March 27, 2006

Hitch on Walt and Mearsheimer

Christopher Hitchens offers his two cents on "The Lobby."

Rather than focus on Saudi Arabia, as Lee Smith has done, he instead chooses Pakistan and Turkey:
For purposes of contrast, let us look at two other regional allies of the United States. Both Turkey and Pakistan have been joined to the Pentagon hip since approximately the time of the emergence of the state of Israel, which coincided with the Truman Doctrine. Pakistan was, like Israel, cleaved from a former British territory. Since that time, both states have carried out appalling internal repression and even more appalling external aggression. Pakistan attempted a genocide in Bangladesh, with the support of Nixon and Kissinger, in 1971. It imposed the Taliban as its client in a quasi-occupation of Afghanistan. It continues to arm and train Bin Ladenists to infiltrate Indian-held Kashmir, and its promiscuity with nuclear materials exceeds anything Israel has tried with its stockpile at Dimona. Turkey invaded Cyprus in 1974 and continues in illegal occupation of the northern third of the island, which has been forcibly cleansed of its Greek inhabitants. It continues to lie about its massacre of the Armenians. U.N. resolutions have had no impact on these instances of state terror and illegality in which the United States is also partially implicated.


But here's the thing: There is no Turkish or Pakistani ethnic "lobby" in America. And here's the other thing: There is no call for "disinvestment" in Turkey or Pakistan. We are not incessantly told that with these two friends we are partners in crime. Perhaps the Greek Cypriots and Indians are in error in refusing to fly civilian aircraft into skyscrapers. That might get the attention of the "realists." Or perhaps the affairs of two states, one secular Muslim and one created specifically in the name of Islam, do not possess the eternal fascination that attaches to the Jewish question.
Then there's this:
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."
But it's the concluding paragraph that's classic Hitch:
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.
Unmistakably smelly?! Top that, Lee!

Tony Badran

Posted by Tony Badran at March 27, 2006 10:05 PM
Comments

Yeah, classic Hitch!

"Since that time, both states have carried out appalling internal repression and even more appalling external aggression. Pakistan attempted a genocide in Bangladesh..."

Now, what appalling internal repression and even more appalling external aggression has Israel carried out?

Hitch doesn't say, so you might help us.

Posted by: shira at March 27, 2006 07:33 PM

Why would you assume that I might be of help!?

Posted by: Tony at March 27, 2006 07:57 PM

Shira,

Hitch is referring in the sentence that you quote to Pakistan and Turkey, not to Israel,

Andrew

Posted by: Apostolou at March 27, 2006 08:01 PM

Hitchens' references to Pakistan and Turkey rather miss the point. The argument that Mearsheimer and Walt make is not, as Hitchens would have it, that Israel is treated uniquely favorably among nations that have committed unsavory acts, but that it is treated uniquely favorably among nations that have committed unsavory acts where American national self-interest does not provide an explanation for the behavior.

When you factor in that consideration, the rationale for favorable treatment of Turkey and Pakistan becomes abundantly clear. The reason for the favorable treatment of Israel remains similarly clear, though quite different.

Posted by: J.B.S. at March 28, 2006 02:35 AM

Hitchen's article is quite good. I hope that Andrew, Tony and Lee, as well as numerous posters to this website, might learn from this. Note how Hitch is able to make an argument without resorting to ad hominem arguments about the authors' sobriety, or making shrill accusations of anti-semitism. You don't always have to yell like a teenager to win a debate, in fact yelling is usually counterproductive.

Posted by: Vanya at March 28, 2006 06:54 AM

Chomsky weighs in with his opinions:

http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?SectionID=11&ItemID=9999

Posted by: markus at March 28, 2006 12:13 PM

Tentacular? Spectacular. I wish I'd thought of that.

Posted by: bk at March 28, 2006 12:33 PM

Having lived in Washington 30 years, I'd say the profs are crashing through open doors.

What more proof do you need than the AIPAC conference, where a lobby engaged in spying on the US was mightily praised by Dick Cheney AND the Democrats.

No amount of logical gymnastics is going to fool people about this one. We all remember Eric Alterman's list. I dare you to post it.

Posted by: skip at March 28, 2006 03:54 PM

JBS:not, as Hitchens would have it, that Israel is treated uniquely favorably among nations that have committed unsavory acts, but that it is treated uniquely favorably among nations that have committed unsavory acts where American national self-interest does not provide an explanation for the behavior.

A guy who used to work for me is doing a book on A.Q. Kahn which should make it prety clear that we treated Pakistan very well during active proliferation to North Korea and Iran.

I don't think it was in our interest to end the Gulf War One in great deal to Ankara's interests in avoiding a possible Iraqi Kurdish automnomy. Ankara and the pro-Turkish lobby in the US drove a lot of that decision.

Pakistan has abetted existential threats to the United States. Ending Gulf One early was a favor to Turkey, which acted in ways more detrimental to our strategy and outcome in the current Iraq war than did France, Germany, the Soviets, and arguably Tehran.

Posted by: G at March 28, 2006 10:03 PM

JBS: You don't understand the argument Hitch makes with respect to Israel, Pakistan and Turkey. What Hitchens is saying is that there is an equivalence between the extra-territorial exploits of the three countries: Israel invading neighbors, Turkey invading and partitioning Cyprus, and Pakistan wreaking havoc in Bangladesh. The difference, he contends, is that there are no Bangladeshi or Greek-Cypriot terrorists avenging these wrongs the way there are Arab/Muslim anti-Israel terrorists waging war against anything and everything associated with the Jewish state. It seems quite obvious that Hitchens means to say the uncommon denominator is historical anti-Semitism.

Posted by: JBS hata at March 29, 2006 07:42 AM

Andrew:

No he is NOT referring to Pakistan and Turkey. Where did you get that idea from?

Hitchens wrote:

"Pakistan was, like Israel, cleaved from a former British territory. Since that time, both states have carried out appalling internal repression and even more appalling external aggression."

So how could he be referring to Turkey and Pakistan?

It is crystal clear that Hitchens is referring to Pakistan and Israel.

How ON EARTH can you come to any other conclusion?

Hitchens is a long time supporter of the "Palestinian cause" (that is, the cause to destroy Israel) and was a supporter of George Habash's gang and he hasn’t changed a bit.

Learn to read.

(this comment is posted by a friend of Shira’s who is observing the Sabbath and will check back on Sunday.)

Posted by: shira at March 31, 2006 06:22 PM

Shira, I reread that portion of the essay and Hitchens is referring to Turkey and Pakistan. The wording of the sentence you cite above is terrible and confusing. But in the context of the full paragraph, its pretty clear he is not talking about Israel.

Posted by: JBShata at April 1, 2006 09:03 AM

You guys are either liars or you are so stupid you can't think straight. I opt for the former. Hitchens is now an ally of yours, you lie on his behalf. Typical Trot maneuver.

"Both Turkey and Pakistan have been joined to the Pentagon hip since approximately the time of the emergence of the state of Israel, which coincided with the Truman Doctrine. Pakistan was, like Israel, cleaved from a former British territory. Since that time, both states have carried out appalling internal repression and even more appalling external aggression."

Hitchens knows damned well what he is saying. First he talks about Turkey & Pakistan. Then he lumps Israel and Pakistan in the SAME CATEGORY because both were once British "territory". (Actually the lying drunk is wrong: neither was ever British "territory." But never mind.)

Then having put Israel and Pakistan in the same category, he charges both former British "territories" with "APPALLING INTERNAL REPRESSION AND EVEN MORE APPALLING EXTERNAL AGGRESSION."

No honest human being can read this paragraph and come to ANY OTHER CONCLUSION!

You are all lying to save face.

Hitchens is a longtime supporter of the "Palestinians" who hates Israel with a passion and with a vengeance, and because he happens to be on your side on this Iraq war you make excuses for him. Disgusting.

Hitchens continues to support George Habash and to call David Irving a "great historian."

He's the one who is smelly.

Ignoramuses. Unprincipled ignoramuses.

Posted by: shira at April 1, 2006 09:07 PM
Israel invading neighbors

Except that what Israel did was invade its attackers, a difference with huge significance.

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