Is James Baker a Match
for AIPAC?

The report by the Iraq Study Group is an attempt by elder statesmen of the American political establishment to take U.S. foreign policy out of the incompetent hands of President Bush and the self-serving hands of the Israeli Lobby. The Iraq Study Group’s effort may or may not succeed.

Others have expressed disappointment that the ISG elder statesmen did not call for Bush’s impeachment and immediate withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Iraq. Such wishful thinking caused writers to pour cold water over the establishment’s attempt to save Bush and the U.S. from a “grave and deteriorating” situation.

Even war critic Pat Buchanan is dismissive of the ISG report. Buchanan, however, comes closer to the truth than the report’s other critics when he writes that the purpose of the report is to save the establishment from any responsibility for the debacle that Bush and his neoconservative government have produced.

The Iraq Study Group, which includes Bush’s new secretary of defense, Robert Gates, realizes that far from being the macho superpower that controls the world’s destiny, the U.S. does not even control its own destiny. The U.S. is in a “grave and deteriorating” situation that can easily result in a far greater calamity than merely a bruised ego from a lost war. The entire Middle East can come undone.

The real problem is the Israeli Lobby’s powerful influence – about which the Lobby brags – over U.S. policy in the Middle East and Israel’s inflexibility toward the Palestinians, whose land Israel has stolen. As long as Israel exercises a veto over U.S. policy in the Middle East, the powder keg will remain alight.

The members of the ISG are elder statesmen. They have held high positions and accumulated the honors. Their careers are behind them. They have nothing to lose. They can afford to tell the truth and to address the real problem.

If news reports are correct (see, for example, this), former Secretary of State James Baker has proposed a Middle East peace conference without Israeli participation. According to an official quoted by Insight magazine, “As Baker sees this, the conference would provide a unique opportunity for the United States to strike a deal without Jewish pressure. This has become the hottest proposal examined by the foreign policy people over the last month.”

According to Insight, “officials said the Baker proposal to exclude Israel garnered support in the wake of Vice President Dick Cheney’s visit to Saudi Arabia on Nov. 25. They said Mr. Cheney spent most of his meetings listening to Saudi warnings that Israel, rather than Iran, is the leading cause of instability in the Middle East.” The official told Insight that the administration “has fallen in line,” but that “Bush is not in the daily loop. He is shocked by the elections and he’s hoping for a miracle on Iraq.”

President Bush lacks the knowledge, judgment, and experience to be in the Oval Office. He has been deceived and manipulated by neoconservatives who live in the fantasy world of their own ideology and who have been aligned with Israel’s right-wing Likud Party for most of their careers.

The neoconservatives put Bush and the U.S., along with Iraqis, Afghans, and Lebanese, in harm’s way. Their fantasy enterprise failed, and now they damn Bush for a lost war that they said would be a cakewalk. Neoconservatives told Bush that U.S. troops would have flowers thrown at them, not bombs.

Many neoconservatives have been cleared out of the Bush administration. But other neoconservatives still occupy media positions, which they will continue to use to lie to the American public. As long as the neoconservatives’ protector, Vice President Cheney, continues to have influence, the Israeli Lobby might again succeed in overthrowing American public opinion and win its war against the Iraq Study Group.

Author: Paul Craig Roberts

Paul Craig Roberts wrote the Kemp-Roth bill and was assistant secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. He was associate editor of the Wall Street Journal editorial page and contributing editor of National Review. He is author or co-author of eight books, including The Supply-Side Revolution (Harvard University Press). He has held numerous academic appointments, including the William E. Simon chair in political economy, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Georgetown University, and senior research fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University. He has contributed to numerous scholarly journals and testified before Congress on 30 occasions. He has been awarded the U.S. Treasury's Meritorious Service Award and the French Legion of Honor. He was a reviewer for the Journal of Political Economy under editor Robert Mundell.