Sunday, May 3, 2009

Mr. Luna Goes to Washington

May 2, 2009

Today as I write this I am on my way to Washington DC. The reason I am gracing DC with my presence (I jest in my since of worth) is that I will be attending the American Israel Public Affairs Committee Policy Conference (AIPAC)—a conference dedicated to fostering positive US-Israeli policy. I know many of you are thinking why I, a strong noninterventionist, am attending this conference. Well as those who know me are aware, I have wanted to visit our nation’s capitol since I was a child. Being the head of the University of the South Student Assembly, I was contacted by AIPAC and invited to enjoy a free trip to Washington. At first I was apprehensive, though I personally support the nation of Israel and think that their partnership is important, my political convictions don’t exactly line up with those of the AIPAC community. After some consideration and weighing the idea of a free trip to DC, I decided that AIPAC was an opportunity I could not turn down. Needless to say, I will not be going to the conference to stir things up, but rather, to observe the viewpoints of those who believe in strong, entangling alliances and enjoy the city in the short time I have.

So why am I opposed to the policies of AIPAC if I am personally pro-Israel? The answer lies in my commitment to a humble foreign policy that centers on self-defense, diplomacy, and free trade. In order to maximize the possibilities for each of these things, I believe that the United States must not be involved with any entangling alliances. This does not mean that we are isolationist or that we treat other countries with disrespect. Quite the contrary, we should engage other countries: in diplomatic relations and in free trade. Perhaps one day I will blog on the issue of noninterventionism and nonalliaceship, but for now I will merely justify this approach as applied to US-Israel relations.

The first major issue one must understand to have a proper view of the situation is that Israel is a big girl; she can take care of herself. There is no doubt that Israel lives in a dangerous neighborhood, but it is also no secret that Israel has done an excellent job fighting hostile neighbors off. The Israeli army is a well oiled fighting machine with some of the best technology and military professionalism available. Moreover, Israel has nuclear weapon capabilities and is able to use them as a deterrent and (God forbid) in action if needed. It is not only not in the United States’ best interest to entangle themselves in Israeli affairs; Israel doesn’t need us—at least not militarily.

Another major reason why current US-Israel alliances are so flawed is that they do not make either of us safe. Negative feelings about either of our countries are attached to both of us in the international community. Moreover, whenever Israel wants to act it always comes to the US for a blessing or permission. This practice should be an anathema for Liberal republics who value the concept of State sovereignty. If a nation wants to act, it can act. Of course, it must face consequences—good or bad—in the international community, but the decision should be fully theirs and fully based on their best interest. The United States does not need to be tied to Israel’s foreign policy and vice-versa. One cannot act in one’s best interest if that interest is tied to another’s foreign policy. May Israel continue to stand strong, but let it not be at the expense of the American people’s security and its own sovereignty.

I hope to blog some over the next few days about AIPAC. Stay tuned for updates.

Postscript: It is just before 1am (est). I just got back from a night on the town seeing the capitol. It was amazing. I will post photos on facebook ASAP. So far I’m having a blast.

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