John Mearsheimer & Stephen Walt : Accused of being anti-American

Historians in the News

Two political scientists, John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago and Stephen Walt of Harvard, have recently sallied forth with a paper that puts The Protocols of the Elders of Zion to shame. The gist is that the "Israel Lobby," the core of which "is comprised of American Jews," keeps "bending U.S. foreign policy so that it advances Israel's interests." As a result, the Jews have jeopardized not only U.S. security, but that of much of the rest of the world.

Do these two have it out for the Jews? I have known and worked with them for ages, and I don't think so. Is their paper (excerpts of which have appeared in the London Review of Books) anti-Semitic? It certainly trundles out many classics of this darkest of creeds: omnipotence, conspiracy, double-loyalty, and even treason, given that the "Lobby" works for another country, and against the American interest.

But let's leave the Jew-baiting aside. The gravest indictment is that the screed is anti-American. For campaigning on behalf of this or that U.S. foreign policy is as American as apple pie. It started during the Revolution when pro-British "Tories" fought their colonial brethren over independence. A few decades later, sectional interests slugged it out over the War of 1812. During the Civil War, both sides sought help from various European powers. Thirty years later, another "lobby," the Hearst press, whipped the country into war against Spain, which left the United States with a tidy little empire in Cuba and in the Philippines.

When it came to trade, "Main Street" did not like what "Wall Street" wanted, and the agrarian West proclaimed a pox on both their houses. Remember the fierce domestic opposition to entry into World Wars I and II? Irish-Americans were "pro-German," so to speak, because they were anti-British. Greek-Americans have always tried to sever the strategic tie that binds the United States to Turkey. Cuban-Americans still keep the rest from (legally) smoking Monte Cristos; African-Americans have lobbied hard against South Africa and for intervention in Haiti. Throw in big labor, big business, and the farm lobby, which have made mince-meat out of America's commitment to free trade. ...

Read entire article at Josef Joffe at the website of the New Republic

comments powered by Disqus