UPDATE: Will Petraeus Give AEI the “Hardest Truth”?

A propos the growing brouhaha (see here and here) over Mark Perry’s article on foreignpolicy.com, “The Petraeus briefing: Biden’s embarrassment is not the whole story,” I was just reminded that the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) announced last November that it was presenting its highest honor, the Irving Kristol Award for 2010, to the chief of the U.S. Central Command May 6, 2010, at which time Petraeus will also be presenting the Irving Kristol Lecture. If Perry’s account is correct and, like Biden, Petraeus intends to deliver the “hardest truth” — to wit, a “realist” analysis of the Greater Middle East and the link between Israel’s behavior and Washington’s problems in the region — to the most august neo-conservative gathering of the year, it could be a very interesting, not to say awkward, evening.

Jim Lobe

Jim Lobe served for some 30 years as the Washington DC bureau chief for Inter Press Service and is best known for his coverage of U.S. foreign policy and the influence of the neoconservative movement.



  1. Let’s say Petraeus does let ’em have it between the eyes (rhetorically speaking) on May 6. Then what? Life will go on as before, that’s what. This whole matter will be smoothed over one way or another before May 6, I predict.

    The neocons and other supporters of Israel will turn on Petraeus before they take Israel seriously to task. A few ex-military might cleave to the realist position if Petraeus is dissed, but remember that Petraeus himself is not all that popular with the rest of the brass.

    In any case, Petraeus, a born politician, will sugarcoat or qualify whatever criticisms he may offer to the AEI. Israel’s supporters will make a show of soul-searching about the “accidental” rubbing of Uncle Sam’s nose in the dirt — they may even offer up a scapegoat. And then life will go on much as before.

    I cannot imagine this turning into anything like a tipping point. Despite the braying on both sides at the moment, my bet is that it’ll all be smoothed over, probably sooner rather than later. This is a tempest that will almost certainly be contained in the proverbial teapot.

  2. Israel: We’re confiscating more Palestinian land to build Jews-only settlements. (Jim Crow wasn’t really that bad. Apartheid is fine.)

    Obama: That isn’t helpful.

    Israel: So? What you gonna do about it, black boy?

    Obama: I’ll … say so.

    Israel/AIPAC: How dare you, you anti-Semite! You do not want to declare your loyalty to anything we do, that’s fine. Our Israel-firsters and prostitutes in Congress always come through; they will keep the money and political support flowing.

    Read Chas Freeman: This time apartheid has western complicity.


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