Friday, April 05, 2002

No, it's not idealistic

I really admire Fred Pruitt and Rantburg, but sometimes he really seems to overdose on the happy pills. Like this time:

The US supports the Israelis for what are basically idealistic reasons: we tend to favor David over Goliath and we recognize a kindred libertarian (small L) society in a sea of dictatorships, with an entrepreneurial economic system as opposed to a system that would be stagnant if not artificially fuelled by oil money.

So it's just fellow feeling right? Not the fact that the Republican party has significant swathes run by fruit-and-nut postmillennial dispensationalists (fundamentalists to you and me) who see Israel as fulfilling Revelation.

Now, the Religious Right is a good thing in general - and we Brits could do with a bit of moral rearmament ourselves - however their influence on American foreign policy is immense. Of course there are many who see the Religious Right as being massively influential on the Republican Party on issues like abortion or homosexuality, but these moral libertines also tend to be pro-Israel. So they would say that, wouldn't they.

But consider. Buchanan failed to pick up the evangelical vote that should have been his for the taking in 1992 and 1996. Was it (a) the fundis all read their Adam Smith and said "No Pat, we want free trade", (b) the fundis objected because Pat was a Papist (yet voted for the Roman Alan Keyes) or (c) because Pat wouldn't support Israel? The questions that he kept on receiving where on Israel, not Rome. Now where was the missing margin of victory.

The Israel question kept the Republican status quo safe to lose against Clinton. The Religious Right are the constituency that keeps the Republicans from taking a moderate stance on Israel. After all what would you do if you were the congressman for Dumpsville and many of your more active supporters and donors got all worked up about levelling the Al-Aqsa mosque and building the third Temple?

Why you'd start saying things (roughly) like "Israel's capital should be Jerusalem" (Gingrich) and "The Palestinians have a homeland in Jordan" (I'm not sure who said this, but I thought it was Dukakis)? Hell, if I was concerned about re-election I'd mouth the same sort of platitudes.

So let's lay off the David and Goliath and small l Libertarian stuff. The reason why America supports Israel is that both parties support it, and one of them supports it because much of its grass roots believe that it will bring on the end of the world.

Idealistic, yes. A sane basis for policy, well...


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