This book explains the institutionalization of nearly unconditional American support of Israel during the Reagan administration, and its persistence in the first Bush administration in terms of the competition of belief systems in American society and politics.
Michael Thomas explains policy changes over time and provides insights into what circumstances might lead to lasting changes in policy. The volume identifies the important domestic, social, religious and political elements that have vied for primacy on policy towards Israel, and using case studies, such as the 1981 AWACS sale and the 1991 loan guarantees, argues that policy debates have been struggles to embed and enforce beliefs about Israel and about Arabs. It also establishes a framework for better understanding the influences and constraints on American policy towards Israel. An epilogue applies the lessons learned to the current Bush administration.
American Policy toward Israel will be of interest to students of US foreign policy, Middle Eastern politics and international relations.
Table of Contents
1. Explaining the Extra-Special Relationship 2. The Pro-Israel Community Prior to 1981 3. Pro-Israel Policy Networks and the Congressional Playing Field 4. Ronald Reagan: Beliefs and Policies 5. The AWACS Sale: Testing Beliefs and Political Capabilities 6. The Metamorphosis of the Lobby, 1981-1988: Strength and Division 7. Reagan after AWACS: Policy as the Product of Unexamined Beliefs and Political Constraint 8. George H.W. Bush, James Baker and Israel 9. The Loan Guarantees: New Equilibrium, Old Result 10. Conclusions. Epilogue: George W. Bush: The War Leader and the True Believers
Michael Thomas is a former military lawyer and civilian litigator who is concerned with the formulation of American policy in the Middle East. He holds a PhD in International Relations from the London School of Economics, UK.