Pat Buchanan says an ancient religion that has successfully resisted Westernization of its lands has believers who are probably going to use democracy in ways we will not like.
If a democratic referendum were conducted today from Morocco to Malaysia —and monitored by the National Endowment for Democracy—on the proposition: “Resolved: Israel should be erased from the map of the Middle East and Israeli Jews sent back where they came from,” how do you suppose it would come out? Those who would extend the franchise to the masses should perhaps discern first what it is the masses want.
While I do not agree with Buchanan on whether it is necessary to pursue the strategy of preemption the creation of benign secular democracies in the Middle East is a highly problematic undertaking. The neoconservatives setting policy or serving as the cheerleading squad for the current policy makers who believe otherwise are setting us up for very serious problems down the road.
Update: Coming from a different perspective than Pat Buchanan, Godless Capitalist has popped up again on Gene Expression arguing that since the Palestinians and the Arabs are not going to accept the existence of the state of Israel it makes sense for Israel to just expel the Palestinians from the West Bank.
The fact is that Israel will expel the Palestinians, or it will die, and the region will sink into the same depths of barbarity and backwardness that characterizes the rest of that region of the world. If that dark day ever comes...Israel will take its murderers with it.
Certainly the unmentioned "elephant in the room" of most discussions of the Arab-Israeli conflict is that the vast bulk of the Arabs simply do not recognize that Israel has a right to exist. They hate it and not just for the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. A few Arab states have limited forms of diplomatic relations with Israel. But their recognition is grudging and the attitudes of their press and populaces speak more about their views than their official diplomat postures (which anyway can be abandoned the moment it becomes advantageous to do so).
I think Israel has to physically separate itself from the Palestinians. It has to stop using Palestinian labor in Israel and build a wall to totally separate themselves from the Palestinians. The difference between myself and Godless is that I think the wall ought to be built closer to Israel proper. Israel ought to abandon the remote settlements on the West Bank, let the Palestinians have the bulk of the West Bank and build a wall that makes the border between Israel and the West Bank that is straighter and hence easier to monitor and defend.
Israeli Jews who want to keep the West Bank as part of their God-given land are opposed to such a solution. Plus, business interests in Israel want to be able to continue to use cheaper Palestinian labor. Also, some think that the West Bank under total Palestinian control will be used as a base from which to build up a military force to attack Israel. But Israel could attack immediately and retake the West Bank fairly quickly if tanks or other more substantial military equipment started showing up in the West Bank. The security argument only holds weight with regard to terrorist attacks. But by not having a wall Israel is currently leaving itself open to many more attacks and it is allowing vulnerable settlers to build settlements deep inside the West Bank.
Regardless of where the line is drawn between the Palestinians and the Israelis the line really does have to be drawn. The Arabs as a whole and Muslims beyond the Arab lands are going to continue to be at best indifferent toward Israeli deaths and in many cases gleeful about them. At the same time any Palestinian death at the hands of the Israelis and any rule of the Palestinians by the Israels will be seen by the Arabs and most Muslims as enormous injustice. Muslims hold to a double standard in judging what non-Muslims do to Muslims versus what Muslims do to non-Muslims. This basic fact argues against trying to have Muslims and non-Muslims co-exist in the same society where the disagreements about fundamental issues are so strong. There is just little chance of coming to a reasonable compromise given the double standard about non-believers that is built into the base text of Islam.
In the comments section of the post Godless responds to another paleoconservative to explain why he even cares about the fate of Israel. He sees Israel as the canary in the coal mine:
I'm concerned about Israel because I think they're the canary in the coal mine. I know a lot of paleos don't have much love for Israel, but I think it's even stranger to side with the Arabs/Muslims if you're a fan of the West. Al Qaeda threatens us, fundamentalist Muslim immigration threatens Continental Europe, and the Palestinians threaten Israel. They are all faces of the same Islamist threat. It's naive in the extreme to say that the median Muslim would "like us" if only Israel weren't around...Islam has bloody borders (India, Israel, Russia, Sudan, etcetera...), and their animosity for Christians (and infidels in general) predates the existence of Israel by hundreds of years.
Whatever Israel's faults, they're a lot closer to the Western tradition than the Arabs/Muslims are. That's clear because even paleos judge them by a Western standard. The summary executions of Arabs by the dictators of the region elicit Africa-like levels of "they're barbarians, what do you expect" nonchalance. Yet Israel's targeted assassinations of known terrorists - when they could just wipe out blocks in airstrikes - are condemned because they don't live up to (non-wartime) standards in the West.
He doesn't mention Indonesia. But in terms of a model of how Muslims treat non-Muslims under their rule in terms of the sheer number of people being treated unfairly it is probably the worst place going. If some reports are to be believed tens of thousands of Christians there have been killed and hundreds of thousands have been driven from their homes and made into refugees while the government has been either indifferent or has allowed factions within it to support the Muslim paramilitary forces that are doing the persecution and killing. Yet what is happening there does not attract even 1% of the media coverage that the West gives to the Arab-Israeli conflict. Go figure.
|Share |||By Randall Parker at 2003 June 04 03:23 AM MidEast Arabs Versus Israelis|