Friday, October 12, 2012

Mitt Romney is No George Marshall

In a speech given at the Virginia Military Institute on October 8, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney outlined his foreign - basically Middle East - policy goals.

Grotesquely but predictably, despite a decade of unprecedented death and destruction in the region unleashed by Bush and maintained by Obama, primarily to keep Israel and its domestic lobby happy, and despite the US taxpayer being slugged to pay for it all, Romney told us that "[t]here is a longing for American leadership in the Middle East."

No amount of rhetoric about US leadership in the Middle East, however, can disguise the fact that these days US policy there is essentially made in Israel, for Israel. Hence Romney's embrace of the bizarre notion that US and Israeli interests are one and the same:

"The relationship between the President of the United States and the Prime Minister of Israel, our closest ally in the region, has suffered great strains. The President explicitly stated that his goal was to put 'daylight' between the United States and Israel. And he has succeeded. This is a dangerous situation that has set back the hope of peace in the Middle East and emboldened our mutual adversaries, especially Iran... I will reaffirm our historic ties to Israel and our abiding commitment to its security - the world must never see any daylight between our two nations."

The supreme irony of his speech was his invoking of the memory of US General George C. Marshall:

"Of all the VMI graduates, none is more distinguished than George Marshall - the Chief of Staff of the Army who became Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense, who helped to vanquish fascism and then planned Europe's rescue from despair. His commitment to peace was born of his direct knowledge of the awful costs and consequences of wars. General Marshall once said, 'The only way human beings can win a war is to prevent it.' Those words were true in his time - and they still echo in ours." 

Marshall would have turned in his grave at the thought of this shameless hijacking of his legacy on behalf of a US foreign policy which caters to Israel's every wish and whim. Such is the ignorance of history, even its own, that prevails in the US that we can safely assume that whichever Romney hanger-on wrote his speech, he/she would've been blissfully unaware that, as President Truman's Secretary of State in the critical period leading up to the birth of Israel in May 1948, George Marshall was the key advocate in the Truman White House for putting as much daylight as possible between a nascent Israel and the United States, in opposition to those such as White House counsel and Zionist dupe Clark Clifford who pushed for the opposite.

Guided only by his belief in upholding and defending US and only US interests, Marshall did not support the creation of a Jewish state in Palestine, favouring instead a UN trusteeship. Nor, when the idea of partitioning Palestine was mooted, did he support throwing America's weight behind it.

Finally, when it came to the matter of Truman (at the urging of Clifford) considering a speedy de facto recognition of the new state of Israel on May 15, 1948, with an eye to securing Jewish votes in an election year, Marshall was fiercely and fearlessly opposed to the idea:

"I remarked to the president that, speaking objectively, I could not help but think that suggestions made by Clifford were wrong. I thought that to adopt these suggestions would have precisely the opposite effect from that intended by him. The transparent dodge to win a few votes would not, in fact, achieve this purpose. The great dignity of the office of the president would be seriously damaged. The counsel offered by Mr Clifford's advice was based on domestic political considerations, while the problem confronting us was international. I stated bluntly that if the president were to follow Mr Clifford's advice, and if I were to vote in the next election, I would vote against the president." (Quoted in Remembering General George Marshall's clash with Clark Clifford over premature recognition of Israel, Dr Alfred M. Lilienthal, Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, June 1999)

Unfortunately for the future course of US foreign policy, Marshall stopped short of going public with his principled opposition to Truman's expedient sucking up to Israel firsters. If he had, it just might be the case today that US presidents would be making their own Middle East policy, free of the crippling and demeaning subservience to perceived Israeli interests demanded and engineered by the Israel lobby; that the Middle East would have been largely spared the devastating serial USraeli aggressions so characteristic of our time; and that we'd all be spared the unedifying spectacle of candidates for the American presidency babbling inanely about eliminating daylight between Israel and the United States.

Just imagine...

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