Wednesday, October 29, 2014

IR 101: Countries Are Different

Dan Drezner has a great post on the latest friction between the US and Israel.  I want to point to something basic that is part of his argument but often gets overlooked.... especially by politicians seeking to outbid each other as the best defenders of Israel:

The US and Israel are different countries with different national interests.  Shocking, I know.  But the US debate often forgets this very basic fact.  In Canada, too, there are those who thing that whatever Israel wants is what Canada should want.  But countries vary in their priorities, their values, the threats they face, their capabilities, and, yes, their domestic politics.

So, if Israeli politicians want to drive their country in a particular direction (like off of a cliff), the US does not have to follow.  Indeed, the US is unlikely to follow when Israel does stuff that endangers American interests in the region.

Of course, this is too complex for those pandering to evangelical voters, but tis true. And no, Jews these days are kind of divided on Israel so this may be more about the less traditional, newish Israel lobby than the old fashioned, AIPAC, lobby.

The bright side: the more that the US and Israel or Obama and Bibi yammer at each other, the more evidence that the theories that espouse the all-powerful Israel lobby look like the weak sauce that they were already.

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