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Biden’s visit to Israel will not improve his low approval rating with US public

Oct 18,2023 - Last updated at Oct 18,2023

President Joe Biden’s visit during the ongoing Gaza war will bolster Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his right-wing coalition, earn Biden kudos from pro-Israeli US legislators, lobbyists and supporters, but will not improve his low 39 per cent approval rating with the US public.

US presidents and lawmakers have always fashioned that country's external policies with little or no reference to citizens who occasionally pay for foreign adventures and misadventures with their lives or their taxes. Under the constitution, the president determines foreign policy while Congress decides on funding. The Biden administration is fully backing and financing Ukraine's war against Russia and supports Israel's offensive in response to the October 7th Hamas surprise attack on that country. While educated elites have influenced these policies, the vast majority of US citizens is neither interested nor engaged despite overwhelming propaganda campaigns supporting Ukraine and Israel.

While lack of interest prevails in most countries, the failure of the US public to inform itself and assert itself is particularly dangerous because the US remains the global hyperpower and continues to make deadly and destructive “mistakes”.  Like, for instance, the 2003 US invasion of Iraq, which the UN has designated an illegal war of aggression.

The first US president, the highly revered George Washington set the stage for the evolution of the new country's pollical system when he stepped down in 1796 after two terms, enshrining his practice as a political principle followed by all his successors but one, Franklin Roosevelt during World War II. Washington also warned against regional, ethnic and sectarian divisions which jeopardise the unity of the country and called on the US citizenry to be "constantly awake" to deter "Insidious foreign influence" over the republic. This produces "excessive favouritism" for one foreign nation and excessive dislike for another" which serves the interests of one over the other.

When it comes to the Ukraine war, the Biden administration has adopted Kyiv's cause as its own and on the 75-year-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict the administration has adopted a policy of "excessive favouritism" which has served Israel. Although the US and the international community espouse support for the "two-state solution" to bring an end to this conflict, Washington has done nothing to secure its implementation and has provided Israel with the wherewithal to carry out its plan to prevent the emergence of a Palestinian mini-state alongside Israel.

While the president has the authority to develop the country's foreign policy and Congress to back or curb him with funding, the public has ignored Washington's call to be alert to the dangers of favouritism. Instead, favouritism, fostered by ethnic and religious groups and lobbyists, has been a determinant of US foreign policy.

Today, the US public retains an anti-Soviet Communist, anti-Russian bias despite the dissolution of the Soviet Union between 1989-1991, has little information about why Russia objects to Ukraine's potential membership in NATO (the cause of the ongoing war) and is subjected to a barrage of "news" from Ukraine which distorts the situation. This convergence of factors has given US President Joe Biden the opportunity to wage a proxy war against Russia in Ukraine with the aim of proving his warrior credentials ahead of the 2024 presidential election. This has not worked as most US voters are not interested in and could not care less about Ukraine.  His approval rating remains in the high 30s and low 40s.

The US public is infected with anti-Arab bias, is convinced Palestinians who resist Israel's occupation are "terrorists", and is also being subjected to a tsunami of “news” favouring Israel.

There are many reasons why the US public is inert and gives politicians a green light to conduct foreign affairs and mount wars. The public is not interested in what happens abroad. US citizens know very little about global geography, history, politics and economics. Some Italian Americans, Irish Americans, Jewish-Americans, Arab-Americans and Cuban-Americans — may exercise public pressure on Washington to adopt policies favourable to their background countries. But this has not generally determined policy, except for policy on Israel, Cuba and Northern Ireland. In the latter positive US influence helped bring an end to the 1968-1998 violent conflict known as “the troubles” between Catholics and Britain-backed Protestants.

Like people across the world, the US public focuses on personal issues: jobs, rising prices, and internal violence. There is "constant awareness" among minority political elites rather than the wider public. Nevertheless, it has an obligation to be aware due to that rich and powerful country's largely malign interventions in other countries.

While there are different figures for the number of US citizens who have valid passports, according to a 2021 poll, 37 per cent has a valid US passport, another 20 per cent has an expired or invalid passport, and 39 per cent has never had a passport. Two-thirds of those with valid documents have a household income of $100,000 or more and the percentage declines as income drops.  This is true also for US citizens who travel abroad. Money and education determine whether they have left the country: 37 per cent have not.

As far as US popular involvement with Europe, this region and Asia, time differences are key factors. Night and day create a sharp psychological disconnect between US citizens and these regions. US citizens had felt immune to foreign violence until the 2001 attacks on New York and Washington, but the 9/11 (September 11th) trauma has largely receded and the public feels largely immune from external threats and attack. It must be remembered that the US had not been attacked since Japan bombed distant Hawaii in 1941 and the continental US had notbeen involved in existential warfare since 1812 when Britain invaded with the intention of crushing the new republic.

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