Why Bush is bad for Israel (and America)

I've been arguing for a very long time that the neoconservative agenda pursued by the Bush Administration, including the war in Iraq and against the backdrop of the Israeli-Hizabollah war, are hurting and not advacing long term Israeli national interests. See for example, my two commentaries in The American Conseravtive, Bad For You Too? How the Iraq War disappointed Israel and Special Relationship: A one-sided U.S. policy toward Israel endangers both countries’ interests. Now comes Gregory Levey in Israel's surge of despair: Top Israeli officials admit last summer's war against Hezbollah was a failure -- and denounce President Bush's actions in the Middle East on Salon.com(via Dr. Strauss)and makes the same point. Interesting and depressing read.


Anonymous said…
Bush's policies are bad for Israel - Most Jewish voters understand that intuitively and that's partially reflected in the voting patterns. People say that those voting patterns are due to other issues, like social issues, etc. But that is not true, really. IF Israel were truly threatned and Bush were truly affecting her security in a positive and meaningful way, you'd see a measurable shift in voting support because people would recongnize the paramount existential nature of supporting Bush, over the largely symbolic social issues. Maybe not a majority - but a sizable shift toward Bush. But hasn't happened - not even a blip of a shift from the most aware, most responsive, most attentive voters.
Anonymous said…
There's some debate within Lebanon and Israel that Nasrallah's position may have weakened as of late - But note why that is, if that is - It's because he's forced to deal in a Lebanese context and he does not have a majority. He is being weakened by peace, whereas he was strengthed by attack.

Leon - You're always correct, but you will never get credit because it is written: A Profit Is Not Without Honor, Save In His Own Time and Place!
A.E. said…
Mr. Hadar,

Excellent article. I certainly didn't know that the Soviets had been such enthusiastic supporters of the Israelis. One question though: you mentioned in your essay they were tilting toward China. What is the rationale behind that strategic choice?
Thanks for the comments. To A.E.: Israel has maintaind close ties with the Chinese for a long time, even before the two governments established diplomatic rel following the end of the Cold War and Oslo. The ties are based mostly on Realpolitik considerations, including sharing intelligence and arms sales. In fact, as I pointed, Washington has been quite pissed over the sale of alleged U.S.-made military technology by the Israelis to the Chinese. In addition, China is trying to expand its presence in the Mideast.
To anonymous 1: The "Jewish vote" is becoming more and more idfficult to measure. But overall, religious-orthodox Jews vote now Republicans, while the majority of the seculars, as you suggested, tend to be Democrats.
To anonymous 2: Re Lebanon. That's true.In fact, I made that point in http://www.antiwar.com/hadar/?articleid=9599 "And the loser is... everyone." But... perceptions matter, and they don't favor Israel in this case.
Anonymous said…
Here is the money quote from Salon:

"To many in or involved with the Israeli government, George W. Bush's presence in the Oval Office was once reassuring. Now, it is increasingly worrying. Back in early 2004, when I started working in the Israeli Mission to the U.N. -- during the first year of the U.S. occupation of Iraq -- one of the senior diplomats there had an autographed photograph of Bush hanging behind his desk. But by the summer of 2005, as Iraq spiraled into chaos, I noticed that he had replaced it, without explanation, with a photo of U2's Bono."

Dr. Leon gets to say "I told you so." But what else is new? Nothing is new under the sun.
Anonymous said…
Re Voters - If you study the patterns within the patterns of voting patterns, you can see that much of the Orthodox support that goes to Republicans is do to factors other than Israel - Not that Israel is not a factor, it's just that the Dems are viewed as tolerable on the issue and so they prefer the GOP/Bush approach, plus his attitude on other stuff. Whereas Bush has neglibile support among secular voters - the most aware, most educated voters. Now if Bush was really saving Israel, it's possible that he would never gain a majority support because the barrier of suspicion is too high, but he would gain a little bit - more than just a percentage point or two, as has been currently the case. But if you measure the numbers - especially with women voters - its tiny - the amount of suppport is tiny. Same with black voters, despite some cosmetic nods by Bush like appointing the weak Condi and the un-stalwart Colin Powell. Again , people say other issues are the factor with secular voters - but that's the point, is it not. It's all sound and fury by Bush and his allies that he is protecting or saving Israel - because if he really were, that would measurably alter his support with secular voters - including woman, because existential issues are paramount. Think about how the Republicans lost the black vote after 1964 - It's not a perfect comparison, but you saw a real shift due to a real change that had a real effect.
Anonymous said…
That comment was unclear and misstated somethings - Anyway, the point was that the voting numbers and exit polls tell what people generally think - more so than op-ed columns or political posturing over various issues. It would be too much to expect to expect Bush to get majority credit from any Democratic voting bloc, no matter what he did. Even if Bush were the greatest President for black Americans, it would be unlikely for him to get full credit or win a majoity support because they are so overwhelmingly Democratic - There's just too much suspicion , kind of like a N. liberal trying to win the southern white evangelicals. The most they can hope for is a few percentage point gains, so as to affect the overall vote. It's the same with Israel and Jewish votes - Right now, Israel is just one of many factors, but if you really believed Bush's rhetoric and that of his allies, then logically it becomes paramount because it involves existential questions. Alas, the voting numbers, as measured in most disaggregated polling, show no shift at all toward Bush and that would just not be the case if Bush was really doing what he and his allies claim to be doing. Yet, even though voter participation rates are high, there's been no meaningful shift in support.
A.E. said…
I was aware of the Chinese rise across Asia and Africa (and even Latin America), but a push into the Mideast is very interesting--it shows a certain initiative lacking from recent State Department policy in the region.
Anonymous said…

According to Christopher Hitchens - There are splits within Islam:


The man is a genius!
Hi..Anoynous: I don't have the polls in front of me, but from what I've seen the Republicans under Bush have been getting the support of the religious types among both Christians and Jews. In fact, the best way to predict whether X is going to vote for the Republicans, is to find out how many times a month he visits a Church/synagogue.
A.E.: There has been many studies on the growing Chinese involvement in the Mideast, especially since they have become a net exporter of oil. I've discussed these issue in my book, Sandstorm: Policy Failure in the Middle East, and in several articles. My point, the war on terror will end, the the winner will be the....Chinese. In fact, I'm coming out with a "futuristic" piece dated 2027 in which I describe exactly such a scenario.
RLaing said…
I've long been inclined to the view that this 'concern for Israel' in the U.S. is largely pretended. It's not the people of Israel, after all, who benefit from living with perpetual insecurity, fear and violence. It's really certain elements in the U.S., looking for pretexts to intervene in the region for unspoken (unspeakable?) reasons of their own, who benefit from this state of affairs.
Anonymous said…
Do you think China will avoid war with Japan, Vietnam,, India, Indonesia, Russia, and everyone else over the next twenty years?
Anonymous said…
It's possible the the GOP lock on the observant Christian vote will play itself out over the next few cycles. We are familiar with that stat you cite, but meant to say that the fact that Bush has not changed voting patterns outside of his base. But ultimately time will tell. If China continues to grow at this pace, within ten years that will change the nature of the debate on the Middle East by creating more countervailing forces.
Re China. Within 10 to 20 years expect to see a Greater China emerging, including Hong Kong and Taiwan, linked to Southeast Asia which has large Chinese population, not to mention Singapore. Japan will probably be to China what Canada is to the U.S. and then there unified Korea, which could emerge as a challenger.
A.E. said…
That would be an interesting match-up. Two hyper-nationalistic states with deep historical grudges. Let me know when you come out with your future piece on China.
Actually, check this preview here http://antiwar.com/hadar/?articleid=8882
weknow music@aol.com said…
Thanks for mentioning the article; I like the notion of the hotel. My solution for Jerusalem is to make it a Theme Park and cut everybody in doing what they do best. Americans will provide entertainment and I'm sure we'll finally see an acknowledged Black Jesus.Sorry for the Lenny Bruce levity...
My thesis continues to be that we are not being distracted from China, we are doing their bidding in Iraq. It keeps them looking good and able to make long term globalistic deals with all the corporateplayerhater entities like Venezuela Iran, etc. It did make me stop and think about Korea and how it would feel re the Canada analogy-if Japan would be sucked in so would they. Hey all Whitey's look alike. They sure are entertaining too.

"Under my thumb's
a squirming dog who's
just had her day
"Under my thumb's
a girl who has just
changed her ways"

Thanks WHB 3/6/06

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