Archive for the ‘John Mearsheimer’ Category

Broad coalition attends teach-in on Israel lobby ahead of AIPAC conference – Mondoweiss

The leading pro Israel group AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) is meeting this weekend in Washington and ahead of it yesterday I went to the annual teach-in against the Israel lobby at the National Press Club. There was an audience of 600 anda lot of excitement. The political atomization of the Trump era had not penetrated this hall. The speakers represented many different points of view, from US nationalist to leftwing/Palestinian to realist to Arab-American. Only at the end did I count the number of Jewish speakers. One out of 12 (Ilan Pappe). But it was an afterthought. There is no soreness around that question, Are Jews here or not? Of course theyre here.

If there was a theme to the day (full video) it was that the Israel lobby is losing ground to Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) in the 100-years-war of Zionism in the United States, and the American people are waking up; but it wont matter much for the Palestinians. Theyre screwed for as long as anyone can see; and this is the Israel lobbys achievement. It blocked a Palestinian state. No one at the conference said the two-state solution is alive. There is zero time for the two state solution, Hanan Ashrawi said. She and almost everyone else talked about apartheid.

The conference was sponsored by the Washington Report for Middle East Affairs and the Institute For Research Middle East Policy. I will go through its highlights this morning, focusing on a few speakers.Ill start with the hit, Hanan Ashrawi, and finish with John Mearsheimer, whose grim realist pronouncement that we are all in for a lot worse is what I will take away from this conference.

Ashrawi was mordant and dignified. She said the peace process has been a neverending sham because the Israel lobby owns it. She mocked Dennis and Martin Martin Indyk and Dennis Ross for going from Israel lobby organizations into principal mediation positions in the White House, and then pointed out something I didnt know: that the latest ambassador to Israel, Daniel Shapiro, just left his job to sign on as an expert at the official Israeli thinktank the Institute for National Security Studies (funded by the usual suspects, Saban, Hertog, Steinhardt). Thats a revolving door that should make you dispirited and cynical. Shapiro is of course being replaced by David Friedman:

Now we have settlers in the White House. They dont need to lobby, they are decision makers.

The lobbys control of the narrative goes back to the The Balfour Declaration, which contained that clause about the Jewish home not harming the rights of the existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine. So Palestinians lost their identity right there, she said. And I do hope the Brits dont celebrate it even though Theresa May invited Netanyahu to celebrate it. This is a colonial legacy par excellence.

Then there is the claim that all Palestinian prisoners are terrorists. There have been 800,000 Palestinian prisoners, Ashrawi said. I was one of them. Are there really 800,000 terrorists in Palestine?

Palestinians had nonetheless made the painful compromise of accepting Israel in 78 percent of the original land for a simple reason: It was a compromise we made in order to give our children a future.The room was still.

That didnt mean the Palestinians had accepted landswaps. It didnt mean they accepted a Jewish state. She got the most applause for her defiance of racism.

We are not a demographic problem for Israel please do not accept this. We are a nation with our rights, with our history with our culture, and we abide by international law. I dont believe any other country in the world is allowed to discriminate against a people because it wants to maintain the ethnic or religious purity of its own entity at all. So we cannot be a demographic problem to scare the Israelis into giving us our little state-let or state-minus as they say. They are busily imposing greater Israel on the historical Palestine. They are destroying the two state solution They wax hysterical when people describe them as being apartheid. If the situation will continue, then it will run its course as an ongoing perpetual occupation, conflict, extremism. Or are we going to have a qualitative shift? Maybe we need to de-Zionize Israel rather than Zionize the Palestinians.

The most fun was the talk by former Congressmen Nick Rahall and Jim Moran. These guys were congressmen for a reason. They are likeable, funny street-talking guys. They are also principled.

Rahall left Congress two years ago, but he still keeps a close watch; and he said that the numbers are getting better for Palestinians. It used to be they only got a few votes, now they are getting 50 to 80. The new ambassador to Israel David Friedman got historic opposition in the Senate, 46 votes. Eighty congresspeople voted against the condemnation of Obamas abstention on the settlement resolution at the UN. Look at those 80 votes, those 46 thank em, email em, Rahall said. They are courageous.

Rahall told a war story. He was on a Congressional delegation to Lebanon during the height of the Israeli attack in 1982. Tip ONeill wanted the Arab-American congressman to go because his own daughter-in-law was Arab-American and he had mixed feelings about Israel. Rahall and four others (I believeOakar, Bonior Dymally, McCloskey) met with Arafat in the middle of the night in Beirut. Arafat called the press, and the congressional delegation came out into klieg lights and said, Arafat agreed to recognize Israel. The press said the congressional delegation had been snookered, Rahall said, but we were ten years ahead of Oslo.

Menachem Begin and Ariel Sharon then refused to meet with the congressional delegation. Rep. Elliott Levitas of Georgia, a Jewish member on the trip, had refused to meet with Arafat but he said that if the Israeli leaders didnt meet the whole Co-Del there would be hell to pay. They met. Rahall had seen cluster bombs being used, and he told Ariel Sharon you cant use cluster bombs in a civilian setting, thats the agreement with the U.S.

Sharon picked up a piece of paper and said this is what I think of agreements during a war. And he tore the paper in half. The next day Reagan called Begin and told him to stop the war.

Everyone applauded Reagan.

Moran told about his awakening. He was one of a group of young Virginian politicians whom AIPAC sent over to Israel for a fun trip back in the 80s. He was then deputy mayor of Alexandria. The other guys were at his level, but two others also ultimately went to Congress.Thats because AIPAC is engaged and knows who the young bench is. Moran was deeply moved by that trip. He spent so long at Yad Vashem I delayed the whole bus, I couldnt get it out of my mind what I saw there. I became a firm supporter of Israel. That was my paradigm. So he bought the whole story. In 1991 he voted to give Israel loan guarantees for settlement building. He regrets that now. A Jewish activist told him he was anti-humanitarian, and it got under his skin.

Then S. Daniel (Slim-Fast) Abraham of the Center for Middle East Peace and Sara Ehrman, Hillary Clintons guru, sent him over to the West Bank. Moran met Arafat and asked him if it was true that he had cried when he heard of Yitzhak Rabins murder. Yes, Arafat said. Why? Arafat said:

Yitzhak was the only Jew who ever treated me like I was a man.

Moran couldnt stop thinking about what Arafat said. A lot of this is a struggle for dignity and being recognized. Moran started to consider that the minority who voted against Israel were voting their consciences. He thought life was too short not to join them. After he began voting against Israel he was stunned by how many other congressmen on the private congressional elevator would thank him for voting that way even after they had voted for Israel. They said they had no choice. These people were not just voting against their constituents interests, but against their own convictions.

Both Rahall and Moran said young Jews were going to make a difference.

Moran said that when the arc of justice turns its going to be because of young Jewish men and women on campuses who are reading and are of the same ilk as the Jews who disproportionately turned around the civil rights movement. They were the ones who came down from the north. Many of them lost their lives. Moran got emotional. In my seat I started to lose it. When the young Jews wake up, he said, then they will share the information and ultimately the Congress will follow.

Rahall gave an ad for J Street. Its organized young people and caused a stir in the Democratic party. He gave J Street credit for getting the Israel Palestine issue into the election debates last year. They supported the Iran deal, they opposed Trump on immigration and the Muslim ban, they supported the settlements resolution. He told the people in the room to work with J Street.

Whatever coalition building you can, do. There may not be 100 percent agreement on a few issues But there is a ground there for a reachout and an approach that says, lets do this together, and lets go to Congress. Members of Congress will respond when they see Jews and Arabs working together. Rather than hurling insults at each other.

That brings me to Khalil Jahshan. He told the best story of the day. Jahshan is the head of the Arab Center in D.C., and is a Palestinian Christian from Nazareth, born in 1948. He said that the US controls the peace process and keeps Europe out of it so as to keep Israel protected forever. Janet McMahon of WRMEA asked him if the US does that because its a superpower or because of the lobby.

Jahshan paused. The room went quiet. Here it comes.

Frankly, the Israel lobby and its influence Let me tell you something. My first lesson as a lobbyist when I arrived in town, a still somewhat innocent young man, my first meeting with a senator was Senator Hatfield. I was not with any Arab American organization yet. I was basically serving as an academic adviser to a group of church leaders in this country. I participated with them in advocating for peace and justice in the Middle East. And they asked me to accompany them as a resource person to meeting with a series of leaders in Congress. The late Senator [Mark] Hatfield of Oregon listened to us, and then asked me to stay after the group decided to leave. I did. He looked at me and said, What are you going to do here? I said, Well Im moving to town to work on behalf of Arab causes and particularly my cause, the Palestinian cause.

He looked at me and established eye contact with me and he said, Young man this is a very difficult task youre embarking on. And he said and I will never forget these words as long as I live he said, In this great distinguished institution of the United States Senate, when the Israel lobby says jump, 90 plus of my colleagues say how high. They never ask why. So with that type of control particularly in Congress, you cant tell where the idea came from, Whether its volunteered by these people who are more than willing to sell out or by the lobby. Or how the two kind of feed on each other.

I figure that happened in the early 80s. Hatfield served from 67-97.

Jahshan praised BDS as a threat to the Israeli control of the narrative. So did Maria LaHood of the Center for Constitutional Rights. She said it was our moral duty to support BDS, just like we supported the Montgomery bus boycott.

We need to keep making connections between settler colonialism, state violence and racism in this country and in Israel. The struggle for Palestinian liberation is tied to all struggles against oppression. Martin Luther King described the pivotal Montgomery bus boycott against segregation in the US as a refusal to cooperate with an evil system. All over the world including in the U.S., people are increasingly refusing to be complicit in Israels violations of international law and are demanding the same of our government officials. It is not simply a matter of our right to dissent, it is our moral duty.

Cooperation with the occupation, with apartheid is complicity. BDS helped end apartheid in South Africa and it will eventually do the same in Israel. The wave of anti-BDS legislation just shows the power the movement that Palestinian rights has to expose Israels violations of international law and eventually help bring them to an end.

John Mearsheimer also gave a lot of credit to Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, but from a realist perspective. Here is some of what he said:

I believe dark times are ahead for both Israel and the lobby Greater Israel is here to stay, and that state is and will remain an apartheid state. That brute fact will become increasingly clear to people all over the world, especially now that it is clear that Palestinians are not going to get a state of their own. Palestinians will continue to resist their oppression. Which will force Israel to escalate the repressive policies that have tarnished its image.

The Palestinians most potent weapon in this fight will be BDSIsrael and its supporters in the west view BDS as an existential threat. Because it not only has the potential to delegitimize Israel but it might also lead to Israels undoing. After all, the Palestinians, if they were given equal rights, Israel would cease to be a Jewish state.

And there are good reasons that BDS might succeed, at least when it comes to delegitimizing Israel. First it takes dead aim at apartheid which is a morally repugnant political system that is universally condemned. Apartheid South Africa eventually disappeared, why should Israel be any different?

This was the dark realist part of Mearsheimers message:

Theres the possibility that BDS will carry the day and greater Israel will become a legitimate, liberal democracy. If that were to come, which is not likely, it would undoubtedly come after much bloodshed, as most Israeli Jews fervently oppose this outcome as it will mean the end of the Zionist dream.

The more likely alternative is that Israel will simply remain an apartheid state, and with the help of lobby, hunker down and accept the fact that most of the world considers it a pariah state.

It will take 20 or 30 years for these outcomes to sort themselves out.

I am deeply sad to say that the decades ahead promise abundant troubles for Israel and especially for the Palestinians, and the United States will not be spared either, simply because the lobby will be working overtime to protect Israel and preserve the special relationship, which is likely to harm Americas intellectual life as well as its politics.

Mearsheimer said wed had victories since he and his co-author Stephen Walt uncorked the festivities when they wrote The Israel Lobby paper in 2006. The lobby is now an open secret, its regularly mentioned in the newspapers. The elites continue to hold the line against discussion of the lobby, but it goes on despite them. The lobby cant get the country into a war, witness its defeat on the Iran Deal, but it came close.

There are a few other moments I need to document for now. One was video of Sam Husseini asking Chuck Schumer if Israel has nukes and Schumer stammering and saying everyone knows it. This was quite delicious. Grant Smith of IRMEP showed it.

Grant Smith said that Americans now know what the Israel lobby is: Its not the registration desk at the King David Hotel. The most nationalist speaker, Smith said that the lobby is also not American as apple pie, sorry, because its engaged in covert actions with a foreign government. And its been the largest single factor in the way of a resolution of the conflict, Smith said near the close of the conference. I share that view, the lobby is the reason partition hasnt worked for 70 years, its my original communitys achievement. The community in the room yesterday was much broader than that.

Originally posted here:

Broad coalition attends teach-in on Israel lobby ahead of AIPAC conference – Mondoweiss

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March 26, 2017   Posted in: John Mearsheimer  Comments Closed

North Korea and Rex Tillerson’s muddled arguments in Beijing – SupChina

Throughout U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillersons controversial Asia trip,one issue dominated every conversation: What can be done about North Koreas nuclear weapons? North Korea has vexed every American president since the end of the Cold War, so it comes as no surprise that the Trump administration thus far lacks a concrete plan to deal with Kim Jong-un and his growing arsenal. What was surprising, however, was the contradictory tone and content of Tillersons own messaging as he traveled from country to country.

In South Korea, Secretary Tillerson signaled a hard-line approach to the DPRK (Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea). By rejecting what he called the policy of strategic patience and stating that the United States was prepared to take preemptive actionif North Korea elevate[d] the threat of their nuclear weapons program, Tillerson alarmed foreign policy talking heads on Twitter and earned a rebuke from Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who cautioned Washington to keep a cool headin dealings with North Korea.

But during the China leg of Secretary Tillersons Asia tour, the administrations rhetoric had already softened. In an exclusive interview with Independent Journal Reviews Erin McPike, Tillerson declared,

Our objective is to have the regime in North Korea come to a conclusion that the reasons that they have felt they have had to develop nuclear weapons, those reasons are not well founded. We want to change that understanding. With that, we do believe that if North Korea [were to] stand down on this nuclear program, that is their quickest means to begin to develop their economy and to become a vibrant economy for the North Korean people.

On the face of it, this statement is agreeable to Chinese sensitivities China has long desired North Korean economic reform and hardly signals a break from Obama administration policy on North Korea. That said, are North Koreas reasons for pursuing a nuclear weapons program not well founded? Is it possible to, in Tillersons words, change North Koreas understanding?

The new administration would do well to consider that North Korea is a keen observer of American foreign policy globally, not merely in East Asia. And as it looks around the world, theres a lot for Pyongyang to dislike. While discussing Tillersons remarks on North Korea, theNew York Timesreportedthat intelligence assessments by the Obama administration found

that the example of what happened to Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, the longtime leader of Libya, had played a critical role in North Korean thinking. Colonel Qaddafi gave up the components of Libyas nuclear program in late 2003 most of them were still in crates from Pakistan in hopes of economic integration with the West. Eight years later, when the Arab Spring broke out, the United States and its European allies joined forces to depose Colonel Qaddafi, who was eventually found hiding in a ditch and executed by Libyan rebels.

Libya was, of course, a hot topic during the 2016 presidential campaign, with Secretary Clinton and then-candidate Donald Trump clashing repeatedly over the so-called Benghazi scandal, yet Secretary Clintons other policy recommendations in Libya largely escaped scrutiny. This extensive discussion by Foreign Policyon the aftermath of the Libya intervention is typical of commentary during the election. Simply put, no one in the U.S. foreign policy establishment was debating the wisdom of removing Colonel Qaddafi in 2011 after he had agreed to end his weapons programs in 2003.

Turn back the clock to 2003, however, and we find that President Bush lifted sanctions on Qaddafi while promising that the United States would act in good faith toward Libya. The administration explicitly linkedthe example of Saddam Husseins overthrow to Qaddafis future in Libya, and offered a path of normalization for Qaddafis regime. Moreover, Bush administration officials were quotedas saying that they hoped Libya would provide a model for other regimes to give up their weapons of mass destruction.

What, then, is that model as North Korea sees it? An enemy of the United States disarms, the United States offers modest gifts in the form of sanctions relief, but it still takes military action for regime change as soon as it has the right opportunity.North Korea is also cognizant of how the Libya case was, in international relations terms, a test of deterrence. The thinking goes that without weapons of mass destruction its deterrence Libya fell prey to better-armed powers like the United States and NATO.

In fact, Libya isnt the only recent example of a country giving up its deterrence capabilities and then suffering militarily for it. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, newly independent Ukraine possessed several thousand nuclear weapons, up to 15 percent of the Soviet nuclear arsenal. Russia and the West persuaded Ukraine to surrender its weapons to Russia in 1992 in exchange for security guarantees that were formalized in 1994. At the time, political scientist John Mearsheimer called the disarmament of Ukraine a mistakeand predicted Russo-Ukrainian territorial conflict over Crimea. Roughly 10 years later, Vladimir Putin proved Mearsheimer correct. And although Russia is a de factoally of North Korea, Pyongyang no doubt senses a pattern.

Recent history teaches us that without an adequate deterrent, minor powers like the DPRK are vulnerable to the designs of great powers like the U.S. This brings us to a less-acknowledged perspective in East Asia: North Koreas own security dilemma. How do the United States, China, and other relevant parties assuage Pyongyangs fears, especially when the United States views North Korea as a rogue state?

One notable North Korea expert has recently arguedthat the DPRK will never feel secure unless it signs a peace treaty with the U.S. and then seizes control of South Korea. Whether or not Kim Jong-un subscribes to such extreme goals, his nuclear program provides the deterrent he believes he needs to sustain his regime for the foreseeable future. As such, while a denuclearized Korean peninsula might be in Americas and Chinas interest, very little supports Secretary Tillersons assertion that denuclearization is in North Koreas interest.

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North Korea and Rex Tillerson’s muddled arguments in Beijing – SupChina

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A Breach In The Anti-Putin Groupthink – Mintpress News (blog)

The mainstream U.S. media has virtually banned any commentary that doesnt treat Russian President Putin as the devil, but a surprising breach in the groupthink has occurred in Foreign Affairs magazine, reports Gilbert Doctorow.

Street art in Warsaw, Poland depicting Russian President Vladimir Putin. (Photo: Alberto Cabello/Flickr CC)

Realistically, no major change in U.S. foreign and defense policy is possible without substantial support from the U.S. political class, but a problem occurs when only one side of a debate gets a fair hearing and the other side gets ignored or marginalized. That is the current situation regarding U.S. policy toward Russia.

For the past couple of decades, only the neoconservatives and their close allies, the liberal interventionists, have been allowed into the ring to raise their gloves in celebration of an uncontested victory over policy. On the very rare occasion when a realist or a critic of regime change wars somehow manages to sneak into the ring, they find both arms tied behind them and receive the predictable pounding.

While this predicament has existed since the turn of this past century, it has grown more pronounced since the U.S.-Russia relationship slid into open confrontation in 2014 after the U.S.-backed coup in Ukraine overthrowing elected President Viktor Yanukovych and sparking a civil war that led Crimea to secede and join Russia and Ukraines eastern Donbass region to rise up in rebellion.

But the only narrative that the vast majority of Americans have heard and that the opinion centers of Washington and New York have allowed is the one that blames everything on Russian aggression. Those who try to express dissenting opinions noting, for instance, the intervention in Ukrainian affairs by Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland as well as the U.S.-funded undermining on Yanukovychs government have been essentially banned from both the U.S. mass media and professional journals.

When a handful of independent news sites (including Consortiumnews.com) tried to report on the other side of the story, they were denounced as Russian propagandists and ended up on blacklists promoted by The Washington Post and other mainstream news outlets.

That is why it is encouraging that Foreign Affairs magazine, the preeminent professional journal of American diplomacy, took the extraordinary step (extraordinary at least in the current environment) of publishing Robert Englishs article, entitled Russia, Trump, and a new Dtente, that challenges the prevailing groupthink and does so with careful scholarship.

Vladimir Putin speaks at a concert marking the 80th birthday anniversary of Russias first president Boris Yeltsin, in Moscow, Feb. 1 , 2011. (APMikhail Klimentyev)

In effect, Englishs article trashes the positions of all Foreign Affairs featured contributors for the past several years. But it must be stressed that there are no new discoveries of fact or new insights that make Englishs essay particularly valuable. What he has done is to bring together the chief points of the counter-current and set them out with extraordinary writing skills, efficiency and persuasiveness of argumentation. Even more important, he has been uncompromising.

The facts laid out by English could have been set out by one of several experienced and informed professors or practitioners of international relations.But English had the courage to follow the facts where they lead and the skill to convince the Foreign Affairs editors to take the chance on allowing readers to see some unpopular truths even though the editors now will probably come under attack themselves as Kremlin stooges.

The overriding thesis is summed up at the start of the essay: For 25 years, Republicans and Democrats have acted in ways that look much the same to Moscow. Washington has pursued policies that have ignored Russian interests (and sometimes international law as well) in order to encircle Moscow with military alliances and trade blocs conducive to U.S. interests. It is no wonder that Russia pushes back. The wonder is that the U.S. policy elite doesnt get this, even as foreign-affairs neophyte Trump apparently does.

Englishs article goes back to the fall of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s and explains why and how U.S. policy toward Russia was wrong and wrong again. He debunks the notion that Boris Yeltsin brought in a democratic age, which Vladimir Putin undid after coming to power.

English explains how the U.S. meddled in Russian domestic politics in the mid-1990s to falsify election results and ensure Yeltsins continuation in office despite his unpopularity for bringing on an economic Depression that average Russians remember bitterly to this day. That was a time when the vast majority of Russians equated democracy with shitocracy.

English describes how the Russian economic and political collapse in the 1990s was exploited by the Clinton administration. He tells why currently fashionable U.S. critics of Putin are dead wrong when they fail to acknowledge Putins achievements in restructuring the economy, tax collection, governance, improvements in public health and more which account for his spectacular popularity ratings today.

English details all the errors and stupidities of the Obama administration in its handling of Russia and Putin, faulting President Obama and Secretary of State (and later presidential candidate) Hillary Clinton for all of their provocative and insensitive words and deeds. What we see in U.S. policy, as described by English, is the application of double standards, a prosecutorial stance towards Russia, and outrageous lies about the country and its leadership foisted on the American public.

Then English takes on directly all of the paranoia over Russias alleged challenge to Western democratic processes. He calls attention instead to how U.S. foreign policy and the European Unions own policies in the new Member States and candidate Member States have created all the conditions for a populist revolt by buying off local elites and subjecting the broad populace in these countries to pauperization.

English concludes his essay with a call to give dtente with Putin and Russia a chance.

Englishs Wikipedia entry and biographical data provided on his University of Southern California web pages make it clear that he has quality academic credentials: Master of Public Administration and PhD. in politics from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. He also has a solid collection of scholarly publications to his credit as author or co-editor with major names in the field of Russian-Soviet intellectual history.

Professor English is not without his political ambitions. During the 2016 presidential election campaign, he tried to secure a position as foreign policy adviser to Democratic hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders. In pursuit of this effort, English had the backing of progressives at The Nation, which in February 2016 published an article of his entitled Bernie Sanders, the Foreign Policy Realist of 2016.He spent six years doing studies for U.S. intelligence and defense: 19821986 at the Department of Defense and 1986-88 at the U.S. Committee for National Security. And he has administrative experience as the Director of the USC School of International Relations.

Englishs objective was to demonstrate how wrong many people were to see in Sanders a visionary utopian incapable of defending Americas strategic interests. Amid the praise of Sanders in this article, English asserts that Sanders is as firm on Russia as Hillary Clinton.

By the end of the campaign, however, several tenacious neocons had attached themselves to Sanderss inner circle and English departed. So, one might size up English as just one more opportunistic academic who will do whatever it takes to land a top job in Washington.

While there is nothing new in such flexibility, there is also nothing necessarily offensive in it. From the times of Machiavelli if not earlier, intellectuals have tended to be guns for hire. The first open question is how skilled they are in managing their sponsors as well as in managing their readers in the public. But there is also a political realism in such behavior, advancing a politician who might be a far better leader than the alternatives while blunting the attack lines that might be deployed against him or her.

Then, there are times, such as the article for Foreign Affairs, when an academic may be speaking for his own analysis of an important situation whatever the political costs or benefits. Sources who have long been close to English assure me that the points in his latest article match his true beliefs.

President Barack Obama, left, speaks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, right prior to the opening session of the G-20 summit in Antalya, Turkey.(SPUTNIK, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP, file)

Yet, it is one thing to have a courageous author and knowledgeable scholar. It is quite another to find a publisher willing to take the heat for presenting views that venture outside the mainstream Establishment. In that sense, it is stunning that Foreign Affairs chose to publish English and let him destroy the groupthink that has dominated the magazine and the elite foreign policy circles for years.

It was a shock to many of Americas leading foreign policy insiders who, in the next issue, rallied like a collection of white cells to attack the invasive thinking. But there were some Foreign Affairs readers about one-third of the commenters who voiced agreement with Mearsheimers arguments. But that was a one-time affair. Mearsheimer appears to have been tolerated because he was one of the few remaining exponents of the Realist School in the United States. But he was not a Russia specialist.The only previous exception to the magazines lockstep was an article by University of Chicago professor John Mearsheimer entitled Why the Ukraine Crisis is the Wests Fault published in September 2014. That essay shot holes in Official Washingtons recounting of the events leading up to the Russian annexation of Crimea and intervention in the Donbass.

Foreign Affairs may have turned to Robert English because the editors, as insider-insiders, found themselves on the outside of the Trump administration looking in. The magazines 250,000 subscribers, which include readers from across the globe, expect Foreign Affairs to have some lines into the corridors of power.

In that regard, the magazine has been carrying water for the State Department since the days of the Cold War. For instance, in the spring issue of 2007, the magazine published a cooked-up article signed by Ukrainian politician Yuliya Tymoshenko on why the West must contain Russia, a direct response to Putins famous Munich speech in which he accused the United States of destabilizing the world through the Iraq War and other policies.

Anticipating Hillary Clintons expected election, Foreign Affairs editors did not hedge their bets in 2016. They sided with the former Secretary of State and hurled rhetorical bricks at Donald Trump. In their September issue, they compared him to a tin-pot populist dictator in South America.

Thus, they found themselves cut off after Trumps surprising victory. For the first time in many years in the opening issue of the New Year following a U.S. presidential election, the magazine did not feature an interview with the incoming Secretary of State or some other cabinet member.

Though Official Washingtons anti-Russian frenzy seems to be reaching a crescendo on Capitol Hill with strident hearings on alleged Russian meddling in the presidential election, the underlying reality is that the neocons are descending into a fury over their sudden loss of power.

The hysteria was highlighted when neocon Sen. John McCain lashed out at Sen. Rand Paul after the libertarian senator objected to special consideration for McCains resolution supporting Montenegros entrance into NATO. In a stunning breach of Senate protocol, a livid McCain accused Paul of working for Vladimir Putin.

Meanwhile, some Democratic leaders have begun cautioning their anti-Trump followers not to expect too much from congressional investigations into the supposed Trump-Russia collusion on the election.

In publishing Robert Englishs essay challenging much of the anti-Russian groupthink that has dominated Western geopolitics over the past few years, Foreign Affairs may be finally bending to the recognition that it is risking its credibility if it continues to put all its eggs in the we-hate-Russia basket.

That hedging of its bets may be a case of self-interest, but it also may be an optimistic sign that the martyred Fifteenth Century Catholic Church reformer Jan Hus was right when he maintained that eventually the truth will prevail.

The views expressed in this article are the authors own and do not necessarily reflect Mint Press News editorial policy.

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A Breach In The Anti-Putin Groupthink – Mintpress News (blog)

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A Breach in the Anti-Putin Groupthink – Consortium News

The mainstream U.S. media has virtually banned any commentary that doesnt treat Russian President Putin as the devil, but a surprising breach in the groupthink has occurred in Foreign Affairs magazine, reports Gilbert Doctorow.

By Gilbert Doctorow

Realistically, no major change in U.S. foreign and defense policy is possible without substantial support from the U.S. political class, but a problem occurs when only one side of a debate gets a fair hearing and the other side gets ignored or marginalized. That is the current situation regarding U.S. policy toward Russia.

For the past couple of decades, only the neoconservatives and their close allies, the liberal interventionists, have been allowed into the ring to raise their gloves in celebration of an uncontested victory over policy. On the very rare occasion when a realist or a critic of regime change wars somehow manages to sneak into the ring, they find both arms tied behind them and receive the predictable pounding.

While this predicament has existed since the turn of this past century, it has grown more pronounced since the U.S.-Russia relationship slid into open confrontation in 2014 after the U.S.-backed coup in Ukraine overthrowing elected President Viktor Yanukovych and sparking a civil war that led Crimea to secede and join Russia and Ukraines eastern Donbass region to rise up in rebellion.

But the only narrative that the vast majority of Americans have heard and that the opinion centers of Washington and New York have allowed is the one that blames everything on Russian aggression. Those who try to express dissenting opinions noting, for instance, the intervention in Ukrainian affairs by Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland as well as the U.S.-funded undermining on Yanukovychs government have been essentially banned from both the U.S. mass media and professional journals.

When a handful of independent news sites (including Consortiumnews.com) tried to report on the other side of the story, they were denounced as Russian propagandists and ended up on blacklists promoted by The Washington Post and other mainstream news outlets.

An Encouraging Sign

That is why it is encouraging that Foreign Affairs magazine, the preeminent professional journal of American diplomacy, took the extraordinary step (extraordinary at least in the current environment) of publishing Robert Englishs article, entitled Russia, Trump, and a new Dtente, that challenges the prevailing groupthink and does so with careful scholarship.

In effect, Englishs article trashes the positions of all Foreign Affairs featured contributors for the past several years. But it must be stressed that there are no new discoveries of fact or new insights that make Englishs essay particularly valuable. What he has done is to bring together the chief points of the counter-current and set them out with extraordinary writing skills, efficiency and persuasiveness of argumentation. Even more important, he has been uncompromising.

The facts laid out by English could have been set out by one of several experienced and informed professors or practitioners of international relations.But English had the courage to follow the facts where they lead and the skill to convince the Foreign Affairs editors to take the chance on allowing readers to see some unpopular truths even though the editors now will probably come under attack themselves as Kremlin stooges.

The overriding thesis is summed up at the start of the essay: For 25 years, Republicans and Democrats have acted in ways that look much the same to Moscow. Washington has pursued policies that have ignored Russian interests (and sometimes international law as well) in order to encircle Moscow with military alliances and trade blocs conducive to U.S. interests. It is no wonder that Russia pushes back. The wonder is that the U.S. policy elite doesnt get this, even as foreign-affairs neophyte Trump apparently does.

Englishs article goes back to the fall of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s and explains why and how U.S. policy toward Russia was wrong and wrong again. He debunks the notion that Boris Yeltsin brought in a democratic age, which Vladimir Putin undid after coming to power.

English explains how the U.S. meddled in Russian domestic politics in the mid-1990s to falsify election results and ensure Yeltsins continuation in office despite his unpopularity for bringing on an economic Depression that average Russians remember bitterly to this day. That was a time when the vast majority of Russians equated democracy with shitocracy.

English describes how the Russian economic and political collapse in the 1990s was exploited by the Clinton administration. He tells why currently fashionable U.S. critics of Putin are dead wrong when they fail to acknowledge Putins achievements in restructuring the economy, tax collection, governance, improvements in public health and more which account for his spectacular popularity ratings today.

English details all the errors and stupidities of the Obama administration in its handling of Russia and Putin, faulting President Obama and Secretary of State (and later presidential candidate) Hillary Clinton for all of their provocative and insensitive words and deeds. What we see in U.S. policy, as described by English, is the application of double standards, a prosecutorial stance towards Russia, and outrageous lies about the country and its leadership foisted on the American public.

Then English takes on directly all of the paranoia over Russias alleged challenge to Western democratic processes. He calls attention instead to how U.S. foreign policy and the European Unions own policies in the new Member States and candidate Member States have created all the conditions for a populist revolt by buying off local elites and subjecting the broad populace in these countries to pauperization.

English concludes his essay with a call to give dtente with Putin and Russia a chance.

Who Is Robert English?

Englishs Wikipedia entry and biographical data provided on his University of Southern California web pages make it clear that he has quality academic credentials: Master of Public Administration and PhD. in politics from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. He also has a solid collection of scholarly publications to his credit as author or co-editor with major names in the field of Russian-Soviet intellectual history.

He spent six years doing studies for U.S. intelligence and defense: 19821986 at the Department of Defense and 1986-88 at the U.S. Committee for National Security. And he has administrative experience as the Director of the USC School of International Relations.

Professor English is not without his political ambitions. During the 2016 presidential election campaign, he tried to secure a position as foreign policy adviser to Democratic hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders. In pursuit of this effort, English had the backing of progressives at The Nation, which in February 2016 published an article of his entitled Bernie Sanders, the Foreign Policy Realist of 2016.

Englishs objective was to demonstrate how wrong many people were to see in Sanders a visionary utopian incapable of defending Americas strategic interests. Amid the praise of Sanders in this article, English asserts that Sanders is as firm on Russia as Hillary Clinton.

By the end of the campaign, however, several tenacious neocons had attached themselves to Sanderss inner circle and English departed. So, one might size up English as just one more opportunistic academic who will do whatever it takes to land a top job in Washington.

While there is nothing new in such flexibility, there is also nothing necessarily offensive in it. From the times of Machiavelli if not earlier, intellectuals have tended to be guns for hire. The first open question is how skilled they are in managing their sponsors as well as in managing their readers in the public. But there is also a political realism in such behavior, advancing a politician who might be a far better leader than the alternatives while blunting the attack lines that might be deployed against him or her.

Then, there are times, such as the article for Foreign Affairs, when an academic may be speaking for his own analysis of an important situation whatever the political costs or benefits. Sources who have long been close to English assure me that the points in his latest article match his true beliefs.

The Politics of Geopolitics

Yet, it is one thing to have a courageous author and knowledgeable scholar. It is quite another to find a publisher willing to take the heat for presenting views that venture outside the mainstream Establishment. In that sense, it is stunning that Foreign Affairs chose to publish English and let him destroy the groupthink that has dominated the magazine and the elite foreign policy circles for years.

The only previous exception to the magazines lockstep was an article by University of Chicago professor John Mearsheimer entitled Why the Ukraine Crisis is the Wests Fault published in September 2014. That essay shot holes in Official Washingtons recounting of the events leading up to the Russian annexation of Crimea and intervention in the Donbass.

It was a shock to many of Americas leading foreign policy insiders who, in the next issue, rallied like a collection of white cells to attack the invasive thinking. But there were some Foreign Affairs readers about one-third of the commenters who voiced agreement with Mearsheimers arguments. But that was a one-time affair. Mearsheimer appears to have been tolerated because he was one of the few remaining exponents of the Realist School in the United States. But he was not a Russia specialist.

Foreign Affairs may have turned to Robert English because the editors, as insider-insiders, found themselves on the outside of the Trump administration looking in. The magazines 250,000 subscribers, which include readers from across the globe, expect Foreign Affairs to have some lines into the corridors of power.

In that regard, the magazine has been carrying water for the State Department since the days of the Cold War. For instance, in the spring issue of 2007, the magazine published a cooked-up article signed by Ukrainian politician Yuliya Tymoshenko on why the West must contain Russia, a direct response to Putins famous Munich speech in which he accused the United States of destabilizing the world through the Iraq War and other policies.

Anticipating Hillary Clintons expected election, Foreign Affairs editors did not hedge their bets in 2016. They sided with the former Secretary of State and hurled rhetorical bricks at Donald Trump. In their September issue, they compared him to a tin-pot populist dictator in South America.

Thus, they found themselves cut off after Trumps surprising victory. For the first time in many years in the opening issue of the New Year following a U.S. presidential election, the magazine did not feature an interview with the incoming Secretary of State or some other cabinet member.

Though Official Washingtons anti-Russian frenzy seems to be reaching a crescendo on Capitol Hill with strident hearings on alleged Russian meddling in the presidential election, the underlying reality is that the neocons are descending into a fury over their sudden loss of power.

The hysteria was highlighted when neocon Sen. John McCain lashed out at Sen. Rand Paul after the libertarian senator objected to special consideration for McCains resolution supporting Montenegros entrance into NATO. In a stunning breach of Senate protocol, a livid McCain accused Paul of working for Vladimir Putin.

Meanwhile, some Democratic leaders have begun cautioning their anti-Trump followers not to expect too much from congressional investigations into the supposed Trump-Russia collusion on the election.

In publishing Robert Englishs essay challenging much of the anti-Russian groupthink that has dominated Western geopolitics over the past few years, Foreign Affairs may be finally bending to the recognition that it is risking its credibility if it continues to put all its eggs in the we-hate-Russia basket.

That hedging of its bets may be a case of self-interest, but it also may be an optimistic sign that the martyred Fifteenth Century Catholic Church reformer Jan Hus was right when he maintained that eventually the truth will prevail.

Gilbert Doctorow is a Brussels-based political analyst. His latest book, Does Russia Have a Future? was published in August 2015.

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The Tragedy of Great Power Politics: Amazon.co.uk: John …

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The updated edition of this classic treatise on the behavior of great powers takes a penetrating look at the question likely to dominate international relations in the twenty-first century: Can China rise peacefully? In clear, eloquent prose, John Mearsheimer explains why the answer is no: a rising China will seek to dominate Asia, while the United States, determined to remain the world’s sole regional hegemon, will go to great lengths to prevent that from happening. The tragedy of great power politics is inescapable.

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John J. Mearsheimer is the R. Wendell Harrison Distinguished Service Professor of Political Science and codirector of the Program on International Security Policy at the University of Chicago.

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IS & Waffen SS
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JOHN Mearsheimer, an American political scientist, argues in his book The Tragedy of the Great Power Politics (2001) that great powers shake and shape the international system. This phenomenon exhibited by them often creates such shockwaves which …

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March 24 "Israel Lobby and American Policy" conference program at the National Press Club – PR Newswire (press release)

WASHINGTON, March 8, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The March 24 all-day conference “The Israel Lobby and American Policy” at the National Press Club features the following program:

8:00-9:00 AM Registration and “Two Blue Lines”: A documentary film screening in the Ballroom. Exhibition hall opens in adjacent Holeman Lounge.

9:00 AM Conference Organizer Welcoming Remarks

9:10 AM Grant Smith: The series of stunningbut underreportedpolls revealing true American attitudes about U.S. aid to Israel and other top American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) programs.

9:40 AM KeynoteProfessor John Mearsheimer: What has changed in the decade since his book The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy was published. Subsequent findings, foreign policy choices the U.S. makes that it otherwise would notif not for Israeland what the new administration could do differently in the future that would better serve broader American interests.

10:30 AM Professor Katherine Franke: Recent legislation that threatens the First Amendment rights of Palestinian solidarity activists in the U.S. and the legal challenges thereto.

11:00 AM Morning Break

11:15 AM Former Congressman Jim Moran (D-VA): What it takes to beat the Israel lobby in Congress.

11:40 AM Former Congressman Nick Rahall (D-WV): How to support the members of Congress who are beginning to listen to their constituents on Middle East policy issues.

12:15 PM Lunch Break & Screening of selections from the four-part Al Jazeera six-month undercover investigative series “The Lobby.” Jack Shaheen and John Mearsheimer book signings.

1:00 PM KeynoteHanan Ashrawi: The Israel lobby and the “peace process” from a Palestinian perspective.

1:40 PM Tom Hayes: Challenges and changes in 25 years working on Israel-Palestine issues and advice for independent filmmakers. The documentary producer screens and comments on selections from his latest film, “Two Blue Lines.”

2:10 PM Jack Shaheen: Strategies to successfully push back against harmful Hollywood stereotypes about Arabs and Muslims, and the work new generations must now take on.

2:40 PM Wajahat Ali: The intersection of pro-Israel organizations & donors and Islamophobia uncovered as the lead author and researcher of the report “Fear, Inc: The Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America.”

3:15 PM Afternoon Break

3:30 PM Khalil Jahshan: The Israel lobby and “fake peace processing.”

4:00 PM Conference organizer remarks

4:15 PM KeynoteProfessor Ilan Papp: The value of viewing Israel-Palestine through the lens of settler-colonialism, how Zionist myths have been shaped and/or perpetuated by the Israel lobby, and what framework is necessary to overcome these myths and ensure that efforts to resolve the “conflict” are grounded in reality.

5:00 PM Clayton Swisher: The director of investigative journalism for Al Jazeera Media Network screens and comments on selections from “The Lobby,” the four-part series about the Israeli Embassy’s covert influence campaign in Britain. This undercover investigation reveals how the Israeli Embassy sought to establish supposedly “independent” pro-Israel groups in England, AIPAC’s efforts to establish itself in London, unfounded accusations of anti-Semitism lodged against Labour Party members, and discussions by disgraced former Israeli diplomat Shai Masot to “take down” UK lawmakers deemed hostile to Israel.

5:30-7:30 PM Networking Reception & Book Signings: Wajahat Ali, Hanan Ashrawi, Ilan Papp and Clayton Swisher.

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March 24 "Israel Lobby and American Policy" conference program at … – Yahoo News

WASHINGTON, March 8, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The March 24 all-day conference “The Israel Lobby and American Policy” at the National Press Club features the following program:

8:00-9:00 AM Registration and “Two Blue Lines”: A documentary film screening in the Ballroom. Exhibition hall opens in adjacent Holeman Lounge.

9:00 AM Conference Organizer Welcoming Remarks

9:10 AM Grant Smith: The series of stunningbut underreportedpolls revealing true American attitudes about U.S. aid to Israel and other top American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) programs.

9:40 AM KeynoteProfessor John Mearsheimer : What has changed in the decade since his book The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy was published. Subsequent findings, foreign policy choices the U.S. makes that it otherwise would notif not for Israeland what the new administration could do differently in the future that would better serve broader American interests.

10:30 AM Professor Katherine Franke : Recent legislation that threatens the First Amendment rights of Palestinian solidarity activists in the U.S. and the legal challenges thereto.

11:00 AM Morning Break

11:15 AM Former Congressman Jim Moran (D-VA ) : What it takes to beat the Israel lobby in Congress.

11:40 AM Former Congressman Nick Rahall (D-WV): How to support the members of Congress who are beginning to listen to their constituents on Middle East policy issues.

12:15 PM Lunch Break & Screening of selections from the four-part Al Jazeera six-month undercover investigative series “The Lobby.” Jack Shaheen and John Mearsheimer book signings.

1:00 PM Keynote Hanan Ashrawi : The Israel lobby and the “peace process” from a Palestinian perspective.

1:40 PM Tom Hayes : Challenges and changes in 25 years working on Israel-Palestine issues and advice for independent filmmakers. The documentary producer screens and comments on selections from his latest film, “Two Blue Lines.”

2:10 PM Jack Shaheen : Strategies to successfully push back against harmful Hollywood stereotypes about Arabs and Muslims, and the work new generations must now take on.

2:40 PM Wajahat Ali : The intersection of pro-Israel organizations & donors and Islamophobia uncovered as the lead author and researcher of the report “Fear, Inc: The Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America.”

3:15 PM Afternoon Break

3:30 PM Khalil Jahshan : The Israel lobby and “fake peace processing.”

4:00 PM Conference organizer remarks

4:15 PM KeynoteProfessor Ilan Papp : The value of viewing Israel-Palestine through the lens of settler-colonialism, how Zionist myths have been shaped and/or perpetuated by the Israel lobby, and what framework is necessary to overcome these myths and ensure that efforts to resolve the “conflict” are grounded in reality.

5:00 PM Clayton Swisher : The director of investigative journalism for Al Jazeera Media Network screens and comments on selections from “The Lobby,” the four-part series about the Israeli Embassy’s covert influence campaign in Britain. This undercover investigation reveals how the Israeli Embassy sought to establish supposedly “independent” pro-Israel groups in England, AIPAC’s efforts to establish itself in London, unfounded accusations of anti-Semitism lodged against Labour Party members, and discussions by disgraced former Israeli diplomat Shai Masot to “take down” UK lawmakers deemed hostile to Israel.

5:30-7:30 PM Networking Reception & Book Signings: Wajahat Ali, Hanan Ashrawi, Ilan Papp and Clayton Swisher.

This conference is dedicated to the memory of U.S. Ambassador Andrew I. Killgore, publisher of the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs.

View more information at the conference website and purchase tickets online at IsraelLobbyAndAmericanPolicy.org or Eventbrite . Purchase admission before March 24 and receive a free one-year subscription to the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs magazine (non-subscribers only).

Members of the news media can apply for press credentials online to enter and cover this event at http://israellobbyandamericanpolicy.org/Press_Credentials/default.html

All attendees receive a box lunch and a beverage ticket for the post-conference networking reception.

The Israel Lobby and American Policy conference is solely sponsored by the American Educational Trust, publisher of the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs , and the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy ( IRmep ).

To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/march-24-israel-lobby-and-american-policy-conference-program-at-the-national-press-club-300420526.html

SOURCE Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy

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Doomsday Cancelled: Trump is Good News for Allies and World Peace – War on the Rocks

The election of Donald Trump as U.S. president has rocked the U.S. security establishment and its allies around the world. President Trump has questioned the security guarantees that underpin the Pax Americana in speeches, personal conversations with world leaders, and of course on Twitter. He has claimed that allies are ripping the United States off, dismissed NATO for being obsolete, and mused that the time may have come for Japan and South Korea to develop their own nuclear weapons. He insists that U.S. allies have to pay and do more for their defense. Many in the United States and abroad have decried these statements as destabilizing and dangerous; The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists captured the general mood by moving their doomsday clock 30 seconds closer to midnight in response to Trumps inauguration.

This concern is massively overblown.

Rather than weakening Americas web of alliances, Trumps aggressive statements and erratic behavior will most likely strengthen the American-led security architecture during his presidency. This is good news for world peace because strong American alliances and strong American allies can deter rivals from launching destabilizing challenges to the predominant order. Trumps aggressive communications strategy and his America First approach to international negotiations have already frightened allies into doing something his predecessors could not: increase defense spending. Fear of abandonment has changed the nature of the defense debate in allied capitals in Asia and Europe. The question is no longer whether defense spending should increase, but how much. U.S. allies in Europe are now scrambling to produce concrete plans for how they will increase defense spending in time for President Trumps first visit to NATO in late May 2017.. His perceived unpredictability is also making military provocations and risk-taking by Americas adversaries less likely.

Trumpology is Misleading

The concern triggered by Trumps election stems in no small part from the rise of what I call Trumpology the incessant scrutiny of Trumps personality, his statements, and his tweets. Trumpology is a new growth industry and the media embraces it because it fits their definition of a newsworthy story perfectly. Trumps communications generate all the criteria journalists look for in a good story: conflict, anxiety, comedy, theater, and outrage. This helps media companies, even those attacked by Trump, sell advertising like hotcakes. Many experts now spend their time putting Trumps words under the microscope, seeking to identify all the disasters they might create. In addition, psychologists have been busy analyzing his personality and upbringing in order to explain why he is acting so weird.

The American intelligence community has used personality profiling since World War II to better understand how leaders in closed authoritarian systems such as Iraq, Iran, North Korea, and Russia think and act. The results have been useful on occasion, but the study of personalities and intentions is insufficient with respect to predicting foreign policy actions and outcomes. One must also analyze the consequences and the opposition that proposed actions are likely to generate. If one considers the consequences of undermining existing U.S. alliances and how much opposition such action would trigger, one gets a far more positive picture of Trumps impact on world security than the doomsday scenarios that Trumpologists have mass-produced since his election.

Consequences for U.S. Allies

Since the late 1940s, U.S. allies in Europe and Asia have based their national security on the assumption that the United States will assist them in a crisis. This assumption and the post-Cold War downsizing of Europes military forces have rendered Europeans incapable of conducting even relatively small-scale military operations without substantial American support. NATOs air war against Libya (2011) and the French intervention in Mali (2013) are two recent cases in point. Neither operation would have been possible without American logistics, lift, munitions, intelligence, and other forms of support. The situation in the same in Asia: Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan have all based their defense forces and defense spending on the assumption that the U.S. cavalry will come to their rescue if necessary.

If Trump degrades or withdraws these security guarantees, the allies will face a stark choice between deterrence and appeasement. In Europe deterrence is the most likely choice because the big three (Germany, France, and the United Kingdom) are strong enough to constitute the core of a new alliance that can credibly deter Russia. In Asia, China will become so strong that most states bordering the East China Sea will have no choice but to appease Beijing and accept its hegemony. Regardless of the outcome, both Europe and Asia would face a period characterized by high instability and a heightened risk of war. Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan would seek to develop nuclear weapons. In Europe, Germany and Poland would have a strong incentive to do the same unless France and Britain extend their nuclear umbrellas over them. Indeed, all of these countries, except Poland, either contemplated the development of nuclear weapons (Germany and Japan) or had active nuclear weapons programs during the Cold War (South Korea and Taiwan).

Consequences for the United States

Prominent American scholars such as John Mearsheimer, Barry Posen, and Stephen Walt have long recommended that the United States withdraw most of its forces from Asia and Europe because the costs of the existing onshore presence dwarf the benefits. In their view, the existing security guarantees amount to welfare for the rich and increase the risk of entrapment in wars that do not involve American national interests. They believe that the United States would be much better off by copying the offshore balancing strategy that the British Empire employed in Europe before World War II. This would involve providing support to shifting alliances and coalitions in order to prevent a single power from establishing a regional hegemony on the European continent.

Offshore balancing has clear limitations and did not serve the British well in the end: it threw them into two world wars that brought the empire to its knees. Britains fate highlights the weakness of offshore balancing: a loss of the ability to shape the security politics onshore decisively. The failure of British offshore balancing dragged the United States into both world wars. Americas decisions to help its allies in Europe defeat Germany proved costly in blood and treasure.

Since then the United States has benefitted tremendously from the onshore balancing strategy it adopted after World War II in both Asia and Europe, where it stationed its forces permanently to deter aggression. This presence, coupled with the allies military dependence, enabled Washington to shape development in both regions to align with U.S. interests. Washington repeatedly gave their allies offers they could not refuse. U.S. economic assistance programs provided to allies in the wake of World War II came with conditions that forced the recipients to buy American goods and liberalize their markets in ways that were highly beneficial to American firms. Washington forced Great Britain and France to withdraw their troops from Egypt during the Suez Crisis (1956), coerced Germany to support U.S. monetary policy (1966 to 1969), and leaned on many allies to stop their nuclear weapons programs and join the Non-Proliferation Treaty (1968) that made such weapons illegal, including Japan, Germany, South Korea, and Taiwan.

Military dependence on the United States also induced many allies to support U.S.-led wars in faraway places that did not affect their national security directly. The Afghan War and Iraq War are two recent cases in point. The allies closed their eyes to issues like secret detention and extraordinary rendition programs, the use of torture, and the massive surveillance of their own citizens that has characterized the War on Terror since 9/11. Allies have given the United States access to bases, facilities, as well as their airspace and territorial waters. This facilitates U.S. power projection globally. Finally, many allies buy American weapon systems as a way of maintain inter-operability and their security guarantees. The F-35 is the latest and greatest example of this.

The consequences of a U.S. military withdrawal from Europe and Asia would be dramatic. The United States would lose most of its military bases in Asia and Europe, American firms would find it much harder to gain access to Asian and European markets, the American defense industry would lose billions of dollars, and European allies would stop supporting the United States militarily in faraway conflicts. As a result, the United States would lose its global power status and be reduced to a regional power with limited say in the management of Asian and European security. This is why it will not happen. This outcome is not only at odds with Americas economic interests, but it is also completely at odds with the widely shared belief in American exceptionalism and greatness. This is a belief that Trump and his supporters also embrace. Most Americans continue to view their nation as the greatest power on earth with an obligation to lead and make the world safe for Americas universal values.

Trump is Scaring Allies into Spending

But if the costs of abandoning allies are prohibitive, why is Trump threatening to do so? Nobel Prize laureate Thomas Schellings work on game theory suggests an answer. Schelling demonstrated in his seminal Strategy of Conflict (1960) that it may be advantageous to appear mad or unpredictable, because it may induce your negotiating partners or opponents to give greater concessions that they otherwise would. In this perspective, Trumps statements and seemingly erratic behavior make a lot of sense as a negotiation tactic aimed at pressuring U.S. allies to increase their defense spending. Trumps predecessors in the White House have tried to do this for years without success; previous administrations have repeatedly warned its European allies that NATO was in danger of becoming irrelevant if the Europeans continued to cut their defense spending. Yet most European allies paid scant attention to demands from the Obama administration to stop freeriding and honor their own commitments to spend 2 percent of GDP on defense. Few European governments saw a pressing need to increase defense spending because the Obama administration reacted to the Russian annexation of the Crimea by enhancing its military presence in Europe.

Trump has changed the game completely. In line with Schellings expectations, his perceived unpredictability is adding credibility to the threat that he might actually withdraw U.S. forces even if it is not in the United States best interest to do so. There is genuine concern among U.S. allies about what Trump might do if they do not take immediate steps to increase their defense spending. Many have already taken steps in this direction, or signaled their intention to do so. In December 2016, Japan adopted a record high defense budget, which allocated considerable funds to the procurement of American equipment, notably F-35s and missiles. The South Korean government reacted to Trumps election by vowing to increase defense spending significantly if he insists on it. Likewise, the Danish Prime Minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen promised to increase defense spending after his first phone conversation with Trump. In Germany Trumps election triggered a hitherto unthinkable debate on whether Germany should develop nuclear weapons.

Trump cannot take sole credit for the newfound allied attentiveness to longstanding U.S. demands. The Japanese defense budget has been increasing in recent years due to growing concerns about China. Russia has had a similar effect on the defense budgets of the eastern NATO members. However, Trump has made a crucial difference by completely changing the debate on defense spending in allied capitals, significantly strengthening the hands of the proponents of increased defense spending in allied governments. The 2016 IHS Janes Defence Budgets Report consequently expects European NATO allies and partners such as Finland and Sweden to boost their defense spending by about $10 billion over the next five years.

Trumps Unpredictability Deters Rival Risk-Taking

That Schellings logic applies equally well to President Trumps dealings with Americas opponents has already been pointed out by other commentators. They have referred to Nixons madman theory of negotiation, which holds that Americas opponents will tread more carefully if they perceive the president to be unpredictable or crazy. It has been debated at some length whether Trump is using this theory in a rational manner to extract concessions from U.S. adversaries, or if he is a madman in practice. Regardless, the point is that President Trumps unpredictability makes it next to impossible to calculate the risk of escalation involved in challenging the United States militarily, a concept also highlighted by Schelling. President Obamas reluctance to threaten and use force likely emboldened China and Russia to take greater military risks in Eastern Ukraine, Syria, and in the East and South China Seas. While Beijing and Moscow could be fairly confident that Obama would not take military counter-measures, they have no way of knowing what President Trump might do. It is very easy to imagine him giving the order to down a Chinese or Russian plane to demonstrate that America is great again.

In this way, Trump (intentionally or not) reduces the risk of military confrontations with China and Russia. This gives both states greater incentive to prioritize diplomacy over coercion in their efforts to settle disputes with the United States and its allies. Similarly, Trumps characterization of the nuclear agreement with Iran as the worst deal ever negotiated gives Tehran strong incentive to honor it in both letter and spirit for fear of a potentially much worse alternative if it collapses. Some are deeply worried that Trump versus Kim Jong-un will prove a highly explosive combination, which is understandable since North Korea has employing the same negotiating tactics as Trump for decades with considerable success. While the outcome of this confrontation is difficult to call, the disastrous consequences of war are likely to lead to mutual restraint. Moreover, concern about what Trump might do will induce Beijing to redouble its efforts to persuade Pyongyang to be less provocative.

Good News for World Peace

Paradoxically, Trumps tweets and the theatrics are most likely to enhance world peace. They create unpredictability and anxiety that the United States can use to obtain greater concessions from friends and foes. It is admittedly still early days, but all indications are that Trump will succeed in coercing his allies in both Asia and Europe to increase their defense spending significantly. Few of them will reach 2 percent of GDP in the next year or two, but he has set in motion a process that will make most allies spend far more much faster than they otherwise would have. His unpredictability is also an asset in Americas dealings with its opponents such as China, Iran, North Korea, and Russia. They will all need to think twice about provoking the United States and its allies militarily because they have no way of calculating how President Trump will react. Neither friends nor foes can be certain that Trump will not do something that a rational cost-benefit calculating actor would not. U.S. allies used to regard American threats to withdraw its forces as bluff because the costs of doing so would be prohibitive, and the same logic has induced American opponents to engage in military risk-taking with little fear of U.S. military retaliation. With Trump in the White House, this logic no longer applies. This is good news because the likely result is strengthened U.S. alliances and U.S. opponents that are more likely to favor negotiation over provocation in their efforts to settle differences with the United States and its allies.

Dr. Peter Viggo Jakobsen is an Associate Professor at the Royal Danish Defence College and a Professor (part-time) at the Center for War Studies at University of Southern Denmark.

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Doomsday Cancelled: Trump is Good News for Allies and World Peace – War on the Rocks

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March 3, 2017   Posted in: John Mearsheimer  Comments Closed

Broad coalition attends teach-in on Israel lobby ahead of AIPAC conference – Mondoweiss

The leading pro Israel group AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) is meeting this weekend in Washington and ahead of it yesterday I went to the annual teach-in against the Israel lobby at the National Press Club. There was an audience of 600 anda lot of excitement. The political atomization of the Trump era had not penetrated this hall. The speakers represented many different points of view, from US nationalist to leftwing/Palestinian to realist to Arab-American. Only at the end did I count the number of Jewish speakers. One out of 12 (Ilan Pappe). But it was an afterthought. There is no soreness around that question, Are Jews here or not? Of course theyre here. If there was a theme to the day (full video) it was that the Israel lobby is losing ground to Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) in the 100-years-war of Zionism in the United States, and the American people are waking up; but it wont matter much for the Palestinians. Theyre screwed for as long as anyone can see; and this is the Israel lobbys achievement. It blocked a Palestinian state. No one at the conference said the two-state solution is alive. There is zero time for the two state solution, Hanan Ashrawi said. She and almost everyone else talked about apartheid. The conference was sponsored by the Washington Report for Middle East Affairs and the Institute For Research Middle East Policy. I will go through its highlights this morning, focusing on a few speakers.Ill start with the hit, Hanan Ashrawi, and finish with John Mearsheimer, whose grim realist pronouncement that we are all in for a lot worse is what I will take away from this conference. Ashrawi was mordant and dignified. She said the peace process has been a neverending sham because the Israel lobby owns it. She mocked Dennis and Martin Martin Indyk and Dennis Ross for going from Israel lobby organizations into principal mediation positions in the White House, and then pointed out something I didnt know: that the latest ambassador to Israel, Daniel Shapiro, just left his job to sign on as an expert at the official Israeli thinktank the Institute for National Security Studies (funded by the usual suspects, Saban, Hertog, Steinhardt). Thats a revolving door that should make you dispirited and cynical. Shapiro is of course being replaced by David Friedman: Now we have settlers in the White House. They dont need to lobby, they are decision makers. The lobbys control of the narrative goes back to the The Balfour Declaration, which contained that clause about the Jewish home not harming the rights of the existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine. So Palestinians lost their identity right there, she said. And I do hope the Brits dont celebrate it even though Theresa May invited Netanyahu to celebrate it. This is a colonial legacy par excellence. Then there is the claim that all Palestinian prisoners are terrorists. There have been 800,000 Palestinian prisoners, Ashrawi said. I was one of them. Are there really 800,000 terrorists in Palestine? Palestinians had nonetheless made the painful compromise of accepting Israel in 78 percent of the original land for a simple reason: It was a compromise we made in order to give our children a future.The room was still. That didnt mean the Palestinians had accepted landswaps. It didnt mean they accepted a Jewish state. She got the most applause for her defiance of racism. We are not a demographic problem for Israel please do not accept this. We are a nation with our rights, with our history with our culture, and we abide by international law. I dont believe any other country in the world is allowed to discriminate against a people because it wants to maintain the ethnic or religious purity of its own entity at all. So we cannot be a demographic problem to scare the Israelis into giving us our little state-let or state-minus as they say. They are busily imposing greater Israel on the historical Palestine. They are destroying the two state solution They wax hysterical when people describe them as being apartheid. If the situation will continue, then it will run its course as an ongoing perpetual occupation, conflict, extremism. Or are we going to have a qualitative shift? Maybe we need to de-Zionize Israel rather than Zionize the Palestinians. The most fun was the talk by former Congressmen Nick Rahall and Jim Moran. These guys were congressmen for a reason. They are likeable, funny street-talking guys. They are also principled. Rahall left Congress two years ago, but he still keeps a close watch; and he said that the numbers are getting better for Palestinians. It used to be they only got a few votes, now they are getting 50 to 80. The new ambassador to Israel David Friedman got historic opposition in the Senate, 46 votes. Eighty congresspeople voted against the condemnation of Obamas abstention on the settlement resolution at the UN. Look at those 80 votes, those 46 thank em, email em, Rahall said. They are courageous. Rahall told a war story. He was on a Congressional delegation to Lebanon during the height of the Israeli attack in 1982. Tip ONeill wanted the Arab-American congressman to go because his own daughter-in-law was Arab-American and he had mixed feelings about Israel. Rahall and four others (I believeOakar, Bonior Dymally, McCloskey) met with Arafat in the middle of the night in Beirut. Arafat called the press, and the congressional delegation came out into klieg lights and said, Arafat agreed to recognize Israel. The press said the congressional delegation had been snookered, Rahall said, but we were ten years ahead of Oslo. Menachem Begin and Ariel Sharon then refused to meet with the congressional delegation. Rep. Elliott Levitas of Georgia, a Jewish member on the trip, had refused to meet with Arafat but he said that if the Israeli leaders didnt meet the whole Co-Del there would be hell to pay. They met. Rahall had seen cluster bombs being used, and he told Ariel Sharon you cant use cluster bombs in a civilian setting, thats the agreement with the U.S. Sharon picked up a piece of paper and said this is what I think of agreements during a war. And he tore the paper in half. The next day Reagan called Begin and told him to stop the war. Everyone applauded Reagan. Moran told about his awakening. He was one of a group of young Virginian politicians whom AIPAC sent over to Israel for a fun trip back in the 80s. He was then deputy mayor of Alexandria. The other guys were at his level, but two others also ultimately went to Congress.Thats because AIPAC is engaged and knows who the young bench is. Moran was deeply moved by that trip. He spent so long at Yad Vashem I delayed the whole bus, I couldnt get it out of my mind what I saw there. I became a firm supporter of Israel. That was my paradigm. So he bought the whole story. In 1991 he voted to give Israel loan guarantees for settlement building. He regrets that now. A Jewish activist told him he was anti-humanitarian, and it got under his skin. Then S. Daniel (Slim-Fast) Abraham of the Center for Middle East Peace and Sara Ehrman, Hillary Clintons guru, sent him over to the West Bank. Moran met Arafat and asked him if it was true that he had cried when he heard of Yitzhak Rabins murder. Yes, Arafat said. Why? Arafat said: Yitzhak was the only Jew who ever treated me like I was a man. Moran couldnt stop thinking about what Arafat said. A lot of this is a struggle for dignity and being recognized. Moran started to consider that the minority who voted against Israel were voting their consciences. He thought life was too short not to join them. After he began voting against Israel he was stunned by how many other congressmen on the private congressional elevator would thank him for voting that way even after they had voted for Israel. They said they had no choice. These people were not just voting against their constituents interests, but against their own convictions. Both Rahall and Moran said young Jews were going to make a difference. Moran said that when the arc of justice turns its going to be because of young Jewish men and women on campuses who are reading and are of the same ilk as the Jews who disproportionately turned around the civil rights movement. They were the ones who came down from the north. Many of them lost their lives. Moran got emotional. In my seat I started to lose it. When the young Jews wake up, he said, then they will share the information and ultimately the Congress will follow. Rahall gave an ad for J Street. Its organized young people and caused a stir in the Democratic party. He gave J Street credit for getting the Israel Palestine issue into the election debates last year. They supported the Iran deal, they opposed Trump on immigration and the Muslim ban, they supported the settlements resolution. He told the people in the room to work with J Street. Whatever coalition building you can, do. There may not be 100 percent agreement on a few issues But there is a ground there for a reachout and an approach that says, lets do this together, and lets go to Congress. Members of Congress will respond when they see Jews and Arabs working together. Rather than hurling insults at each other. That brings me to Khalil Jahshan. He told the best story of the day. Jahshan is the head of the Arab Center in D.C., and is a Palestinian Christian from Nazareth, born in 1948. He said that the US controls the peace process and keeps Europe out of it so as to keep Israel protected forever. Janet McMahon of WRMEA asked him if the US does that because its a superpower or because of the lobby. Jahshan paused. The room went quiet. Here it comes. Frankly, the Israel lobby and its influence Let me tell you something. My first lesson as a lobbyist when I arrived in town, a still somewhat innocent young man, my first meeting with a senator was Senator Hatfield. I was not with any Arab American organization yet. I was basically serving as an academic adviser to a group of church leaders in this country. I participated with them in advocating for peace and justice in the Middle East. And they asked me to accompany them as a resource person to meeting with a series of leaders in Congress. The late Senator [Mark] Hatfield of Oregon listened to us, and then asked me to stay after the group decided to leave. I did. He looked at me and said, What are you going to do here? I said, Well Im moving to town to work on behalf of Arab causes and particularly my cause, the Palestinian cause. He looked at me and established eye contact with me and he said, Young man this is a very difficult task youre embarking on. And he said and I will never forget these words as long as I live he said, In this great distinguished institution of the United States Senate, when the Israel lobby says jump, 90 plus of my colleagues say how high. They never ask why. So with that type of control particularly in Congress, you cant tell where the idea came from, Whether its volunteered by these people who are more than willing to sell out or by the lobby. Or how the two kind of feed on each other. I figure that happened in the early 80s. Hatfield served from 67-97. Jahshan praised BDS as a threat to the Israeli control of the narrative. So did Maria LaHood of the Center for Constitutional Rights. She said it was our moral duty to support BDS, just like we supported the Montgomery bus boycott. We need to keep making connections between settler colonialism, state violence and racism in this country and in Israel. The struggle for Palestinian liberation is tied to all struggles against oppression. Martin Luther King described the pivotal Montgomery bus boycott against segregation in the US as a refusal to cooperate with an evil system. All over the world including in the U.S., people are increasingly refusing to be complicit in Israels violations of international law and are demanding the same of our government officials. It is not simply a matter of our right to dissent, it is our moral duty. Cooperation with the occupation, with apartheid is complicity. BDS helped end apartheid in South Africa and it will eventually do the same in Israel. The wave of anti-BDS legislation just shows the power the movement that Palestinian rights has to expose Israels violations of international law and eventually help bring them to an end. John Mearsheimer also gave a lot of credit to Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, but from a realist perspective. Here is some of what he said: I believe dark times are ahead for both Israel and the lobby Greater Israel is here to stay, and that state is and will remain an apartheid state. That brute fact will become increasingly clear to people all over the world, especially now that it is clear that Palestinians are not going to get a state of their own. Palestinians will continue to resist their oppression. Which will force Israel to escalate the repressive policies that have tarnished its image. The Palestinians most potent weapon in this fight will be BDSIsrael and its supporters in the west view BDS as an existential threat. Because it not only has the potential to delegitimize Israel but it might also lead to Israels undoing. After all, the Palestinians, if they were given equal rights, Israel would cease to be a Jewish state. And there are good reasons that BDS might succeed, at least when it comes to delegitimizing Israel. First it takes dead aim at apartheid which is a morally repugnant political system that is universally condemned. Apartheid South Africa eventually disappeared, why should Israel be any different? This was the dark realist part of Mearsheimers message: Theres the possibility that BDS will carry the day and greater Israel will become a legitimate, liberal democracy. If that were to come, which is not likely, it would undoubtedly come after much bloodshed, as most Israeli Jews fervently oppose this outcome as it will mean the end of the Zionist dream. The more likely alternative is that Israel will simply remain an apartheid state, and with the help of lobby, hunker down and accept the fact that most of the world considers it a pariah state. It will take 20 or 30 years for these outcomes to sort themselves out. I am deeply sad to say that the decades ahead promise abundant troubles for Israel and especially for the Palestinians, and the United States will not be spared either, simply because the lobby will be working overtime to protect Israel and preserve the special relationship, which is likely to harm Americas intellectual life as well as its politics. Mearsheimer said wed had victories since he and his co-author Stephen Walt uncorked the festivities when they wrote The Israel Lobby paper in 2006. The lobby is now an open secret, its regularly mentioned in the newspapers. The elites continue to hold the line against discussion of the lobby, but it goes on despite them. The lobby cant get the country into a war, witness its defeat on the Iran Deal, but it came close. There are a few other moments I need to document for now. One was video of Sam Husseini asking Chuck Schumer if Israel has nukes and Schumer stammering and saying everyone knows it. This was quite delicious. Grant Smith of IRMEP showed it. Grant Smith said that Americans now know what the Israel lobby is: Its not the registration desk at the King David Hotel. The most nationalist speaker, Smith said that the lobby is also not American as apple pie, sorry, because its engaged in covert actions with a foreign government. And its been the largest single factor in the way of a resolution of the conflict, Smith said near the close of the conference. I share that view, the lobby is the reason partition hasnt worked for 70 years, its my original communitys achievement. The community in the room yesterday was much broader than that.

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March 26, 2017   Posted in: John Mearsheimer  Comments Closed

North Korea and Rex Tillerson’s muddled arguments in Beijing – SupChina

Throughout U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillersons controversial Asia trip,one issue dominated every conversation: What can be done about North Koreas nuclear weapons? North Korea has vexed every American president since the end of the Cold War, so it comes as no surprise that the Trump administration thus far lacks a concrete plan to deal with Kim Jong-un and his growing arsenal. What was surprising, however, was the contradictory tone and content of Tillersons own messaging as he traveled from country to country. In South Korea, Secretary Tillerson signaled a hard-line approach to the DPRK (Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea). By rejecting what he called the policy of strategic patience and stating that the United States was prepared to take preemptive actionif North Korea elevate[d] the threat of their nuclear weapons program, Tillerson alarmed foreign policy talking heads on Twitter and earned a rebuke from Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who cautioned Washington to keep a cool headin dealings with North Korea. But during the China leg of Secretary Tillersons Asia tour, the administrations rhetoric had already softened. In an exclusive interview with Independent Journal Reviews Erin McPike, Tillerson declared, Our objective is to have the regime in North Korea come to a conclusion that the reasons that they have felt they have had to develop nuclear weapons, those reasons are not well founded. We want to change that understanding. With that, we do believe that if North Korea [were to] stand down on this nuclear program, that is their quickest means to begin to develop their economy and to become a vibrant economy for the North Korean people. On the face of it, this statement is agreeable to Chinese sensitivities China has long desired North Korean economic reform and hardly signals a break from Obama administration policy on North Korea. That said, are North Koreas reasons for pursuing a nuclear weapons program not well founded? Is it possible to, in Tillersons words, change North Koreas understanding? The new administration would do well to consider that North Korea is a keen observer of American foreign policy globally, not merely in East Asia. And as it looks around the world, theres a lot for Pyongyang to dislike. While discussing Tillersons remarks on North Korea, theNew York Timesreportedthat intelligence assessments by the Obama administration found that the example of what happened to Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, the longtime leader of Libya, had played a critical role in North Korean thinking. Colonel Qaddafi gave up the components of Libyas nuclear program in late 2003 most of them were still in crates from Pakistan in hopes of economic integration with the West. Eight years later, when the Arab Spring broke out, the United States and its European allies joined forces to depose Colonel Qaddafi, who was eventually found hiding in a ditch and executed by Libyan rebels. Libya was, of course, a hot topic during the 2016 presidential campaign, with Secretary Clinton and then-candidate Donald Trump clashing repeatedly over the so-called Benghazi scandal, yet Secretary Clintons other policy recommendations in Libya largely escaped scrutiny. This extensive discussion by Foreign Policyon the aftermath of the Libya intervention is typical of commentary during the election. Simply put, no one in the U.S. foreign policy establishment was debating the wisdom of removing Colonel Qaddafi in 2011 after he had agreed to end his weapons programs in 2003. Turn back the clock to 2003, however, and we find that President Bush lifted sanctions on Qaddafi while promising that the United States would act in good faith toward Libya. The administration explicitly linkedthe example of Saddam Husseins overthrow to Qaddafis future in Libya, and offered a path of normalization for Qaddafis regime. Moreover, Bush administration officials were quotedas saying that they hoped Libya would provide a model for other regimes to give up their weapons of mass destruction. What, then, is that model as North Korea sees it? An enemy of the United States disarms, the United States offers modest gifts in the form of sanctions relief, but it still takes military action for regime change as soon as it has the right opportunity.North Korea is also cognizant of how the Libya case was, in international relations terms, a test of deterrence. The thinking goes that without weapons of mass destruction its deterrence Libya fell prey to better-armed powers like the United States and NATO. In fact, Libya isnt the only recent example of a country giving up its deterrence capabilities and then suffering militarily for it. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, newly independent Ukraine possessed several thousand nuclear weapons, up to 15 percent of the Soviet nuclear arsenal. Russia and the West persuaded Ukraine to surrender its weapons to Russia in 1992 in exchange for security guarantees that were formalized in 1994. At the time, political scientist John Mearsheimer called the disarmament of Ukraine a mistakeand predicted Russo-Ukrainian territorial conflict over Crimea. Roughly 10 years later, Vladimir Putin proved Mearsheimer correct. And although Russia is a de factoally of North Korea, Pyongyang no doubt senses a pattern. Recent history teaches us that without an adequate deterrent, minor powers like the DPRK are vulnerable to the designs of great powers like the U.S. This brings us to a less-acknowledged perspective in East Asia: North Koreas own security dilemma. How do the United States, China, and other relevant parties assuage Pyongyangs fears, especially when the United States views North Korea as a rogue state? One notable North Korea expert has recently arguedthat the DPRK will never feel secure unless it signs a peace treaty with the U.S. and then seizes control of South Korea. Whether or not Kim Jong-un subscribes to such extreme goals, his nuclear program provides the deterrent he believes he needs to sustain his regime for the foreseeable future. As such, while a denuclearized Korean peninsula might be in Americas and Chinas interest, very little supports Secretary Tillersons assertion that denuclearization is in North Koreas interest.

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March 24, 2017   Posted in: John Mearsheimer  Comments Closed

A Breach In The Anti-Putin Groupthink – Mintpress News (blog)

The mainstream U.S. media has virtually banned any commentary that doesnt treat Russian President Putin as the devil, but a surprising breach in the groupthink has occurred in Foreign Affairs magazine, reports Gilbert Doctorow. Street art in Warsaw, Poland depicting Russian President Vladimir Putin. (Photo: Alberto Cabello/Flickr CC) Realistically, no major change in U.S. foreign and defense policy is possible without substantial support from the U.S. political class, but a problem occurs when only one side of a debate gets a fair hearing and the other side gets ignored or marginalized. That is the current situation regarding U.S. policy toward Russia. For the past couple of decades, only the neoconservatives and their close allies, the liberal interventionists, have been allowed into the ring to raise their gloves in celebration of an uncontested victory over policy. On the very rare occasion when a realist or a critic of regime change wars somehow manages to sneak into the ring, they find both arms tied behind them and receive the predictable pounding. While this predicament has existed since the turn of this past century, it has grown more pronounced since the U.S.-Russia relationship slid into open confrontation in 2014 after the U.S.-backed coup in Ukraine overthrowing elected President Viktor Yanukovych and sparking a civil war that led Crimea to secede and join Russia and Ukraines eastern Donbass region to rise up in rebellion. But the only narrative that the vast majority of Americans have heard and that the opinion centers of Washington and New York have allowed is the one that blames everything on Russian aggression. Those who try to express dissenting opinions noting, for instance, the intervention in Ukrainian affairs by Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland as well as the U.S.-funded undermining on Yanukovychs government have been essentially banned from both the U.S. mass media and professional journals. When a handful of independent news sites (including Consortiumnews.com) tried to report on the other side of the story, they were denounced as Russian propagandists and ended up on blacklists promoted by The Washington Post and other mainstream news outlets. That is why it is encouraging that Foreign Affairs magazine, the preeminent professional journal of American diplomacy, took the extraordinary step (extraordinary at least in the current environment) of publishing Robert Englishs article, entitled Russia, Trump, and a new Dtente, that challenges the prevailing groupthink and does so with careful scholarship. Vladimir Putin speaks at a concert marking the 80th birthday anniversary of Russias first president Boris Yeltsin, in Moscow, Feb. 1 , 2011. (APMikhail Klimentyev) In effect, Englishs article trashes the positions of all Foreign Affairs featured contributors for the past several years. But it must be stressed that there are no new discoveries of fact or new insights that make Englishs essay particularly valuable. What he has done is to bring together the chief points of the counter-current and set them out with extraordinary writing skills, efficiency and persuasiveness of argumentation. Even more important, he has been uncompromising. The facts laid out by English could have been set out by one of several experienced and informed professors or practitioners of international relations.But English had the courage to follow the facts where they lead and the skill to convince the Foreign Affairs editors to take the chance on allowing readers to see some unpopular truths even though the editors now will probably come under attack themselves as Kremlin stooges. The overriding thesis is summed up at the start of the essay: For 25 years, Republicans and Democrats have acted in ways that look much the same to Moscow. Washington has pursued policies that have ignored Russian interests (and sometimes international law as well) in order to encircle Moscow with military alliances and trade blocs conducive to U.S. interests. It is no wonder that Russia pushes back. The wonder is that the U.S. policy elite doesnt get this, even as foreign-affairs neophyte Trump apparently does. Englishs article goes back to the fall of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s and explains why and how U.S. policy toward Russia was wrong and wrong again. He debunks the notion that Boris Yeltsin brought in a democratic age, which Vladimir Putin undid after coming to power. English explains how the U.S. meddled in Russian domestic politics in the mid-1990s to falsify election results and ensure Yeltsins continuation in office despite his unpopularity for bringing on an economic Depression that average Russians remember bitterly to this day. That was a time when the vast majority of Russians equated democracy with shitocracy. English describes how the Russian economic and political collapse in the 1990s was exploited by the Clinton administration. He tells why currently fashionable U.S. critics of Putin are dead wrong when they fail to acknowledge Putins achievements in restructuring the economy, tax collection, governance, improvements in public health and more which account for his spectacular popularity ratings today. English details all the errors and stupidities of the Obama administration in its handling of Russia and Putin, faulting President Obama and Secretary of State (and later presidential candidate) Hillary Clinton for all of their provocative and insensitive words and deeds. What we see in U.S. policy, as described by English, is the application of double standards, a prosecutorial stance towards Russia, and outrageous lies about the country and its leadership foisted on the American public. Then English takes on directly all of the paranoia over Russias alleged challenge to Western democratic processes. He calls attention instead to how U.S. foreign policy and the European Unions own policies in the new Member States and candidate Member States have created all the conditions for a populist revolt by buying off local elites and subjecting the broad populace in these countries to pauperization. English concludes his essay with a call to give dtente with Putin and Russia a chance. Englishs Wikipedia entry and biographical data provided on his University of Southern California web pages make it clear that he has quality academic credentials: Master of Public Administration and PhD. in politics from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. He also has a solid collection of scholarly publications to his credit as author or co-editor with major names in the field of Russian-Soviet intellectual history. Professor English is not without his political ambitions. During the 2016 presidential election campaign, he tried to secure a position as foreign policy adviser to Democratic hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders. In pursuit of this effort, English had the backing of progressives at The Nation, which in February 2016 published an article of his entitled Bernie Sanders, the Foreign Policy Realist of 2016.He spent six years doing studies for U.S. intelligence and defense: 19821986 at the Department of Defense and 1986-88 at the U.S. Committee for National Security. And he has administrative experience as the Director of the USC School of International Relations. Englishs objective was to demonstrate how wrong many people were to see in Sanders a visionary utopian incapable of defending Americas strategic interests. Amid the praise of Sanders in this article, English asserts that Sanders is as firm on Russia as Hillary Clinton. By the end of the campaign, however, several tenacious neocons had attached themselves to Sanderss inner circle and English departed. So, one might size up English as just one more opportunistic academic who will do whatever it takes to land a top job in Washington. While there is nothing new in such flexibility, there is also nothing necessarily offensive in it. From the times of Machiavelli if not earlier, intellectuals have tended to be guns for hire. The first open question is how skilled they are in managing their sponsors as well as in managing their readers in the public. But there is also a political realism in such behavior, advancing a politician who might be a far better leader than the alternatives while blunting the attack lines that might be deployed against him or her. Then, there are times, such as the article for Foreign Affairs, when an academic may be speaking for his own analysis of an important situation whatever the political costs or benefits. Sources who have long been close to English assure me that the points in his latest article match his true beliefs. President Barack Obama, left, speaks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, right prior to the opening session of the G-20 summit in Antalya, Turkey.(SPUTNIK, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP, file) Yet, it is one thing to have a courageous author and knowledgeable scholar. It is quite another to find a publisher willing to take the heat for presenting views that venture outside the mainstream Establishment. In that sense, it is stunning that Foreign Affairs chose to publish English and let him destroy the groupthink that has dominated the magazine and the elite foreign policy circles for years. It was a shock to many of Americas leading foreign policy insiders who, in the next issue, rallied like a collection of white cells to attack the invasive thinking. But there were some Foreign Affairs readers about one-third of the commenters who voiced agreement with Mearsheimers arguments. But that was a one-time affair. Mearsheimer appears to have been tolerated because he was one of the few remaining exponents of the Realist School in the United States. But he was not a Russia specialist.The only previous exception to the magazines lockstep was an article by University of Chicago professor John Mearsheimer entitled Why the Ukraine Crisis is the Wests Fault published in September 2014. That essay shot holes in Official Washingtons recounting of the events leading up to the Russian annexation of Crimea and intervention in the Donbass. Foreign Affairs may have turned to Robert English because the editors, as insider-insiders, found themselves on the outside of the Trump administration looking in. The magazines 250,000 subscribers, which include readers from across the globe, expect Foreign Affairs to have some lines into the corridors of power. In that regard, the magazine has been carrying water for the State Department since the days of the Cold War. For instance, in the spring issue of 2007, the magazine published a cooked-up article signed by Ukrainian politician Yuliya Tymoshenko on why the West must contain Russia, a direct response to Putins famous Munich speech in which he accused the United States of destabilizing the world through the Iraq War and other policies. Anticipating Hillary Clintons expected election, Foreign Affairs editors did not hedge their bets in 2016. They sided with the former Secretary of State and hurled rhetorical bricks at Donald Trump. In their September issue, they compared him to a tin-pot populist dictator in South America. Thus, they found themselves cut off after Trumps surprising victory. For the first time in many years in the opening issue of the New Year following a U.S. presidential election, the magazine did not feature an interview with the incoming Secretary of State or some other cabinet member. Though Official Washingtons anti-Russian frenzy seems to be reaching a crescendo on Capitol Hill with strident hearings on alleged Russian meddling in the presidential election, the underlying reality is that the neocons are descending into a fury over their sudden loss of power. The hysteria was highlighted when neocon Sen. John McCain lashed out at Sen. Rand Paul after the libertarian senator objected to special consideration for McCains resolution supporting Montenegros entrance into NATO. In a stunning breach of Senate protocol, a livid McCain accused Paul of working for Vladimir Putin. Meanwhile, some Democratic leaders have begun cautioning their anti-Trump followers not to expect too much from congressional investigations into the supposed Trump-Russia collusion on the election. In publishing Robert Englishs essay challenging much of the anti-Russian groupthink that has dominated Western geopolitics over the past few years, Foreign Affairs may be finally bending to the recognition that it is risking its credibility if it continues to put all its eggs in the we-hate-Russia basket. That hedging of its bets may be a case of self-interest, but it also may be an optimistic sign that the martyred Fifteenth Century Catholic Church reformer Jan Hus was right when he maintained that eventually the truth will prevail. The views expressed in this article are the authors own and do not necessarily reflect Mint Press News editorial policy.

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March 24, 2017   Posted in: John Mearsheimer  Comments Closed

A Breach in the Anti-Putin Groupthink – Consortium News

The mainstream U.S. media has virtually banned any commentary that doesnt treat Russian President Putin as the devil, but a surprising breach in the groupthink has occurred in Foreign Affairs magazine, reports Gilbert Doctorow. By Gilbert Doctorow Realistically, no major change in U.S. foreign and defense policy is possible without substantial support from the U.S. political class, but a problem occurs when only one side of a debate gets a fair hearing and the other side gets ignored or marginalized. That is the current situation regarding U.S. policy toward Russia. For the past couple of decades, only the neoconservatives and their close allies, the liberal interventionists, have been allowed into the ring to raise their gloves in celebration of an uncontested victory over policy. On the very rare occasion when a realist or a critic of regime change wars somehow manages to sneak into the ring, they find both arms tied behind them and receive the predictable pounding. While this predicament has existed since the turn of this past century, it has grown more pronounced since the U.S.-Russia relationship slid into open confrontation in 2014 after the U.S.-backed coup in Ukraine overthrowing elected President Viktor Yanukovych and sparking a civil war that led Crimea to secede and join Russia and Ukraines eastern Donbass region to rise up in rebellion. But the only narrative that the vast majority of Americans have heard and that the opinion centers of Washington and New York have allowed is the one that blames everything on Russian aggression. Those who try to express dissenting opinions noting, for instance, the intervention in Ukrainian affairs by Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland as well as the U.S.-funded undermining on Yanukovychs government have been essentially banned from both the U.S. mass media and professional journals. When a handful of independent news sites (including Consortiumnews.com) tried to report on the other side of the story, they were denounced as Russian propagandists and ended up on blacklists promoted by The Washington Post and other mainstream news outlets. An Encouraging Sign That is why it is encouraging that Foreign Affairs magazine, the preeminent professional journal of American diplomacy, took the extraordinary step (extraordinary at least in the current environment) of publishing Robert Englishs article, entitled Russia, Trump, and a new Dtente, that challenges the prevailing groupthink and does so with careful scholarship. In effect, Englishs article trashes the positions of all Foreign Affairs featured contributors for the past several years. But it must be stressed that there are no new discoveries of fact or new insights that make Englishs essay particularly valuable. What he has done is to bring together the chief points of the counter-current and set them out with extraordinary writing skills, efficiency and persuasiveness of argumentation. Even more important, he has been uncompromising. The facts laid out by English could have been set out by one of several experienced and informed professors or practitioners of international relations.But English had the courage to follow the facts where they lead and the skill to convince the Foreign Affairs editors to take the chance on allowing readers to see some unpopular truths even though the editors now will probably come under attack themselves as Kremlin stooges. The overriding thesis is summed up at the start of the essay: For 25 years, Republicans and Democrats have acted in ways that look much the same to Moscow. Washington has pursued policies that have ignored Russian interests (and sometimes international law as well) in order to encircle Moscow with military alliances and trade blocs conducive to U.S. interests. It is no wonder that Russia pushes back. The wonder is that the U.S. policy elite doesnt get this, even as foreign-affairs neophyte Trump apparently does. Englishs article goes back to the fall of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s and explains why and how U.S. policy toward Russia was wrong and wrong again. He debunks the notion that Boris Yeltsin brought in a democratic age, which Vladimir Putin undid after coming to power. English explains how the U.S. meddled in Russian domestic politics in the mid-1990s to falsify election results and ensure Yeltsins continuation in office despite his unpopularity for bringing on an economic Depression that average Russians remember bitterly to this day. That was a time when the vast majority of Russians equated democracy with shitocracy. English describes how the Russian economic and political collapse in the 1990s was exploited by the Clinton administration. He tells why currently fashionable U.S. critics of Putin are dead wrong when they fail to acknowledge Putins achievements in restructuring the economy, tax collection, governance, improvements in public health and more which account for his spectacular popularity ratings today. English details all the errors and stupidities of the Obama administration in its handling of Russia and Putin, faulting President Obama and Secretary of State (and later presidential candidate) Hillary Clinton for all of their provocative and insensitive words and deeds. What we see in U.S. policy, as described by English, is the application of double standards, a prosecutorial stance towards Russia, and outrageous lies about the country and its leadership foisted on the American public. Then English takes on directly all of the paranoia over Russias alleged challenge to Western democratic processes. He calls attention instead to how U.S. foreign policy and the European Unions own policies in the new Member States and candidate Member States have created all the conditions for a populist revolt by buying off local elites and subjecting the broad populace in these countries to pauperization. English concludes his essay with a call to give dtente with Putin and Russia a chance. Who Is Robert English? Englishs Wikipedia entry and biographical data provided on his University of Southern California web pages make it clear that he has quality academic credentials: Master of Public Administration and PhD. in politics from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. He also has a solid collection of scholarly publications to his credit as author or co-editor with major names in the field of Russian-Soviet intellectual history. He spent six years doing studies for U.S. intelligence and defense: 19821986 at the Department of Defense and 1986-88 at the U.S. Committee for National Security. And he has administrative experience as the Director of the USC School of International Relations. Professor English is not without his political ambitions. During the 2016 presidential election campaign, he tried to secure a position as foreign policy adviser to Democratic hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders. In pursuit of this effort, English had the backing of progressives at The Nation, which in February 2016 published an article of his entitled Bernie Sanders, the Foreign Policy Realist of 2016. Englishs objective was to demonstrate how wrong many people were to see in Sanders a visionary utopian incapable of defending Americas strategic interests. Amid the praise of Sanders in this article, English asserts that Sanders is as firm on Russia as Hillary Clinton. By the end of the campaign, however, several tenacious neocons had attached themselves to Sanderss inner circle and English departed. So, one might size up English as just one more opportunistic academic who will do whatever it takes to land a top job in Washington. While there is nothing new in such flexibility, there is also nothing necessarily offensive in it. From the times of Machiavelli if not earlier, intellectuals have tended to be guns for hire. The first open question is how skilled they are in managing their sponsors as well as in managing their readers in the public. But there is also a political realism in such behavior, advancing a politician who might be a far better leader than the alternatives while blunting the attack lines that might be deployed against him or her. Then, there are times, such as the article for Foreign Affairs, when an academic may be speaking for his own analysis of an important situation whatever the political costs or benefits. Sources who have long been close to English assure me that the points in his latest article match his true beliefs. The Politics of Geopolitics Yet, it is one thing to have a courageous author and knowledgeable scholar. It is quite another to find a publisher willing to take the heat for presenting views that venture outside the mainstream Establishment. In that sense, it is stunning that Foreign Affairs chose to publish English and let him destroy the groupthink that has dominated the magazine and the elite foreign policy circles for years. The only previous exception to the magazines lockstep was an article by University of Chicago professor John Mearsheimer entitled Why the Ukraine Crisis is the Wests Fault published in September 2014. That essay shot holes in Official Washingtons recounting of the events leading up to the Russian annexation of Crimea and intervention in the Donbass. It was a shock to many of Americas leading foreign policy insiders who, in the next issue, rallied like a collection of white cells to attack the invasive thinking. But there were some Foreign Affairs readers about one-third of the commenters who voiced agreement with Mearsheimers arguments. But that was a one-time affair. Mearsheimer appears to have been tolerated because he was one of the few remaining exponents of the Realist School in the United States. But he was not a Russia specialist. Foreign Affairs may have turned to Robert English because the editors, as insider-insiders, found themselves on the outside of the Trump administration looking in. The magazines 250,000 subscribers, which include readers from across the globe, expect Foreign Affairs to have some lines into the corridors of power. In that regard, the magazine has been carrying water for the State Department since the days of the Cold War. For instance, in the spring issue of 2007, the magazine published a cooked-up article signed by Ukrainian politician Yuliya Tymoshenko on why the West must contain Russia, a direct response to Putins famous Munich speech in which he accused the United States of destabilizing the world through the Iraq War and other policies. Anticipating Hillary Clintons expected election, Foreign Affairs editors did not hedge their bets in 2016. They sided with the former Secretary of State and hurled rhetorical bricks at Donald Trump. In their September issue, they compared him to a tin-pot populist dictator in South America. Thus, they found themselves cut off after Trumps surprising victory. For the first time in many years in the opening issue of the New Year following a U.S. presidential election, the magazine did not feature an interview with the incoming Secretary of State or some other cabinet member. Though Official Washingtons anti-Russian frenzy seems to be reaching a crescendo on Capitol Hill with strident hearings on alleged Russian meddling in the presidential election, the underlying reality is that the neocons are descending into a fury over their sudden loss of power. The hysteria was highlighted when neocon Sen. John McCain lashed out at Sen. Rand Paul after the libertarian senator objected to special consideration for McCains resolution supporting Montenegros entrance into NATO. In a stunning breach of Senate protocol, a livid McCain accused Paul of working for Vladimir Putin. Meanwhile, some Democratic leaders have begun cautioning their anti-Trump followers not to expect too much from congressional investigations into the supposed Trump-Russia collusion on the election. In publishing Robert Englishs essay challenging much of the anti-Russian groupthink that has dominated Western geopolitics over the past few years, Foreign Affairs may be finally bending to the recognition that it is risking its credibility if it continues to put all its eggs in the we-hate-Russia basket. That hedging of its bets may be a case of self-interest, but it also may be an optimistic sign that the martyred Fifteenth Century Catholic Church reformer Jan Hus was right when he maintained that eventually the truth will prevail. Gilbert Doctorow is a Brussels-based political analyst. His latest book, Does Russia Have a Future? was published in August 2015.

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March 22, 2017   Posted in: John Mearsheimer  Comments Closed

The Tragedy of Great Power Politics: Amazon.co.uk: John …

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IS & Waffen SS – Pakistan Observer

IS & Waffen SS Pakistan Observer JOHN Mearsheimer , an American political scientist, argues in his book The Tragedy of the Great Power Politics (2001) that great powers shake and shape the international system. This phenomenon exhibited by them often creates such shockwaves which …

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March 24 "Israel Lobby and American Policy" conference program at the National Press Club – PR Newswire (press release)

WASHINGTON, March 8, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The March 24 all-day conference “The Israel Lobby and American Policy” at the National Press Club features the following program: 8:00-9:00 AM Registration and “Two Blue Lines”: A documentary film screening in the Ballroom. Exhibition hall opens in adjacent Holeman Lounge. 9:00 AM Conference Organizer Welcoming Remarks 9:10 AM Grant Smith: The series of stunningbut underreportedpolls revealing true American attitudes about U.S. aid to Israel and other top American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) programs. 9:40 AM KeynoteProfessor John Mearsheimer: What has changed in the decade since his book The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy was published. Subsequent findings, foreign policy choices the U.S. makes that it otherwise would notif not for Israeland what the new administration could do differently in the future that would better serve broader American interests. 10:30 AM Professor Katherine Franke: Recent legislation that threatens the First Amendment rights of Palestinian solidarity activists in the U.S. and the legal challenges thereto. 11:00 AM Morning Break 11:15 AM Former Congressman Jim Moran (D-VA): What it takes to beat the Israel lobby in Congress. 11:40 AM Former Congressman Nick Rahall (D-WV): How to support the members of Congress who are beginning to listen to their constituents on Middle East policy issues. 12:15 PM Lunch Break & Screening of selections from the four-part Al Jazeera six-month undercover investigative series “The Lobby.” Jack Shaheen and John Mearsheimer book signings. 1:00 PM KeynoteHanan Ashrawi: The Israel lobby and the “peace process” from a Palestinian perspective. 1:40 PM Tom Hayes: Challenges and changes in 25 years working on Israel-Palestine issues and advice for independent filmmakers. The documentary producer screens and comments on selections from his latest film, “Two Blue Lines.” 2:10 PM Jack Shaheen: Strategies to successfully push back against harmful Hollywood stereotypes about Arabs and Muslims, and the work new generations must now take on. 2:40 PM Wajahat Ali: The intersection of pro-Israel organizations & donors and Islamophobia uncovered as the lead author and researcher of the report “Fear, Inc: The Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America.” 3:15 PM Afternoon Break 3:30 PM Khalil Jahshan: The Israel lobby and “fake peace processing.” 4:00 PM Conference organizer remarks 4:15 PM KeynoteProfessor Ilan Papp: The value of viewing Israel-Palestine through the lens of settler-colonialism, how Zionist myths have been shaped and/or perpetuated by the Israel lobby, and what framework is necessary to overcome these myths and ensure that efforts to resolve the “conflict” are grounded in reality. 5:00 PM Clayton Swisher: The director of investigative journalism for Al Jazeera Media Network screens and comments on selections from “The Lobby,” the four-part series about the Israeli Embassy’s covert influence campaign in Britain. This undercover investigation reveals how the Israeli Embassy sought to establish supposedly “independent” pro-Israel groups in England, AIPAC’s efforts to establish itself in London, unfounded accusations of anti-Semitism lodged against Labour Party members, and discussions by disgraced former Israeli diplomat Shai Masot to “take down” UK lawmakers deemed hostile to Israel. 5:30-7:30 PM Networking Reception & Book Signings: Wajahat Ali, Hanan Ashrawi, Ilan Papp and Clayton Swisher.

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March 24 "Israel Lobby and American Policy" conference program at … – Yahoo News

WASHINGTON, March 8, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The March 24 all-day conference “The Israel Lobby and American Policy” at the National Press Club features the following program: 8:00-9:00 AM Registration and “Two Blue Lines”: A documentary film screening in the Ballroom. Exhibition hall opens in adjacent Holeman Lounge. 9:00 AM Conference Organizer Welcoming Remarks 9:10 AM Grant Smith: The series of stunningbut underreportedpolls revealing true American attitudes about U.S. aid to Israel and other top American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) programs. 9:40 AM KeynoteProfessor John Mearsheimer : What has changed in the decade since his book The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy was published. Subsequent findings, foreign policy choices the U.S. makes that it otherwise would notif not for Israeland what the new administration could do differently in the future that would better serve broader American interests. 10:30 AM Professor Katherine Franke : Recent legislation that threatens the First Amendment rights of Palestinian solidarity activists in the U.S. and the legal challenges thereto. 11:00 AM Morning Break 11:15 AM Former Congressman Jim Moran (D-VA ) : What it takes to beat the Israel lobby in Congress. 11:40 AM Former Congressman Nick Rahall (D-WV): How to support the members of Congress who are beginning to listen to their constituents on Middle East policy issues. 12:15 PM Lunch Break & Screening of selections from the four-part Al Jazeera six-month undercover investigative series “The Lobby.” Jack Shaheen and John Mearsheimer book signings. 1:00 PM Keynote Hanan Ashrawi : The Israel lobby and the “peace process” from a Palestinian perspective. 1:40 PM Tom Hayes : Challenges and changes in 25 years working on Israel-Palestine issues and advice for independent filmmakers. The documentary producer screens and comments on selections from his latest film, “Two Blue Lines.” 2:10 PM Jack Shaheen : Strategies to successfully push back against harmful Hollywood stereotypes about Arabs and Muslims, and the work new generations must now take on. 2:40 PM Wajahat Ali : The intersection of pro-Israel organizations & donors and Islamophobia uncovered as the lead author and researcher of the report “Fear, Inc: The Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America.” 3:15 PM Afternoon Break 3:30 PM Khalil Jahshan : The Israel lobby and “fake peace processing.” 4:00 PM Conference organizer remarks 4:15 PM KeynoteProfessor Ilan Papp : The value of viewing Israel-Palestine through the lens of settler-colonialism, how Zionist myths have been shaped and/or perpetuated by the Israel lobby, and what framework is necessary to overcome these myths and ensure that efforts to resolve the “conflict” are grounded in reality. 5:00 PM Clayton Swisher : The director of investigative journalism for Al Jazeera Media Network screens and comments on selections from “The Lobby,” the four-part series about the Israeli Embassy’s covert influence campaign in Britain. This undercover investigation reveals how the Israeli Embassy sought to establish supposedly “independent” pro-Israel groups in England, AIPAC’s efforts to establish itself in London, unfounded accusations of anti-Semitism lodged against Labour Party members, and discussions by disgraced former Israeli diplomat Shai Masot to “take down” UK lawmakers deemed hostile to Israel. 5:30-7:30 PM Networking Reception & Book Signings: Wajahat Ali, Hanan Ashrawi, Ilan Papp and Clayton Swisher. This conference is dedicated to the memory of U.S. Ambassador Andrew I. Killgore, publisher of the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs. View more information at the conference website and purchase tickets online at IsraelLobbyAndAmericanPolicy.org or Eventbrite . Purchase admission before March 24 and receive a free one-year subscription to the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs magazine (non-subscribers only). Members of the news media can apply for press credentials online to enter and cover this event at http://israellobbyandamericanpolicy.org/Press_Credentials/default.html All attendees receive a box lunch and a beverage ticket for the post-conference networking reception. The Israel Lobby and American Policy conference is solely sponsored by the American Educational Trust, publisher of the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs , and the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy ( IRmep ). To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/march-24-israel-lobby-and-american-policy-conference-program-at-the-national-press-club-300420526.html SOURCE Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy

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Doomsday Cancelled: Trump is Good News for Allies and World Peace – War on the Rocks

The election of Donald Trump as U.S. president has rocked the U.S. security establishment and its allies around the world. President Trump has questioned the security guarantees that underpin the Pax Americana in speeches, personal conversations with world leaders, and of course on Twitter. He has claimed that allies are ripping the United States off, dismissed NATO for being obsolete, and mused that the time may have come for Japan and South Korea to develop their own nuclear weapons. He insists that U.S. allies have to pay and do more for their defense. Many in the United States and abroad have decried these statements as destabilizing and dangerous; The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists captured the general mood by moving their doomsday clock 30 seconds closer to midnight in response to Trumps inauguration. This concern is massively overblown. Rather than weakening Americas web of alliances, Trumps aggressive statements and erratic behavior will most likely strengthen the American-led security architecture during his presidency. This is good news for world peace because strong American alliances and strong American allies can deter rivals from launching destabilizing challenges to the predominant order. Trumps aggressive communications strategy and his America First approach to international negotiations have already frightened allies into doing something his predecessors could not: increase defense spending. Fear of abandonment has changed the nature of the defense debate in allied capitals in Asia and Europe. The question is no longer whether defense spending should increase, but how much. U.S. allies in Europe are now scrambling to produce concrete plans for how they will increase defense spending in time for President Trumps first visit to NATO in late May 2017.. His perceived unpredictability is also making military provocations and risk-taking by Americas adversaries less likely. Trumpology is Misleading The concern triggered by Trumps election stems in no small part from the rise of what I call Trumpology the incessant scrutiny of Trumps personality, his statements, and his tweets. Trumpology is a new growth industry and the media embraces it because it fits their definition of a newsworthy story perfectly. Trumps communications generate all the criteria journalists look for in a good story: conflict, anxiety, comedy, theater, and outrage. This helps media companies, even those attacked by Trump, sell advertising like hotcakes. Many experts now spend their time putting Trumps words under the microscope, seeking to identify all the disasters they might create. In addition, psychologists have been busy analyzing his personality and upbringing in order to explain why he is acting so weird. The American intelligence community has used personality profiling since World War II to better understand how leaders in closed authoritarian systems such as Iraq, Iran, North Korea, and Russia think and act. The results have been useful on occasion, but the study of personalities and intentions is insufficient with respect to predicting foreign policy actions and outcomes. One must also analyze the consequences and the opposition that proposed actions are likely to generate. If one considers the consequences of undermining existing U.S. alliances and how much opposition such action would trigger, one gets a far more positive picture of Trumps impact on world security than the doomsday scenarios that Trumpologists have mass-produced since his election. Consequences for U.S. Allies Since the late 1940s, U.S. allies in Europe and Asia have based their national security on the assumption that the United States will assist them in a crisis. This assumption and the post-Cold War downsizing of Europes military forces have rendered Europeans incapable of conducting even relatively small-scale military operations without substantial American support. NATOs air war against Libya (2011) and the French intervention in Mali (2013) are two recent cases in point. Neither operation would have been possible without American logistics, lift, munitions, intelligence, and other forms of support. The situation in the same in Asia: Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan have all based their defense forces and defense spending on the assumption that the U.S. cavalry will come to their rescue if necessary. If Trump degrades or withdraws these security guarantees, the allies will face a stark choice between deterrence and appeasement. In Europe deterrence is the most likely choice because the big three (Germany, France, and the United Kingdom) are strong enough to constitute the core of a new alliance that can credibly deter Russia. In Asia, China will become so strong that most states bordering the East China Sea will have no choice but to appease Beijing and accept its hegemony. Regardless of the outcome, both Europe and Asia would face a period characterized by high instability and a heightened risk of war. Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan would seek to develop nuclear weapons. In Europe, Germany and Poland would have a strong incentive to do the same unless France and Britain extend their nuclear umbrellas over them. Indeed, all of these countries, except Poland, either contemplated the development of nuclear weapons (Germany and Japan) or had active nuclear weapons programs during the Cold War (South Korea and Taiwan). Consequences for the United States Prominent American scholars such as John Mearsheimer, Barry Posen, and Stephen Walt have long recommended that the United States withdraw most of its forces from Asia and Europe because the costs of the existing onshore presence dwarf the benefits. In their view, the existing security guarantees amount to welfare for the rich and increase the risk of entrapment in wars that do not involve American national interests. They believe that the United States would be much better off by copying the offshore balancing strategy that the British Empire employed in Europe before World War II. This would involve providing support to shifting alliances and coalitions in order to prevent a single power from establishing a regional hegemony on the European continent. Offshore balancing has clear limitations and did not serve the British well in the end: it threw them into two world wars that brought the empire to its knees. Britains fate highlights the weakness of offshore balancing: a loss of the ability to shape the security politics onshore decisively. The failure of British offshore balancing dragged the United States into both world wars. Americas decisions to help its allies in Europe defeat Germany proved costly in blood and treasure. Since then the United States has benefitted tremendously from the onshore balancing strategy it adopted after World War II in both Asia and Europe, where it stationed its forces permanently to deter aggression. This presence, coupled with the allies military dependence, enabled Washington to shape development in both regions to align with U.S. interests. Washington repeatedly gave their allies offers they could not refuse. U.S. economic assistance programs provided to allies in the wake of World War II came with conditions that forced the recipients to buy American goods and liberalize their markets in ways that were highly beneficial to American firms. Washington forced Great Britain and France to withdraw their troops from Egypt during the Suez Crisis (1956), coerced Germany to support U.S. monetary policy (1966 to 1969), and leaned on many allies to stop their nuclear weapons programs and join the Non-Proliferation Treaty (1968) that made such weapons illegal, including Japan, Germany, South Korea, and Taiwan. Military dependence on the United States also induced many allies to support U.S.-led wars in faraway places that did not affect their national security directly. The Afghan War and Iraq War are two recent cases in point. The allies closed their eyes to issues like secret detention and extraordinary rendition programs, the use of torture, and the massive surveillance of their own citizens that has characterized the War on Terror since 9/11. Allies have given the United States access to bases, facilities, as well as their airspace and territorial waters. This facilitates U.S. power projection globally. Finally, many allies buy American weapon systems as a way of maintain inter-operability and their security guarantees. The F-35 is the latest and greatest example of this. The consequences of a U.S. military withdrawal from Europe and Asia would be dramatic. The United States would lose most of its military bases in Asia and Europe, American firms would find it much harder to gain access to Asian and European markets, the American defense industry would lose billions of dollars, and European allies would stop supporting the United States militarily in faraway conflicts. As a result, the United States would lose its global power status and be reduced to a regional power with limited say in the management of Asian and European security. This is why it will not happen. This outcome is not only at odds with Americas economic interests, but it is also completely at odds with the widely shared belief in American exceptionalism and greatness. This is a belief that Trump and his supporters also embrace. Most Americans continue to view their nation as the greatest power on earth with an obligation to lead and make the world safe for Americas universal values. Trump is Scaring Allies into Spending But if the costs of abandoning allies are prohibitive, why is Trump threatening to do so? Nobel Prize laureate Thomas Schellings work on game theory suggests an answer. Schelling demonstrated in his seminal Strategy of Conflict (1960) that it may be advantageous to appear mad or unpredictable, because it may induce your negotiating partners or opponents to give greater concessions that they otherwise would. In this perspective, Trumps statements and seemingly erratic behavior make a lot of sense as a negotiation tactic aimed at pressuring U.S. allies to increase their defense spending. Trumps predecessors in the White House have tried to do this for years without success; previous administrations have repeatedly warned its European allies that NATO was in danger of becoming irrelevant if the Europeans continued to cut their defense spending. Yet most European allies paid scant attention to demands from the Obama administration to stop freeriding and honor their own commitments to spend 2 percent of GDP on defense. Few European governments saw a pressing need to increase defense spending because the Obama administration reacted to the Russian annexation of the Crimea by enhancing its military presence in Europe. Trump has changed the game completely. In line with Schellings expectations, his perceived unpredictability is adding credibility to the threat that he might actually withdraw U.S. forces even if it is not in the United States best interest to do so. There is genuine concern among U.S. allies about what Trump might do if they do not take immediate steps to increase their defense spending. Many have already taken steps in this direction, or signaled their intention to do so. In December 2016, Japan adopted a record high defense budget, which allocated considerable funds to the procurement of American equipment, notably F-35s and missiles. The South Korean government reacted to Trumps election by vowing to increase defense spending significantly if he insists on it. Likewise, the Danish Prime Minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen promised to increase defense spending after his first phone conversation with Trump. In Germany Trumps election triggered a hitherto unthinkable debate on whether Germany should develop nuclear weapons. Trump cannot take sole credit for the newfound allied attentiveness to longstanding U.S. demands. The Japanese defense budget has been increasing in recent years due to growing concerns about China. Russia has had a similar effect on the defense budgets of the eastern NATO members. However, Trump has made a crucial difference by completely changing the debate on defense spending in allied capitals, significantly strengthening the hands of the proponents of increased defense spending in allied governments. The 2016 IHS Janes Defence Budgets Report consequently expects European NATO allies and partners such as Finland and Sweden to boost their defense spending by about $10 billion over the next five years. Trumps Unpredictability Deters Rival Risk-Taking That Schellings logic applies equally well to President Trumps dealings with Americas opponents has already been pointed out by other commentators. They have referred to Nixons madman theory of negotiation, which holds that Americas opponents will tread more carefully if they perceive the president to be unpredictable or crazy. It has been debated at some length whether Trump is using this theory in a rational manner to extract concessions from U.S. adversaries, or if he is a madman in practice. Regardless, the point is that President Trumps unpredictability makes it next to impossible to calculate the risk of escalation involved in challenging the United States militarily, a concept also highlighted by Schelling. President Obamas reluctance to threaten and use force likely emboldened China and Russia to take greater military risks in Eastern Ukraine, Syria, and in the East and South China Seas. While Beijing and Moscow could be fairly confident that Obama would not take military counter-measures, they have no way of knowing what President Trump might do. It is very easy to imagine him giving the order to down a Chinese or Russian plane to demonstrate that America is great again. In this way, Trump (intentionally or not) reduces the risk of military confrontations with China and Russia. This gives both states greater incentive to prioritize diplomacy over coercion in their efforts to settle disputes with the United States and its allies. Similarly, Trumps characterization of the nuclear agreement with Iran as the worst deal ever negotiated gives Tehran strong incentive to honor it in both letter and spirit for fear of a potentially much worse alternative if it collapses. Some are deeply worried that Trump versus Kim Jong-un will prove a highly explosive combination, which is understandable since North Korea has employing the same negotiating tactics as Trump for decades with considerable success. While the outcome of this confrontation is difficult to call, the disastrous consequences of war are likely to lead to mutual restraint. Moreover, concern about what Trump might do will induce Beijing to redouble its efforts to persuade Pyongyang to be less provocative. Good News for World Peace Paradoxically, Trumps tweets and the theatrics are most likely to enhance world peace. They create unpredictability and anxiety that the United States can use to obtain greater concessions from friends and foes. It is admittedly still early days, but all indications are that Trump will succeed in coercing his allies in both Asia and Europe to increase their defense spending significantly. Few of them will reach 2 percent of GDP in the next year or two, but he has set in motion a process that will make most allies spend far more much faster than they otherwise would have. His unpredictability is also an asset in Americas dealings with its opponents such as China, Iran, North Korea, and Russia. They will all need to think twice about provoking the United States and its allies militarily because they have no way of calculating how President Trump will react. Neither friends nor foes can be certain that Trump will not do something that a rational cost-benefit calculating actor would not. U.S. allies used to regard American threats to withdraw its forces as bluff because the costs of doing so would be prohibitive, and the same logic has induced American opponents to engage in military risk-taking with little fear of U.S. military retaliation. With Trump in the White House, this logic no longer applies. This is good news because the likely result is strengthened U.S. alliances and U.S. opponents that are more likely to favor negotiation over provocation in their efforts to settle differences with the United States and its allies. Dr. Peter Viggo Jakobsen is an Associate Professor at the Royal Danish Defence College and a Professor (part-time) at the Center for War Studies at University of Southern Denmark.

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March 3, 2017   Posted in: John Mearsheimer  Comments Closed


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