A government, whatever its nature, rules as an imperial power over its people. The surest way to exercise this control is to prop up the illusion that it acts in the public interest. Paul Craig Roberts and Alvin Rabushka spelled out this salient fact in the March 1973 issue of Public Choice, in their article “A Diagrammatic Exposition of an Economic Theory of Imperialism,” and what they wrote is no less relevant today.
The act of voting is one of the props that sustains the delusion of self-rule. People do vote, but the candidates are decided by the oligarchy of organized interest groups. This is also the conclusion of a 2014 study by Princeton University professors Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page about the extent to which U.S. government policy reflects public preferences. Gilens and Page found that voters are, to all intents and purposes, irrelevant to their own “democratic” government:
“[The] preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy . . . Moreover, because of the strong status quo bias built into the U.S. political system, even when fairly large majorities of Americans favor policy change, they generally do not get it” (Perspectives on Politics, Vol. 12, No. 3, pp. 575, 76).
Instead of representing the common interest of the people, government answers to organized interest groups. Gilens and Page cite the dominance over policy of special interests who use public policy to serve their interests rather than the public’s. We see the effects of this plutocracy in the sharp rise in the inequality of income and wealth, a gap which has grown into a chasm.
Gilens and Page’s analysis of the Unelected Plutocracy of America is on the money, but their understanding of the threat to America’s democracy does not consider foreign policy, which is partly, if not largely, in the hands of a foreign country—Israel. It is not enough to lay the decline of American democracy at the feet of vested interests such as Wall Street, big banks, and the military–security complex, because it is not in their interest to have the government pursue foreign policy contrary to the national interest.
But operating contrary to the national interest is precisely what Washington has been doing. In the 21st century, Washington has squandered trillions of dollars on military aggressions. Hundreds of thousands of U.S. military personnel have been killed, maimed or driven to suicide. The U.S. has derived no benefit from provoking the enmity of Muslim people, bullying NATO allies into abetting this belligerence or persecuting those who expose associated crimes. Even Donald Trump, who ran for the presidency on ending wasteful wars of aggression, continues this self-inflicted economic and political harm, most recently by waging economic war against Iran and sabre-rattling to provoke a shooting war.
The Trump administration is a continuation of decades of Washington’s kowtowing to the Israel Lobby. To appreciate the lack of independence of US foreign policy requires an act of intellectual courage, but few Americans are equipped for the trauma of knowing the truth. To borrow from The Matrix, not many are willing to take the “red pill” to see the reality behind the controlled explanation. “Blue pill” existence comes with a ready-made worldview based on controlled explanations in which believers find comfort, meaning and belonging. Anything that challenges this illusion, is discounted as conspiracy theory or anti-semitism. Comforting beliefs can take precedence over US national interests.
To “take the red pill” requires an inquisitive mind to reject illusion and to question fundamental assumptions. If it is irrational for a democratic state like the U.S. to harm its own people, damage its own economy and invite hostility by provoking needless wars, perhaps the U.S. is not really a democratic state and not really in charge of its own policy. From an American standpoint, the seemingly inexplicable acts of U.S. belligerence and punishment of those who pose no threat to America can be understood as the consequence of permitting Israeli money and influence to shape US foreign policy in the Middle East and to some extent elsewhere if it bears on Israeli interests.
The U.S. that was founded in 1776 is not the same U.S. that exists today. The founding fathers warned against foreign entanglements, but Washington has sought entanglement. Since the late 1940s, the U.S. has gotten entangled in the service of Israel’s interests. The importance of Israel’s interest to U.S. foreign policy has been elevated by a pervasive Christian prejudice, in which Jews are seen as religiously kindred and Muslims as religiously hostile.
In 1948 President Harry Truman took an infamous $2 million election campaign bribe from an American zionist to support the creation of Israel. By doing so Truman became midwife to an ongoing war crime that has resulted in Washington aiding and abetting Israel’s theft of Palestine. Washington blackmailed and intimidated several UN delegations into supporting the 1947 partition of Palestine. For a country that boasted of its commitment to democracy and support for the UN Charter, Washington’s conduct made no sense. However, if one recognizes that Washington was acting in behalf of Israel, it becomes understandable.
With a foothold gained from Truman’s electoral opportunism, the domestic Israel Lobby gradually gained influence over the U.S. government to the point that today Washington serves Israel’s interest without thinking of its impact on US national interests and without regard to the adverse effects on American interests or those of other people.
After years of Washington’s growing service to Israel, President George H.W. Bush tried to pull back. President Bush thought that he could bring about a final peace treaty between Israel and the Palestinian leadership in Madrid based on “land for peace.”
Bush’s assertion of foreign policy independence infuriated Israel, which proceeded to stage overt and covert attacks on Bush. The overt attack occurred on Feb. 26, 1992, when the domestic Israeli pressure group calling itself, absurdly, the “The Committee on U.S. Interests in the Middle East,” took out a full-page ad in The New York Times to excoriate Bush for “pressuring” Israel to enter into negotiations. Its signatories included neoconservative Israel-firsters like Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, Douglas Feith and Elliott Abrams.
According to a former Mossad agent, the covert attack took the form of a planned assassination of President Bush. Victor Ostrovsky in his book, By Way of Deception (pp. 281-282), writes that on Oct. 1, 1992, he received a nervous call from Ephraim, a Mossad officer of his acquaintance, who opposed the assassination: “They’re out to kill Bush… I mean really kill, as in ‘assassinate.’… during the Madrid peace talks.” Ephraim asked Ostrovsky to leak the plot in hopes the American government would act to prevent it. Ostrovsky did so in an Oct. 1, 1992, speech in Ottawa. From there, the leak made its way to former California congressman Pete McCloskey, the Secret Service, the State Department, the CIA, the U.S. embassy in Ottawa, and finally the press. The assassination was called off.
Bush’s assertion of independence from Israel resulted in Israel’s meddling in the 1992 presidential election which cost Bush re-election and marked the last time that a U.S. president would dare challenge Israel’s self-proclaimed right to murder, torture, dispossess and displace Palestinians.
The eight years of Bill Clinton’s presidency saw a consolidation of Israel’s power over Washington. Clinton showed his willingness to act in Israel’s interest by agreeing to set amounts of aid to Israel––imperial tribute in the view of some––even before he was sworn in as president. It was the Clinton administration that responded to Israeli pressure for action against Iraq by creating the illegal no-fly zones over Iraq, which caused the death of 500,000 Iraqi children. When asked about this by a reporter, Clinton’s Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said, “the price was worth it.” In other words, the death of a half a million Iraqi children served American and Israeli interests.
Israel’s influence over US foreign policy reached a zenith with George W. Bush. In the name of the “war on terror,” that is, the war on Israel’s enemies, the Bush regime subverted the US Constitution. The Bush government was filled with neoconservatives associated with the Project for a New American Century. The PATRIOT Act, drafted, according to his own admission three weeks prior to the events of September 11, 2001, by neoconservative Philip Zelikow, who later headed up the 9/11 Commission, became law despite the US Congress having no time to read and discuss the tyrannical legislation before passing it. The fact that a draft of the PATRIOT Act existed prior to 9/11 raises many questions. The passage of the act told Americans that Muslims were such a threat that Americans would have to accept infringements on their civil liberties. President Bush made that even more clear when he announced that he was setting aside the US Constitution and suspending habeas corpus.
During the Obama administration Israel dramatically demonstrated its power over the US government when the US Congress intervened in the dispute between Obama and Netanyahu over whose power was supreme in American politics, the power of the American president or Israel’s. Repudiating their own president, Congress invited Netanyahu to address a joint session of the House and Senate and responded to Netanyahu with many standing ovations.
Trump has perpetuated Israeli control over US foreign policy. Trump broke universal policy and recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. He gave Syria’s Golan Heights to Israel, which was not Trump’s to give. He cut off aid to Palestine. He accepted Israel’s policy of illegally incorporating occupied Palestine into Israel.
Trump’s appointment of Project for a New American Century zionist David Wurmser, an architect of Washington’s 2003 invasion of Iraq, is the latest indication that Israel continues to dominate American policy in the Middle East. According to a report in Mint Press News, Trump admitted that his belligerence toward Iran is driven by Israeli, not U.S., interests.
Trump’s subservience to Israel brings into focus the famous words of Patrick Buchanan, Washington is “Israeli occupied territory.”
Greg Felton is the author of The Host & The Parasite––How Israel’s Fifth Column Consumed America, 3rd edition, available from thehostandtheparasite.com