September 25, 2009

The Arab Preference for War

Egyptian playwright Ali Salem visited Israel in 1994 to

Posted by Michael J. Totten at September 25, 2009 11:53 AM
Comments
Depressingly good piece Michael. The difference with the other conflicts is that neither Westerners, nor the Vietnamese, etc view the existence of their "enemy" as a cosmic insult.
Posted by: Lorenzo at September 25, 2009 3:01 pm
The obvious question that occurs to me is exactly why did the Jewish people choose to build their country in the region of the world filled with such intractably hateful people? This is the question that I have never had a satisfactory answer to.
I understand the desire for them to have their own country following the holocaust and everything else that happened to them in Europe. However, it's my understanding that they did have other options. Uganda and Panama are two that I know about. There were several others. I think even the Costa Ricans offered to take in Jewish people from Europe (I would have opted for Costa Rica myself).
Its been well-known through out history that the Arab-Muslim culture is the most hostile towards outside influences and people. I simply cannot understand why the Jewish people choose the Arab-Muslim part of the world as the place to build their country.
As you may or may not know, there is growing interest in something called "seasteading". If the engineering challenges can be overcome, this will lead to the creation of city-states on the ocean. Perhaps Jewish people and others who feel alienated from other societies should be interested in and support this possibility.
Posted by: kurt9 at September 25, 2009 4:51 pm
"The obvious question that occurs to me is exactly why did the Jewish people choose to build their country in the region of the world filled with such intractably hateful people? This is the question that I have never had a satisfactory answer to.
Its been well-known through out history that the Arab-Muslim culture is the most hostile towards outside influences and people. I simply cannot understand why the Jewish people choose the Arab-Muslim part of the world as the place to build their country."
Jerusalem!!! Quote:
"If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its cunning.
If I do not remember thee, may my tongue, cleave to the roof of my mouth;
If I do not set Jerusalem above my highest joy."
(Psalms 137: 5-6)
The short answer is that I don't think any Jewish person would've been satisfied with a nation that did not include that city. My knowledge of that period and location of history leaves a bit to be desired, but even I, who hasn't studied much of Middle Eastern history, realizes that much.

Posted by: ElMondo at September 25, 2009 5:17 pm
I didn't realize it was even possible to be a "former Kamikaze pilot."
Posted by: johnchen at September 25, 2009 5:55 pm
Fortunately for him and some of his enemies, he never got the chance to blow himself up in his plane.
I wish I could have been there for that meeting. I didn't get the chance to ask my grandfather about it because he died when I was too young to be interested in that sort of thing.
Posted by: Michael J. Totten at September 25, 2009 6:05 pm
Ouch Kurt
Yeah Michale, feel you man, I had a similar experience with my grandfather and Stalingrad.
Posted by: A-Squared at September 26, 2009 2:01 am
MJT, I respect you a lot but I'm a little disappointed at your analysis here regarding Vietnam. Our war was never with the North Vietnamese except on the most superficial level. It was a proxy war with the Soviets, to challenge their expansion in Southeast Asia.
Distrust and hostility against the USSR certainly did not end with our withdrawal from Vietnam -- it ended with the collapse of the Soviet Union. (Quickened, by most accounts, by US foreign policy. So who really lost?)
With Germany and Japan, again, after the war, the governments that started the conflicts were brought down and replaced. The countries we were left facing were not the same countries we fought.
So this analogy is flawed. One important difference would be if the Egyptians loathe the Israeli PEOPLE -- I have no idea if this is true or not. Obviously the Americans do not despise Germans or Japanese or Vietnamese because of those wars.
Posted by: John Rumpelein at September 26, 2009 10:56 am
Mr. Totten's summary of the an-Nahar interview bears almost no resemblance to the actual content. No "harangues" were in evidence, the interviewer's questions were brief and respectful, and he allowed Salem to respond in detail without interruption or challenge. Now, it may be that anti-Israeli attitudes prevail among Egyptians, but this hardly gives Totten license to misrepresent his sources.
Totten's analogy between Egypt/Israel and America/Vietnam is flawed at the outset. Egypt's wars with Israel were fought on Egyptian and immediately adjacent territory, while the Vietnam war was fought thousands of miles from America. Port Said was bombarded repeatedly, while San Fransisco was not, so far as I know, shelled by the NVA. Roughly 750,000 Egyptians became refugees as a result of the Israeli occupation of the Sinai, while no American ever fled his hometown ahead of marauding Viet Cong. It is obvious that the two conflicts are not easily comparable, and that Egyptians have a lot more to be bitter about than Americans do.
As for Totten's assertion of America's post-Vietnam equanimity, the factual record shows a different story. After the fall of Saigon and the re-unification of Vietnam, the US not only refused to trade with the country, but pressured Europe and the ASEAN countries into joining its economic boycott. After the Vietnamese invaded Cambodia, putting an end to the Khmer Rouge genocide, the US greenlighted a Chinese invasion of Vietnam, insisted that Pol Pot retain UN representation as the legitimate government of Cambodia, and armed Khmer Rouge guerrillas to attack Vietnamese troops.
Since 1975, more than 10,000 Laotians have been maimed or killed by unexploded American ordnance. The US has never paid reparations or acknowledged any responsibility, and refused even to provide maps of the bombing missions until 1998.
Domestically, rightwing veterans groups have advanced a bizarre conspiracy theory about "POW/MIAs," picked up by Hollywood and the news media, convincing military widows that their dead husbands were secretly languishing in Communist jail cells. When trade and relations finally were restored, it was conditioned on Vietnam staging an extravagant search for the remains of US soldiers. Even now, US federal buildings are required to fly a black flag once a year, depicting a G.I. languishing in an imaginary Southeast Asian prison camp.
Finally, while Southeast Asia has been peaceful for almost 30 years, vicious struggle continues between Israel and the Palestinians, and Israel has repeatedly attacked Lebanon. For Totten's analogy to make any sense, America would have had to bury the hatchet with Vietnam even as Vietnam repressed a liberation movement in an occupied territory, killing thousands of people sharing America's language and religion, and repeatedly destabilized, bombed, and invaded our fellow Westerners in a second country.
Perhaps Mr. Totten should spend less time psychologizing about the alleged defects of the Arab mind and more time introspecting. He blithely remarks that "While we argue among ourselves about whether it
Posted by: Evan Harper at September 26, 2009 11:20 am
ElMondo has given me the only answer to my question I have ever heard. For some reason, it does not seem a satisfactory one to me. Perhaps our host could elaborate further.
ElMondo's answer is what makes the whole mid-east problem all the more alien to me. I grew up in the Western U.S. and view the U.S. as a society founded by pioneers creating a new world and new life on a new frontier. In this, Frederick Turner's frontier concept resonates with me. It is this frontier mentality that I have that makes ideas such as libertarianism and space colonization so appealing to me even since I was a kid.
Bear with me as I try a mental exercise here. Say someone invents an FTL (warp drive) and it became cheap and easy to go to the stars. I think many people, particularly here in the U.S. would do like me and would leave to create a new life for ourselves on the new worlds. I call this the pioneering mentality.
Using the above definition, it is my impression that the zionist movement is not a pioneering thing at all. It is my impression that even if we had the warp drive and could settle new planets (or build O'neill cylinders instead) that the Israelis would actually choose to stay right where they are and fight it out with thier neighbors than to go someplace new where they could create their own society free and independent from everyone else.
Please correct me if I am way off base about this. However, this is my general impression of the whole deal.
If my assessment is correct, perhaps someone can explain to me, someone who is of the pioneering mentality, who works in technology, and shuttles between the Western U.S. and the East Asian countries such as Japan and China; why I should care about or invest energy in defending what are essentially a non-pioneering people.
I think I deserve an explanation for this.
Posted by: kurt9 at September 26, 2009 11:43 am
Kurt9,
See Silicon Israel by George Gilder in City Journal for a very origingal answer to your question about Israel and pioneering culture.
Posted by: Michael J. Totten at September 26, 2009 12:19 pm
Thanks Michael. Good article. It does appear that the Israelis have awaken to the fact that Hong Kong and Singapore, rather than some silly concept of socialism, is the way for the Israelis to save themselves and integrate themselves into the coming North American/East Asian super-civilization.
I have met several Israeli tech entrepreneurs at trade shows in Japan and China. If these people run the country, then I think Israel has a good future. I also think it worth saving. The article suggests that Netanyahu has got the right ideas.
David Goldman (AKA Spengler) has written several articles at First Times (he's the only good writer there) where he suggests, credibly, that the Palestinian birthrate has been overstated by themselves and by various aid agencies with a vested interest in doing so, and that the demographic threat to Israel has been significantly overstated. I find his arguments quite plausible.
I, personally, don't care about Israel anymore than I do, say, about Singapore or South Korea. I tend to breakdown the world into two different categories. There is what I call the techno-free market schizmatrix, which consists of the East Asian countries, North America (mainly U.S. and Canada) and to a lessor extent Europe. This is the part of the world that I interact with both personally and professionally. Then there is the rest of the world that, to be bluntly honest, I don't give a rat's arse about, because I do not consider it relevant to my future or to the future of anyone I deal with personally.
I have tended to view Israel as being a part of the second catagory. George Gilder's article suggests that they are making serious reform efforts to become a part of the first. I hope he is correct. If so, it will certainly benefit the Israelis and will benefit the rest of the world as well.
Its unfortunate that Israel is located in one of the worst regions of the world rather than, say, in the Asia-Pacific region. Then again, no one in the 1940's expected the rise of Asia Pacific.
Do you think Israeli people would be interested in seasteading?
www.seasteading.org
It seems to me that the people who ought to be most interested in seasteading concepts (other than libertarians and life extension people) would be Israelis and S.E. Asia overseas Chinese.
Posted by: kurt9 at September 26, 2009 2:38 pm
Kurt9,
I think seasteading is interesting if it turns out to be plausible, but I doubt very that a whole country -- or any other group consisting of millions of people -- would find the idea appealing as a whole. It's the kind of thing that appeals to individuals rather than entire nations or cultures. You couldn't convince the whole of America to leave land and live on the sea, and we're among the least rooted people on earth.
Middle Easterners are more tied to land than we are. This is less true of Israelis than it is of Arabs since so many of them are from somewhere else anyway, but it's still true.
Anyway, there is nowhere else for them to go. And I find it interesting that no other nation in the world is expected to pack up and move.
Posted by: Michael J. Totten at September 26, 2009 2:48 pm
Simply put, the APPETITE for peace does not seem to be there as far as I can see from the Arab side. I apologise about my ham-fisted comparisons with Northern Ireland but whilst there are some correlations to be drawn between the Unionists/Republicans and Israeli/Hamas/Syria/Iran/Fatah, the ideological divisions in the Middle East seem to run much deeper. The hatred is stronger, more irrational, the propaganda is more vitriolic, the indoctrination of children is normal, the suicide bombers are treated as saints.
I simply cannot see how there can be peace when the Arab side still talk up victory against Israel, it's not the language of an army defeated but an army on the attack.
Posted by: Andrew at September 26, 2009 4:52 pm
I'm not really angry about it, but I have to file this one into the "thirty seconds" file. Which, is, basically, "if you took thirty seconds to fly this concept past someone else before you went to press with it, it wouldn't be so marked by a tendency to explain perfectly explainable things with not-so-subtle wink and nudge towards bullshit like the "Arab mentality" or the "Arab approach".
First of all, memo to foreign policy writers everywhere - WWII as your all-purpose analogy is like a big sign on your head saying "I didn't take thirty seconds to think about some other goddamn conflict". I never want to see another WWII comparison for the rest of my life.
That's the general reason why that comparison is dumb. The specific reason is this - we stomped Germany and Japan flat. Giving us credit for this is like giving Alexander the Great credit for not holding a grudge against Greece after he turned it into a speed bump.
Why don't you come back with a great example of where we LOST a war, especially to a border neighbor, and came back all high-fives and smiles? Until then, serious, get off the high horse.
More hilarity:
While we argue among ourselves about whether it
Posted by: glasnost at September 26, 2009 5:32 pm
Glasnost, not wanting to detract from your amazing rant but:
Glasnost - "Why don't you come back with a great example of where we LOST a war,"
Totten - "The U.S. lost the war in Vietnam.... I have never visited Vietnam, but everyone I know who has says even Vietnamese who supported the Communist side seem to hold no grudges against Americans."
Also, are you forgetting those six days in 1967??
Posted by: Andrew at September 26, 2009 5:49 pm
It's also probably influenced by the Egyptian State's bribes and pressures, I should probably also add.
Posted by: glasnost at September 26, 2009 5:51 pm
I understand the desire for them to have their own country following the holocaust and everything else that happened to them in Europe. However, it's my understanding that they did have other options.
Yes, they had the option to die. The Zionist project actually began in the 1880s with the last of the Tzar's pogroms, which also sent a flood of Jewish immigrants to the US and stirred up anti-Semitism which had not previously existed in the US. There were Jews living in Jerusalem for thousands of years. I recommend Paul Johnson's A History of the Jews for those who are of good will.
Are you Mr Harper ?
Posted by: Mike K at September 26, 2009 6:20 pm
The theme Michael explored with the Assads gets to the heart of it, I think: Who benefits? The rest strikes me as rationalizations for not examining Power, its various manifestations and its consequences.
Posted by: Paul S. at September 26, 2009 6:54 pm
No, I'm not Mr. Harper. Who is Mr. Harper?
Posted by: kurt9 at September 26, 2009 7:50 pm
Glasnost, Jew hatred is a major challenge even inside the US. I have heard more than a few anti Jewish slurs. It is a huge problem in Europe, especially Spain.
Probably the Arab world isn't as bad as Spain, but Jew hatred is a problem there too. I completely praise those who are willing the sacrifice to help Palestinians. But many Sunni Arabs have a strange system; they hate Palestinians but hate Israelis even more. This is a massive problem whose solution is beyond my pay grade. It isn't forgiveness that is the largest issue. More important is Sunni Arab / Jewish reconciliation.
There are countries that generally welcome Jews. Much of America is that way. India is that way. At any given point in time many tens of thousands (sometimes over 100,000) Israelis are in India. Indians generally like Israelis and Jews. But few Indians know much about or are even interested in the Israeli Palestinian conflict. I am sure that there are other countries too that would love to have highly educated and motivated Jewish immigrants.
Would it be fair to say that the Palestinians are the least anti Israeli people in the Arab world? That the Palestinians understand the Israelis the best, especially the 1.5 million Palestinian Israelis?
My sense is that if Israel treated its Palestinians citizens better, they would serve as a bridge between Israelis and Palestinians, and eventually between Israelis and Sunni Arabs. What can Israelis do to treat its Palestinian citizens better?
Posted by: anand at September 27, 2009 12:13 am
"The obvious question that occurs to me is exactly why did the Jewish people choose to build their country in the region of the world filled with such intractably hateful people? This is the question that I have never had a satisfactory answer to."
The Zionists needed a territory with little population that was available to buy.
Apart from that and the obvious religious significance of the ancient land of Israel, the location was also right in the middle of the middle east, where many Jews lived as minorities under first Turkish and then Arab rule.
If you have a look at what other non-Arab groups suffered, you will likely understand why middle-eastern Jews needed a country of their own.
"It seems to me that the people who ought to be most interested in seasteading concepts (other than libertarians and life extension people) would be Israelis and S.E. Asia overseas Chinese."
That wouldn't help. Unless that island is really far away from the rest of the world, the terrorists and the "peace activists" would still get them.
"My sense is that if Israel treated its Palestinians citizens better, they would serve as a bridge between Israelis and Palestinians, and eventually between Israelis and Sunni Arabs. What can Israelis do to treat its Palestinian citizens better?"
They cannot serve as a bridge because the other Arabs think of them as traitors if they do. Note that more than half of Israeli Arabs do support the state and vote for Zionist parties. Israel already treats its "Palestinian" citizens better than any other middle-eastern country treats its Arab citizens. But that doesn't help.
Perhaps the Nazis wouldn't have invaded Poland if Poland had treated its German citizens better. Or perhaps it didn't matter.
Posted by: Leauki at September 27, 2009 9:01 am
"Would it be fair to say that the Palestinians are the least anti Israeli people in the Arab world?"
If you exclude non-Arab peoples in the middle east, I think the most pro-Jewish/pro-Israeli are the Moroccan state, Lebanese Christians, and Sinai Bedouins.
Generally Israel and Jews are very popular among non-Arab peoples and less popular among the Arabs. But the same is true for all non-Arab peoples in the region. They generally like each other and share the Arab enemy.
Posted by: Leauki at September 27, 2009 9:04 am
to Kurt9
Your original post reminds me of the tourists who sees a magnificent palace next to the highway, then asks his cab driver why they built the palace so close to the road.
Since you likely have access to the internet or a library, I suggest you educate yourself somewhat about Jewish history particularly how it relates to Israel and to anti-semitism.
Oh and by the way the concept of returning to Zion ie founding a modern Jewish state did not begin in 1948.
Others have made recommendations to you which I suggest you consider.
Posted by: JB at September 27, 2009 11:09 am
Gee Glastnost,
But you do go on!
Yes the allies did defeat Germany and Japan but they also spend precious wealth and manpower rehabilitating those two countries into viable democracies instead of tyrannical militaristic dictatorships.
That such a thing could ever happen in a country bordering Israel is quite remote. The majority of people DO loathe Israelis as is only too obvious from their media (Arabic), their educational systems and many of their politicos.
Despite the fact that Israel has offered on many occasions to help these relatively backward countries in improving many aspects of their lives, these offers have generally been rejected. Perhaps they just enjoy living in a tyrannical militaristic theocratic dictatorship.
Its not just writers who have been shunned and ostracised by their fellow professionals for contacts with individuals or groups of "the Zionist state", but media people, doctors lawyers, architects economists. After all why try to be friendly and build bridges when you can wallow in hatred, denial and self-pity.
Furthermore you (as well as one other ahistorical individual) make it sound as if the Israelis somehow out of the blue just decided to gratuitously bomb Arab cities.
Lastly, your comparison to gang violence is totally inappropriate! Again you make it sound as if Israel's action are completely de novo and inappropriate. Let me remind you that those "bros" you mention have inflicted more carnage against each other, especially civilians, than against Israel.
Posted by: JB at September 27, 2009 11:40 am
Lastly, your comparison to gang violence is totally inappropriate! Again you make it sound as if Israel's action are completely de novo and inappropriate.
JB,
I'm not discussing this from a morally external standpoint, and I'm focusing on my point, not the ins and outs of every Israeli air raid in the past three decades. They mostly seemed moral and just to Israelis and immoral and dangerous to Arabs, that you can count on, and thus is my point.
Whether you think it's appropriate or not has no impact on what happens or how it is perceived by the people involved. All violence between identity groups has certain similarities to gang violence in the minds of those who wage it. This is part of the wiring of the human species.
As I said, it's a very common - even overhwelmingly typical - for the losers in war to hold a grudge against the winners. That's why states that get in a first war against each other tend to get in the same war again down the road.
India and Pakistan, France and Germany, France and Britain, the US and Britain, white people and black people in the US of A, Japan and virtually all its neighbors, Russia and Poland, Russia and Turkey, Serbia and the Austro-Hungarian empire the US and Iraq, whom we invaded twice in fifteen years without ever being invaded..etc, etc, etc, etc, etc.
There's nothing "arab" about a weaker power, and/*or* a weaker identity group spread over several states, losing a war, having an armstice, but still being up to its neck in prejuidice and even hatred for those who beat them, and that goes double when that other winning state continues to fuck up their ideological and ethnic compatriots. Doesn't really matter who starts it, who was in the right and wrong, or who really really wants everyone to sit down and eat pie together. Intentions, in such cases, don't count for much. Israel continues to get in fights with Arabs, and Arabs continue not to like Israel much. These things are correlated and you can cross out both names and put in most other names and see the same effect.
Posted by: glasnost at September 27, 2009 12:44 pm
Glastnost,
I respectfully disagree.
Generalisations are fraught with danger.
Countries such as France and Germany are no longer at war and are unlikely to be so for the foreseeable future. Their interests are now quite intertwined.
Wars were caused by leaders feeling aggrieved and convincing others that they should be so as well, and that war was the only option.
If any country had the right to be aggrieved it was the Chinese against the Japanese. But I don't see any sign of a coming invasion.
Peoples have a way of finding a modus vivendi if there are shared common interests. But I'm afraid this is unlikely to happen with respect to Israel no matter how hard the Israeli try to point it out.
And the reason is quite simply that in these Arab (Muslim)countries the single dominating factor is religion.
Technology has not made the Arabs more secular. They have instead found ways to use technology in the furtherance of their religious aims, genocidal or otherwise. Nothing trumps religion!
Gang violence is not motivated by religion and gangs have actually found ways to coexist as long as they respect each others territories.
When the Arabs surrounding Israel respect neither their territory nor even their existence, it does matter who is right or wrong.
The Israelis would not be fighting with the Arabs if the Arabs left them alone. But then they might have to admit all the short-comings in their own societies.
The very existence of Israel holds a mirror up to the Arabs, one they do not wish to confront.
No wonder they want to destroy it.
Your continued phrasing of the conflict as one in which Israel cannot help itself but to fuck up Arab ideology is incorrect. The Israeli wouldn't give a flying fuck about the arab ideology except for the fact that in one aspect in seeks to destroy them utterly.
And Israel is only the first step. The same radical ideology is quite protean, believing like others before it that it is the ultimate truth and that everyone should succumb to it one way or another. Hardly gang violence!
Posted by: JB at September 27, 2009 2:31 pm
I'd guess that, at this point in time, Arabs and Muslims prefer war because we have led them to believe that they have a good chance of winning.
When the Saudi oil embargo brought us to our knees, when the UN cheered Arafat during his olive branch/gun speech, when we make deals with Islamist/terrorist states and let their leaders ramble on and on, when we toady to and set no boundaries on these militarily weak leaders, when we cower in front of roaring mice, why shouldn't they make that assumption?
They believe that this is their moment, and it's no surprise that they want to silence anyone who might ruin it.
Posted by: maryatexitzero at September 27, 2009 3:32 pm
Anti-Jewish racism is still very acceptable among all classes of Muslim Arabs, including the educated classes. Unfortunately I hear it from my own friends sometimes. But I am optimistic that societies can change quickly. It wasn't long ago that anti-Semitism and racial segregation were part of European and American society. The Middle East is just behind.
Posted by: jachapin at September 27, 2009 10:05 pm
"I'm not discussing this from a morally external standpoint, and I'm focusing on my point, not the ins and outs of every Israeli air raid in the past three decades. They mostly seemed moral and just to Israelis and immoral and dangerous to Arabs, that you can count on, and thus is my point."
Of course glasnost is not discussing this from a moral standpoint, he is far too evolved beyond the rest of us for that. It is just that he talks only about Israeli "air raids" and "bombings", and not about decades of Arab military actions, terrorism and annihilationist rhetoric that predate Israel's founding, or about Israel's fundamental strategic position that it is a tiny sliver of land with few natural resources surrounded by enemies who outnumber it 40 or 50 to 1.
That is why I once suggested that it is possible that glasnost does not believe that Israel should exist or at least does not care about it. He screamed red bloody murder, but based on his postings in this thread, and every other posting he has made on Michael's blog, I still wonder.
Posted by: Gary Rosen at September 27, 2009 11:11 pm
What can Israelis do to treat its Palestinian citizens better?
What can the Palestinians do to treat the Israelis better? Stop attacks like they promised might be a good start.
Posted by: M. Simon at September 28, 2009 6:58 am
The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the blog post From the Front: 09/28/2009 News and Personal dispatches from the front and the home front.
Posted by: David M at September 28, 2009 7:41 am
Your original post reminds me of the tourists who sees a magnificent palace next to the highway, then asks his cab driver why they built the palace so close to the road.
Since you likely have access to the internet or a library, I suggest you educate yourself somewhat about Jewish history particularly how it relates to Israel and to anti-semitism.
Oh and by the way the concept of returning to Zion ie founding a modern Jewish state did not begin in 1948.
Others have made recommendations to you which I suggest you consider.

I'm not going to bother. I got some of the answers here in this blog. George Gilder's article is quite good. In fact, I spend way too much time on the internet with this stuff anyways (I use the internet to browse while I make sales calls from my home).
I have come to view the world as two separate areas. Stuff like life extension, transhumanism, space development, and the rise of the East Asian technology economies are what I call the positive sum world. Everything else I consider to be zero-sum. I need to stop obsessing over the zero-sumers.
My interest in technology is to enable the positive sum world to disassociate itself from the zero-sum world so that we do not have to put up with its inanities.
Posted by: kurt9 at September 28, 2009 9:19 am
The faultlines in the middle-east are intractable. Persians and Arabs dislike each other, Sunnis and Shiites dislike each other, different tribes dislike each other, Muslims dislike the religious minorities, Arabs and Kurds dislike each other, Arabs and Israelis
Posted by: Boojum at September 28, 2009 10:00 am
Kurt9,
Israeli/Zionist socialism was necessary for the first pioneers. The country had to be build and defended before it could be the basis for a capitalist society. And the left-wing Zionists did that extremely well.
Seasteading wouldn't work. In the late 19th century the Zionists did what was the closest equivalent at the time: they chose a territory with few inhabitants that nobody cared about and started buying it to make it their new (and old) country and to escape anti-Semitism. But anti-Semitism followed them there. Anti-Semitism would also follow the Jews to an artificial island somewhere in the Pacific Ocean.
You might say that you don't see why it would, but then it was just as inconceivable that the Arabs would react as they did when they suddenly found themselves neighbours to Jews after the Ottoman Empire was split up. Contrary to popular myth a Jew in Tel Aviv is not more annoying than a Jew anywhere else in the world and that is why anti-Jewish attacks are so common everywhere in the world (except the US and the British Empire regions, perhaps).
Posted by: Leauki at September 29, 2009 1:56 am
Anti-Semitism would also follow the Jews to an artificial island somewhere in the Pacific Ocean.
I see no reason to believe this.
I've not been around Jewish people much. But I regularly deal with the Asian equivalents, the overseas Chinese. The overseas Chinese get flak in Indonesia and Malaysia. But they seem to get on well enough in Thailand, and to a lesser extent, the Philippines.
If the overseas Chinese created artificial islands for themselves in the Pacific, the rest of the world would yawn. There is no reason to believe it would be any different for Jewish people.
Posted by: kurt9 at September 29, 2009 4:04 pm
Leauki,
Re: Anti-Semitism:
Michael's piece from last year, "How Kosovo Created its Own Liberal Islam," is worth a reread. One quote: "Both Albania and Kosovo have excellent relations with Israel, and Israelis are more than welcome to travel and even live among Albanians."
Posted by: Paul S. at September 29, 2009 11:51 pm
..."Persians and Arabs dislike each other, Sunnis and Shiites dislike each other, different tribes dislike each other, Muslims dislike the religious minorities, Arabs and Kurds dislike each other, Arabs and Israelis
Posted by: Morningside at September 30, 2009 9:20 am
Oversight, especially far from donor sources, is such a challenge. I share anyone's cynicism about the large scale giveaways. How often are we just temporarily taking pressure off of thugs who produce the misery in the first place? If I'm still living in the dirt, under the thumb of those thugs, where's the light at the end of my squalor and dependency tunnel? And what incentives have we then given the perpetrators? I wonder how many young people at the aid concerts think this through.
Little victories keep occuring though. I've read for many months now about how troops in Iraq, seeing neighborhood needs, stay focused until results are both tangible and, while they're around at least, accountable; parks, refurbished schools, water filtration, whatever they and locals see as priorities. MNF-I had another story today about ten months of community involvement and determined effort by troops culminating in deaf girls at a previously neglected school receiving donated hearing aids and other technology.
Small sprouts in a vast, otherwise fallow field, I realize, but they hearten this terminal cynic.
Posted by: Paul S. at September 30, 2009 3:49 pm
The U.S. lost the war in Vietnam in the 1970s, as Egypt lost its last war with Israel in the 1970s, but no one among us wants to fight it all over again or wishes that we were still slugging it out.
What date was that when we lost, Michael? Before, or after the Paris Peace Accords of 1973? (Where Kissinger and a N. Viet negotiator won Nobel Peace Prizes, but the N. Viet commie knew it was just a feint.)
We 'won' that war ... but decided to stop fighting to enforce it and accepted losing the peace -- when the lying, murderous commies violated their signed agreement and attacked our allies, the S. Viet client democracy. Corrupt, incompetent, cowardly -- but human rights respecting and becoming more democratic.
No, the US wasn't fighting then 'for democracy' (Ho Chi Minh would have won in 1956; popular like Arafat). It was fighting against communism -- the totalitarian system of gulags and boat people and, next door, Killing Fields.
For me, at least, wanting to win in Iraq is certainly partly related to wanting another chance to win in Vietnam -- which I know isn't possible.
The problem of post WW II American & EU aid is that it supports Governments of poor countries, rather than peaceful business people in poor countries. The gov't sector is always based on force, while the too-often hated private sector is based on peaceful agreements and win-win deals. (This is why so many rich want to bribe gov't to use force so as to get richer in a win-lose deal that the gov't forces to be made.)
In 2003 I wrote on my old blog about Bush hate, Jew Hate, Success hate.
http://tomgrey.motime.com/post/173964#comment
The Left has chosen hate. Bush hate, Jew hate, money grubbing hate. A victory of envy.
Obama's victory is, perhaps, the victory of envy in America, and the end to American exceptionalism -- where destructive envy doesn't rule.
The poverty of the Arabs is the poverty of powerless envy. The desire to destroy and bring down the Jews, rather than any desire to advance the Arab / Muslim civilization.
Swiss style Cantonization would reduce the problems, by creating more autonomous smaller regions, who would then inevitably compete against each other. Current Gaza vs. West Bank competition between the Palestinians is already, slowly, making more Palestinians think about differences.
Israel will probably have to occupy MORE territory for a while, and then give it back, so that the Palestinian leaders 'win' that territory back.
Posted by: Tom Grey - Liberty Dad at October 1, 2009 6:32 pm
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Winner, The 2008 Weblog Awards, Best Middle East or Africa Blog

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