Friday, August 8, 2014

Why Not Just Walk Away?

This is my (now proofread) response to an article (which I can no longer locate) suggesting that all our efforts to make things better in the Middle East simply makes things worse. The author feels that we would actually be doing the people in the Middle East a favor by simply walking away, not to mention the benefits to ourselves. He makes a good case and it is an interesting contribution to the discussion:

Interesting idea, but American domestic politics make abandoning peace efforts in the Middle East impossible. Large segments of the American electorate are intellectually and religiously tied to Israel in a way that is not always understandable of those of us who do not share their obsession. If you do not accept the Bible as infallible, literal, and inerrant; then you can consider such a policy. But if you accept the Bible as those things, then it is clear that Israel is the center of the world. Even while proclaiming that we are a Christian nation and one nation under God and even a blessed nation superior to all others; these voters believe that, biblically, Israel is the only nation that really matters.

I also cannot help but be reminded of the situation in Northern Ireland. Any attempts anyone made to intervene made things  worse, for three centuries of occupation. In fact the US was often accused, with some real justification, of providing essential financial support to the terrorists. It was regarded as an impossible place, as unsolvable a problem as is the Middle East.

I don't think we can simply walk away. We have involved ourselves too deeply. To walk away now would say to the world that when the United States makes agreements we don't really mean them. It would prove that we will maintain our  commitments only so long is convenient for us to give a damn about you. This is a  message we cannot afford to send.  If we cease to be the leader of the world, Russia or China will be happy to take over.

Obviously, much of what we've done in the Middle East has made problems much worse. That's because we've done things which are self-destructive and even stupid. Rather than end all involvement in the Middle East, I suggest we take a more Northern Ireland approach. Peace did not come until both sides were told that they must both make sacrifices and new commitments. The worst thing about the Middle East now is that we always see only one side.  

Americans who support the Palestinians ignore the bitter, even genocidal, hatred of groups like Hamas. Americans who support the Israelis somehow cannot understand the horrors of so many dead Palestinians.  

A more just and fair positioning of American power, with attention paid to both sides as victims and victimizers could make a difference. In any event, it's too late to get out now.

1 comment:

  1. Found it!