Indiana Gov. Mike Pence is visiting Israel this week, and one of the sponsors for the trip is depressingly predictable:
Pence’s visit includes cultural- and economic development-related activities, according to his office. The staunchly Zionist organization Christians United for Israel is funding the former part of the visit [bold mine-DL], while the Indiana Economic Development Foundation is covering the latter, according to his office.
It’s not news that Pence’s foreign policy views are conventionally hawkish, nor does it come as a surprise that he is aligning himself with the fanatics at CUFI. It would only be newsworthy if Pence weren’t a reliable “pro-Israel” hawk, since that would at least give him some sort of distinction from the other likely candidates that all hold virtually identical views on the subject. Everyone takes for granted that the visit is supposed to bolster Pence’s limited foreign policy credentials, but all that it really does is to remind anyone paying attention that he has negligible experience in this area. The trip wouldn’t be a complete waste of time if he demonstrated the least bit of interest in establishing contact with Palestinian leaders while there, but Pence reportedly went out of his way to avoid meeting with Abbas.
The ritual visits to Israel for our would-be presidential candidates are becoming tiresome and embarrassing. There are many dozens of other countries with which the U.S. has more important relationships, and there are scores of countries with which the U.S. is formally allied, but likely candidates almost never visit any of these places. On the other hand, every cycle like clockwork our presidential aspirants make their pilgrimages to pay homage to a minor client state that is notable mostly for causing Washington unnecessary headaches. This recurring parade of likely candidates through Israel sums up very well how screwed up America’s foreign policy priorities are, and it reminds us just how tightly most elected Republicans cling to their party’s hard-line foreign policy views.