March 28, 2006


Overstating Jewish Power: Mearsheimer and Walt give too much credit to the Israeli lobby (Christopher Hitchens, Slate, 3/27/06)

There has been some disquiet expressed about Mearsheimer and Walt's over-fondness for Jewish name-dropping: their reiteration of the names Wolfowitz, Perle, Feith, etc., as the neocon inner circle. Well, it would be stupid not to notice that a group of high-energy Jews has been playing a role in our foreign-policy debate for some time. The first occasion on which it had any significant influence (because, despite its tentacular influence, it lost the argument over removing Saddam Hussein in 1991) was in pressing the Clinton administration to intervene in Bosnia and Kosovo. These are the territories of Europe's oldest and largest Muslim minorities; they are oil-free and they do not in the least involve the state interest of Israel. Indeed, Sharon publicly opposed the intervention. One could not explain any of this from Mearsheimer and Walt's rhetoric about "the lobby."

Mearsheimer and Walt belong to that vapid school that essentially wishes that the war with jihadism had never started. Their wish is father to the thought that there must be some way, short of a fight, to get around this confrontation. Wishfulness has led them to seriously mischaracterize the origins of the problem and to produce an article that is redeemed from complete dullness and mediocrity only by being slightly but unmistakably smelly.

This argument pops up all over: we could have avoided this war, and could now end it, through some unilateral action of our own. We could abandon Israel, we could increase gasoline taxes, we could pull out of Iraq, we could turn ourselves into Fortress America or France, and, abracadabra, the war would be over.

Our enemies are our enemies because they choose to be our enemies. There is no substitute for victory.

Posted by David Cohen at March 28, 2006 9:21 AM

Only Hitch can go to Jerusalem?

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at March 28, 2006 11:48 AM

Sure there is.

Posted by: joe shropshire at March 28, 2006 11:49 AM

With defenders like Hitch, Jews don't really need enemies.

From his column:
"I would have gone further than Mearsheimer and Walt and pointed up the role of Israel in supporting apartheid in South Africa, in providing arms and training for dictators in Congo and Guatemala, and helping reactionary circles in America do their dirty work—most notably during the Iran-Contra assault on the Constitution and in the emergence of the alliance between Likud and the Christian right."

How can a man be so right on one issue (the war on Terror), but so wrong on everything else? Amomg other things, the only "Iran-Contra assault on the Constitution" was the unconstitutional Boland Amendments.

Posted by: Bob at March 28, 2006 9:13 PM