The Saudis and Israelis.

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According to the CIA Fact Book, Israel is a country of 8,174,527 people, including the settler in East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights. If it were a US state, it would rank 13th in population, behind Virginia and ahead of Washington. Interestingly, the population density of Israel is 377/km2 which is roughly the same as New Hampshire. The images of Israel on the news show it as a crowded place, but that is not the case. There’s lot of nothing between the cities and towns.

If you put Israel into a search engine it returns 888 million results. If you put New Hampshire into the same search engine, you get 168 million results. No one, of course, cares much about New Hampshire, but just about everyone cares about Israel. Every American politician is required to have an opinion of Israeli and its difficulties with the Arabs. More important, they are required to have the correct opinion about Israel. This is even true of liberals as we saw with Obama and his last minute UN gambit.

Many people on the Dissident Right think the US and the world pays far too much attention to Israel. While there is an obvious cultural and historical attachment for the place in the West, the Israelis can handle themselves. Pat Buchanan would have us cut the cord entirely and leave Israel to her own devises. That would be part of a larger policy of abandoning the Middle East entirely. After all, the oil would still flow onto the world market as it has not where else to go. Who care who pumps it out of the ground?

The paleo-libertarians have a similar view of Israel and the Middle East, but theirs is more from the economic side of things. The cost of meddling far outweighs the benefits. Ron Paul looks at the endless wars and sees nothing but pointless expense. All we are doing, according to Paul, is turning a billion people into enemies for not obvious reason. It is hard to know for sure, but Ron Paul seems to be a guy who roots for the Israelis, but thinks they can handle their own affairs.

That’s probably the right position, but it is hard to see how that can ever happen. The Israelis have become adept at influencing American foreign policy. It’s not just the elaborate lobbying efforts in Washington. They are good at getting their side of things into the news media. Naturally, many Jewish Americans in the media are more than willing to play along. David Brooks is a big shot columnist for the NYTimes and his son is in the Israeli defense Force. It’s not hard to figure where he comes down on Israel.

It’s not just the Israelis. That big Saudi “cultural center” outside DC is not there for no reason. As is the case with Wahhabi mosques all over the world, it is primarily an intelligence facility, but it also serves as a handy clearing house for Arab lobbying efforts in Washington. The Saudis have had a long relationship with the Bush family, of course, but they have good relations with many other prominent politicians. John McCain, for example, can always be counted on to carry water for the House of Saud.

That’s where many on the Dissident Right miss the mark. Israel’s lobbying efforts in the US, and their vast espionage efforts, are as much a response to the Saudi efforts as anything else. The US has been in bed with the House of Saud since the 1930’s. It was US oil companies that first exploited the Saudi oil fields in the 1930’s. Soon after the end of World War II, Aramco was formed and then the headquarters was moved from New York to Dhahran. The point being that the US has a much longer and deeper relationship with the Saudis than the Israelis.

Even if America abandoned Israel entirely, the Saudis would still find ways to entangle us in the Middle East. The fact that the 9/11 hijackers were all Saudis is probably not a coincidence. There’s pretty good evidence that the Saudi family was financing at least some of the hijackers. While Israel could probably get along just fine without US support, the House of Saud evaporates without Uncle Sam protecting them, the oil fields and the Persian Gulf. Therefore, the royal family makes lobbying the US and spying in the US a top priority.

If the US was ever going to get out of the Middle East, it would start with pulling the plug on the Saudis, but no one will ever do it because no one knows what comes next. Despite the problems, the West can do business with the Saudis. US defense contractors operate all over the kingdom, officially and unofficially. They maintain the signal intelligence operations and provide logistical support for US military operations in the region. They also operate as an inlet for intelligence passed from the Saudis. That’s not easily replaced.

The result is the Saudis will exert an outsized influence on US foreign policy and the Israelis will try to counter it and augment it when it works in their favor. The fact that the Israelis and Saudis often work hand and glove to supervise the chaotic Middle East is one of the many contradictions that defines the general lunacy of the region. There’s no escaping this as long as oil is the primary source of energy in the world. Blaming Israel or the many supporters of Israel in the US is not going to alter this reality.

If American wants to get out of the Middle East, it need to divorce the House of Saud.

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47 thoughts on “The Saudis and Israelis.

  1. Seems like it would suit the U.S. if the house of Saud were to fall, and a bunch of Saudi nationals die in a Syria-like war. Our oil becomes more valuable, and we save our selves the cost and trouble of dealing with arabs. let china and europe worry about high oil prices, we have plenty.

  2. Given the increasing amount of Oil, Coal, Methane that is known to be recovarable, so called fossil fuels are here to stay. However, should the research and development for Thorium molten salt reactors be consummated the actual cost of electricity and process heat probably will tumble so low that fossil fuels will become a decreasing percentage of the energy equation. (BTW, Thorium reactors will actually burn most of the high and low level waste produced by standard reactors so waste disposal becomes a trivial problem.) The Chinese may be the ones to develop the Thorium reactor not the USA as politics in America has the last say.

    Dan Kurt

    • If the Chinese develop the Thorium reactor, that will be good thing. Then the rest of the world can steal the design.

    • It is ironic that the Chinese have availed themselves of most of the (now) publicly available research and design data that came out of the Oak Ridge National Lab before the Thorium research was shut down in the late 60s.

    • Thorium MSR’s have the gee whiz factor, but I’m a bit skeptical. The reason is any nuclear technology comes with a very high safety cost (MSR’s do not used cladded fuel pins so the radiation can go anywhere) and there is the proliferation cost. You end up with a lot of weapons grade U-233. The technology is probably 50 years from commercial reality.

      The near term solution is most likely going to be natural gas. Methanol to gasoline technology is not only proven, it is in commercial use. The cost of turning gas into gas, as it were, is dropping to the point where it will rival even cheap Saudi oil and refineries. The next great leap here is regulatory. The Feds just need to let refiners build the refineries here and we will see a revolution in the liquid petroleum markets. Reasonable estimate say that within a decade we can have dollar per gallon gasoline with this technology.

      One very encouraging sign from Team Trump so far is they seem to be ready to open the gates on the energy revolution.

      • Cheap gas plus serif driving cars could do all kinds of fun things to urban real estate. Imagine shuffling out of bed into a self driving minivan where you doze for another hour, shower, dress, have some coffee, etc and are dropped off at your office door. Then the car goes and picks up your dry cleaning and groceries, gets itself filled with gas and such before picking you up from work around three, where you work in the car on the wifi connection until you get home. The big advantage of urban real estate: shorter commutes, could largely collapse.

      • I thought LFTRs were not breeder rectors making them not producers of U-233. In fact, well, per my understanding, it was their lack of “breeding” that made the US not utilize them long ago. Thy wanted reactors producing weapons grade reactive material.
        But my knowledge is that of an interested amateur, not a professional so if I’m wrong, I stand ready to be corrected.

  3. I don’t see how a population of less than 10 million could marshal the resources necessary to counter the historical oppression most of the world has focused on Israel. Today, much of the world will not openly participate in any actions taken against Israel because they fear US reactions. If the abandoned by the US, Israel wouldn’t last a decade.

    In any case, money is not the issue. Currently, the US feeds almost 50 million of its own citizens, most of whom are anti-American in thought if not deed. Need to save money? Well there you go.

    • Typical Jewish thinking. 10 million Jews don’t have enough money just let 50 million Americans starve and give the money for their food to Israel. If they object well they must be “…anti-American…”. If they don’t want their food money to go to the Jews they deserve to starve.

  4. Fuel for the military, first- isn’t that why Saudi became strategically important?

    Very original thinking here, Zman. So insightful.

    • Other Al;

      IIRC, the original decision to rely on ME oil for military use was taken by the British Navy pre WWI. At that time, due to the extensive and powerful British Empire, there was little thought about this creating a strategic vulnerability: ‘Britannia ruled the waves’.

      Also at that time and past WWII, the US had more than enough oil for its own military use and was in fact supplying both the UK and USSR during that conflict. It was the unwinding of the British Empire in the 1950’s that created the strategic vulnerability of NATO should the ME oil fields fall into hands strong enough to deny NATO fuel, i.e. the USSR, that made our involvement in the ME necessary. It was said. Given the fall of the USSR 25 years ago, it is beyond curious why this assumption was never re-examined. As of 1992 until recently, Europe was potentially more than powerful enough to have assured its own energy supplies from the ME. Instead they stupidly promoted the Palestinians to placate the Gulf Arabs.

      Now that Putin has at least partially reconstructed Russian power, of course, the situation is different yet again.

  5. I am convinced that a neutral American foreign policy toward Israel, complete with zero monetary aid, would result in an Israel that is far stronger and more feared than today, that the flow of money and strings and bullshit peace processes are what enables her Arab enemies, feeds the Israeli socialist system, and the one million orthodox males exempt from the defense of Israel.

    Truman knew an Israeli state was against the interest of America. He did the right thing because it was the right thing. Going on this way seventy years is a terrible plan. Better that the Israelis rule the Crescent like the Romans did, only better. Or any other way they want to settle it. We have zero friends there, and have completely lost touch in how to manage enemies. I detest Arab tribes and I like Israel just fine, but anyone who thinks they are a friend of America is an idiot.

  6. Folks tend to focus on the Moslem Broderbund (the Saudis hate them) instead of the Saudi Wahabbi missionary efforts (which Huma’s parents work(ed) for). But it is precisely the dawa branch of the Saudi enterprise that is responsible for some very large fraction of the trouble of in Dar al Islam. The Saudis fund a Wahabbi mosque down the street from some more quietist branch of the faith. They bring in a Saudi trained imam and shower it with money for various “services.” If the quietist imam is exceptionally capable or charismatic, then intimidation tactics are used in addition to the services to steal his flock. Not only is it an intel center, but also a recruiting station, and in hot zones, an armory, C2 node, training center, etc.

    I have forgotten the percentage of mosques run by Saudi imams in the U.S. and Europe, but it is very high.

    • I was in high school when the Arab oil embargo hit. We were also in a recession. My econ teacher had us write papers describing how we would get the economy running, expecting us to concentrate on monetary and fiscal policy. I ignored these because I had been engrossed in reading about energy. One thing that I’d found was that there was a direct and proportional relationship between energy consumption and economic activity . There had never been a sustained economic expansion without a concomitant increase in energy consumption and that historically these correlated with the finding of new or novel exploitation of old energy sources, there being a tie between technological advances and the ability to best exploit sources that were already known. I was still in high school, so my emphasis was mainly on use of government agencies and grants for research and development of alternative sources and more thorough exploitation of our own resources. The idea was to hit every button and try to come up with a way that we would not have to rely on foreigners for energy. Once this was abundant and cheap, if our economy was to be destroyed it would be of our own doing, not that of an enemy a meddler. If I was writing the same thing now I might do something like make the biggest international expert on energy my Secretary of State (heh ), and take advantage of an already knowledgeable private sector to save money on developing the exploitative end.
      One other thing I learned with my research was to not expect to much from kitchen and farm level research. Back then the Mother Earth News was breathlessly describing methane production from farm waste, just like many do today. The Coming Age of Solar Energy is always coming and never quite here. Look up an old Frank Capra movie called You Can’t Take It With You, and listen to Jimmy Stewart talk about solar energy. He sounds just like people today.

      • Doc;

        Right you are_! Energy is even more basic. It’s what feeds us. Without cheap and reliable energy we’d have to revert to US Colonial Era levels of agricultural employment (~ 80% IIRC) leaving little productive capacity for anything other than producing food to sustain a much lower population. I believe that, aside from land and, now, machinery, energy in various forms is the largest factor cost in agriculture. It certainly isn’t labor, as demonstrated by the ongoing depopulation of the rural countryside. Oil makes the fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides, drives the tractors and harvesters and provides the propane to dry the grain, etc.

        • Energy in the form of commercially recoverable profitable reserves is probably the most powerful and influential geopolitical factor in how the world behaves on the international scale.
          I think not even water or food is as important geopolitically. My dictum: The magnitude of energy resources is only eclipsed by the corruption involved in controlling it.
          Being a welder/coal miner, I’ve been in sent to so many coal mines in Appalachia I lost count. Having seen with my own eyes the amount of coal, the number of coal seams, there is just in WV alone, is beyond the scope calculation. There is so much coal it is mind blowing. You can’t imagine how much unless you have seen it with your own eyes. And because technology today, coal can be formulated and refined into as many products as oil. High grade metallurgical coal is back over $300 per ton, because industry is beginning to use it to make all sorts of stuff.
          There is a fellow trying to get going coal to liquid plants, 5 of them up the western spine of WV. He claims his plants can each produce 750,000 gals a day of premium grade gasoline @ $1.75 per gallon, plus all the other products produced from cracking oil, and a few more specific only to coal. Each plant requires 150 personnel to operate it, 500 to build each plant. In WV, each coal miner employed creates 12 support jobs outside of direct mining operations.
          And like coal mining, these coal to liquids plants is not possible because of the corruption and special interests of our very state and federal government. The magnitude of the resources is only eclipsed by the corruption involved in controlling it.

          • Doug;

            Coal was the original fuel of the industrial revolution, starting in England in the 1700’s. And it remained so until well into the mid 1900’s. It would be ironic if it could return to prominence via new processes. Coal-to-oil as an industrial process has been known since the 1930’s – kept the Third Reich in business despite being cut off in 1939. It just has never been cost competitive and is likely to remain so, given fracking. $1.75/gal out of the plant will not be either unless it already incorporates the distribution costs and taxes.

            Originally oil production was mainly to make lamp oil until the advent of the automobile ramped up demand. Interestingly enough, it was John D Rockefeller who really saved the whales by enabling illumination via kerosene and oil-based wax candles that was cheaper than whale oil

          • Oh ya! Coal early on didn’t have the benefit of technology we have today for it’s use as an energy source. Everything has changed in that respect.
            I worked on what is called a High Wall Miner. It is basically a system that uses a remote control mining head, a track cutter with a conveyer, which you sequentially attach cars, like a train, as the miner bores into the side of a mountain following a “rib” of coal. It is incredibly productive. Once a Highwall, or face, and a bench has been countered along a ridge or mountain, you mine in as deep on a horizontal as possible within the limits of how far in the rib goes, number of “cars” you have, and or you literally come out the other side of the ridge or mountain, (on this miner in 2005 we broke the Guinness world record for most amount of coal mined in a 24 hour period). It is about the cheapest per ton method of mining, usually well below $29 per ton. The belt system on the miner counts tonnage continuously, and when you have a really good miner operator who has a great “feel’ for running the miner head, 12 to 17 tons a minute, sometimes more if your in a really nice rib of coal, can continuously come off the stacker belt. The largest loader Cat makes with a 17 to 20 yard coal bucket can barely keep up. It is amazing to watch the coal coming out of the hole.
            Some coal is so good regarding it’s BTU level, sulphur and ash levels so low, it will go whats called direct, no need to run it through the prep plant, it is sent right onto trains trucks and barges. When coal is running good, as a miner or associated mine related occupations you can gross starting pay beginning between 60 and 90 grand a year, it goes up from there. It is a great occupation, challenging, you operate the finest equipment mankind can build, it’s dangerous, and the mine inspectors have done a superman job of creating safe working conditions, and the coal community is a tight nit family, everyone looks out for each other, when somebody is injured or killed, it’s like a family member died. Everyone knows almost everyone. If your dangerous or a nitwit, have a drug problem, you don’t last long, it’s a true peer to peer environment. There is so little about coal mining known outside this community. I’m a Yank from NH, turned coal miner, I can tell you it’s really unique, everything about coal is a win win, and nothing I was told about it in the outside world from the media and environmental advocates is true. The lie is so big it has become gospel.
            The mining and preparation, along with transportation of Coal has some unique qualities no other source of natural extracted energy has. It is very safe to handle in all respects of the process. The techniques and processes are very well established. The preparation plant process is an ingenious closed loop system where everything is recycled. Water and magnetite are the two major components in the process, both are recovered and reused indefinitely, with trace amounts lost in the process. The state and federal environmental safeguards and standards are extremely effective and long established in both mining and prep processes. Coal is able to be mined in a variety of methods, the transportation of coal is as safe as hauling gravel.
            The coal to liquids process is a recovery rich process, where numerous materials used in every aspect of our lives are produced. Nothing goes to waste. The whole coal thing is a national treasure unequaled. Im telling you there is so much coal in the Appalachian mountains it boggles your mind when you see it. In some places you can count 20 or more coal seams in a 500 foot range of elevation at a surface mine, with more down below the lowest surface extraction pit that is deep mined. Just by estimates of commercially feasible known reserves of coal, in WV alone, if only coal was used to supply all the energy requirements of the intuited states there is 150 years of reserves. And when they say “known” reserves, by some estimates, those reserves are a fraction of what is speculated to be recoverable.
            So think about all that for a second, and ask the question why is coal treated as if it was this evil planet destroying substance? And when it comes to using coal for electrical generation, it is King. No other method is as abundant, as cheap, easy to handle, safe and practical, nor does any other energy resource even come close to the quantity of good paying jobs that coal use creates.
            See, with oil and gas, once it is extracted, they go into a monopoly distribution system, a bottle neck of pipelines and distribution nexuses, where it requires little labor, where a handful of powerful people have total control on price and supply, where they can manipulate the price to whatever they can get away with. Gas especially so. That is another reason why gas Fracking is maligned, because all sorts of people can easily mine for it, which bites into the monopoly and control scam. And when it comes to coal, because it is such an easy mining process, inherently safe to handle it, easy to transport by truck, train, and conveyor belt, where all sorts of little guys can extract and sell it on the open market with no monopoly such as gas and oil. An incredible lie about coal has been foisted on us to justify it’s extinction in order for a few people and their buddies can have a monopoly on our energy stream.
            We been cheated, betrayed, lied to, had, conned, and robbed as people economically on a scale nothing can compare to it by our political “elites”.

          • Doug: Thanks for your perspective. I am way pro coal being from the Colo/Wyo area, however know but zilch about the eastern methodologies. It would be good to listen to you over a beer, except that you are a damn yankee…………kidding…..Soapweed

          • Oh your welcome man. I’m a Copperhead now. Hey! Got some decent home-brew, and wine made from wild blueberries and black raspberries off my land be delighted to share with you. Palaver long into the night.
            You guys have those gigantic Lignite seams in Wyoming. Lot of fellows from WV went out to work in wyoming since the the regime shut coal down here. Pay rate is excellent I hear. Buddy of mine sent some phone pics, those are humongus coal seams.

      • Very well said doc. I too remember what you describe, and man do you hit it on the nose. Not for nothing, I’m freakin’ fed up with being these corporate and political scums private piggy bank, seeing our great and prosperous nation strip mined and manipulated down to the last buck.
        These crooks, and that is what they are, Saudi’s included have gone too far, have too much power, and have created an unmitigated disaster out of the world in pursuit of money.
        It’s time to revolt you guys. Time to get rid of these scum running our country.

      • Maybe you guys have a perspective on another part of what Zman wrote about. This is my basic tenet, everything else aside, Isreal is pretty much the only remaining constitutional like Republic other than the US in the western hemisphere.
        That in itself to me should be cause for our respective country’s to be allies.

  7. The trick will be in slowly diminishing our investment there in lives and treasure. And who better to do it than the guy who just won the presidency by spending half as much as his opponent?

    • We should slowly draw down the bribes we have been paying Israel AND Egypt since the Carter Administration to stop fighting each other.

  8. Seems to me that a return to a hard realpolitik view of the Middle East is the only viable option. Even the lukewarm support given Al-Sisi at least reflected a diversion from the lunacy that supported the Libya fiasco and the removal of Mubarak after Obama’s “Look at Me, I’m Stupid” speaking tour. Then there is the whole Assad mess…after getting their asses kicked by the Israelis enough times, Syria and Israel at least had a wary truce of sorts. And the Israelis wanted none of this rebel and Arab Spring BS…rightfully saw it as nothing but a great way to get a bunch of crazy Islamists parked on the northern border.
    Hard to read the Trump tea leaves, but if he is taking advice from Kissinger and has guys like Tillerson and Mattis out front, there will be a realistic view of what can and can’t be done in the region. The Israelis will always have their own interests, and as P.J. O’Rourke put it, “the Israelis learned their manners from the Germans”. They will never be warm cuddly people, but will be predictable and clear about where their interests and ours intersect. The Saudis will always be duplicitous liars ruling a bunch of 7th century reprobates. I’ve dealt with them on a business basis. They are pieces of shit for the most part. But if you know that, you act accordingly. One thing we do is push for energy independence to lessen any shock from a collapse in the Kingdom. Then any instability is pushed to the Europeans and Chinese to worry about on a more immediate basis. One thing we will miss longer term is the advantageous distraction provided by the Iran/Iraq intramural warfare. We’ve already seen what Obama’s fecklessness combined with the free time provided the Iranians by not having to worry about their southern flank has produced. Not good. Obama has handed Trump a shit sandwich, we’ll see what he makes of it.

  9. Saudi Arabia is a tribal kingdom upon which a Westphalian nation-state was superimposed by the West. The rate of cousin marriage is approximately 60% and the *average* IQ is 84. For reference, the DSM fourth edition (pre-PC infection) identifies the IQ range of 70-84 as “Borderline Intellectual Functioning” and everything below as some form of Retardation. The Saudis are the textbook definition of inbred morons.

    The Saudi pattern of cousin marriage and IQ is repeated across most of the MENA countries. This is an entire geographic region full of inbred morons. The smart ones emigrate to the West, which exacerbates the problem.

    There is no hope for Saudi Arabia or the rest of the MENA countries in a modern, knowledge-based economy. As a populace, they are simply too dumb to compete with the high-IQ countries, most of which are Asian and European. When the oil runs dry Saudi Arabia and the rest of the region will collapse, Zimbabwe-style, into dependency.

    On a political level, the brutal truth is that these populations are too inbred and dumb to support an independent nation-state in accordance with Western standards. The West solved this dilemma by treating the MENA countries as client states of Western countries, contributing technology and expat talent, allowing the talented tenth of the client state to manage internal affairs, and turning a blind eye to the “human rights abuses” necessary to maintain order in the asylum. It was not perfect but the trains ran on time, the oil flowed, and the MENA region was moderately functional during this time period.

    Jimmy Carter ended this relatively tranquil equilibrium when he abandoned the Shah in favor of Ayatollah Khomeini and enabled the Iranian revolution, and almost 40 years of predictable chaos has followed. Carter was driven to act by his liberal theology, which compelled him to believe that all people are equal and, therefore, the “human rights abuses” necessary to maintain order in the asylum were unacceptable.

    The MENA region is, and has always been, a collection of backwards tribal societies. The West can’t change that. We can, however, put the genie back in the bottle, but first we have to destroy the type of liberal theology that drove Carter. Reform begins at home.

    • I’d add that the system of governance in the region has always favored parasitic, authoritarian regimes. The people in charge rule with an iron fist in order to skim off what they can from the subject people. To some degree this is the natural consequence of warfare in a region without good geographical barriers. But, it has had an impact on how the people evolved in this region. They cannot trust the authorities to broker disputes, so they rely on family and kinship. This has kept a form of tribalism in place for thousands of years. As a result, the people have evolved the social traits that make these social structures work. Simply transplanting western institutions is doomed to failure.

      The great challenge for the West will be containing these populations for the next half century until their numbers begin to decline.

  10. 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudis because Bin Laden deliberately picked them to split US from Saudi.
    If we left they’d be under the Ayatollah’s knife inside a year and the Israelis would have to nuke somebody.

  11. The Saudis and Israelis have the same enemies in the Middle-East: the Shia Muslims, Hezbollah, Iran, Assad,.. the former Israeli Ambassor to the US said himself that the Shia are the biggest threat to Israel, Sunni terrorists like Al-Qaeda or ISIS never attacked Israel and the former Israeli defense minister said he prefer Syria with Al-Qaeda than Assad.

    Most of the Sunni States are effectively US protectorates and have unofffcial alliance with Israel.

  12. Damn Z Man;

    Nailed it_! Unlike the much discussed Israel lobby, Gulf Arab bribery is the (mostly) unheralded constant in US foreign (and now domestic) policy. Our entire ME ‘policy’ makes a lot more ‘sense’ if you view it as an ongoing contest about who pulls our strings and how.

    Bribery, particularly competitive bribery, is the most unexamined factor in ‘political science’. The reason is obvious: Cloud Folks really don’t want any attention given to the subject, regardless of any other political differences.

  13. On a tangential note, is Israel in favor or against the overthrow of Assad in Syria? If in favor, what do they think they stand to gain from it?

    • I think they are categorically opposed. Assad Sr. learned his lesson fighting the Israelis and imperiling the Alawite regime by getting his ass kicked each time. With Golan as a buffer there was a long standing truce of sorts. Overthrowing Assad Jr. opens up multiple options, of which only one. western style democracy, is the both highly unlikely and the only one that would be an improvement from the current situation. All the others are negative. But living in a bad neighborhood makes one a realist.

      • What’s going on there is probably all good to them. Assad stays in power but is greatly weakened and everyone involved is too busy killing each other to threaten Israel.

      • No it was their idea to kill Assad. They fund it and provide arms and medical care to the people fighting Assad. The general idea is to fragment the Middle East into smaller portions that will be kept fighting each other rather than Israel.

  14. Pingback: America Must Divorce the House of Saud | IowaDawg's Very Own Blawg

  15. American interference in the Middle East, which has occurred only after Truman’s harebrained decision to recognize Israel in 1948, has cost trillions of dollars, many American lives, and has saddled us with many undesirable immigrants. Yet Israel’s increasingly apartheid State has alienated much of the world, and has severely hampered American diplomacy…While I wish Israel well, I do not understand the case for continuing military and financial subsidization of Israel.

    • >> American interference in the Middle East, which has occurred only after Truman’s harebrained decision to recognize Israel in 1948

      This statement is simply not correct. American oil companies were operating in the Middle East before WWII. Their involvement increased significantly when US signed the Anglo-American Petroleum Agreement in 1944. Going forward from 1944, American policy in the Middle East was almost entirely about ensuring access to oil resources and pipeline routes. Any consideration about Israel is secondary.

  16. As someone who believes we should bring all the troops, planes and ships home and pursue a neutralist policy, I would not cry if KSA were eliminated and that would happen not to long after we left.

    I do respect the thoughts of Col. Lang and his committee of correspondence. He has mentioned that the Houthis next door are our natural allies. If we have to stay there, I am for giving the Houthis what they need to get to Riyadh. Had there been no oil beneath the desert, the world would have never heard of the House of Saud.

  17. “The images of Israel on the news show it as a crowded place, but that is not the case. There’s lot of nothing between the cities and towns.”

    Part of the illusion is that most of the reporters and camera crews spend all their time in Tel-Aviv or Jerusalem; they are more densely populated than other parts of the country so the image that gets transmitted out to the world is of a very crowded country. I’m sure that places like Singapore or Hong Kong pack more people into less territory relatively. That said, Israel isn’t a huge place either; New Hampshire isn’t the same as Texas so to speak.

    “Many people on the Dissident Right think the US and the world pays far too much attention to Israel.”

    I’m guessing that most Israelis would probably agree and wish that they weren’t the focus of so much interest too. That said, I don’t think the media is going to pay less attention to them for one big reason that never gets much airtime on the right which is that its a media friendly and media geared conflict. Israel is a first world country with all the amenities and a short commute from people who are willing to give the media an exotic story. Twenty minutes after you land in Israel, you can be in a five star Jerusalem hotel and fifteen minutes after that, you can be in a village in the West Bank that is guaranteed to give you a sob story. Nobody is going to arrest and torture you if your story is going to be hostile to the Israeli government plus if some sergeant in the IDF gives you an issue, you call your bureau chief and he makes problems directly with that same government. Meanwhile the Palestinians not only give you a story but a safe one too; no Western journalist is under the threat of kidnapping or beheading in the West Bank. The last time some splinter group took two journalists into custody in Gaza a few years ago, they let them go in under an hour with a blubbering apology and excuses that amount to “there was some miscommunication”. Is it any shock that lazy media brats are there rather than the deserts of Sonora where some drug cartel or corrupt police might decide to actually cut their tongues out?

    The only way journalists are going to stop covering Israel, given an environment like that is if some Palestinian group goes full ISIS and starts cutting head off or if the Israeli government finally plays some hardball and starts expelling or blackmailing news bureaus. Until things become dangerous Israel and the West Bank will continue to dominate the foreign news headlines.

    “The Israelis have become adept at influencing American foreign policy. It’s not just the elaborate lobbying efforts in Washington. They are good at getting their side of things into the news media.”

    The thing about Israel and the rest of the various lobbying apparatus of other nations is that its a result of the United States being a power. A world power has nations that lobby for influence in its capital. When Britain was the power, people came to London to lobby. If the Soviets had won the Cold War, nations would come to Moscow to lobby in the halls of the Politburo. If power ever moves to Beijing or New Deli, nations will come to those cities to lobby. Its not an unusual thing. Why does the right always act like it is?

    “David Brooks is a big shot columnist for the NYTimes and his son is in the Israeli defense Force.”

    The thing about this bit where we hear about the son of some prominent Jewish American (though in Brooks case there are rumors that he’s converted or thinking about it) who goes to serve in the IDF is that part of it is a signaling scam on their part. In Israel the army isn’t just a military but also a social institution. The combat units, the “teeth” of the army, the one’s that will be fighting in Gaza or Lebanon aren’t where any foreigners are serving. If his son had really immigrated there, it would be more plausible that he was going to serve for real. But the reality is probably that David Brooks’ kid went over to some program that let him march and shoot a couple of times and then did busy work behind the lines somewhere. Its why he didn’t up and join the American army. In the US he’d have to really train and then risk going into the field. Like this if the younger Brooks decides to follow his father into the opinion journalism field, he can say that he has military experience and not just that but in a real military that is admired in the US too.

  18. While there is an obvious cultural and historical attachment for the place in the West, the Israelis can handle themselves.

    This is a common misconception here in America. The average European Christian is on the side of the Palestinians. And it’s not all about anti-Semitism. It’s also about the fact that the indigenous Christians in the region, descendants of the oldest Christian communities comma are also on the Palestinian side.

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