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  • February 21st, 2017

Lifting the veil on American foreign policy: Part One

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The absolute irony of the Trump presidency is that he is inadvertently exposing the terrible hypocrisies underlying an extremely hawkish American foreign policy consensus that in many ways does not serve America’s national interests well, if at all. – Peggy Mason, President of the Rideau Institute

Backed by ferociously powerful domestic lobbies, America’s blind support for Israel and Saudi Arabia — and therefore against their mutual adversary, Iran — is perhaps the best example. Especially during his second term, President Obama fought hard to begin to limit Saudi and Israeli influence and did make some progress: witness the historic nuclear deal with Iran and the non-veto of a UN Security Council resolution condemning yet more illegal Israeli settlements on Palestinian land.

Similarly, President Obama, through the dedicated and persistent diplomatic efforts of his Secretary of State, John Kerry, actually reached a deal with Russia over Syria. But Pentagon civilians and military officers refused to play ball, publicly declaring that they would “never cooperate” with Russia.

When Trump inartfully admitted to Bill O’Reilly that the USA, like Russia, “has a lot of killers,” he was telling the truth. But western publics will not easily allow their governments to support naked aggression, so it has to be dressed up as morally superior.

Trump is exposing the same hypocrisy with his glib support for “one state or two states or whatever the parties agree upon.” Surely he knows that the longstanding and oft professed American preference for a “two-state solution” to the Israel-Palestine conflict serves as a useful smokescreen behind which Israel builds ever more illegal settlements, encroaching on ever more Palestinian land until presumably there is simply none left for them?

Bernie Sanders started a conversation with the American public on how to pursue genuine economic and social justice, one that continues apace today, despite Trump’s cynical hijacking of populist rage to further enrich himself and his billionaire buddies.

The same type of honest conversation is urgently needed over American foreign policy. The status quo is increasingly untenable and President Trump has nothing to offer but bluster and threats, at best, and malevolent chaos and conflict at worst.

And Canada is not immune to this cynical misdirection in our foreign policy either, as Peter Larson’s latest blog, Canada appears more interested in supporting a “2 state solution” than in defending Palestinian human rights  graphically illustrates.

For more on the emptiness of the American policy on Israel-Palestine see: One-State Two-State Blues (Roger Cohen, NYTimes 17 Feb 2017).

Photo credit: Wikimedia

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