Monday, August 30, 2010

You Can't "Solve" the Problem Unless You "Solve" the Real Problem(s)

Employing those strong arm tactics that served him so well as a community organizaer back in Chicago, Barack Obama has bullied Israel into get back to "peace" talks with one faction of the Palestinian leadership. (The other faction--the one in Gaza--isn't inclined to engage in such charades, being adament that nothing short of Israel's destruction is acceptable and therefore worth talking about. Abbas, too, is working toward Israel's demise, but in a somewhat subtler, more calculating way.) Apart from that fact that there's no peace (in the infidel, not the Muslim, sense) to be had with either Abbas or Hamas, since the sticking point, as always, remains the "naqba" of Jewish sovereignty over lands claims in perpetuity for Allah, Obama's whole analysis of the situation is completely askew. It is predicated on the false, nay, the ludicrous, assumption that what happens between Israel and the Palestinians is the alpha and the omega of future events in the Middle East and, indeed, far beyond. For if the two sides are able to "compromise" and finally "solve" their problems, everything else will fall into place--or so the demonstrably unmoored-from-any-discernable-reality thinking goes.

Too stupid for words, right? And yet smart people with impressive letters after their names have staked their hopes, their reputations, indeed, their entire careers on this errant nonsense.

For a much needed tonic to the latest batch of purple-peace-in-our-time Kool Aid, I offer this, by Nick Cohen in Brit periodical Standpoint:
Jews get the blame in every great crisis, and it was inevitable that conspiracy theorists would blame them for the foreign policy crisis of the early 21st century.

What distinguishes our time, however, is that elements within western liberalism now adopt the position once associated with European reaction. I noticed that there was much grumbling in Standpoint's letters column after the editor pointed out that the supposedly leftist and supposedly serious London Review of Books had been promoting anti-Semitism rather than say the Spectator or Mail as one would have expected in the 1930s. However loudly readers complained, they could not deny that the LRB had been the first to offer its "enlightened" readers the conspiracy theory of John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt that the "Israel Lobby" had taken America into the second Iraq War. "For the past several decades, and especially since the Six-Day War in 1967, the centrepiece of US Middle Eastern policy has been its relationship with Israel," the authors intoned. "Pressure from Israel and the Lobby was not the only factor behind the decision to attack Iraq in March 2003, but it was critical."

I remember thinking at the time that "the Lobby" must be composed of remarkably stupid Jews. Why did they use their scheming wiles to con their goyish American dupes into invading Iraq, which was after all contained by sanctions in 2003, and represented only a minor threat to Israel, instead of Iran, whose Islamist rulers wanted to wipe Israel off the map?

Ever since I have followed a zero-tolerance for racism policy. Every time I encounter the Walt and Mearsheimer hypothesis at a "liberal" dinner party, and I encounter it all the time, I bang the table and batter its proponents remorselessly. Sometimes the hostess disapproves; more often she is grateful to have laid on a party her guests will never forget.(It's probably best to check beforehand if you want to follow suit.)

But the more I thought about it, the more I realised that it was their claim that Israel is at the centre of Western policy that was asinine. The centre of western policy in the Middle East is Saudi Arabia. Its vast oil wealth grants it privileged status...
Exactly. Solve the problem of Wahhabist Saudi Arabia, along with the problem of Khomeinist Iran, and we may be no nearer to utopia, but we'll certainly be a lot closer to a world that the likes of you and I can live in--and with.

Alas, easier said than done, my friends; easier said than done.

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