The Walt-Mearsheimer book The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy is getting a lot of attention at the moment and it has inspired James Fallows to list those American minority lobby groups who have influence US foreign policy to the detriment, he believes, of the US:
• To the (large) extent that the Armenian-American lobby ginned up support for a pointless and destructive resolution condemning sins of the Ottoman Empire, it advanced its own causes at the expense of larger American interests. The people who did this are mainly from one ethnic group (Armenian-American) and of one religion (Christian, notably Armenian Apostolic or Armenian Orthodox).
• To the (huge and obvious) extent that the Cuban-American lobby has muscled the United States into its small-minded and punitive embargo of Castro’s Cuba these last 45 years, it has advanced its own causes at the expense of larger American interests. The people who have done this are mainly from one ethnic group (Cuban-American) and of one religion (Christian, notably Roman Catholic).
• To the (ongoing) extent that AIPAC — the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, which calls itself “America’s Pro-Israel Lobby” — is trying to legitimize a military showdown between the United States and Iran, it is advancing its own causes at the expense of larger American interests. The people who are doing this are not from one ethnic group in the conventional sense but are mainly of one religion (Jewish).
To observe these patterns, and warn against them (including the disastrous consequences of attacking Iran), is not to be anti-Armenian, anti-Orthodox, anti-Cuban, anti-Catholic, or anti-Semitic.”
Which I think is true. But then a thought occurred to me. What if such lobby groups are having such influence because the cause suits the larger aims of the US Government, even while the pressure that such support brings may be damaging to the United States as a nation. The support for the Armenian Genocide could be a stick with which to beat Turkey. Regarding Cuba, surely there is the economic case of trying to wrest control of a formerly strong economic ally and in the case of Israel, does support of that country not have something to do with the US governments larger plans in the Middle East?
Which is a whole can of worms, which I’ll leave out to wriggle freely.
Incidently, Gabriel Schoenfeld of Commentary Magazine says that Fallows is unpatriotic for saying this(although he has to misquote him to make his case). But then Commentary Magazine is controlled by Norman Podhoretz (he who wants to bomb Iran and advisor to the no-hope Rudy Giuliani), which would also account for the fact that his son, John, has just been made editor.
Via First Drafts – The Prospect magazine blog.