I was ready to put Mideast blogging to bed for a bit, but in my inbox this morning was a good piece by Martin Kramer (from 2006) that seeks to make the "realist" or purely strategic case for America's unconditional (his words) support for Israel. I had read it at the time, but it's worth bringing the arguments back to view now in light of the discussion of U.S. policy toward Israel after the Biden fracas. (Of course, 2010-era Martin Kramer has been in a bit of hot water lately over his suggestion that squeezing Gaza is helpfully reducing its supply of "superfluous young men.")
First off, it's important to recognize, as Kramer writes (and as Walter Russel Mead is explicating in a number of illuminating posts) that American support for Israel is rooted in the interplay of three major factors - religious affinity, a sense of moral and historical obligation, and strategic interests. All three pillars of support are legitimate and while I'm not particularly persuaded by arguments grounded in religious authority, I agree with the moral and historical claims* and think all three have every right, in our democratic society, to express themselves in our foreign policy. I think every "realist" recognizes (even if only to their chagrin) that U.S. policy is derived from a combination of factors and that strategic arguments alone do not always win the day in the public debate.
That said, this is a blog, and I'm not a politician . So back to Kramer's realist case for America's unconditional support for Israel.