Friday, May 20, 2011

The crazy reaction to Obama's Israel/Palestine speech

Obama gave a foreign policy speech a few days ago. He talked about the Israel/Palestine conflict. And since words came out of Obama's mouth conservatives are mad. Here is one of the more sane conservatives giving his thoughts on the speech:

"President Obama has thrown Israel under the bus. He has disrespected Israel and undermined its ability to negotiate peace," Romney said in a statement.

"He has also violated a first principle of American foreign policy, which is to stand firm by our friends," added the former Massachusetts governor.

Yeah, because Israel has been making huge gains in negotiating a peace over the past several years. I'm sure Obama really fucked that up. Please. The thing Obama is doing to undermine the peace process is to continue to be up Israel's ass and not be forceful in telling them to cut a deal and stop undermining the process themselves. Even then, as Matt Yglesias points out, this is all ultimately up to Israel and Palestine.

And where in the world does Romney get his first principle of American foreign policy? First of all, he says "a" first principle. How many first principles can you have? Doesn't the word "first" imply that there is only one principle and that it comes before all of the others? That tells me he pulled his whole response out of his ass and did it simply because criticizing Obama is what is expect of him from the right.



Secondly, there is no way if Romney was commander in chief this 'stick by your allies' crap would guide his foreign policy. Now, I'm not a realist. I'm more of a liberal as far as international relations theories goes. But even for liberals or democratic peace theorists when it comes to actually making policy you aren't going to do something that is against your country's best interests simply because you need to stand by your ally.

This is the kind of thinking that dominated the 'Cold War' and caused a lot of problems for us and our "allies". Alliances are agreements of convenience and self interest. Look at our alliance with Pakistan. We gave them billions of dollars in order to protect our interests in the region. We took care to respect their sovereignty on many occasions. But when it came down to really wanting to achieve our interests we completely ignored their sovereignty and sent our military into their country to kill bin Laden. I didn't hear any conservatives complaining about our ally's sovereignty then.

What conservatives and even liberals won't tell you publicly is that these things like sovereignty and even alliances are window dressing. When it really comes down to making a decision our self interests is what guides our foreign policy. That is less so when we are talking about Israel. But the many problems our special alliance with Israel comes with is just a reason why we shouldn't strongly adhere to Romney's 'first principle' of US foreign policy.

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