Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Gaza and Rational Anti-Americanism

Michael Medved's latest article asks the poignant question of why Palestinian death matter a lot more than deaths in other parts of the world. Why do we care about Palestine when we don't care about people in Sri Lanka or Uganda? Credit where credit is due; this is a damn good question. But of course Medved's proposed answer ignores a few points.
Another factor serves to explain the blinding spotlight on all conflicts involving Israel and her neighbors: the deep engagement in the region of the United States of America. Domestic critics of recent U.S. policy suggest that much of the world (especially among Islamic nations) hates America because of our connection to Israel. In fact, the evidence actually suggests that the nations of the earth despise Israel because of its close attachment with the United States.
Yep - Reflexive Anti-Americanism causes the world to reject Israel and champion the Palestinians.


A few obvious points. Medved discounts any wrong action on Israel's part; the actual suffering of the Palestinian people isn't a blip on his radar. Second he discounts the influence of Oil on the situation. If this were happening in Africa or in some other part of the world where natural resources were not quite so concentrated, Palestinians would really be screwed.

But more to the point, the Anti Americanism in Medved's history is presented as irrational. He never provides the context for why some nations might not be keen on us; perhaps for him there is no context. Our support of the Shah or Saddam Hussein for example, or our support of Israel's subjugation of the Palestinians isn't mentioned.

Because Medved refuses to grapple with what we have done to piss off people in that part of the world, the only answer is they hate America (and Israel) irrationally. And once you have reduced your enemy from someone you disagree with (and I'm certainly not in agreement with Hamas or Iran's way of looking at things) to an irrational mad dog, well, it sort of justifies anything. I mean if you determine that the Palestinians or the Middle East are mad dogs, well, why waste your time negotiating with them. You don't negotiated with mad dogs; you lock them up or put them down (or both).

This attitude has to be terribly corrosive to conducting foreign policy; but it seems pretty common on the right wing of this nation.

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