“Countries have interests, not friends.” (roughly)

 "Israel and the U.S. have mutual interests," Netanyahu told the Cabinet, then pointedly added, "but we will act according to the vital interests of the state of Israel." 
 Yahoo News


Excellent principle.  We should follow it in crafting American policy.  pl 

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32 Responses to “Countries have interests, not friends.” (roughly)

  1. Arun says:

    I think the US, to the dismay of Great Britain, declared neutrality in the matter of that country’s dispute over the Malvinas/Falkland Islands with Argentina.
    The Global Post
    “British diplomats were furious when a senior U.S. spokesman, Assistant Secretary of State Philip Crowley, answered a Feb. 25 press question about the Falklands with the phrase: “Or the Malvinas, depending on how you see it.”
    Widely reported in Britain this week, the remarks by Crowley increased the resentment already felt over Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s offer last week in Buenos Aires to help broker the talks on island sovereignty demanded by the Argentines.
    Britain sees no need for talks. Calling the Clinton offer a “diplomatic coup” for Argentina, the venerable London Times restated the British position that there should be “no negotiations unless the islands’ 3,000 inhabitants asked for them.”
    — So the US can and does act on is interests, and not friendship.
    The problem is that with respect to Israel the US interest is defined (by US policy makers) as friendship and unconditional support of Israel.

  2. Patrick Lang says:

    Your facts are wrong. The US may have taken a declaratory stance of neutrality during the Falklands War but i fact we supplied the Brits with intelligence and supply throughout the war. British operations in the Falklands and at sea around them were supported on a 24/7 basis by US signals intelligence and imagery. pl

  3. Question for the record! Do more US citizens (those with US passports) live in Great Britain or Israel?

  4. eakens says:

    nice write up in the NYT Pat. I didn’t know you were aka as Tom Friedman
    On a side note, I can’t help but turn off the radio when hearing about this story. They keep stressing how Israel was sorry that the announcement was made during Biden’s trip.

  5. Despite the “pro-Israel” controlled media and entertainment industry, at some point the gentile majority in the United States may wake up, and wise up, to the “pro-Israel” lobby and how it has betrayed the vital national interests of America.
    More and more Americans may begin to connect the “pro-Israel” lobby with the Iraq War and the Afghan War and the trillions of their tax dollars wasted not to mention the blood of thousands of citizens.
    Attitudes would not unexpectedly harden and then things would get rather interesting from a domestic politics point of view.
    Economic crisis at home, with high unemployment and inflation, would bring to mind similar situations in Europe after World War II. It is natural for people to ask questions…and in this information age it is harder and harder to hide the answers and the identities of those responsible for betraying these United States.

  6. About that map inset … “Judaea and Samaria” and all that.
    I can can suggest Clarence Larkin’s classic “Grant to Abraham Map” which is the foundational map for Christian Zionists. This is the Nile to Euphrates thing. I think that was also Ben Gurion’s (for example) basic idea as well, and also present day Eretz Israel types…
    Larkin was a pioneering Christian Zionist (1850-1924). This map and his biblical “interpretation” charts are in the Dispensationalist cult category.

  7. Dan M says:

    Unfortunately, this comes from a far-left pro-palestinian website, and i don’t know if they created the map or someone more credible did.
    But it certainly captures how the whole thing feels to the Palestinians.

  8. Mary says:

    Speaking of Israel’s peculiar unconcern with US interests, Petraeus wanted Israel/Palestine put under CentCom control due to the dire effect the conflict is having on our Middle East interests. They have been repeatedly warned of this and they still don’t give a flying @#$*. http://mideast.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2010/03/14/the_petraeus_briefing_biden_s_embarrassment_is_not_the_whole_story
    I suspect you knew this already, Colonel.

  9. For an academic oriented website on Palestine see:

  10. C L says:

    The U.S. is following its own interests by maintaining strong ties to Israel.
    1st Business Interests:
    For a measly $3 Billion a year we get first choice of all inventions & technology from Israel’s Private sector. Our interests are there, our technology innovation is heavily dependent on them. Intel, amdocs, medical science, plastic fusion (humvee’s bullet proof glass), drip irrigation, uav’s, software, A.I, to name a few, blossom from Israel’s private sector.
    This investment in Israel lets us tie their economy into ours (thus bolstering the Dow & Nasdaq) while regulating who gets access to their military technology, as we vie with China, India, Russia, europe, for dominance. This is a country where close to 90% of its exports do not carry a ‘made in Israel’ identifier, a merchant population versed in practically every language in the world.
    We could walk away and they would strike up better alliances with India, China, Russia & survive, while our free enterprise markets will always remain open to their goods.
    The U.S. – Israeli economic collaboration brings more to our National purse than the U.S.-Puerto Rico, or U.S.- Hawaii. (Both in essence heavily subsidized large military/naval outposts) or U.S. – (choose your impoverished Red state here, e.g. Alabama)
    2nd Religious/Political:
    More importantly this $3 Billion guarantees our God squads & religious provocateurs have access to their holy of holies J’lem, as long as it is under Israeli control. This control can be forcefully transferred to Muslims, yet the possibility of a hypothetical caliphate ordaining that only Muslim believers be allowed access to J’lem as in Mecca/Medina is real & would not be tolerated by our god-botherers. (See religious oppression under Taliban, House of Saud, Ayatollahs, Hamas, etc… and Christian Palestinians as second class citizens within Muslim Palestinian society. Persecution of Druze, Kurds, Armenians, Copts, oh and the Jews)
    Our interests in Israel are overwhelmingly religious & getting more so every day as we continue to break down the separation between Church & State, roll back complex secular thought for the simplicity of religious doctrine & nationalism. Having Jews run J’lem is a religious U.S. political grassroots want and thus a national interest.
    We the U.S. in pursuit of our national interests support a variety of nasty regimes, dictatorships, religious theocracies,, etc… Why is Israel so special/different that we cannot abide their insults?

  11. confusedponderer says:

    back in the day my British aircraft journals, whenever the Falklands were to be celebrated (which means practically every time they were mentioned), stressed that one key to the British air dominance was the US supplied then latest model of the Sidewider missile.
    Indeed the US were neutral. After all they didn’t support the British war effort in the Falklands, but obviously the British NATO effort. *wink*wink*

  12. N. M. Salamon says:

    A question arises regarding the Colonel’s observation:
    Excellent principle. We should follow it in crafting American policy. pl.
    Should the policy in question be based on the dreams and beliefs of fundamentalists, Aipac, hegenomy seekers, neo-cons and the military industrial complex– OR should it be based on what is the best interest of the PEOPLE?
    if the first, all the wars, warmongering, DoD efforts, Cia and related organizations are acting correctly; if the second, then non of the choices in the first category are of any value to the unemployed, the underemployed, the uninsured, the ones who loose their houses, to the middle class [or what is left of it] or anyone else except employees of the above organizations [sans members of the military who put their lives and limbs in danger.
    My contention is that the Foreign policy has to serve the interst of the people, not of influential pressure groups’ agendas.
    Good luck!

  13. Cloned Poster says:

    Regarding sat capabilities (the UK does not have any), the UK sold out to the US for that re Falklands, then Blair arrived and sold his soul.

  14. Apparently the leading US interest in foreign policy and foreign relations is “suicide” of both soft and hard power and any element of social justice in those arenas. We have had a large earthquake disaster that really should have been considered “domestic” in which we now are departing to leave the Haitians to their fates, both natural and manmade. If ever there was evidence that no Haitian nation-state exists it was the President of Haiti coming to the US asking for a quick $2B in cash. Guess how much of that would have ended up with Haiti’s gangs, and elites? By the way what do Israel and Egypt do with their annual $3B dole from the US?

  15. Patrick Lang says:

    “sold out” for our imagery? what a joke! You really have no idea what ally means, do you? pl

  16. confusedponderer says:

    C L,
    as for all that high tech and growth, well, a good deal of that is apparently the result of poaching. So yes, they do sell cool technology to the US, but that doesn’t mean they paid for developing it. It also doesn’t mean that there is no catch – considering stuff like Israeli supplied wire tapping software.
    States tend to want to decide for themselves what information their allies get rather than have them secretly making that decision for them. All the sympathetic support they get from the US for free is apparently just not enough.
    As the saying goes, with friends like that …

  17. Arun says:

    Col. Lang, I am well aware of US’s practical support to G.B. during the Falklands war. But I’m speaking of recent events where it appears that the US now thinks there is something for Argentina to negotiate over. I thought it fit nicely in the theme of shifting interests and no permanent friendships.

  18. Arun says:

    This is somewhat off-topic, because it falls in the theme of recalculating one’s strategy in the light of one’s interests.
    This was the most emailed article today in the Pakistani newspaper Dawn.
    It points out that current economic trends in Afghanistan would support a separation of the north and west from the south. Remember, the south is the stronghold of the Taliban. Such would create the very problems for Pakistan that it seeks to avoid via supporting Mullah Omar’s Taliban. Therefore, it calls for a rethink of Pakistan’s Afghanistan strategy.
    If Pakistan does rethink, then the US/NATO will be successful in its mission, IMO.

  19. Arun says:

    C L,
    The US could have lived with a nuclear Iraq (or in the future, live with a nuclear Iran). It does not pose an existential threat to the US any more than the nuclear North Korea does.
    However, part of US policy is driven by the imperative of making the Middle East safe for Israel. At a trillion dollars and counting, that is proving to be a very expensive friendship. And Israel is not helping at all – by constantly expanding settlements, instead of trying to make a settlement with the Palestinians, it is making sure that it will remain a cause of tensions in the Middle East for a long time to come.
    A successful Israel-Palestinian peace deal that is seen to have been brokered by the US would be greatly in the US interests. For one thing, it would mark the beginning of the end of the Global War on Terror. It also happens to be good for the long-term security of Israel. It will also mean a lot of Arab petro-dollars can flow to Israel as it acts as the high-tech hub supplier to the region.
    If the perpetually paranoid Pakistanis can rethink their strategy (see a previous post) overcoming an even stronger religious fundamentalism than any the Israelis have, surely the Israelis can, too?

  20. jdledell says:

    Pat – Do you have any information regarding this meeting Petraeus had with Mullen regarding the US Military concluding the lack of an Israeli/Palestinian Peace agreement was endangering our soldier’s lives.
    Here is the link to the Foreign Policy article.

  21. Robert C. says:

    Make no doubt about it…the ethnic cleansing of Palestine by Israel has cost the US dearly..there would be far fewer Muslum extremists and far, far fewer moderates willing to turn a blind eye to the extremists if it were not for this activity. The whole world knows that this activity simply couldn’t continue without US military and economic aid, and diplomatic cover. Everbody knows the emporer has no clothes…except the US populace. Comparing this to Puerto Rico and Hawaii is comical.
    Robert C.

  22. EL says:

    I might believe Netanyahu if he had said: “but we will act according to the vital interests of Bibi and, maybe, the Likud.”

  23. Rider says:

    Col. Lang
    Yes, perfect. Well said. If only.

  24. AIPAC’s reaction reminding the White House and Congress to be dutiful (to Israel):
    “”The Obama Administration’s recent statements regarding the U.S. relationship with Israel are a matter of serious concern,” AIPAC said in a statement Sunday. “…The Administration should make a conscious effort to move away from public demands and unilateral deadlines directed at Israel, with whom the United States shares basic, fundamental, and strategic interests.”
    For those interested in a close analysis of the origins of AIPAC as an emanation of the Jewish Agency see:
    Grant E. Smith, Foreign Agents The American Israel Public Affairs Committee from the 1963 Fulbright Hearings to the 2005 Espionage Scandal (Washington DC: Institute for Middle East Research, 2007).
    On the transnational Jewish Agency see:
    The classic critique of the Zionist Lobby is by (former) Congressman Paul Findlay, They Dare to Speak Out People and Institutions Confront Israel’s Lobby (Chicago: Hill, 1985).
    Few gentile Americans are familiar with the history of political Zionism in the United States and its impact on American national, state, and local politics. For sympathetic and revealing accounts of political Zionism see:
    Richard J. H. Gottheil, Zionism (Philadelphia: Jewish Publications Society of America, 1914)
    Melvin I. Urofsky, American Zionism from Herzl to the Holocaust (New York: Doubleday, 1975).
    While there has been much ado and attention to tribals in Afghanistan and Pakistan, some might argue that it is logical given our present situation to take a hard look at some tribals closer to home.

  25. WILL says:

    CL sounds like hasbra. Israel is the conduit of US technology to our opponents. The Russian air defence system the SA-300 started out as a looted US Patriot system sold to the Russkies. Our most precious secrets are on the open market.
    It’s like Ron Paul says, they (the terrorists) are over here, because we are over there.

  26. rjj says:

    The U.S. is following its own interests by maintaining strong ties to Israel.
    We the U.S. in pursuit of our national interests support a variety of nasty regimes, dictatorships, religious theocracies,, etc… Why is Israel so special/different that we cannot abide their insults?

    The elephant-mahout relationship.

  27. Patrick Lang says:

    Which countries are you thinking of?
    All the countries I can think of are: clients of the United States, adversaries of the US or just countries we have some sort of diplomatic and/or trade relationship with.
    Israel is not like that. They set out to dominate us through exploitation of the funding process of congressional elections and they have succeeded. We are now clients of Israel. If that is acceptable or desirable for you…
    How is it that you think we are maintaining our interests as opposed the Israel’s by having strong relations with Israel? What interests are those? pl

  28. rjj says:

    “We are now clients of Israel”
    That’s what I meant by the elephant-mahout metaphor. We are the elephant.

  29. rjj says:

    maybe it was an analogy.

  30. Jan Fladeboe says:

    Col Lang,
    Good question- just what ARE our intrests that are “maintained” by having strong relations with Israal? The benefit seems to be extremely one-sided. And as noted in the recent briefing of Gen Petraeus to Adm Mullen, it is beginning to be very expensive to the United States. At some point, people are going to have to decide which is more important, the Likud Party’s policies or our troops’ lives.

  31. walrus says:

    Talking points about the economic and technological benefits of the alliance with Israel appear regularly on a number of web forums, often in waves.

  32. Charles I says:

    Dan M, Juan Cole, whose credibility I have no questions about, today has a very interesting discussion of your map,its origins, the blogosphere reaction to it, and most importantly, it import for the future of Israel and the Palestinians.

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