KU students lap up Mead's distillation on the Jewish Lobby, US foreign policy
KARACHI, Aug 31: The Christian and not the Jewish Lobby shapes the United States foreign
policy, argued Walter Russell Mead, a senior fellow for US Foreign Policy at the
Council on Foreign Relations (CFR).
Mead, the CFR's Henry A. Kissinger
Senior Fellow, gave a lecture to students, writers and teachers of International
Relations here on Thursday.
In a lighter vain, he clarified that he did
not represent the US administration nor did his views reflect the viewpoint of
Mr. Kissinger. He then dwelt at length on the role of religion in US foreign
He stressed that the role of religion in society and politics
should be seen in a worldwide context. Thirty years ago, religion was not
playing such a dominant role in political affairs. The award-winning American
author said that now this phenomenon is not specific to the US alone. European,
Arab and Muslim countries, China, India and Africa have also witnessed a similar
situation. Socio-political oppression, insecurity and a failure of
secularisation have made people turn to religion which is now a dominant
Urbanisation and globalisation have also contributed to
making religion a political force. Mead gave the example that when a rural
Christian or Muslim migrates to an urban area, the church or mosque and social
network and support make them feel as if they are part of a community.
Mead, who is also Project Director for Religion and Foreign Policy for
the Pew Forum, elaborated on the demographic composition of various faiths so
that his audience could understand how religion influences ideas and political
In the US, 90 percent of citizens believe in God and more than
85 percent are Christians. Around six million Jews make up two percent of the US
population. The Muslim population in the US is not known because the government
doesn't inquire about the religion of US citizens. According to an estimate,
however, the number of Muslims might be between four to five million, he added.
Twenty-four percent of Christians are Roman Catholics and a majority of
US citizens are Protestant, that makes up 52 percent of the Christian
population. A majority of Protestants were mainstream 20 years ago but now their
majority is Evangelical, he added. "Historically, Americans like Capitalism
because they are religious," he remarked.
Mead also said that different
societies have different cultural preferences and this also put many countries'
political systems under tremendous pressure.
Taking advantage of
biblical prognostications, American scholars were publishing since 1690 that
Jews would finally return to the Holy Land and establish their own state.
Whenever the establishment of Israel is discussed anywhere in the US, the
evangelicals proudly say that the biblical prognostication came true. He did
admit, however, that another group contests the Biblical prediction on the
grounds that the Old Testament's verses were abrogated in the New Testament.
He clarified that he was an Anglican while adding that theologically
many Christians also support Palestinians, saying they are children of God.
"Diversity begins to creep in with the rise of evangelical political ideas," he
Mead had to answer many questions about the Israeli Lobby's
role in US foreign policy. He said that 85 percent of Jews vote for Democrats
while President Bush is a Republican. The New York Times and Washington Post are
two main newspapers owned by Jews but they too hate Mr. Bush and consider him
"insane". He said that Hollywood also opposes Bush.
Furthermore, the US
Congress has a strong influence on the US State Department that has to face
Congress too and Mr. Bush is not the only boss of them.
To a question,
he also disagreed with the impression that hidden forces such as intelligence
agencies and corporations had a leading role in US foreign policy. "Perhaps it
is so, but I don't know," he said for his part.
"The US administration
under George W Bush follows three courses simultaneously. It is Wilsonian,
Nixonian and Jacksonian in its policies," he said to another query. For
instance, the Bush administration is Wilsonian as far as the export of democracy
is concerned. Woodrow Wilson was the 28th president of the US. Andrew Jackson
was the seventh president and the Bush administration follows his policies on
immigration. Richard Nixon was the 37th president and his administration is a
source of inspiration for diplomacy and peace talks.
The Public Affairs
section of the American Consulate of Karachi hosted the programme which was
attended by a number of International Relations students from the University of
Karachi. Dr Moonis Ahmer, Head of the IR Department at KU, welcomed Mead. Daily times