Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Parisitology and lobbyology

There are parasites which alter the brain of the more (or equally) powerful host animal, causing the host to change its behavior in a manner which hurts the survival interests of the host but benefits the survival interests of the parasite (scroll down to see more examples here).  Here are some quotes from a classic Lobby article by Kathleen and Bill Christison (my emphasis in red throughout):

“While there is no question that modern history is replete, as they argue, with examples of the U.S. acting in corporate interests overthrowing nationalist governments perceived to be threatening U.S. business and economic interests, as in Iran in 1953, Guatemala in 1954, Chile in 1973, and elsewhere this frequent convergence of corporate with government interests does not mean that the U.S. never acts in other than corporate interests. The fact of a strong government-corporate alliance does not in any way preclude situations even in the Middle East, where oil is obviously a vital corporate resource in which the U.S. acts primarily to benefit Israel rather than serve any corporate or economic purpose. Because it has a deep emotional aspect and involves political, economic, and military ties unlike those with any other nation, the U.S. relationship with Israel is unique, and there is nothing in the history of U.S. foreign policy, nothing in the government's entanglement with the military-industrial complex, to prevent the lobby from exerting heavy influence on policy. Israel and its lobbyists make their own ‘corporation’ that, like the oil industry (or Chiquita Banana or Anaconda Copper in other areas), is clearly a major factor driving U.S. foreign policy.

There is no denying the intricate interweaving of the U.S. military-industrial complex with Israeli military-industrial interests. Chomsky acknowledges that there is ‘plenty of conformity’ between the lobby's position and the U.S. government-corporate linkage and that the two are very difficult to disentangle. But, although he tends to emphasize that the U.S. is always the senior partner and suggests that the Israeli side does little more than support whatever the U.S. arms, energy, and financial industries define as U.S. national interests, in actual fact the entanglement is much more one between equals than the raw strengths of the two parties would suggest. ‘Conformity’ hardly captures the magnitude of the relationship. Particularly in the defense arena, Israel and its lobby and the U.S. arms industry work hand in glove to advance their combined, very compatible interests. The relatively few very powerful and wealthy families that dominate the Israeli arms industry are just as interested in pressing for aggressively militaristic U.S. and Israeli foreign policies as are the CEOs of U.S. arms corporations and, as globalization has progressed, so have the ties of joint ownership and close financial and technological cooperation among the arms corporations of the two nations grown ever closer. In every way, the two nations' military industries work together very easily and very quietly, to a common end. The relationship is symbiotic, and the lobby cooperates intimately to keep it alive; lobbyists can go to many in the U.S. Congress and tell them quite credibly that if aid to Israel is cut off, thousands of arms-industry jobs in their own districts will be lost. That's power. The lobby is not simply passively supporting whatever the U.S. military-industrial complex wants. It is actively twisting arms very successfully in both Congress and the administration to perpetuate acceptance of a definition of U.S. ‘national interests’ that many Americans believe is wrong, as does Chomsky himself.

Clearly, the advantages in the relationship go in both directions: Israel serves U.S. corporate interests by using, and often helping develop, the arms that U.S. manufacturers produce, and the U.S. serves Israeli interests by providing a constant stream of high-tech equipment that maintains Israel's vast military superiority in the region. But simply because the U.S. benefits from this relationship, it cannot be said that the U.S. is Israel's master, or that Israel always does the U.S. bidding, or that the lobby, which helps keep this arms alliance alive, has no significant power. It's in the nature of a symbiosis that both sides benefit, and the lobby has clearly played a huge role in maintaining the interdependence.”


“Although the leftist critics speak of Israel as a base from which U.S. power is projected throughout the Middle East, they do not clearly explain how this works. Any strategic value Israel had for the U.S. diminished drastically with the collapse of the Soviet Union. They may believe that Israel keeps Saudi Arabia's oil resources safe from Arab nationalists or Muslim fundamentalists or Russia, but this is highly questionable.”


“The principal problem with the left critics' analysis is that it is too rigid. There is no question that Israel has served the interests of the U.S. government and the military-industrial complex in many areas of the world by, for instance, aiding some of the rightist regimes of Central America, by skirting arms and trade embargoes against apartheid South Africa and China (until the neo-conservatives turned off the tap to China and, in a rare disagreement with Israel, forced it to halt), and during the Cold War by helping, at least indirectly, to hold down Arab radicalism. There is also no question that, no matter which party has been in power, the U.S. has over the decades advanced an essentially conservative global political and pro-business agenda in areas far afield of the Middle East, without reference to Israel or the lobby. The U.S. unseated Mossadegh in Iran and Arbenz in Guatemala and Allende in Chile, along with many others, for its own corporate and political purposes, as the left critics note, and did not use Israel.

But these facts do not minimize the power the lobby has exerted in countless instances over the course of decades, and particularly in recent years, to lead the U.S. into situations that Israel initiated, that the U.S. did not plan, and that have done harm, both singly and cumulatively, to U.S. interests. One need only ask whether particular policies would have been adopted in the absence of pressure from some influential persons and organizations working on Israel's behalf in order to see just how often Israel or its advocates in the U.S., rather than the United States or even U.S. corporations, have been the policy initiators. The answers give clear evidence that a lobby, as broadly defined by Mearsheimer and Walt, has played a critical and, as the decades have gone on, increasingly influential role in policymaking.”


“It is also all but impossible to imagine the U.S. supporting Israel's actions in the occupied Palestinian territories without pressure from the lobby. No conceivable U.S. national interest served ­even in the United States' own myopic view by its support for Israel's harshly oppressive policy in the West Bank and Gaza, and furthermore this support is a dangerous liability. As Mearsheimer and Walt note, most foreign elites view the U.S. tolerance of Israeli repression as ‘morally obtuse and a handicap in the war on terrorism,’ and this tolerance is a major cause of terrorism against the U.S. and the West. The impetus for oppressing the Palestinians clearly comes and has always come from Israel, not the United States, and the impetus for supporting Israel and facilitating this oppression has come, very clearly and directly, from the lobby, which goes to great lengths to justify the occupation and to advocate on behalf of Israeli policies.

It is tempting, and not at all out of the realm of possibility, to imagine Bill Clinton having forged a final Palestinian-Israeli peace agreement were it not for the influence of his notably pro-Israeli advisers. By the time Clinton came to office, the lobby had become a part of the policymaking apparatus, in the persons of Israeli advocates Dennis Ross and Martin Indyk, both of whom entered government service from lobby organizations. Both also returned at the end of the Clinton administration to organizations that advocate for Israel: Ross to the Washington Institute and Indyk to the Brookings Institution's Saban Center for Middle East Policy, which is financed by and named for a notably pro-Israeli benefactor. The scope of the lobby's infiltration of government policymaking councils has been unprecedented during the current Bush administration.”


“The claimed interchangeability of U.S. and Israeli interests and the fact that certain individuals for whom a primary objective is to advance Israel's interests now reside inside the councils of government proves the truth of the Mearsheimer-Walt's principal conclusion that the lobby has been able to convince most Americans, contrary to reality, that there is an essential identity of U.S. and Israeli interests and that the lobby has succeeded for this reason in forging a relationship of unmatched intimacy. The ‘overall thrust of policy’ in the Middle East, they observe quite accurately, is ‘almost entirely’ attributable to the lobby's activities. The fact that the U.S. occasionally acts without reference to Israel in areas outside the Middle East, and that Israel does occasionally serve U.S. interests rather than the other way around, takes nothing away from the significance of this conclusion.

The tragedy of the present situation is that it has become impossible to separate Israeli from alleged U.S. interests that is, not what should be real U.S. national interests, but the selfish and self-defined ‘national interests’ of the political-corporate-military complex that dominates the Bush administration, Congress, and both major political parties. The specific groups that now dominate the U.S. government are the globalized arms, energy, and financial industries, and the entire military establishments, of the U.S. and of Israel ­groups that have quite literally hijacked the government and stripped it of most vestiges of democracy.

This convergence of manipulated ‘interests’ has a profound effect on U.S. policy choices in the Middle East. When a government is unable to distinguish its own real needs from those of another state, it can no longer be said that it always acts in its own interests or that it does not frequently do grave damage to those interests. Until the system of sovereign nation-states no longer exists ­and that day may never come no nation's choices should ever be defined according to the demands of another nation. Accepting a convergence of U.S. and Israeli interests means that the U.S. can never act entirely as its own agent, will never examine its policies and actions entirely from the vantage point of its own long-term self interest, and can, therefore, never know why it is devising and implementing a particular policy. The failure to recognize this reality is where the left critics' belittling of the lobby's power and their acceptance of U.S. Middle East policy as simply an unchangeable part of a longstanding strategy is particularly dangerous.”

I’ve quoted an enormous amount, but the other parts, particularly those detailing the mechanics of the Zionist influence on American politics, are also well worth reading.  This type of analysis makes Chomsky look like a chimp. 

The Christisons connect the parasite to the host through the shared Israeli-American ‘political-corporate-military complex’, a group which shares similar goals, goals which happen to be identical to those of the Israeli right but are markedly different from those of the United States or even the broader American Establishment.  The existence of this ‘complex’ isn’t an accident.  Over the years, the Lobby has facilitated control of the American government through the creation of the connections which encourage American government support for Israeli right-wing plans.  Since these plans are militaristic, it is no coincidence that the connections are primarily made through arms dealers and manufacturers (it would be worth tracking the connections between the families which control the Israeli arms industry and the families which comprise the Jewish Billionaires Club and which support and direct the activities of the Lobby).  It is also not a coincidence that many of the principle neocons have, at one time or another, made their living as lobbyists for the arms industry.

Another key part of the parasite attack is the parasite’s courting of the Christian Zionists.  Begin’s unlikely approach to the Christian Zionists in the late 1970’s eventually led to the creation of Bush’s electoral ‘base’.  Together with a corrupt Supreme Court, and the crooked computer voting machines (supplied by companies controlled by Christian Zionists), Bush and his trail of neocons took over the United States in what was really a coup d’etat.  The Christian Zionists exercise their power by directing politicians to follow the policies of the Israeli right.

You can see how parasitology explains why the Bush Administration has been remarkably consistent in acting on only three motives:

  1. personal corruption (largely through connections to the military contractors and mercenaries now used by the Pentagon);
  2. desire to remain in political power (facilitated by connections to Christian Zionists supporting Israeli policies); and
  3. support for Israeli right-wing policies.

The parasite controls the host’s brain through the combination of the military businesses and the Christian Zionists.  The current peculiarities and inconsistencies in American policy in the Middle East represent the host’s attempts, through the reawakening of the traditional American Establishment, to take back its brain from the parasite.