Following up on the last post, I wanted to say a few things about Dr. Gottfried’s response to Ilana Mercer. Dr. Gottfried does a very good job explaining why most European nationalist parties take a more neutral or more conventionally “pro-Israel” stance. Incidentally, for those inclined to take foreign policy cues from our European counterparts, I would remind them that Vlaams Belang (then Vlaams Blok) in particular had no real objections to the war in Iraq, as they were interested in demonstrating their solidarity with the United States and wished to distinguish themselves from the positions of other parties in Belgium and throughout Europe. That is, they were conventionally defined as “pro-American,” which is unfortunately defined most of the time by a willingness to accept Washington’s official line, while many other European governments (and their publics) were deemed to be “anti-American.” Thus, our “friends” acquiesced in our government’s ruinous policy, while our supposed foes gave us good advice that we as a nation should have heeded. As I’m sure we all see by now, the government’s policies may have nothing to do with what is in the best interests of the country and people in question. We are faced once again with the question of what constitutes hostility to or support for another state.
Dr. Gottfried refers to paleos who take an “anti-Israeli stand,” which is a rather remarkable claim. Perhaps this is not what he means to say, but it is very reminiscent of accusations against immigration restrictionists that they are “anti-immigrant.” That is, it takes opposition to a policy or set of policies and makes it into hostility towards an entire group of people. This might be correct in a handful of cases, but as a general statement it is extremely misleading. Elsewhere in his response Dr. Gottfried claims that some paleos show a “virulent hostility toward Israel” (going so far as to say that such hostility “characterizes some elements…of the humiliated Old American Right”), but this seems to be an exaggeration unless we are defining hostility and sympathy to mean opposition to or support for a certain set of policies or the actions of the government. For my part, I try not to have sympathies for either side in foreign conflicts, because they are or ought to be none of our concern, and to the extent that I criticize allied governments I try to do so as a U.S. citizen concerned about how our allies are using the military forces that we have subsidized, trained or armed and how allied actions reflect on the United States. Does it influence me that most apologists for these allied government actions are also apologists for U.S. military interventions, expansion of government power and abuses of the security state, while critics of allied governments tend to be equally critical of all of the latter? I’m sure it does, but speaking for myself I have tried to judge these matters on their merits as much as possible.
Were it not for ongoing pursuit of hegemony that involves these allied governments, Americans would have little or no business holding forth on the rights and wrongs of foreign conflicts, but as Dr. Gottfried says we must live in the present where this is the case.