they are ranked 40th in GDP, so it is safe to say they are armed to the teeth as well as having a massive nuclear arsenal.
It is strange to think that Israel receives around $3 billion in US aid per year when they have a per capita GDP of around $30,000, almost the same as Italy. Could you imagine the uproar if Nancy Pelosi and Rudy Guliani somehow finagled sending Italy $3 billion a year in aid? Israel does not need American foreign aid or military aid. They are a wealthy country with an extremely potent military.
So why does the US spend so much of its foreign policy capital on Israel? The US population is less the 2% Jewish, the vast majority of which have no roots in Israel. The two main culprits are AIPAC and the neo-cons. The power of AIPAC is frightening.
In the latest spat between Jerusalem and Washington, AIPAC wrote a letter "implicitly rebuking the Obama Administration for its confrontational stance toward Israel." It was signed by 76 Senators (33 Democrats) who normally can't agree on the time of day.
And the US media is incapable of openly questioning the "special relationship". No major newspaper or media outlet has a columnist who consistently calls for an end to US support for Israel and the beginning of new, neutral relationship. As a nation, the US must ask itself what it gets in return for fighting the war in Iraq and using its foreign policy capital on issues like Iran instead of focusing on Latin America, Eastern Europe and Asia.
The bottom line is not about being a Zionist or anti-Zionist. If American Zionists want to send their money to Israel and send the sons and daughters to fight for Israel, that is their right. But when a small group manipulates American media and foreign policy so that American troops kill and our killed to carry out a Zionist agenda, then there is a problem.
Just as Helen Thomas and Octavia Nasr where run out of their jobs for the great damage their words caused, it's time voices where raised calling for the same treatment for the war mongers at The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Weekly Standard, The Atlantic and Commentary. The same can be said for AIPAC.
An amazingly frank example of the power the Israeli government has over our foreign policy came in early 2009 as the Israeli attack on Gaza raged. The US was going to vote, along with the other members of the UN Security Council for a a cease fire resolution that Condelezza Rice had helped draft. In a very candid speech, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert described what happened next, as reported in The New York Times.
"In the night between Thursday and Friday, when the secretary of state wanted to lead the vote on a ceasefire at the Security Council, we did not want her to vote in favor," Mr Olmert said "I said 'get me President Bush on the phone'. They said he was in the middle of giving a speech in Philadelphia. I said I didn't care. 'I need to talk to him now'. He got off the podium and spoke to me. "I told him the United States could not vote in favor. It cannot vote in favor of such a resolution. He immediately called the secretary of state and told her not to vote in favor... She was left pretty embarrassed."