The Water's Edge And Beyond: Defining The Limits To Domestic Influence On United States Middle East Policy

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The Water's Edge And Beyond: Defining The Limits To Domestic Influence On United States Middle East Policy

By Mitchell Geoffrey Bard
Transaction Publishers, 1991
313 pp.
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This is a serious analysis of the influence of the pro-Israeli lobby on American foreign policy. The author analyzes a series of major cases when the lobby tried to get its way over the opposition of the president. The mixed record of wins and losses leads Bard to some plausible conclusions about conditions that favor the lobby. The most original part of the book consists of a statistical review of more than 600 cases since the Truman era in which the lobby tried to influence policy. More than 60 percent of the time it got its way, usually with the support of the president. But when the president took the opposite side of an issue, the lobby "won" only 27 percent of the cases. Depending on one's preconceptions, this may seem like a lot or a little. Regardless, it is good to have the data presented clearly. Bard avoids the temptation to exaggerate or downplay the role of the lobby, typical failings of most such studies, but he clearly respects the influence of this most powerful of lobbies, for which he now works.