rwp_06_011_walt - THE ISRAEL LOBBY AND U.S. FOREIGN POLICY...

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THE ISRAEL LOBBY AND U.S. FOREIGN POLICY John J. Mearsheimer Department of Political Science University of Chicago Stephen M. Walt John F. Kennedy School of Government Harvard University March 2006 RWP0 6 011 The two authors of this Working Paper are solely responsible for the views expressed in it. As academic institutions, Harvard University and the University of Chicago do not take positions on the scholarship of individual faculty, and this article should not be interpreted or portrayed as reflecting the official position of either institution. An edited and reworked version of this paper was published in the London Review of Books Vol. 28, No. 6 (March 23, 2006), and is available online at www.lrb.co.uk
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THE ISRAEL LOBBY AND U.S. FOREIGN POLICY U.S. foreign policy shapes events in every corner of the globe. Nowhere is this truer than in the Middle East, a region of recurring instability and enormous strategic importance. Most recently, the Bush Administration’s attempt to transform the region into a community of democracies has helped produce a resilient insurgency in Iraq, a sharp rise in world oil prices, and terrorist bombings in Madrid, London, and Amman. With so much at stake for so many, all countries need to understand the forces that drive U.S. Middle East policy. The U.S. national interest should be the primary object of American foreign policy. For the past several decades, however, and especially since the Six Day War in 1967, the centerpiece of U.S. Middle East policy has been its relationship with Israel. The combination of unwavering U.S. support for Israel and the related effort to spread democracy throughout the region has inflamed Arab and Islamic opinion and jeopardized U.S. security. This situation has no equal in American political history. Why has the United States been willing to set aside its own security in order to advance the interests of another state? One might assume that the bond between the two countries is based on shared strategic interests or compelling moral imperatives. As we show below, however, neither of those explanations can account for the remarkable level of material and diplomatic support that the United States provides to Israel. Instead, the overall thrust of U.S. policy in the region is due almost entirely to U.S. domestic politics, and especially to the activities of the “Israel Lobby.” Other special interest groups have managed to skew U.S. foreign policy in directions they favored, but no lobby has managed to divert U.S. foreign policy as far from what the American national interest would otherwise suggest, while simultaneously convincing Americans that U.S. and Israeli interests are essentially identical. 1
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This note was uploaded on 05/20/2008 for the course PSC israeli pa taught by Professor Braun during the Spring '08 term at UMass Dartmouth.

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rwp_06_011_walt - THE ISRAEL LOBBY AND U.S. FOREIGN POLICY...

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