Archive for July 1st, 2010

Executive Privilege

Executive Privilege

http://original.antiwar.com/giraldi/2010/06/30/executive-privilege/

Posted By Philip Giraldi On June 30, 2010

The removal of General Stanley McChrystal from command provided President Barack Obama with the perfect opportunity to review the entire Afghan war strategy and declare it a failure.  That he did not do so means that the war now belongs fully to the president and he, in typical Washington fashion, will insist on something that he can describe as “mission accomplished.”  The fighting will continue until Washington runs out of money and soldiers and is forced to craft together a phony peace settlement before leaving with its tail between its legs.  The whole world knows that United States foreign policy has become little more than a pathetic joke, a fact that is also becoming increasingly clear to many Americans who do not live inside the Washington beltway bubble.

Even if the long war finally ends some day, there will be no revival of the liberties enshrined in the United States constitution and the protections afforded by the rule of law.  This will be the most enduring legacy of George W. Bush and Barack Obama.  It hasn’t mattered which party has been in power, the objective of both has been to establish an all powerful executive that can operate without any constitutional restraints.  Since 2001, the creation of just such a central authority, fueled by an exaggerated fear of terrorism, has led to the dismantling of many of the freedoms that Americans enjoyed for over two hundred years.

President Barack Obama promised more openness and accountability in government but he has not delivered.  He has failed to abolish or significantly amend the Patriot Acts and the Military Commissions Act, which together make it possible to detain anyone indefinitely based only on suspicion. Obama’s Justice Department has defended the government’s use of the state secrets privilege to avoid having to deal with pesky lawsuits from civil libertarians and whistle blowers.  The Obama White House is, as a result, just as secretive as that of his predecessor.  And all indications are that it will only get worse as the Supreme Court slides to the right on the issue of executive authority. 

New Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan has described retired Israeli Judge Aharon Barak as her “judicial hero.”  Barak is sometimes described as a liberal, but a review of his decisions reveals that he has always sided with the Israeli government in cases where arbitrary behavior by the state was being challenged.  He also established the legal guidelines that enabled torture by the Israeli authorities.  Kagan herself is of a like mind, favoring government prerogatives, executive privilege and secrecy even when there is no clear legal reason to deny access to information.  In one recent case Kagan successfully argued that the Supreme Court should overturn a New York appeals court ruling to permit the release of photographs of foreign prisoners being abused by their American captors. The American Civil Liberties Union argued for the release of the photos while Obama and the Pentagon against. Kagan, in her role as solicitor general, argued that US military personnel would be endangered if the photos were to become public.

In another case presented by Kagan on behalf of the Obama Administration, her soon-to-be colleagues on the court agreed with her argument and ruled that the government has a right to criminalize any and all contact with organizations that are defined as terrorists, even if that contact is undertaken with the intent to convince the groups to abandon the very activities that the US government condemns.  With that ruling, humanitarian assistance provided to civilians in an area controlled by a group that the White House considers to be terrorist-connected would become the indictable offense of terrorism support.  The explanation given by Chief Justice John Roberts was hardly illuminating.  He said those who oppose the law “simply disagree with the considered judgment of Congress and the executive that providing material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization — even seemingly benign support — bolsters the terrorist activities of that organization.”  In other words, the right of Americans to associate freely, guaranteed by the first amendment, can be limited by Congress and the White House if they disapprove of or criminalize the group you are associating with.  The Supreme Court is curiously siding with the executive and legislature and denying that it has any right to uphold the constitution, which becomes, by that standard, truly just a piece of paper.  The government can call anything a security threat and can proceed without restraint. Libertarians were dismayed by the ruling, but the Israel Lobby’s Anti Defamation League called the ruling “right on target.”

Kagan also supports the right of the United States to detain indefinitely anyone anywhere in the world if the White House determines that there is some actual or potential threat.  This is an expansion of the “whole world is a battle field” thinking that drove the zealots in the Bush Administration.  With Kagan on the court there will be virtually no resistance to any Administration action as long as it can be plausibly (or even implausibly) labeled as terrorism connected.

The unitary battlefield thinking inevitably spawned the kill them when you find them solution for dealing with the problem.  The United States is the only country in the world that has declared that it has the right – and the desire – to murder its own citizens overseas when there is suspicion that they are involved in any way with what it calls a terrorist group.  It also appears to believe that collateral damage is not an issue, so if a suspect is traveling in a car with his family, too bad for the family.  Suspicion is the only relevant standard for being placed on the death list, and the victim of the targeted assassination does not have to be in flagrante involved in an actual terrorist act.  The only due process in the killing would be rendered by a Washington bureaucrat presumably being advised by a Justice Department lawyer, both of whom would be working for the White House and presumably inclined to be forward leaning on taking out another bad guy.  Based on an interview with White House terrorism adviser John Brennan, Glenn Greenwald believes there might already be dozens of names of American citizens on the list.

And the assault on the constitution goes on from there, with Congress joining in with some enthusiasm.  Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut has introduced legislation that would strip US citizens of their citizenship if there is suspicion of their being involved in terrorist related activity.  Again, suspicion is the key word.

Lieberman is also the sponsor of another bill that will enable the United States unilaterally and without any due process to turn off the internet if there is any security threat.  The bill, grandiloquently named the Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act, has already cleared the Homeland Security committee that Lieberman chairs and is now on its way to the full Senate for approval.  The nature of the security threat would, of course, be defined by the US government itself.  Some who actually know how the internet operates believe that it would be impossible to shut it down in the United States where there are multiple servers and redundancies inbuilt into the system, but the government’s intent is clear: control information and you control what the public thinks.  If the public is kept deliberately in the dark, you can quite literally do anything you want to do.  Lieberman, of course, has a particular passion for Israel and it is reasonable to assume that his ultimate intention might be to use the cyberwarfare justification combined with anti-terror legislation to shut down internet sites that provide news and commentary critical of the Benjamin Netanyahu government. 

Americans who care about their country and its constitution should be mortified by recent developments, but, apart from a vocal minority, most people appear to accept that the government is a benign force that will do what is right.  Nothing could be farther from the truth.  The past nine years has seen a sustained assault on the rights guaranteed in the United States bill of rights, an assault in many cases carried out by those very individuals who have sworn an oath to defend the constitution against all enemies domestic and foreign.  History teaches that liberties lost can never be regained.  We are living in an age where the government can conceal what is doing, where it can imprison anyone indefinitely or strip people of citizenship, where it can kill citizens on suspicion, and where it is increasingly seeking to control the public’s access to independent sources of information.  This is a far cry from the Republic that the Founding Fathers envisioned, a monstrous modern corporatist state using all of its resources to maintain a constant state of war overseas and fear at home.

Read more by Philip Giraldi


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Review of Alam’s Israeli Exceptionalism

Review of Alam’s Israeli Exceptionalism

Wednesday, June 30, 2010 7:33 PM

From: “Stephen Sniegoski”

Friends,

The following is my review of “Israeli Exceptionalism: The Destabilizing Logic of Zionism,” by M. Shahid Alam.

It can be found at the following websites:

PULSE                      http://tinyurl.com/pulseexceptionalism

Foreign Policy Journal     http://tinyurl.com/alamfpj

The Wisdom Fund         http://tinyurl.com/twfexceptionalism

Review of  M. Shahid Alam,  “Israeli Exceptionalism:  The Destabilizing Logic of Zionism,” New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2009, xi +274 p.  

by Stephen J. Sniegoski

Author of “The Transparent Cabal: The Neoconservative Agenda, War in the Middle East, and the National Interest of Israel,” Norfolk, Va.:  Enigma Editions, 2008.

http://tiny.cc/zNV06

        This is an excellent book that dares to transgress  the regnant taboos and myths in the American mainstream on the issue of Israel.   The author,  M. Shahid Alam, a professor of economics at Northeastern University of  Pakistani nationality,  is a published writer on contemporary social and political topics that far transcend his academic field.  Due to his  proclivity to write on controversial and taboo topics, he has attained a place in ultra-Zionist David Horowitz’s book,  “The Professors: The One Hundred and One Most Dangerous Academics in America (2006).” 

        “Israeli Exceptionalism” lucidly encapsulates in its relatively short 220-page narrative  the essential aspects of the Zionist movement,  showing how it has been able to rapidly advance from its birth to regional dominance, and how, concomitantly, its  amazing success has brought the United States, its powerful patron,  into the cauldron of never-ending Middle East wars.  While undoubtedly hostile toward Zionism, Alam manages to write rather dispassionate prose.  And it is difficult to take issue with the validity of his arguments. 

        The author states that book’s “primary theme” is to  “focus on the germ of the Zionist idea, its core ambition—clearly discernible at its launching—to create a Jewish state in the Middle East by displacing the natives. This exclusionary colonialism would unleash a deeply destabilizing logic, if it were to succeed.  It could advance only by creating and promoting conflicts between the West and the Islamicate [the social and cultural complex historically associated with Islam].  Since its creation, this primordial logic has driven the Jewish state to deepen this conflict. Overweening ambition launched Zionism, but the destabilizing logic of this idea has advanced and sustained it.”  (p. 3)  Because of  Zionism’s  unparalleled influence over American policymakers, this “destabilizing logic”  has mired the United States in a Middle East morass from which it is now politically unable to extricate itself.

        Interwoven in the narrative is the theme of Israeli and Jewish exceptionalism, which provides the title of the book.  The Jews have historically seen themselves as an exceptional people—“God’s chosen people”—and the Zionists expanded on this religious theme to make it serve as the intellectual basis for the modern state of Israel’s existence and defense.  Moreover,  this exceptionalism is recognized, at least tacitly, by Western countries, and, consequently, Israel is able to ignore the norms and rules usually applied to other countries.   Most significantly, Alam notes that Israel stands alone as the only European settler colonial state that was created and continues to exist in an era of anti-colonialism. 

        Alam emphasizes that Zionism originated as a very ambitious project that had to overcome a number of formidable  hurdles. The Jews were a people without a homeland  and without much of a national feeling, but the Zionists intended to establish a Jewish homeland on land fully inhabited by another people and, in the process, mold a national identity.  Moreover, unlike other European colonizers, the Jews did not have a motherland to support their colonial venture, which required them to find one. 

        Unlike what many pro-Israel mythologists imagine to be the case, Zionism did not have a morally pure beginning—at least by the standards of modern international morality. From the outset, the Zionists intended to occupy land inhabited by others, bringing about the latter’s displacement.   The early Zionists did not give much consideration to the native Palestinians and thus did not dwell on  the need to forcibly expel them from  the land.  It was the revisionist Zionist, Ze’ev Jabotinsky, who in the 1920s brought out into the open the inevitable need for violence against the Palestinians in order to achieve the Zionist goals.  Alam remarks, however,  that the Zionist leaders had “always known what Jabotinsky now challenged them to acknowledge and confront openly.” (p. 27)

        The Zionists’ choice of Palestine, a settled land, for a homeland guaranteed conflict. What was the reason for choosing Palestine?  And why did the Zionists seek a homeland at all?   A conventional  argument, disputed by Alam,  is that the Zionists sought a homeland abroad  because hostility to Jews in Europe necessitated moving elsewhere.  To falsify the idea that finding a safe haven was the fundamental motive,  Alam reviews  the suggested alternative homelands for Jews, which were very sparsely inhabited and whose native occupants thus did not face displacement by Jewish emigrants.  In short,  Jews could have emigrated to areas where the likelihood of conflict was much less than in Palestine. Since the Zionists did not show much  interest in these much safer, alternative homelands, it would seem apparent that  finding a haven for Jews was not their overarching goal.

        Orthodox  Jews, of course,  had prayed  about returning to  Jerusalem, but Alam points out that very few actually tried to live there prior to the advent of Zionism.  And even the Zionists found it difficult to attract Jewish settlers to Palestine before the era of Nazi persecution. Alam, in short, maintains that the choice of  Israel did not reflect the historical longing of the Jewish people but rather the ideological needs of modern Zionism.  

        Alam contends  that Zionism was essentially a 19th century nationalist movement,  similar to other forms of  European ethnic nationalism, and was not simply a  defensive reaction to the threat of  anti-Semitic persecution. In fact, the condition of  European Jews had actually improved significantly in the 19th century, as they prospered economically and could  assimilate into  the higher echelons of gentile society, which had become available to them as Western society had become more open and free.   For  numerous Jews, however,  this move toward assimilation caused  considerable angst as they lost their Jewish religious distinctiveness.  To compensate for this psychological loss, Jewish thinkers started to emphasize Jewish racial identity as a group unifier.

        Other European nationalist movements could rely on a home territory, inhabited by their nationality,  as a magnet to provide group unity and a sense of nationhood.  For the Jews, in contrast, territory would  need to be taken in order to forge this  sense of unity and nationhood among a congeries of disparate people alien from one another in language and culture, and linked together only by a religion and its customs.  With this arduous task at hand, the choice could not be any  available territory.  To provide the necessary social and cultural binding for nationhood, the territory chosen would have to have a strong connection to a Jewish nation that had existed in the past—thus the only choice was Palestine. 

        In trying to get hold  of a foreign land, the Zionists were quite like other Western settler colonial enterprises, but were radically different from other colonial ventures in that they did not have a mother country to facilitate their enterprise.  They would have to find a surrogate mother country.  Zionists were able to turn what would seem to have been a weakness into a strength since they were in a position to choose their mother country and thus could select the one best suited to their needs.  Prior to gaining independence, the Zionists would rely on England, which was critical  since it held the League of Nations Mandate over Palestine; after the Israeli state came into being in 1948, they would gradually switch to the United States, which, as England’s military capability waned,  had become the mightiest country in the world and was assuming burgeoning global responsibilities in its Cold War with the Soviet Union.   .

        It was also of crucial importance that Jews were very influential in the West because of their wealth and dominant positions in key sectors of society,  such as the media.  To influence the foreign powers and their populations, the Jewish Zionists would have to present a rationale for their takeover of  already-inhabited Palestinian land.   Alam observes that the Zionists essentially provided a number of fundamental arguments to justify their endeavor.  First, they argued that the land did not really belong to the native inhabitants but was, instead, the Jewish homeland by historical right, and that it had been given to them by God and later usurped by invaders. This argument has especially appealed to Protestants with their special affinity for the Old Testament.  Next, they claimed that they were more progressive, both socially and economically, than the native Arab inhabitants, and thus appealed to both the socialist Left and the capitalist Right.  And what has especially become a key argument since the Holocaust has been the claim that Jews have suffered more than all other peoples and thus deserve recompense.  This claim of being the ultimate victim not only served to morally justify the Zionists’  take-over of Palestine but also has shielded them from criticism for their mistreatment of the Palestinians, since any suffering experienced by the Palestinians could not compare with  the infinite suffering endured by Jews in the Holocaust.  Finally, for individuals motivated less by moral empathy than by national self-interest, the Zionists have claimed that the Jewish state serves as a strategic asset to Western interests in the Middle East.

        Despite the Zionist propaganda, Alam points out that individuals espousing the viewpoint of the U.S. foreign policy elite, who dominated the unelected positions in the State Department and the Defense Department, opposed  the creation of Israel as contrary to American interests because it would deeply antagonize the Arab nations in the crucial Middle East, which they realized would become increasingly important as energy providers for the United States and its allies.  The elite was especially concerned that American support for Israel would radicalize the Arabs and turn them toward the Soviet Union.   Zionists, however, were able to exercise immense power in the political arena.  President Truman thus supported the creation of Israel “because the exigencies of electoral politics weighed more heavily than concerns about the long-term strategic costs of creating a Jewish state in Palestine.  Domestic politics had trumped the vital interests of the United States.” (p. 166)

        None of this is to say that the Truman administration (or any other president’s administration) was willing to abandon an effort to maintain good relations with the Arabs.  In fact, Alam points out that after the 1948 elections, “Truman felt he had more latitude in resisting the domestic pressures of Zionism” (p. 166) and thus distanced the United States from Israel.

        Israel realized that in order to get full United States government backing for its policies, it would need to do more than passively depend on the political support from the Zionist lobby.  Israel would have to take actions to affect the Middle East environment in such a way as to make itself  appear valuable to the strategic interests of the United States.  Thus, Israel pursued the following strategy, as outlined by Alam.   Instead of making concessions to obtain peace with the Arabs, Israel strove to antagonize them.  “These provocations served a variety of Israeli objectives,” writes Alam. “They deepened Arab anger, radicalized Arab politics, and turned Arab nationalists against the United States.” (p. 174)   Particularly important were violent  threats against Israel.  This heightened Arab belligerence toward Israel (induced by the latter’s provocations), however, was wholly rhetorical since the Arab states lacked the military strength  to actually endanger the security of the Jewish state.

        But Israel used these “hollow Arab threats  to demand expanded military and economic assistance from the West.”  (p. 174) In response, the West, especially the United States, provided the requested aid.  This, in turn, caused Arab hostility to the West to intensify, and, consequently, some Arab states began to seek support from the Soviet Union.  Then Israel could more realistically present itself as the West’s only reliable friend in the Middle East in order to justify even greater support.  In essence,  “Israel had manufactured the threats that would make it look like a strategic asset” (p. 218),  writes Alam.  “Without Israel,” Alam maintains, “there was little chance that any of the Arab regimes would turn away from their dependence on the West.” (p. 171)

        As the 1950s progressed, the United States would turn more toward Israel, but its support would often be covert so as not to antagonize the Arabs.  The move toward Israel was not as  rapid as it might have been because President Eisenhower, having a strong base of popular support, could politically afford to buck the Israel lobby.  “The resurgence of the Israeli lobby,” Alam observes,  “began during the Presidency of John Kennedy; from then onward the sky would be the limit.” (p. 177)

        Israel would be able to prove its value to the United States in the Six Day War of 1967.  “It had now gained the gratitude of the Western world by greatly diminishing the Arab nationalist threat to their interests in the region,” writes Alam. (p. 181)  But, of course, any threat to Western interests had been initially caused by Israel.  Alam emphasizes that Israel’s 1967  victory did not create the special relationship between the United States and Israel but “only imparted fresh momentum to forces, ascendant since the late 1950s, that were pushing for a stronger U. S. commitment to Israel as a strategic asset.” (p. 206)  In fact, Alam views this special relationship as an inevitable result of Israel’s very creation, which  “would force the major actors to take the course that they did take over the subsequent decades.  This inexorable logic flowed from the simple brute fact that the West, led by the United States, could not abandon Israel.” (p. 206) 

        But the United States realized it could not maintain its strategic influence in the Middle East without a friendly relationship with the Arab world, which was being undermined by its support for Israel.  The United States thus sought to end the Arab-Israeli conflict by bringing about a comprehensive peace.

        Israel’s position was quite different, however.  “Should the Arab nationalist states make peace with Israel and abandon the Soviets, this would greatly diminish Israel’s value to the United States,” Alam astutely observes.  “Israel could not claim the privileges of a strategic asset if key Arab nationalist states—like Egypt and Syria—too joined the American camp.” (p. 186)

        In essence, Alam’s view here is very different from that of  Noam Chomsky and his epigones, who believe that Israel really is a true American asset, serving to advance American strategic and economic interests in the Middle East.  Alam, in contrast, does not claim that the U.S. relationship with Israel has been of net benefit to the United States.  Rather, by Israel’s taking actions that turn the rest of the Middle East against the United States, the Israel lobby has been able to tout the Jewish state  as America’s only reliable friend in the region.  Alam devotes a number of pages (pp. 197-205) to explicitly refuting the Chomsky thesis.

        In contrast to America’s search for a compromise peace in the Middle East, “the Zionists increasingly shifted to the right in their rhetoric and their policies –and prepared for the inevitable war against the Palestinians and the neighboring Arabs.” (p. 207) Alam maintains that this shift to a more overt militancy, however, did not represent a real change in Zionism, as liberal Zionists would like to believe, but rather a logical continuation of Zionist history.   “This shift was inevitable,” writes Alam, “as the Zionists confronted the central demand of their movement:  they could not establish a Jewish state in Palestine without the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians.” (p. 207)

        This rightward shift took place both in Israel and in the leadership of Zionist groups in the United States. One leading rightist Zionist element in the United States was the neoconservatives, “a mostly Jewish elite group who sought to place American power in the service of Israel.” (p. 211)  Alam writes that “Over time, the Jewish neoconservatives cultivated close ties with right-wing Israeli politicians and ideologues; they often worked together in American and Israeli right-wing think tanks.  Together, they advocated placing the U.S. military behind Israel’s hegemonic ambitions in the Middle East.” (p. 211)  Alam briefly describes how the neocons brought about the United States invasion of  Iraq in 2003. 

        Alam addresses the intriguing question as to which is the leading partner, Israel or the Israel lobby in America.  Alam writes that “It would be unhistorical to see the rise of American Jewish power as a force in isolation from Israel.  The fortunes of the two have been deeply interconnected.” (p. 212)  But while the two are interconnected, Alam maintains that Israel “has directed the global Zionist enterprise.”  The  American Jewish community has “shaped its institutions, values, and even alliances more and more to serve the needs of Israel.” (p. 212)

        What Alam writes here is largely true, with one small caveat, which is necessary to point out in order to counter possible distortions by critics.   Members of the Israel lobby are not simply agents of the Israeli government who mechanically follow orders, analogous to American Soviet agents of the  1930s and 1940s.  In contrast to the robotic agents of Stalinist Russia, American Jews freely promote policies that they believe will serve the needs of the Jewish state, which may not always be in harmony with actual Israeli government policy.  For example, the neoconservative-developed “Clean Break” agenda of 1996, which called for Israel to pursue an offensive war policy, was critical of the policies of the Labor governments and was not implemented by the incoming Netanyahu-led  Likud government. Similarly, the neoconservatives encouraged Israel to widen its  2006 invasion of Lebanon to bring Syria and Iran into the conflict, which the Olmert government refrained from doing.  Finally, the neoconservatives developed  the idea of U.S.-directed regime change in Iraq by military means,  and the Sharon government came to support it. (It is true that somewhat similar strategies to weaken Israel’s enemies–though with Israel taking the military action–had been broached in the past by Israeli strategic thinkers, as I discuss in my book, “The Transparent Cabal: The Neoconservative Agenda, War in the Middle East, and the National Interest of Israel.” )

        Returning to the overall impact on the United States, Alam emphasizes that in backing Israel, the United States has acted contrary to its own national interests, as the American foreign policy elite had realized at the time of Israel’s creation in the years immediately following the end of World War II.  Over the years, America’s support for Israel has alienated the Arab people, brought about the rise of anti-American Islamic radicalism, led to unnecessary wars, and involved massive economic costs.  And the dire problems caused by this  policy are far from over. “The costs that the United States—and the rest of the Western world—might incur in the future are likely to be much greater.” (p. 219) 

        The costs for the United States are especially immense, in Alam’s view, because no peace settlement with Israel is possible since the issue transcends the grievances of the Palestinians.  He writes that “If the Zionists could somehow displace the Palestinians without directly impacting their neighbors—say, by transporting all the Palestinians to Argentina—the Islamicate would still resist this intrusion.” (p. 192)

        Alam is quite different from many other critics of Israel who believe that if Israel would pursue a more moderate, conciliatory policy toward its Arab neighbors, peace would prevail. Rather, Alam  seems to be saying that the creation of a Jewish state on what had been Islamic territory is simply unacceptable to the neighboring Muslims.  “When these settlers create their own exclusionary state,” he contends, “they declare war not only against the people they displace.  They declare a more general war, entailing violence against the demography, cartography, geopolitics, and the historical memory of the region on which they impose themselves.” (p. 192)

        So as not to be misinterpreted, it should be noted that Alam strictly states that the  Middle East Muslims will not accept the existence of a Jewish “exclusionary state”;  he does not write that the Muslims hold  that Jewish people should now be removed from the area.  Thus, only an intentional misreading of what he writes could give fodder to the Zionist propaganda that Israel’s Islamic enemies intend to  bring about the genocide of Jews.  What Alam seems to be indicating is that the position of Middle East Muslims toward Israel is comparable to the position taken by Black Africans towards the former white-ruled South Africa.  Black Africans opposed a white exclusionary state, but Black voting, which meant Black majority rule, did not mean the forcible removal of white people.  But undoubtedly many Jews live in Israel only because it is a Jewish “exclusionary state” and would leave if it were not, just as many white South Africans have emigrated from South Africa since the onset of Black rule. 

        At the same time, it must be acknowledged that his view is close to being the mirror image of that of the Israeli Right, which also believes that Israel’s neighbors will never voluntarily accept peace with the Jewish state.  For the government of Israel and the Israel lobby are concerned about the acceptance of the current Jewish state, not simply the acceptance of the Jewish people per se.   Thus, Jabotinsky, the godfather of the Israeli right,  called for the creation of an “iron wall” to protect the Jewish state—that the Jewish state’s  Arab neighbors had to be beaten into submission and thus forced to accept its existence.  With this mindset, the neoconservatives believe that the Middle East must be reconfigured to allow for Israel’s security.  As I point out in “The Transparent Cabal,”   this view implies the weakening and fragmentation of Israel’s enemies, as brought out by Likud thinker Oded Yinon.   Of course, if the United States were to pursue this Israelocentric policy, it would entail never-ending warfare. 

        Alam, although regarding Israeli policy as having been very successful so far,  does not assume an ultimate victory for Israel, which is not unreasonable given the demographics of the region.  At the close of the book, Alam makes some allusions to the future, in which he is understandably somewhat vague, since this was not the focus of his book and like all mortals he cannot foretell the future.  He refers to the possibility that Israel  might “wither away”—due to demographics, a lack of will, and other factors—which, because of its close connection to the United States,  could cause the latter country to “begin to wobble.” (p. 219)  Envisioned is a future in which the  United States would  lose its hegemony over Gulf oil, and the region would  be dominated not by another foreign power such as China or Russia, but by the native Islamicate.   Since oil is a fungible commodity and  is the Gulf region’s fundamental export,  it would not seem to me that such a situation would cause any appreciable rise in cost for American consumers, since the price of oil for Americans is currently the same as for everyone else in the world.  To Americans other than  ardent Zionists, war profiteers, and perhaps some non-competitive oil and oil infrastructure companies, such a future outlined by Alam, where the United States would not be involved in continual counterproductive warfare in the Middle East,  should hardly seem dystopian. 

        All in all, it is difficult to disagree with the overall thrust of Alam’s analysis.  Everything fits together in a very logical fashion  and would seem to be the most reasonable interpretation of the  historical evidence, as pessimistic as it might appear to those who pollyannishly believe that Israel and its neighbors could coexist in peaceful harmony.   Obviously, the book’s themes will not make it popular in the mainstream, so it is unlikely to get the media attention it deserves.  On the issue of Israel, it is difficult, if not impossible,  to obtain any measure of popularity in the United States while expressing the unadulterated truth.   But anyone interested in the latter would be advised to consult this book. 

Best,

Stephen Sniegoski

Transparent Cabal Website:

http://home.comcast.net/~transparentcabal/

Amazon listing of The Transparent Cabal:

http://tiny.cc/zNV06