Sunday, May 31, 2009

As an ally of Israel, Obamaland sucks

There are many issues where Barack Obama has already demonstrated that his left-wing supporters have been detached from reality. For example, Gitmo can't be abolished as "humanly" as some people would love to believe (and as he may have been promising). However, the U.S. attitude to the Middle East questions has significantly deteriorated since Obama's oath.

Hillary and Obama have demanded that all Israeli citizens stop any expansion of their settlements in Judea and Samaria, including the legal ones. At the same moment, it seems that the current U.S. administration is simply satisfied with the expansion of the Arab settlements at the disputed territory. In this sense, Obamaland is not only failing in being an ally of Israel: it is becoming a moderate enemy.

Many people who are more familiar with the situation, e.g. Prof Paul Eidelberg, have given lots of explanations why the policy to support a new Palestinian state is based on a wrong evaluation of the history, the present, and especially the future. I would be repeating his (or others') arguments - which is what I am going to do, after all.
1. A separate Palestinian nation is an ad hoc theoretical construct meant to give a part of the mundane Sunni Arab majority of the Middle East some special rights. Physically and historically, there is nothing that should be called a "Palestinian nation".
2. This ethnic group doesn't really want a new separate state.
3. They're not ready and civilized for it.
4. Such a new state would simplify and amplify hateful, anti-Jewish indoctrination of children. Even now, the kids are taught to be jihadists. They have used kids as human bombs.

5. They have repeatedly elected thugs to lead them. Fatah and Hamas are likely to enter a civil war: for example, they were shooting at each other today. It's likely that Hamas will win which would result in obvious serious problems - but even if Hamas is defeated, its spirit will re-emerge in many forms.
6. In general, Islam has gradually transformed into a bloody religion.
Moreover, there's not enough space between the sea and the Jordan river for two very different states. The new country would be constantly provoked and abused by Iran to increase the violence in the region.
I wonder why would a good democratic person ever want to transform the legally sound supervision of the civilized state of Israel into the mess described above. Many of the new settlements and their expansion is completely legal. If the settlers are banned to do things that are currently legal, what happens with the rule of law? You know, many other people would be so fed up with all the problems linked to the settlements that they would give up. Some of them would even leave Israel, if they could. But the key point is that the settlers who are actually building things over there are not giving up and according to the law, they have the right to continue.

The Israeli minister of science and technology has identified Obama as a Pharaoh who had demanded all firstborn sons to be thrown to the Nile river. And other Israeli politicians have already promised that they won't bow to the U.S. requests.

This may look like a risky decision but Israel is slowly realizing the sad fact that it can't rely on the U.S. as an ally. Today, Barack and Hillary wants the settlements to stop. Tomorrow, they may demand all the Jews to leave Judea and Samaria. Next year, the rest of Israel may follow.

On the other hand, Israel is a pretty sophisticated country with a relatively powerful military and weapons. Iran may be threatening Israel by new bombs in a couple of years. It is natural for Israel to protect itself and to bomb the facilities in Iran. Israel is learning that the U.S. won't do this job under Barack Obama, so it must obviously speed up its own plan to do it.

In the Western media, these plans are being demonized. The people who demonize them are either demagogues or they are unfamiliar with basic history. There's nothing unprecedented about such attacks.

In 1981, Israel realized that what Saddam could have been building in a nuclear plant near Baghdad could have been nuclear weapons threating Israel's very existence. So they simply bombed the nuclear plant and it didn't matter that that it was built by the French. Screw you, France: you have had no business to build nuclear facilities in a screwed-up country close to Israel.

Of course, that decision could have looked also risky. It was painted as an immoral, dangerous act by many people. But it has arguably helped both Israel and the security in the region. After some time, people got used to it. They stopped talking about it. A few additional years later, most people forgot about the bombing.

If these new plans of Israel have to be realized in Iran, their interpretation is likely to follow a similar logic. The moral justification for Israel to act in this way exists - at least partially - and I want to believe that it is strong enough for all sensible countries to at least avoid any direct intervention against Israel. That should be enough for Israel to stop the recent humiliation, show its muscles, to restore its deserved status in the region, and most importantly, to reduce the number of threats in the future.

General Motors

In other news, GM is going to file for bankruptcy on Monday. The assets will be restructured and their 70% will be owned by "the taxpayers" which is a capitalistically marketed term for its being a mostly communist corporation.

You know, Germans are a pretty skillful nation and this is one of the key economic achievement of East Germany of the 1950s:

Trabant, nicknamed bakelite, was the most famous car produced by the "taxpayers". It was actually not made out of bakelite. Bakelite was just the first plastic substance, developed exactly 100 years ago (1909) by Belgian Dr Leo Baekeland. Laymen were using the term for all plastic materials, due to their low resolution in chemistry.

With its paper-thin construction and a smoky two-stroke engine that could consume any organic liquid, it was the future car of choice for many boys in the Soviet bloc, including your humble correspondent. ;-)

A problem with the car was that it was produced until May 1990. The production stopped several months after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Privatization and supervision by the Western, privately owned "competitors" has increased the quality of the post-socialist countries' cars immensely and the new Škoda Superb that became the car of the year 2008 in eight European countries is probably the best symbol of the change.

There are apparently still many people who think that the government can manage carmakers more efficiently than the capitalists. Will there be Buicks, Cadillacs, Chevrolets, and GMCs - these old brands that didn't make it outside America but that remained symbols of the American Dream - in the future? How will they look like?

Good luck, General Motors (or Obama Motors Co). And good luck to Chrysler that was sold to Fiat, too.

1 comment:

1. Hi Lubos

I think you should read "The Iron Wall", written by Vladimir Jabotinsky (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ze'ev_Jabotinsky) in 1923. It's not long, and you can find it here:

http://www.marxists.de/middleast/ironwall/ironwall.htm

Jabotinsky is not some obscure historical figure. He is the spiritual father of revisionist Zionism - the Zionism of Irgun, Likud and Herut. Menachem Begin, Yitzak Shamir and Ariel Sharon were all directly inspired by Jabotinsky.

One thing that's absolutely inescapable. In 1923 Jabotinsky explicitly acknowledges that the Palestinians are effectively a nation. At the time Palestinian Arabs constitute over 90% of the population of Mandate Palestine, but it's already clear that the realization of Zionism necessarily means turning them from a majority into a minority in their own country; "they understand as well as we what is not good for them", he says. Quite. Jabotinsky finds it absolutely unremarkable that the Palestinians should seek to resist Zionist colonization. As he says in the closing paragraph, "they are not a rabble but a nation, perhaps somewhat tattered, but still living".