The squid ink is pooring out with regard to the John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt paper on the Israel Lobby in the US.
David Bernstein (on the Volokh Conspiracy
) is already claiming that the paper is "so full of misrepresentation and distortions" that he has not had time to "Fisk" it.
But his first shot at the paper is a complete miss. He picks on the opening statement in the paper that "[t]he combination of unwavering support for Israel and the related effort
to spread 'democracy' throughout the region [has caused problems]." Bernstein disputes this statement by claiming Israel itself has not pushed for democracy. That point is a complete red herring.
Bernstein misses becuase the Walt-Mearsheimer paper doesn’t claim that Israel
was pushing for democracy. Rather, the paper claims that Israel's supporters
are pushing for democracy. Bernstein concedes as much later on when he notes that the neocons were the driving force behind pushing for democracy in the Middle East.
What Bernstein fails to mention is the long, pre-9/11 history of the neocons pushing for regime change in Iraq without a corresponding call for democracy.
He doesn't mention the fact that this call for regime change was made long before Iraq presented any direct threat to the US, real or imagined. The justification for the regime change is the well being of Israel, which can be found in the clean break paper, which is linked at the side of this blog.
Bernstein doesn't mention co-author (and dual citizen) Douglas Feith's role in the gathering of bogus intelligence at the Pentagon. Nor does be mentinoed Wolfowitz's tireless lobbying for the US to invade Iraq pre 9/11, nor his push to invade Iraq before Afghanistan post 9/11.
The ties between Israel (and in particular Likud) and the neocons are long and deep.
The best Bernstein can come up with is that the [paraphrase] "the neocons want to democratize everything, not just Iraq - just look at the Balkins".
But, as I mention above the neocons where calling for regime change,
not democratization, in Iraq well before
9/11. And now many of them (such as Daniel Pipes) are giving up on democratization, but still think the war was worth it.
If the way to overthrow Saddam and "secure the realm" is democracy than the neocons will take it. But, if democracy does not satisfy the goal or making the Middle East safe for Israel then it is the goal democracy that must fall, not the goal of security for Israel.
Democracy was just the best way they could find to implement regime change, and they have jumped on that bandwagon throughout the Middle East. They may be coming to regret that decision, but that is another discussion.
Of course, they will claim it the security of the US that is also important, but it is funny how the security interests of the US always seem to coincide with the security interests of Israel. And any threats to the US that do not involve Israel as well (N. Korea, for example) never seem to achieve priority status.