In 1773, when the British blockaded Boston in retaliation for “terrorist” acts against agents of the Crown, the Thirteen Colonies decried this collective punishment of Massachusetts, setting the stage for the Revolutionary War. However, 238 years later, the United States is intervening on behalf of a comparable Israeli blockade of Gaza, as Lawrence Davidson notes.
Israel and its backers are on the political offensive against critics who are putting non-violent pressure on the Likud government of Benjamin Netanyahu to address the legitimate needs of Palestinians and to recognize human rights for all people who live in Israel/Palestine. Israeli defenders equate this “delegitimizing” of Israel with anti-Semitism, but Lawrence Davidson disagrees.
The United States continues toward slow-motion defeats in George W. Bush’s wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, with Barack Obama seeking, in essence, a “decent interval” so the losses aren’t pinned on him and the Democrats. But Lawrence Davidson asks what it will take for Americans to finally begin a full reassessment of failed foreign strategies.
Some of our special stories in May offered insights into the killing of Osama bin Laden, the historical mysteries of past presidents John F. Kennedy and Jimmy Carter, the curious visit to Washington by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the myths surrounding Defense Secretary Robert Gates and more.
Despite Israel’s great political influence in Washington, the Obama administration may soon have to decide whether it will risk economic retaliation from Saudi Arabia by opposing Palestinian statehood in the United Nations. A Saudi cutback in oil production could send gas prices to $5 a gallon and sink the U.S. recovery, Lawrence Davidson writes.
Hard-line Israelis reject the idea of reasonable compromises for peace, arguing that any significant concessions to Palestinian sovereignty would threaten Israel’s security or the Zionist cause, but Lawrence Davidson notes that demographic trends, including a growing Jewish exodus from Israel, could have far worse consequences.
By embracing false or unproven allegations about foreign adversaries, U.S. policymakers may believe they are looking tough or pleasing some important constituent group. But they are also creating a situation that can get out of hand and get lots of people killed, as Lawrence Davidson notes is happening now with Iran over its nuclear program.
U.S. politicians often speak of “American exceptionalism” as some God-given grant of special status that puts the United States above the rules that apply to other nations. In geo-politics, this concept has meant that international law is enforced against countries that offend Washington but not against those in Washington’s good graces, as Lawrence Davidson explains.
By bouncing up and down, again and again, Democrats and Republicans in Congress demonstrated their support for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu even as he criticized the Mideast policies of President Obama and essentially shut off prospects for serious peace talks. Lawrence Davidson looks at what was behind this curious congressional spectacle.
President Barack Obama’s speech on a “new chapter” in U.S. policy toward the Middle East was filled with platitudes befitting a New Year’s resolution, but there is little expectation that he will follow through, especially on the hardest issues like the Israeli-Palestinian impasse, says Lawrence Davidson.