How can this be justified?

Paul Prescod paul@ActiveState.com
Wed, 03 Oct 2001 01:07:56 -0700


Jeff Bone wrote:
> 
>...
> 
> Nor did I say we have such ability.  We do have (civilized) tools at our disposal, for
> instance complete economic and social isolation.

On principle alone. Regardless of the practical consequences.

>...
> 
> "Culture" is even more abstract and vague than "ethnicity" or "religion."

Life is full of vague abstractions. Especially when you are discussing
sociology and geopolitics. I'm sorry to force you to discuss things you
are uncomfortable with.

> > We could argue that the two people should be able to share the same land
> > and create a merged, democractic, color/culture-blind
> > Israeli/Palestinian state. Only that's not what anyone wants. So why
> > offer it to them?
> 
> Guess what?  The purpose of "law" in the large --- systems of government, etc. --- isn't
> to give everyone what they want. 

The purpose of international law is basically to prevent wars. Justice
and consistency are distant second places. Giving people what they want
-- to the degree that is possible -- helps to prevent wars.

> ... This is a complete myth propagated by demagogues in
> promotion of *all* systems of gov't:  communism, fascism, democracy.  The purpose of any
> legal and governmental framework is or should be to encourage coexistance while
> maximizing personal choice. Those are, IMO, the universally-shared desired results.

That's your belief. Practitioners of sharia would obviously disagree.
Insofar as we have to share a planet with them, we'll have to learn to
compromise and they hopefully will also.

>...
> > We could claim that the original idea was bad and thus merely "dissolve"
> > the state of Israel through a choice not to recognize it as a state. We
> > could stand back and watch the war that ensues after we give up any
> > leverage on them, knowing that we did the Right Thing from a principled
> > point of view.
> 
> Perhaps this is the pragmatic solution --- i.e., if it can be determined that there will
> *never* be peace in the Middle East (and possibly the world) until one or the other side
> has completely dominated the region, 

How could you ever determine such a thing?

> ... then perhaps we should let regional geopolitics run
> its course rather than continuing to artificially support either side.

I think you are attracted to this solution because it is simple. That's
a little scary.

>...
> Feh.  We need to figure out where "here" and "there" are before we act.  

"Here" is an oppressor and an underclass that wants them destroyed in
one and a half states. 

"There" is two equal states with hopefully cordial relations. This
solution is complicated in a lot of ways (that's why they've been
negotiating it for years) but it is also the one that most acknowledges
human nature and the state of the world.

> .... And given how
> abysmally we've failed in our policies in this regard all along --- always supporting
> bad guys against temporarily even-badder guys until they're gone, at which point the bad
> guys we supported turn around and bite the hand that feeds them --- I think the
> discussion has a ways to go, yet.

That strategy won the cold war. A "simpler" solution probably would not
have.

Perhaps I am a sentimentalist because I recognize that there are no easy
solutions to the Middle East and I don't think that it would be
productive to impose a solution that seems simple to us, like merely
"outlawing" culture-specific states.

 Paul Prescod