The past few months should have finally shattered the persistent illusion that the Israeli-Palestinian question determines all in the Middle East. In an essay in Foreign Policy magazine titled "The False Religion of Mideast Peace," former diplomat Aaron David Miller recounts the conventional wisdom running back through the Cold War: "An unresolved Arab-Israeli conflict would trigger ruinous war, increase Soviet influence, weaken Arab moderates, strengthen Arab radicals, jeopardize access to Middle East oil, and generally undermine U.S. influence from Rabat to Karachi."Agreed, but that doesn't mean the Muslim/Arab/Leftist powers that be will know it off with the eliminationism; they know a winning calumny when they see it.
Behind these assumptions has long stood a deeply simplistic understanding of the Arabs. Professional naif Jimmy Carter insists, "There is no doubt: The heart and mind of every Muslim is affected by whether or not the Israeli-Palestinian issue is dealt with fairly." This is reductive to the point of insult. Carter thinks that Muslims have no interior lives of their own, but are all defined by a foreign-policy dispute that is unlikely to affect most of them directly in the least. He mistakes real people for participants in an endless Council on Foreign Relations seminar.
The Israeli-Palestinian issue certainly has great emotional charge, and most Arabs would prefer a world blissfully free of the Zionist entity. But the Israelis can't be blamed -- though cynical Arab governments certainly try -- for unemployment and repression in Arab countries. Monumental events in recent decades -- the Iranian revolution, the Iran-Iraq War and the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait -- were driven by internal Muslim confessional, ideological and geo-political differences. Israel has nothing to do with the Sunnis hating the Shia, or the Saudis hating the Iranians, or everyone hating Moammar Gadhafi...
Friday, March 18, 2011
Israel NOT the Alpha and Omega of the Middle East's Problems? How Shocking (Not Really)!
Rick Lowry writes: