THE SPINE SEPTEMBER 14, 2007
Geore Shultz is now just under 87 years old. He has no one he needs to please. Indeed, he is a paradigmatic figure from the old establishment that, for all its intimacy with each other, had a certain intellectual strength and a deep sense of non-bullying patriotism. Alas, despite the fact that Shultz remains a paradigmatic type for responsible leadership, there is almost no public servant either among the Republicans or the
Democrats who follows the paradigm. You can measure his independence simply by noting that he has been in the forefront of the campaign for the legalization of recreational drugs, not exactly a neo-con cause.
Shultz's career has ranged widely in the academy at half of the top
universities in the country. He was chairman of the Council of Economic
Advisers, director of the Office of Management and Budget, secretary of
labor, secretary of the treasury and secretary of state. And, inter alia,
he has been chairman of the the board of the Bechtel Corporation, a truly
enormous business the foundation of whose activities were in the Arab
world. This is not a person who would be taken in by the kind of Jewish
lobby for Israel which Mearsheimer and Walt describe.
In any case, Shultz has now written about Walt and Mearsheimer and their
book in U.S. News & World Report, and he finds it laughable. Not in the funny
sense but in the pathetic sense:
Anyone who thinks that Jewish groups constitute a homogeneous "lobby" ought to spend some time dealing with them. For example, my decision to open a dialogue with Yasser Arafat after he met certain conditions evoked a wide spectrum of responses from the government of Israel, its political parties, and American Jewish groups who weighed in on one side or the other. Other examples in which the United States rejected Israel's view of an issue, or the view of the American Jewish community, include the sale of arms to Saudi Arabia and President Reagan's decision to go to the cemetery at Bitburg, Germany.
The United States supports Israel not because of favoritism based on political pressure or influence but because the American people, and their leaders, say that supporting Israel is politically sound and morally just.
This man has lived a truly responsible life in the public arena. Read him
and take him seriously.