Friday, May 23, 2008

Most Powerful Job? Sure
Gibbon observed that one of the marks of a declining empire is when the vassals start exploiting the empire rather than vice versa.
Israel and Cuba are two of the world’s smaller states. Their combined populations wouldn’t add up to a suburb in China. Yet you cannot get elected president of the putatively all-powerful United States of America without ritually kissing the ass of the former and kicking the ass of the latter.
This weird rite has little to do with either Israel or Cuba and almost everything to do with the power of lobbies. The Israel and Cuban lobbies perpetuate and enlarge their clout by constantly intruding themselves between Washington and the two countries. They thrive on conflict, manufactured when not available in reality.
Both represent themselves far better than they do their clients. At best, the Israeli lobby speaks for the most rightwing elements in that country. For its part, the Cuban lobby’s constituency lives in Florida rather than Cuba. If Israel was at peace with its neighbors, the Israeli lobby would have no more influence than the Iceland lobby. If Washington was cool with Havana, the Cuban lobby would have as much juice as the Cyprus lobby.

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