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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