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Lobbying in US Politics: Legitimate influence, corruption or conspiracy- Reaction paper

Lobbying in US Politics: Legitimate influence, corruption or conspiracy?

Relevant readings:
Terry, Janice (2005) US Foreign Policy in the Middle East: The role of Lobbies and Special Interest Groups Chapters 6 & 7*
Hames T & N Rae (1996) Chapter 14
Mearsheimer, John & Stephen Walt (2006) The Israeli Lobby in The London Review of Books available online at http://www.lrb.co.uk/v28/n06/mear01_.html (see associated responses at end of webpage)*and the debate online at http://www.scribemedia.org/2006/10/11/israel-lobby/
The War over Israel’s Influence Roundatable, Foreign Policy July/August 2006

Contemporary US Business and Society

Interest groups through their power of lobbying play a major role in influencing the US foreign policies, especially in the Middle East since the Pro-Israel lobbyist enjoy a monopoly over others (Terry, 2005, 68-69). Israel is accorded special consideration because it is a close ally to the US in the Middle East as it enables the latter to exert its dominance and influence in the volatile region. Through Israel, the US gets the opportunity to monitor activities in the region with regards to its interests in the international arena. Lobbying in the US has been and continues to be a subject of debate as lobbyists enjoy a degree of immense in the country. According to Mearsheimer & Walt (2006, 3-12), the Pro-Israeli lobbyists are never questioned in the US and thus millions of dollars are spent to facilitate their activities.

Lobbyists have a great influence as they pressure the government to pass bills and policies that address their interests and to some extent the concerns of the citizens. Lobby groups are financed by big companies to represent them. To this extent, therefore, there are incidences of corruption as they must be ‘bribed’ to campaign for the company and organizations position. In democracies, people elect their leaders to represent their interests and not lobby groups. In some cases, the wishes of the people are not adhered to but those of the financiers of the groups. Interest groups meet politicians for gifts exchange to support their courses. Therefore, one can perceive the behavior and actions of lobbyists and interest groups as a form of legal bribery.

Of course interest groups petition the government to act in the interest of the people but to a great extent; they have strayed. Voters through the ballot choose State, towns, and national leaders to represent them, but the system hijacks this through powerful institutions that frustrate the people’s will by offering gifts to politicians to get their way. To this end, therefore, there is no doubt that the system is corrupt as Congressmen accept bribes.

 

References

Mearsheimer, J., & Walt, S.M 2006. “The Israeli Lobby” in The London Review of Books available online at http://www.lrb.co.uk/v28/n06/mear01_.html (see associated responses at end of webpage)*and the debate online at http://www.scribemedia.org/2006/10/11/israel-lobby/

Terry, J., 2005. U.S. Foreign Policy in the Middle East: The Role of Lobbies and Special Interest Groups 28 (2), pp. 69-72.

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