Friday, February 4, 2011

Whose interest should we be protecting?

One of my friends in Facebook has a discussion thread that has turned into an emotional conflict relating to U.S. policy toward Israel in the face of the uprising (current and anticipated) in the Middle East.

I have argued for neutrality: both sides have suffered much, and both have much to answer for. While the Palestinian terrorism issue is well known in this country; it is less well known that Jewish terrorism, through the Irgun and the Lehi (Stern Gang) enabled the creation of the State of Israel through forced evacuations of Palestinians on May 15, 1948, a date the Palestinians call Al-Naqba (The Catastrophe). More recently, Israel has attempted to follow the old apartheid South African policy of splitting the West Bank into "Bantustans," making it difficult for Palestinians to travel from one area to the next. In so doing, they are making it impossible for the Palestinians to develop their economy.

I mention this not because I am biased in favor of Palestine, but because the Palestinian side of the story is generally suppressed in the United States. I am neither anti-Semitic, nor am I particularly anti-Zionist; but we cannot have peace without justice, and that justice must be applied to both sides of the conflict.

All of this is preface to my main question, which is this: At a time when the United States is financially bankrupt and militarily exhausted from two lengthy wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, whose interest should we be pursuing in the Middle East, ours or Israel's?

I suggest that an American military intervention on behalf of Israel is not in our national interest. I understand that Israel has been a good friend and trading partner to the United States; but Israel is a nuclear power, and has proven in five wars over 63 years that it can defend itself. Those who worry about Middle East oil might consider that such an intervention is a sure way to alienate the Arabs who own it for generations to come. After all, they can always sell it to China and India instead of to us.

More importantly, we have to start taking care of ourselves. If Americans want to keep the Union together (not necessarily a desirable goal, but just sayin'), we will have to start asking ourselves what foreign policy will really protect the lives, liberties, and property of our own people. Not the multinational corporations or Wall Street banks, but of the American people, whose consent is required to govern.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Modern America takes sides in every issue in which there is a buck to be made or lost. Principle be damned in the process, especially if there is an economic interest at stake.

Neutrality is not an option for America; she sees an advantage in one side over another in every dispute. She coerces, agitates, saber rattles and makes war if it comes to that. The more she does these things, the more critical it becomes to continue to do them. By her actions, America always makes an enemy in her foreign policy exploits; and rarely does she make a friend.

The Chinese, on the other hand, make DEALS in their national self-interest. This is infinitely cheaper than making war. If they need more oil, they cut a deal for a pipeline and buy it. Not a single life is lost, not a shot is fired, no enemy is made.

Is it any wonder then that our government is at least distrusted, often disliked, and even more often despised throughout the world, even to some extent by our so-called "friends"?