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Diaspora Lobbies and the US Government

Diaspora Lobbies and the US Government: Convergence and Divergence in Making Foreign Policy

Josh DeWind
Renata Segura
Copyright Date: 2014
Published by: NYU Press
Pages: 320
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  • Book Info
    Diaspora Lobbies and the US Government
    Book Description:

    As a nation of immigrants, the United States has long accepted that citizens who identify with an ancestral homeland may hold dual loyalties; yet Americans have at times regarded the persistence of foreign ties with suspicion, seeing them as a sign of potential disloyalty and a threat to national security.Diaspora Lobbies and the US Governmentbrings together a group of distinguished scholars of international politics and international migration to examine this contradiction in the realm of American policy making, ultimately concluding that the relationship between diaspora groups and the government can greatly affect foreign policy. This relationship is not unidirectional-as much as immigrants make an effort to shape foreign policy, government legislators and administrators also seek to enlist them in furthering American interests.

    From Israel to Cuba and from Ireland to Iraq, the case studies in this volume illustrate how potential or ongoing conflicts raise the stakes for successful policy outcomes. Contributors provide historical and sociological context, gauging the influence of diasporas based on population size and length of time settled in the United States, geographic concentration, access to resources from their own members or through other groups, and the nature of their involvement back in their homelands. This collection brings a fresh perspective to a rarely discussed aspect of the design of US foreign policy and offers multiple insights into dynamics that may determine how the United States will engage other nations in future decades.

    eISBN: 978-1-4798-1178-6
    Subjects: Law, Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-x)

    • CHAPTER ONE Diaspora-Government Relations in Forging US Foreign Policies
      (pp. 3-27)
      Josh DeWind and Renata Segura

      When in his farewell address as president of the United States George Washington (1796) warned the American people against the dangers of foreign entanglements, he was most concerned that “inveterate antipathies” and “passionate attachments” might lead citizens to “betray or sacrifice the interests of their own country.” Since then, Americans have viewed with ambivalence the connections of their fellow citizens to ancestral homelands. On the one hand, as a nation of immigrants, Americans have accepted dual affections for both nations of origin and the United States as a common and expected aspect of hyphenated ethnic-American identities. On the other hand,...


    • CHAPTER TWO The Effects of Diasporas’ Nature, Types, and Goals on Hostland Foreign Policies
      (pp. 31-57)
      Gabriel Sheffer

      At the beginning of the twenty-first century, diasporas, which were and are created by trans-state migration, are not vanishing. Quite the contrary: despite certain difficulties in exactly delineating their cultural and social boundaries, demarcating their structures, and determining the numbers of their members residing in various host countries, since the end of the twentieth century several new diasporic entities¹ have emerged, and numerous older entities continue to exist and be very active. Moreover, various surveys show that diasporic entities are growing in population, are organizing or reorganizing rapidly, are active in various arenas, and are using more political and economic...


    • CHAPTER THREE Between JDate and J Street: US Foreign Policy and the Liberal Jewish Dilemma in America
      (pp. 61-75)
      Yossi Shain and Neil Rogachevsky

      For years, the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has preoccupied writers, diplomats, and politicians throughout the world. Policy and diplomacy have followed suit. Notwithstanding the failure of the Oslo Peace Process, the international community has continued its efforts over the last decade to solve the conflict: international conferences like the 2008 Annapolis conference, White House ceremonies and conversations, third-party mediated meetings, shuttle diplomacy by top American envoys, Tony Blair taking up residence in Jerusalem as the envoy of the “Quartet,” the Saudi Initiative of 2002, and Secretary John Kerry’s recent “shuttle diplomacy” between Jerusalem and Ramallah, to name a...

    • CHAPTER FOUR Palestinians, Diasporas, and US Foreign Policy
      (pp. 76-94)
      Mohammed A. Bamyeh

      Palestinians have never had any influence of any kind on any US foreign policy. By contrast, pro-Israeli interests have until recently had an unusual level of influence on all significant US policies on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as well as on US approaches to larger issues pertaining to the Middle East as a whole. That one may respond to this assertion by pointing to occasional disagreements between US and Israeli policy makers only confirms the point: for such observations question only why there was notcompleteconvergence of all policies. The complete omnipotence of the pro-Israeli lobby especially in the past...


    • CHAPTER FIVE America’s Role in the Northern Ireland Peace Process
      (pp. 97-131)
      Joseph E. Thompson

      Ben Franklin is quoted as telling Americans, “You have a Republic, if you can keep it.” Today he would modify his quote for Northern Ireland by saying, “You have peace, if you can keep it.” Since Irish Americans and US government officials were an integral part of bringing about this peace process, this chapter will recount the historical stages in the formation of US policy toward Northern Ireland. These historical stages of the arenas and mechanisms through which Irish American and US government relations were enacted may also give insight for other diaspora-US government relations referenced in this book.


    • CHAPTER SIX Cuban Americans and US Cuba Policy
      (pp. 132-160)
      Lisandro Pérez

      The words attributed to President George W. Bush’s chief political strategist are not a revelation to even a casual observer of US Cuba policy. It has been quite evident since the 1980s that the Cuban diaspora in the United States, a majority of it residing in Florida, has exerted a determining influence on maintaining and even tightening a US policy that seeks to isolate and change the regime in Havana. That policy is now more than half a century old, raising questions about the ability of the more powerful sectors of the Cuban community to successfully sustain their opposition to...


    • CHAPTER SEVEN Diaspora Lobbying and Ethiopian Politics
      (pp. 163-184)
      Terrence Lyons

      The Ethiopian diaspora has influenced politics in Ethiopia, despite its quite limited success lobbying the US government. The diaspora, which tends to be dominated by a highly partisan opposition, has lobbied Washington to reduce its support of the authoritarian ruling party and to prioritize democracy and human rights, but this aim has been frustrated because Washington’s more pressing concerns relating to counterterrorism in the Horn of Africa have led it to maintain an important security partnership with Addis Ababa. Many in the diaspora perceived that there were more promising opportunities to influence Ethiopian politics through other entry points and strategies...

    • CHAPTER EIGHT The Haitian Diaspora: Building Bridges after Catastrophe
      (pp. 185-208)
      Daniel P. Erikson

      In January 2010, Haiti was struck by a 7.0 magnitude earthquake that devastated the capital city of Port-au-Prince and wrought significant damage in the countryside. The scope of the damage was astounding by any measure. Portau- Prince is slowly emerging from the ruins of what was almost certainly the single greatest urban catastrophe in modern history. The Haitian government estimates the official death toll to be 316,000, which would make the Haitian quake one of the ten deadliest natural disasters in history, just behind the 2004 Asian tsunami. Even lower estimates put the fatality rate at many tens of thousands....


    • CHAPTER NINE The Iraqi Diaspora and the US Invasion of Iraq
      (pp. 211-236)
      Walt Vanderbush

      We will never be entirely sure whether Ahmed Chalabi was essential to the invasion of Iraq in 2003, one of the two wars during the George W. Bush administration that together prompted the above statement made in 2011 by Secretary Gates to future army officers at West Point. But given the nearly nine years the US military spent at war in Iraq, an assessment of the role played by members of the Iraqi diaspora in the foreign policy process that led to this “war of choice” would certainly seem worthwhile. Given their numerically small size in comparison to other prominent...


    • CHAPTER TEN Convergence and Divergence Yesterday and Today in Diaspora–National Government Relations
      (pp. 239-268)
      Tony Smith

      The editors of this volume have called on its contributors to focus on a difficult but critical topic: the convergence and divergence of American governmental foreign policy goals and those of diasporas (or ethnic groups) in the United States regarding US foreign policy toward their ancestral homelands. Where government and civil society constituenciesconverge, each actor presumably multiplies the force of the other (the example of President Ronald Reagan might be cited, working with Polish Americans and the Vatican to free Poland from communist rule, or the Reagan administration’s role in creating the Cuban American National Foundation [CANF], since then...

  11. Contributors
    (pp. 269-272)
  12. Index
    (pp. 273-292)