Middle East atemporal

Noiembrie 27, 2011

Capitalism, imperialism and Zionism

Filed under: Uncategorized — mihaibeltechi @ 6:04 pm

 


I want to put into one place my thoughts on what is the root cause of what, between capitalism, imperialism and Zionism. There is an argument that the Middle East is so strategically important, or has so much oil, that there is an imperialistic or capitalist impulse to station an outpost there, and Zionism is an expression of that impulse. In other words, either imperialism created Zionism, or capitalism created Zionism.

Maybe instead of „created” the argument can be that imperialism or capitalism sustains Zionism. And maybe instead of „Zionism”, the argument can be that imperialism or capitalism sustains what we know of as the enforced Jewish political majority state of Israel.

Underneath that argument, I think, is the idea that international strategy, as practiced by powerful states, empires and power-blocs, is a cold and rational endeavor that should not be explained by sentimentality, emotions or individual biases.

The point of this post is to invite discussion on this topic. So I’ll put my position here first.

What I believe the arguments that Zionism is an artifact of a broader phenomenon miss is that Zionism makes other things harder. Capitalist goals are more difficult for Israel’s backers to achieve than they would be if there was no Israel. Imperialist goals are more difficult for Israel’s backers to achieve than they would be if there was no Israel.

Capitalism first, the US capitalist class would have no problem trading with and profiting from Iran‘s energy reserves today. The US is foregoing substantial profits for its position with respect to Iran that no US capitalist or strategist believes will ever be recovered.

Iran is also notable in that there has been a clear contest between capitalist interests and Zionist interests in the US political system and Zionism won. An AIPAC lobbyist recounts the story here:

So we get ILSA. It passes overwhelmingly. That same year I brought some Conoco guys to AIPAC’s policy conference, where half the House and half the Senate usually attend, and they knew that night that they would never win anything against us. So they began to cooperate. A lot of the oil companies realized, ‘We’re not gonna beat these guys in Congress, so we might as well try to tailor their activities, where we at least have some room to work.’ And I was the go-between. I was the guy.

Not only or even primarily for moral reasons or to be consistent with its professed values, the United States should abandon Zionism for commercial or capitalist reasons. The Middle East would be much different if there had never been an Israel and it would be much different if the US had abandoned Zionism and advocated a one-state egalitarian resolution to the Zionist conflict at any point in its history.

But in those alternative Middle Easts, the United States, it is pretty clear to me, would be collecting more profits in the region rather than less. The huge commercial advantages that US firms enjoyed relative to the rest of the world immediately after World War II would be dissipating more slowly and would today remain larger rather than smaller if the US had not associated itself with Zionism.

Strategically again, the US’ goals are more difficult to reach because of its commitment to Zionism than it would be without. The United States does have a strategic interest in ensuring that no one state gains monopoly control over all of the oil in the region. For that reason, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, UAE and Saudi Arabia have to remain in some modicum of balance, with none completely dominant over the other.

But there are other places where the US has an interest in some modicum of balance. For example between France, Great Britain and Germany, between Brazil and Argentina or between South Korea, China and Japan. Those other places are instructive in that the balance does not have to be of artificially weak states.

Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia have to, by US strategic goals, be not substantially out of balance with each other, but also – and this is the unique result of the US commitment to Zionism – each weaker than Israel, a country with fewer than six million Jews and no significant natural resources.

Other than the oil states, the United States maintains a string of pro-US colonial dictatorships in Egypt, Jordan and others that provide the US no strategic service at all other than protecting Israel as an enforced majority Jewish political state from those countries’ populations.

The US can strategically tolerate popularly accountable governments in Japan, Brazil and France but cannot in Israel’s region because its commitment to Zionism poses a more difficult constraint on US strategic policy in the Middle East.

It seems that from a US strategic point of view, the Middle East has worked out for the best. Again, the US was in an unparalleled position of world dominance after World War II and it had enough resources to conduct its strategic policy while bearing the constraints imposed by Zionism. That does not mean Zionism did not make it more difficult.

The United States is actively fighting against the people of the Middle East in a way that it is not fighting against the people of Europe or the people of South America. For the first time that I remember, the administration of the president of the United States, while in office, has begun to admit that it does not believe it can win that fight forever.

First, we cannot ignore the long-term population trends that result from the Israeli occupation. …

Second, we cannot be blind to the political implications of continued conflict. …

And then finally, we must recognize that the ever-evolving technology of war is making it harder to guarantee Israel’s security. …

Looking again at Iran, a plausible-sounding argument can be made that the Shah was trading oil on what for technical reasons, were the best prices he could get. But there was no explaining his relations with Israel. Just as there is no explaining Mubarak’s or Tantawi’s maintenance of the blockade of Gaza or Jordan’s or Saudi Arabia’s coordination of their policy regarding the Palestinians with the US and Israel.

Looking at the Cold War, again remembering that the US entered the Cold War with tremendous material and strategic advantages, there should have been no contest for the allegiance of the most religious region in the world for the side that believes that the public sphere should coexist with the separate religious sphere against the side of militant athiests.

Religion should have been one of the US’ most powerful weapons for use against the USSR in the Middle East. Zionism instead turned it into a weapon the USSR could use against the US. Nasser, speaking before an audience of trade unionists, justified his relationship with the Soviet Union not in terms of the advancement of workers (and this was a trade union audience) but in terms of the Soviet Union’s offers of assistance in overcoming Zionism.

We must know and learn a big lesson today. We must actually see that, in its hypocrisy and in its talks with the Arabs, the United States sides with Israel 100 per cent and is partial in favour of Israel. Why is Britain biased towards Israel? The West is on Israel’s side. General de Gaulle’s personality caused him to remain impartial on this question and not to toe the US or the British line; France therefore did not take sides with Israel.

The Soviet Union’s attitude was great and splendid. It supported the Arabs and the Arab nation. It went to the extent of stating that, together with the Arabs and the Arab nation, it would resist any interference or aggression.

Today every Arab knows foes and friends. If we do not learn who our enemies and our friends are, Israel will always be able to benefit from this behaviour. It is clear that the United States is an enemy of the Arabs because it is completely biased in favour of Israel. It is also clear that Britain is an enemy of the Arabs because she, too, is completely biased in favour of Israel. On this basis we must treat our enemies and those who side with our enemies as actual enemies. We can accord them such treatment. In fact we are not States without status. We are States of status occupying an important place in the world. Our States have thousands of years of civilization behind them -7,000 years of civilization. Indeed, we can do much; we can expose the hypocrisy – the hypocrisy of our enemies if they try to persuade us that they wish to serve our interest. The United States seeks to serve only Israel’s interests. Britain also seeks to serve only Israel’s interests.

West ended up militarily overpowering Nasser’s Egypt by using resources from its member countries but we should not lose sight of the fact that but for Zionism, the West need have no more reason to defeat Egypt than it ever had to defeat Brazil in war.

Zionism makes dictatorships like Iran’s Shah or those of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, UAE, Kuwait and others necessary from a US strategic point of view while at the same time provides a clear, easy to understand and nearly universally agreed-upon popular criticism of the stooge dictatorships the US needs. This is an intrinsically unstable arrangement and US strategists have the luxury of tolerating more stable arrangements everywhere else in the world.

The place where US strategic policy is most likely to go wrong, the place where the most strategic, diplomatic and military efforts must be exerted to prevent US strategic objectives from failing is the Middle East. Because of Zionism.

So I still believe the best explanation for US support of Israel is that US Jews form the heart of an effective lobbying group on Israel’s behalf. Because of this lobbying, the United States pays a far higher price to achieve its capitalist and imperialist objectives than it does elsewhere in the world and that it would if it advocated a South Africa-style one state resolution to the conflict over Zionism.

1 comentariu »

  1. PBS has published an inside account of the US pro-Israeli lobbying apparatus. The story is told by Keith Weissman, a former senior AIPAC lobbyist:
    „So we get ILSA. It passes overwhelmingly. That same year I brought some Conoco guys to AIPAC’s policy conference, where half the House and half the Senate usually attend, and they knew that night that they would never win anything against us. So they began to cooperate. A lot of the oil companies realized, ‘We’re not gonna beat these guys in Congress, so we might as well try to tailor their activities, where we at least have some room to work.’ And I was the go-between. I was the guy. I mean, BP still credits me with being the guy who greased the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline, because of my work with them. That was originally designed as an anti-Iran project.
    Out of nowhere, Saudi Arabia makes an appearance.
    Even Prince Bandar ibn Sultan, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the United States, and Adel al-Jubeir – then the Saudi embassy spokesman and currently the ambassador – welcomed AIPAC’s work in helping to support the BTC pipeline and isolating Iran, its Persian Gulf rival, economically. Remembers Weissman:

    „Prince Bandar used to send us messages. I used to meet with Adel al-Jubeir a couple times a year. Adel used to joke that if we could force an American embargo on Iranian oil, he’d buy us all Mercedes! Because Saudi [Arabia] would have had the excess capacity to make up for Iran at that time.”
    AIPAC discussions on US calls for regime change.
    „[Support for regime change] was the personal opinion of many people in AIPAC, but it never uttered the words ‘regime change.’ And I think my efforts were part of the reason why they never did,” he says, adding: „How would it look anyway? This is what makes it so stupid! The American Jewish community choosing the next government of Iran? Helping to change the next government of Iran? How can that government have any legitimacy? It’s completely ridiculous. And I think the arguments that I raised against it convinced AIPAC, no matter what they personally thought, they realized that what I was saying was right.”
    This is mostly not new information, but interesting to see it in one place and spoken from the inside.
    Chalabi and AIPAC did have relations before the invasion of Iraq, of course. But Weissman was highly skeptical of Chalabi. „Chalabi came to AIPAC in the late 1990s,” he recalls. „I’ll never forget sitting across the table from him, and he said, ‘If I ever become president of Iraq, one of the first things I’ll do is to recognize Israel.’ And I think to myself, ‘The second thing you’ll do is, you’ll get a bullet in the back of your head.’ And I walked out of the room. I knew he was a complete idiot. Or a liar.”

    But he adds: „There were a lot of contacts between the Jewish community and the INC. In 2000, 2001, the INC spoke at the AIPAC policy conference. So there were links between the Jewish community groups and the Iraqi exiles, and also between the neocons and the Iraqi exiles.” But Weissman insists that even so, the FBI and the Justice Department erred in believing that the contacts amounted to anything like espionage or a national security threat that required an FBI inquiry. Instead, he says, the FBI launched an investigation to go after what they saw as a conspiracy to support war in Iraq and, after that, regime change in Iran. Personally, Weissman believes that both the war in Iraq and regime change in Iran were wrongheaded. „I think that they were all bad policies, policies that a lot of people in the U.S. government badly wanted to discredit,” he says.
    And an explanation of why a liberal Jewish US citizen who personally opposes AIPAC’s positions would have worked for the primary Jewish lobbying organization:
    And Weissman? Why didn’t he just quit, and do something else? It turns out that sometimes the simplest explanation is the one that rings most true. It was a job. „Well,” he says. „Two kids in college. I finally got up to over a hundred thousand dollars. I got to work on issues that I liked, and I was able to have some influence. I was listened to. I was able to keep AIPAC away from the Iraqi opposition in the 1990s, and to keep AIPAC away from regime change later on. Those were the things I liked, and those were the things I thought I did good on.”

    Finally, he says, „And I was looking for another job when all this happened.”
    A couple of things about this article that I recommend.

    1) We see a direct conflict between the Israel lobby and the oil lobby, and we see not only that the Israel lobby won, but that it did so decisively and to the degree that the oil learned the lesson to refrain from trying to oppose the Israel lobby in the future.

    2) Possibly even more than I had realized, hostility between Iran and the United States is the product of lobbying in the US on behalf of Israel. While „moderates” such as Weisman have ensured that AIPAC itself does not officially call for regime change, it is clear that refraining for regime change calls goes against the instincts of AIPAC members and funders themselves as well as against the impulses of proponents of Israel in the Bush and Obama administrations, including Dennis Ross, Hillary Clinton and most of the US Middle East diplomatic corps.

    3) Saudi Arabia. I’m going to make the obvious point that this supposed rivalry with Iran was not an issue when Iran was ruled by a US-imposed dictator, the Shah. When the Shah was overthrown, suddenly the US-oriented dictator of what we call ‘Saudi’ Arabia realized that Iran was some eternal rival. One way or another, Saudi Arabia also managed to be in a rivalry with Egypt after Nasser freed his people of a British oriented dictator.

    Yet somehow, neither Egypt under Nasser or Iran ever offered to buy gifts for the US Israel lobby in return for anti-Saudi policies. In fact, no mention of any complaints at all with the Saudis on the part of AIPAC.

    The article overall is a relatively rare moment of confirmation of how and why the US operates its US/Zionist colonial structure in the Middle East, which contains Egypt (as of now), Saudi Arabia, UAE, Jordan, Kuwait and others – and which works to prevent the development of countries in the region that are outside that structure such as Iran, Lebanon, Iraq, Libya, Syria and others.

    PBS has published an inside account of the US pro-Israeli lobbying apparatus. The story is told by Keith Weissman, a former senior AIPAC lobbyist:
    „So we get ILSA. It passes overwhelmingly. That same year I brought some Conoco guys to AIPAC’s policy conference, where half the House and half the Senate usually attend, and they knew that night that they would never win anything against us. So they began to cooperate. A lot of the oil companies realized, ‘We’re not gonna beat these guys in Congress, so we might as well try to tailor their activities, where we at least have some room to work.’ And I was the go-between. I was the guy. I mean, BP still credits me with being the guy who greased the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline, because of my work with them. That was originally designed as an anti-Iran project.
    Out of nowhere, Saudi Arabia makes an appearance.
    Even Prince Bandar ibn Sultan, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the United States, and Adel al-Jubeir – then the Saudi embassy spokesman and currently the ambassador – welcomed AIPAC’s work in helping to support the BTC pipeline and isolating Iran, its Persian Gulf rival, economically. Remembers Weissman:

    „Prince Bandar used to send us messages. I used to meet with Adel al-Jubeir a couple times a year. Adel used to joke that if we could force an American embargo on Iranian oil, he’d buy us all Mercedes! Because Saudi [Arabia] would have had the excess capacity to make up for Iran at that time.”
    AIPAC discussions on US calls for regime change.
    „[Support for regime change] was the personal opinion of many people in AIPAC, but it never uttered the words ‘regime change.’ And I think my efforts were part of the reason why they never did,” he says, adding: „How would it look anyway? This is what makes it so stupid! The American Jewish community choosing the next government of Iran? Helping to change the next government of Iran? How can that government have any legitimacy? It’s completely ridiculous. And I think the arguments that I raised against it convinced AIPAC, no matter what they personally thought, they realized that what I was saying was right.”
    This is mostly not new information, but interesting to see it in one place and spoken from the inside.
    Chalabi and AIPAC did have relations before the invasion of Iraq, of course. But Weissman was highly skeptical of Chalabi. „Chalabi came to AIPAC in the late 1990s,” he recalls. „I’ll never forget sitting across the table from him, and he said, ‘If I ever become president of Iraq, one of the first things I’ll do is to recognize Israel.’ And I think to myself, ‘The second thing you’ll do is, you’ll get a bullet in the back of your head.’ And I walked out of the room. I knew he was a complete idiot. Or a liar.”

    But he adds: „There were a lot of contacts between the Jewish community and the INC. In 2000, 2001, the INC spoke at the AIPAC policy conference. So there were links between the Jewish community groups and the Iraqi exiles, and also between the neocons and the Iraqi exiles.” But Weissman insists that even so, the FBI and the Justice Department erred in believing that the contacts amounted to anything like espionage or a national security threat that required an FBI inquiry. Instead, he says, the FBI launched an investigation to go after what they saw as a conspiracy to support war in Iraq and, after that, regime change in Iran. Personally, Weissman believes that both the war in Iraq and regime change in Iran were wrongheaded. „I think that they were all bad policies, policies that a lot of people in the U.S. government badly wanted to discredit,” he says.
    And an explanation of why a liberal Jewish US citizen who personally opposes AIPAC’s positions would have worked for the primary Jewish lobbying organization:
    And Weissman? Why didn’t he just quit, and do something else? It turns out that sometimes the simplest explanation is the one that rings most true. It was a job. „Well,” he says. „Two kids in college. I finally got up to over a hundred thousand dollars. I got to work on issues that I liked, and I was able to have some influence. I was listened to. I was able to keep AIPAC away from the Iraqi opposition in the 1990s, and to keep AIPAC away from regime change later on. Those were the things I liked, and those were the things I thought I did good on.”

    Finally, he says, „And I was looking for another job when all this happened.”
    A couple of things about this article that I recommend.

    1) We see a direct conflict between the Israel lobby and the oil lobby, and we see not only that the Israel lobby won, but that it did so decisively and to the degree that the oil learned the lesson to refrain from trying to oppose the Israel lobby in the future.

    2) Possibly even more than I had realized, hostility between Iran and the United States is the product of lobbying in the US on behalf of Israel. While „moderates” such as Weisman have ensured that AIPAC itself does not officially call for regime change, it is clear that refraining for regime change calls goes against the instincts of AIPAC members and funders themselves as well as against the impulses of proponents of Israel in the Bush and Obama administrations, including Dennis Ross, Hillary Clinton and most of the US Middle East diplomatic corps.

    3) Saudi Arabia. I’m going to make the obvious point that this supposed rivalry with Iran was not an issue when Iran was ruled by a US-imposed dictator, the Shah. When the Shah was overthrown, suddenly the US-oriented dictator of what we call ‘Saudi’ Arabia realized that Iran was some eternal rival. One way or another, Saudi Arabia also managed to be in a rivalry with Egypt after Nasser freed his people of a British oriented dictator.

    Yet somehow, neither Egypt under Nasser or Iran ever offered to buy gifts for the US Israel lobby in return for anti-Saudi policies. In fact, no mention of any complaints at all with the Saudis on the part of AIPAC.

    The article overall is a relatively rare moment of confirmation of how and why the US operates its US/Zionist colonial structure in the Middle East, which contains Egypt (as of now), Saudi Arabia, UAE, Jordan, Kuwait and others – and which works to prevent the development of countries in the region that are outside that structure such as Iran, Lebanon, Iraq, Libya, Syria and others.

    http://mideastreality.blogspot.com/2011/07/us-oil-companies-versus-aipac-were-not.html

    Comentariu de Narcisa — Noiembrie 27, 2011 @ 6:06 pm | Răspunde


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