This blog started out as a companion piece to my book, Musings from the Christian Left (excerpts of which can be found in the July 2004 link) and to support a planned radio show. Now, its simply a long term writing project from a Christian Left Libertarian perspective (meaning I often argue for liberty within the (Catholic) Church, rather than liberty because the church takes care of a conservative view of morality.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The New Middle East

First, let me say that I do not support or condone the actions of Hamas, Al Queda, Hizbollah or the Iraqi insurgency. Nor am I any fan of Saddam Hussein, which some modern day socialists are. His rule was no golden age of Iraq. He was a tyrant and not the smartest tack on the board, else he would have capitulated with the First Infantry Division on his border.

In the Washington Post of July 29th, Steven Cook rightly cautions against equating democracy with the rule of law necessary to conduct it in Lebanon and Palestine. He misses his own point, however, as part of the rule of law is accepting the results of democratic elections, especially if they reflect the will of the electorate. Also, to occupy another country where they hate you - or even a region of that country - and not expect an insurgency is hardly honoring the rule of law.

In the Post of August 23rd, Saad Eddin Ibrahim of The American Univeristy writes about "The New Middle East" Bush is Resisting. He hits the nail on the head where it comes to respecting the rights of elections we do not agree with.

If we and Israel respected the Palestinian election, there might not have been any kidnapping of Israeli soldiers and there would certainly be clear channels for negotiating for their release. As it is now, tensions can only increase.

If we had any respect for the rule of law, we would not have even tried to cobble together an artificial Iraq, but would have instead found a Sunni Arab nation or Turkey to occupy that portion where we really were not wanted, perhaps the Baathist Syria or the Hashemite Jordanians. Neither would have been opposed as we are, and in fact would and still could be looked upon as liberators from American tyranny. Many fear a civil war, which is silly since the civil war in Iraq has existed since and even before the first President Bush's administration provided aid and comfort to those who would overthrow Saddam. Such a war is more tribal than sectarian. As soon as we supported Saddams would be overthrowers, we entered the fray on their side. It is a truely clumsy act of dissembling to claim otherwise. See for more information on both the Iraqi situtation and on American hegemony and the inadequacy of the UN.

On Hamas and Israel, the sad fact of the matter is that some form of government unfriendly to Israel is the natural outgrowth of years of occupation, detention and settlement. There are two hopes for peace in Israel, one is the creation of a Palestinian state, not as an Israeli colony but either an independent nation or a province of a larger Arab state (Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Iraq and possibly Arabia) under a Hashemite constitutional monarchy. The other option is total annexation and full citizenship for Palestinians and Israeli Arabs. The latter would be necessary if the Tablets of the Law are to be returned by God and the Coptic Church to Israel (which seems to be a right wing hope in its quest for Armageddon). See for more information on this.

Our involvement in this region has as much to do with the preservation of the defense industrial complex. If we are ever to break free of this we need to redirect our defense industry to the peaceful exploration of space and transform our alliance to an allied government, which as I say in the Iraq essay, is necessary given the current American overreach and the resentment among our allies that George Bush is behaving as if he were king of the world, which our international treaties actually make him.


Blogger Progressive Christian said...

On the general point - that we are acting anti-democratically (including in Lebanon where, while we may not like it, Hezbollah is part of the government) - I couldn't agree more. Yet, this is a pattern with the US. Iran and Guatemalain the 1950's, the Dominican Republic and South Vietnam in the 1960's, Chile in the 1970's, and Nicaragua in the 1980's all suffered from the force of American displeasure because they exercised their democratic right to vote.
I used to see the space program as an option, yet I increasingly see it as a luxury we can ill-afford. We need to get our national priorities in order - health care, education, immigration - and our international relations mended because of the Bush Administration's mishandling of them. I do not foresee space exploration, either robotic or human, as a viable option for at least a decade after the beginnings of some kind of national reconstruciton effort.
By the way, I have put a link to you on my blog. Sorry it took so long.

7:43 PM

Blogger Michael Bindner said...

Thanks for the link.

The problem with not doing space while cutting defense is that defense contractors and employees need something to do. Their skills and the desire to use them are not transferable to many of the problems you mention. God gave them certain talents. We should exploit those talents and space is likely the best way to do that for now.

Health care is a problem of distribution, not supply. Any supply problem is an equity issue in the nature of medical staffing and payment.

Immigration is the same kind of thing. The best way to stop immigration is to repeal right to fire laws for organizing (aka right to work).

Education is a thorny one. Religious charger schools might be the answer to that one. As for foreign affairs, this is best served by involving the world in space exploration.

I talk about all of these topics on my web page or other blog entries. (education is in the Musings, space is in the Musings, immigration is on the blog, allied government is linked above).

12:23 AM


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