US war, libertarianism, FoRK, and voices in opposition

Russell Turpin
Mon, 29 Apr 2002 13:22:06 +0000

John Hall:
>I'm a libertarian within my country.  I turn into Machiavelli once I hit 
>the waters edge.  Libertarianism is mostly anarchy with a constable.  In 
>international relations, however, there is no constable.  Hence, I have a 
>Machiavellian response to a Hobbesian universe.

I agree, some, on your philosophy. But if you're
going to be Machiavellian, can you then explain what
US interests are served by blind support for Israel?
Because frankly, as far as I can tell, Israel is a
millstone around our neck.

Let me be clear that I have little sympathy for any
of the states in the Middle East. I did not post
Bill's article to suggest that the Palestinians are
good, but because it points out so vividly that
Israel is NOT this nice secular, democracy along
western lines. Israel's reason for being is to be
a Jewish state. Arguing that the wrongs Jews
committed were in response to earlier crimes, like
rape, overlooks two things. (a) Rape is punished by
going after the INDIVIDUALS who do it. When entire
communities are attacked, its because there is an
underlying reason for distinguishing that community.
In the US, when a black neighborhood was destroyed
in retaliation for a rape, we no longer pretend
that this wasn't an act of mass racism. (b) The
legal infrastructure to confiscate the land involved,
and then keep it only in the hands of Jews, makes
clear the purpose of the violence. This WAS ethnic
-- or rather, religious -- cleansing. (c) I have no
doubt that the Palestinians early on did just as much
to the immigrant Jews. Zionism guaranteed there would
be clashes along religious lines by setting as its
goal the creation of a religious state in an area
where that religion was a small minority.

The Jews wanted a Jewish state. The Muslims wanted
an Islamic state. The question I have is: Why does
the US -- or the west -- have a dog in this fight?
We don't believe in states that have an official
race or religion. And if our interest is not to
forward secular, western values, then what interest
does it serve us to support Israel? As far as I can
tell, putting on my Machiavellian hat, this alliance
only hurts us. It limits our ability to make foreign
policy. For example, the US, instead of backing
away from the Dursban conference, should have
attended, and declared that an official state
religion is every bit as bad as an official state
race. This would have given all the Muslim nations
in attendance something good to chew on. But the
US can't say that, officially. Why? Because Israel
is our supposed ally. When we deal with any of the
other Mideast nations, our alliance with Israel is
always a consideration, a constraint, and sometimes
a stumbling block. What's the Machiavellian sense
of this?

As the world's only superpower, we can't even be
an effective broker to the Israeli-Palestinian
conflict, because we have already chosen sides.
The world knows it, and no one believes we can be
a neutral arbiter. We cannot push conditions that
are important to long-term change. Do you believe
the Palestinians will stop killing Israelis while
their schools continue to teach Islamic Jihad? I
don't. The west should push, as part of any peace
arrangement, that the new Palestinian state
creates a Constitution that respects religious
equality, and creates a secular public school
system that doesn't teach any religion. I would
support US subsidization of these schools. But to
push this on Palestine as a condition of peace, we
would also have to push some analogous requirement
on Israel. And we can't even consider that, because
they are our ally, and we won't push them.

So again, the Machiavellian question: What does
this alliance buy us? What US interests does it

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