Obama Doesn’t Understand Blowback

There’s no country on earth that would tolerate missiles raining down on its citizens from outside its borders. So we are fully supportive of Israel’s right to defend itself.

Barack H. Obama

Well, he’s got one thing right. No country would tolerate missiles raining down on its citizens from outside its borders. And that goes for Gaza just as much as it does for Israel. Having lived in what David Cameron referred to as a “prison camp” for all their lives — Israel controls Gaza’s airspace, territorial waters and border crossings — and living under constant threat of Israeli F16 and drone raids, should Israel really find it surprising that young Gazans are fighting back? Hamas may have a counterproductive and dangerous strategy driven by a violent religious ideology that ends up hurting the Palestinians more than anyone else, but that’s not the point. The point is that nations don’t tolerate missiles raining down on citizens. That’s just as true for Palestine as it is Israel.

There are other examples which Obama would do well to consider. In the first twenty four hours after his re-election, Obama ordered yet another drone strike in Yemen — setting the tone for the next four years. During the Obama administration drones — or perhaps more accurately, flying death robots — have rained down missiles across a vast tract of the world. Yemen, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Libya, Somalia. Quite possibly also Iran and Syria. No trial, no hard evidence, just summary execution.

Every drone strike creates blowback. It increases hostility to Americans throughout that part of the world. It drives angry young people into the arms of violent extremists like the Taliban and Hamas. Because — as Obama rightly points out — no country would tolerate missiles raining down on its citizens from outside its borders. That means that in the long run Obama’s drone strikes are probably America’s greatest national security problem.

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75 thoughts on “Obama Doesn’t Understand Blowback

  1. I agree with you. However, knowing the history of American/British/French/etc involvement/imperialistic policies in that region, there’s always a logical reason behind the illogical strategies & actions taken.

    In this case, in my opinion, there are a few reasons why Israel/US are doing this: 1) to divert attention from continuing expansion of illegal settlements; 2) to maintain & intensify the division & instability that already exists within the Palestinian population, in other words, force each Palestinian group to blame this on the other; 3) create a situation to lure Iran to get involved, this is very similar to the benefit these guys are seeing from the ‘non-organic’ uprising in Syria; 4) to ‘strengthen’ or ‘justify’ their real desire to attack Iran; and 5) display to Egypt’s new govt & all Egyptians that this could happen to them, and at the same time make them believe US/Israel have faith in Egypt to act as a peace or cease-fire broker (while in reality, nothing that this Egyptian govt does, or will do, is taken seriously).

    With all of this said, and if it works, yes, there still will be blowback but not until 10-20 years later. These govts don’t give a damn. For them its similar to how they actually handle their fiscal issues – continue to increase spending and keep kicking the can down the very long but at times winding road.

    • Lets hope some child in the middle east, does not lose a father, mother sister brother to an attack by Israel. Because if they do, they now have the Internet to get a thorough education, and seek revenge somehow. And I agree it will be in 20 years time.

      We can’t reign in our Governments and their foreign policy even as Westerners, so what chance does a Middle Easterner have?

      I can tell you as a Westerner brought up with no religion, exposed to all the evils of the West, that there is no satisfaction in full freedom in the West. In fact it has decayed our virtuous civilisation for the last 100 years.

      One thing the West won’t submit to is praying 6 times a day. Even once a week at Church is rarely attended now. How do you propose to spread Islam to a people who have achieved so much material wealth and activities/hobbies that do not give them the quiet time to contemplate praying? Impossible.

      My best advice to the Palestinians. Seek refugee status in Ukraine or Russia. Life is much better there and will be the future as the world turns East. Better food, more work, nicer weather (Bring warm clothes for winter) Do a like trade for trade, as most Israeli’s Grandparents came from Poland Ukraine Russia.

      Leave the Israelis to Palestine. Let them have it. Trust me.

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  3. Aziz: Your “The point is that nations don’t tolerate missiles raining down on citizens” is indisputable. But why does it apply only to Palestinians? What is the factual record of who fired first in the various episodes of hostilities? And the diplomatic record of who offered and who refused compromises? What is the legal ownership of Gaza? Oh — what did Britain do when Argentina unilaterally “attacked” (occupied) the Falklands?

    By the way, is Palestine a nation? What about Iran’s making proxy war on Israel and the new Iraq, and Saddam’s occupation of Kuwait.

    There are several major issues on which both law makers/enforcers and critics alike proceed with confidence exceeded only by their apparent ignorance and/or avoidance of facts: has the “West” exploited the Arabs for their oil? Are the pros & cons of war in totally corrupt Afghanistan, with no civilized government, economy, infrastructure, etc. the same as in Iraq? Are all recreational drugs equally in need of legal prohibition/legalizing?

    • I don’t think I said it only applies to Palestinians. I said:

      No country would tolerate missiles raining down on its citizens from outside its borders. And that goes for Gaza just as much as it does for Israel.

      Applies to everyone.

      Has the “West” exploited the Arabs for their oil?

      Somehow. I think the biggest exploiters are actually the elite Arabs (e.g. Saudi Royalty, Emirate Royalty) who have taken all the profits for themselves and left the rest of their people with nothing. But the West has supported these Arab elites.

      Are the pros & cons of war in totally corrupt Afghanistan, with no civilized government, economy, infrastructure, etc. the same as in Iraq?

      Different pros and cons, but similar. One big con for both is blowback. I think the USA probably invaded Afghanistan too quickly and readily. There were other options for getting bin Laden that should have been explored sooner. That place is the graveyard of empires. Killed the British, killed the Soviets, killing America.

      Are all recreational drugs equally in need of legal prohibition/legalizing?

      Well, in America I’d say all recreational drugs are equally in need of being decided at the state level and not the Federal level. In general, I don’t really agree with prohibitionism because it seems to cause more problems than it solves. On the other hand, I don’t think I would legalise heroin and crack tomorrow simply because that is too drastic a change. I am quite “conservative” in that I don’t usually think change should be done too fast. I think I would treat it as a medical problem and stop jailing users, though, and release non-violent drug offenders.

      • Yes, John, you did say that (the quote) applies to both sides. But you scold only the Israelis.

        You also wrote that the “violent religious ideology” driving the strategy of the Muslim terrorist organizations is “not the point”. I disagree! This ideology, which includes Jihad, is THE reason why modern/conventional/civilized diplomacy doesn’t work on this part of the planet.

        • I scold only Israel? No, I’ve said many times that what Hamas is doing is both stupid and evil. But being the nation with all the power, and all those US taxpayer dollars Israel has far more leverage to solve this problem than the Gazans. Israel could marginalise the violent extremists tomorrow by offering to end the siege and offering economic and civilian aid to Gaza in exchange for no more rocket attacks.

          Palestinians would have never had any reason to support violent jihadists if they were not living in a prison camp like the Gaza strip with virtually no hope of being able to return to their homes previous to 1948. While I believe that the Palestinians only chance to get what they want is to completely renounce violence, it is not easy to do that under the circumstances they are living in.

  4. Why doesn’t Israel cash in on selling that sweet defence dome to other governments? I don’t get it, because it would sell well and improve peace while reducing insecurity…Meanwhile, beyond clockwork…

    • One problem with war is that it is always and by definition collective punishment. As an individualist, I am opposed to collective punishment. (Hamas members make up less than 5% of Gazans.)

      • Aziz said: “only 5% of Gaza people are in Hamas”.
        This is one out of 20.
        EVERY Gaza extended family has couple of Hamas members.
        Maybe collective punishment is not such a bad idea this time?

        Just to compare, if the US would enlist 5% of its population, it would have a 16,000,000 standing army!

        • I have family members who do things and believe things that I don’t agree with. I think the idea of me being punished for their actions is completely absurd.

          Collective punishment is absurd and evil. Nothing does more to radicalise a people against an enemy than collective punishment. (Yes — Qassam rockets are “collective punishment” too).

    • a’blanc’s PS is so unrealistic that it merits no comment, but here’s one anyway. To surrender every person, every value, every possession to every assault, attack, and robbery would be manifest suicide — and the end of civilization. War IS horrible. We must not be aggressors. We must deter aggression through strength and the will to use it. If attacked, we must win quickly and decisively, to survive and to deter the next aggressor. Yes, a’blanc — survival and civilization ARE reasons to fight.

  5. Azis (and readers), a bit of imagination is due.
    What if Gaza would stop firing at Israel?
    And also stop sending suicide-bomber-killers?
    Then what do you think will happen?

    Complicated?
    Role the clock to 1980, before the intifada.
    Gaza was indeed controlled by Israel.
    But, the borders were wide open. People and goods crossed unchecked.

    Role the clock forward, let’s say to 1995.
    Intifada, suicide-bomber-killers are being sent into Israel cities.
    The borders got closed after years of suffering by Israelis. They just had enough. (Can’t blame them).

    Role the clock forward to 2005.
    Israel withdraws from Gaza unilaterally, unconditionally. You can say Israel was defeated, conceded to public opinion, or got some sense that it has nothing to look for in Gaza and the West Bank.
    The slogan was Gaza and Jericho first (meaning, if works there well, why not have a Palestinian state).

    The rest is well known.
    Gaza is firing missiles at Israel regularly, daily – almost, every week – always.
    But you Aziz blog about this ONLY when Israel retaliates.
    How comes you didn’t criticize the Gazan and warn them they will be eventually be fired at back if they don’t stop hitting and provoking Israel?
    Where have you been?

    • JA: Assuming that Aziz et al can’t refute your history (yes, I’m confessing that I am not well informed), you are contributing the substance sorely missing in modern debate/discussion/politics: facts! Journalism has been near-fatally corrupted by ignorance, laziness, dishonesty, bias; we public-spirited amateurs surely don’t need to follow that example.

      Some time ago, Benjamin Netanyahu, though not an unbiased observer, crystallized the issue (paraphrased): “If (the Muslim terrorists) stand down, there will be no more killing. If the Israeli military stands down, there will be no more Israel.” Should we believe him?

      • RP, you are misinformed or misinforming.

        Even the Arab press blames the recent escalation on Syria and Iran instructing Hamas to draw public attention away from their activities.

        The simple fact is that even though Israel has no presence in Gaza, it is provoking Israel by regularly firing missiles (and other munitions), on nearly a daily basis.

        The conflict becomes news only when Israel retaliates.
        Missiles being fired from Gaza is no news – apparently.

        It is a mystery why Israel tolerates so much – actually.

        • As I said, no nation — including Israel — would tolerate missiles raining down on it.

          Of course Hamas is to blame for this. And actually, I have passingly talked about Hamas’ activities being intolerable to Israel multiple times. But who is to blame for Hamas’ existence and growth? The answer — as admitted by Israeli military and intelligence sources — is Israel, which supported Sheik Yassin and Hamas’ growth as a counterbalance to the PLO, which has practiced collective punishment and military rule in Gaza and the West Bank for generations.

          While Netanyahu’s claim that if Hamas stands down there will be no more violence, but if Israel stands down there will be no more Israel is probably true, it lacks context. The Palestinians standing down will never secure them the property that very many Gazans lost in 1948. They are a dispossessed people, and Israel has no intent of ever ceding a right to return. How do you expect them to react? Jews spent thousands of years as a dispossessed people wandering and waiting to return to Israel. Now the Palestinian Arabs are in the same boat.

          Personally, I agree with the idea of the Palestinians offering a complete and unconditional ceasefire. I think that that is actually the only way forward for the Palestinians.

    • I agree with you. The problem is extreme elements are not reported/checked/controlled/STOPPED! by the general population.

      The best policy for the Palestinians is to play the victim, by acting peacefully. The need to follow in Ghandi’s footsteps. This will give them International support.

      My solution is a peace map for a 2 state solution. Provide the rules for a Free Palestinian State, the prevention of occupation by Israeli settlers, then ground invasion, arrest and incarceration of extremists – both sides (The population of Gaza, Israel will report the extremists), then international support for a rebuild.

      The crazy zealots on both sides have to be incarcerated to allow for future peace.

      Brutal but effective.

  6. Obama like other American leaders in the past simply repeat the Isreali narrative. Isreal is never attacking, it is always defending. Poor Isreal is sorrounded by crazy Arabs who are mean and Isreal just wants to have a peaceful democracy and land. This works to convince idiotic people….I find it easier to just not listen to people like Obama…their views are irrelevant and false.

    • robc, your description isn’t bad at all as first order approximation.
      Well done.

      The reality on the ground is obviously way more intricate.
      First, it is a violent conflict, and as such, it is ugly.

      Second, both sides have their reasons to continue the conflict.
      But, said reason are asymmetric and and the differences are difficult to reconcile.

      An essential difference between the parties is that Hamas is committed to the destruction of Israel and killing all Jews (regardless whether they are Israelis or not) [Source is the Hamas charter article], while Israel is bent on defending itself and sometimes retaliate.

      Israel views Gaza-led-Hamas as a bloodthirsty enemy, which is why it shut its border with Gaza and placed a naval blockade. (Gaza has border with Egypt as well, so the blockade isn’t hermetic, as showcased by the powerful munitions used by Hamas).

      Thus far Hamas declined offers to commit to a lasting ceasefire.
      Hamas was only willing to sign a Hudna (a tactical truce enabling its to regroup and strengthen).
      Even during these Hudna’s, which Israel accepted as better-than-nothing, Hamas sprinkled Israel with missiles (albeit on the laid back pace of a missile per day give or take).

      We can discuss the history leading to this conflict.
      Recall that history started thousands of years ago.
      But history is of little relevance.
      Neither Israelis nor Palestinians have other place to go.
      The question in my mind is what it would take for Israel allow a striving Palestinian country in the 1967 borders give or take, and for the Palestinians to exploit such an opportunity constructively for a change (rather than firing at Israel as they have been busily doing from Gaza since Israel withdrew from there).

      2c, Just Asking ?

      • Look, as I noted in my post, Hamas is a violent and radical extremist group, which (while never explicitly claiming in its charter any wish to kill all Jews), is hateful and very anti-Jewish and does advocate killing of Jews. I have no sympathy for their ideology.

        But my main question is this: why did Israel make the mistake of working with and supporting the rise of Hamas and Islamism as a counterbalance to the PLO? Why have they not worked to undermine Hamas by lifting the sanctions and by providing more civilian and economic aid to Gaza? And why did they kill Jabari — which even Haaretz noted was Israel’s enforcer in Gaza — when he was about to begin negotiations on a long term ceasefire?

        Gershon Baskin, the lead negotiator on the case of Gilad Shalit:

        “My indirect dealings with Mr. Jabari were handled through my Hamas counterpart, Ghazi Hamad, the deputy foreign minister of Hamas, who had received Mr. Jabari’s authorization to deal directly with me….

        “Passing messages between the two sides, I was able to learn firsthand that Mr. Jabari wasn’t just interested in a long-term cease-fire; he was also the person responsible for enforcing previous cease-fire understandings brokered by the Egyptian intelligence agency. Mr. Jabari enforced those cease-fires only after confirming that Israel was prepared to stop its attacks on Gaza. On the morning that he was killed, Mr. Jabari received a draft proposal for an extended cease-fire with Israel, including mechanisms that would verify intentions and ensure compliance. This draft was agreed upon by me and Hamas’s deputy foreign minister, Mr. Hamad, when we met last week in Egypt.

        Justin Raimondo concludes why:

        Hamas was ready to negotiate. Jabari was going to drop a gigantic “peace bomb” on Tel Aviv, and Netanyahu and his cabinet launched a preemptive strike to make sure it never hit its target. The last thing they wanted was peace breaking out in spite of their systematic provocations.

        Hamas is useful to Netanyahu and his coalition partner, wannabe ethnic cleanser Avigdor Lieberman: or, at least, the version of Hamas they have successfully sold to the West. The hasbara brigade in the American media regularly portrays the Palestinian resistance group as inherently and intransigently opposed to Israel’s very existence, pointing to its charter — which calls for the destruction of the Jewish state — and posits from this the utter impossibility of negotiations or even coexistence.

        I think Raimondo might be onto something. A violent Hamas resistance serves a useful purpose to the hardliners in Israel like Lieberman and their eventual goal of expelling the Palestinians from Greater Israel.

        The status quo is very dangerous for Israel in the long run. Being at odds with all your neighbours is risky as hell. I think the safest and best thing for Israel in the long run is to appease the Palestinians with civil and economic aid to marginalise extremists like Hamas.

        • I read the article above & Comments down to/including Aziz’s remarks about Mr. Jabari, and Anarcissie’s comments following them, and realizing that the dialog on this issue can be endless – the information helpful and arguing illustrative of the problem, inject these thoughts at that point in Comments (me also being short of recall on all the Israel-Palestine historical facts). The core problem is that those in political power, and the financial elite power linked to them, however indirect, including religious leaders with fat bank accounts, want continuous war – to maintain and increase that power … and money.
          War is easy to continue in our political systems with basic human instincts at play: 1) leaders over zealously “representing” one’s own people means you never can have a 50 / 50 reasonably equal solution (neither side’s power satisfied), and 2) leaders acting like devious adult-children in a Shakespearian play, wasting their lives & energies with evil cunning, where if one side does take the Ghandi-like approach and backs off, then, absent some positive outside force (like the spirit of America versus its overbearing government which has taken on a life of its own,e.g. detaining and killing its own citizens without due process with whatever collateral damage ensues), the other side uses subtle moves to neutralize the good faith and make it look to be bad faith. George Orwell’s “1984” Doublespeak is so easy to accomplish today, subtly and not so, by smearing any truth with a volume of undermining verbiage.
          It will take an informed public making an extreme effort to reign in the political class, not before more crises, but hopefully through continual change of leaders through the ballot box – if that avenue is not now foreclosed by electronic voting fraud, itself easy to do when the US uses private companies to count the vote without government audit, essentially no “trust with verification” as President Reagan used to say [check out that vote counting fact].
          Of note, I am not taking sides in this, though seek a practical solution too. I was raised and am a US citizen, of the white category grendre, attending a nondenominal church [they do exist; coincidentally, Ronald Reagan happened to be married there once - no concsious connection made to his quote above]. I recognize that religions leaders instead of living and promoting the loving spirituality of universal God they respectively assert to represent in their faiths [there we go again with the structure of "representatives"; better is direct prayer], have been responsible for most all the wars of history – often in collusion with political power when they didn’t raise their own armies. I grow less naive with age, having served as an officer in the US Navy for several years shortly after JFK’d death, being a long time practicing attorney – and most importantly, continuing to read [thanks for dialog].
          How do we convince power not to exercise power badly? We need be chary of unintended consequences. As my mother often said, a writer/editor, in every story told, “the gun pictured hanging on the wall must go off”. Oh, and when the time comes, we all will need the military [I believe in the US Navy / Marines] to side with the people, because power will not willingly give up to anything or any one of less strength to it.

  7. Obama said no nation would “tolerate missiles raining down on its citizens from outside its borders”… So, does this mean that Obama is finally up for recognizing the State of Palestine? If the missiles are coming at Israel from “outside its borders,” they must be coming from within someone else’s borders, which would mean Palestine has its own borders and we could go ahead and recognize its right to exist as a state and its right not to be occupied by Israel. Maybe its citizens could actually be given passports and universal human rights.

  8. I think Mr. O understands blowback very well. Blowback from the Middle East is in no way inimical to the interests of the American ruling class, which are, basically, to keep the Arabs divided and susceptible to its control, and to keep its local competitors, Turkey and Iran, from taking over this role. Israel is privisionally the U.S. partner in this effort, at least temporarily.

    Israel’s long term strategy is and has been, for some time, to service U.S. interests in the Middle East, especially in keeping the Arabs down. In other words, it’s part of the U.S. strategy. (If one wanted to be romantic, one could use words like ‘empire’ or ‘imperium’.) This is a difficult role to play because the U.S. has not been very consistent or very successful in the MIddle East in recent decades, although it has managed to hang on thus far. It may turn out to be a poor strategy in the longer long term, in which the U.S. may suffer serious reverses and lose interest in the Middle East. A similar error was made by Jews in central Europe in the late Middle Ages and early Modern era: they occasionally attached themselves to ruling classes which disappeared or turned on them, leaving them to the displaced wrath of the lower orders.

    Israel and its conflicts also serve as a symbol or organizing point for some domestic U.S. politics which is currently useful to the U.S. ruling class — also obviously. While this seems to evoke funding, it may not be of great importance, except for those who happen to be caught in terrorist attacks.

    We might also ask, What is the function of the Palestinians, especially of Hamas? Clearly, the function of Hamas and other Palestinian militants is to keep the Israelis from cohering with the Arabs. If Israel formed an alliance with some of the neighboring Arab states, they would form a very powerful bloc which could easily resist the pressure or ‘imperium’ of outsiders, such as the aforementioned Iran and Turkey, who would like to dominate the Arabs and, of course, get control of the oil. Hence, it is to the interests of the U.S., Turkey, and Iran that Israel not get along with the Arabs, and so Hamas is funded and encouraged to do violence. At this time, to go by the media, Iran is writing the checks.

    Israel, due to an internal politics influenced by tribal and religious fanatics, is probably not flexible enough to step out of the trap. So it will hang on as long as the U.S. supports it, and then either vanish or find some other strategy. Something may turn up, although it seems like a long shot. If I were king of Israel I’d try to work something out with the Arabs now as a better bet.

    • Interesting thoughts.

      If I was running Israel, my first interest would also be to establish better relations with Arab neighbours. Yes, this would include appeasing the Palestinians. But being at odds with your neighbours is no position to be in. It’s bad and dangerous for Israel.

      • Why do you think Jesus begged his people to love thy neighbour? He saw it, you see it, but the zealots don’t.

        The Romans were frustrated by Zealots, and so too is the USA.

        The whole problem is psychology driven by innate DNA guidance. It is destiny!

        • I question that DNA is the problem — didn’t ME Jews and Muslims both descend from the same tribes? Wasn’t their culture, including religion, unified through Abraham? I would blame individual and tribal human “behavioral” flaws — see the secular Commandments, Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, Seven Deadly Sins.

      • Well since the Palestinians and Jews are related (Palestinians could b e Muslim converts with Jewish ancestry), there should be no issue if the Palestinians convert to Judaism. Think of the welfare benefits they will receive.

        The Jews in Israel, should give Palestinians Israeli citizenship, in return for conversion.

        Invitations to Pasach would be a great ice breaker for Peace. “Welcome to our family brother, it has been a long time.

        There solved the problem!

    • “This is a difficult role to play because the U.S. has not been very consistent or very successful in the MIddle East in recent decades, although it has managed to hang on thus far.”

      The U.S. pretty much controls everything, everywhere. How much more “successful” can a country be?

  9. Not sure about this, Anarcissie. I think Aziz is right in thinking that why Israel is being so brutal is to ensure it dominates the ME for the next 200 years. By then, America will be on its knees and there won’t be the military support and aid for Israel. I also see all the 1,500 or so American bases turned over to the UN or Nato as the defacto world army. (Agenda 21) There is a lot of information on spending on infrastructure in ME by America on these bases coming out. Sadly, it is not being spent where it is needed, in America, but being done in the ME at the taxpayers expense.

  10. “Better late than never”: would someone please post a brief recent history of Gaza, with the conclusion (conjecture, speculation?) of who “owns” it! And what of Obama’s previous proposal that border(s) should be rolled back to previous places, which proposal was vigorously opposed in the USA as making it impossible for Israel to defend itself?

  11. First, do you really perceive Obama’s speeches as his public opinion and not a part of the realpolitik? It is part of his duty to say things that are in line with the foreign policies of his country.

    Second, I could hardly muster the care for the arabs of Palestina. Perhaps my perceptions are painted by the writings and opinions of the Russian-speaking Israelites, but I just don’t get that strange empathy of the Western lefties towards the inhabitants of the Gaza and other Islamists.

      • RP. Re your not accepting words from Obama’s forked tongue nor Western lefties’ love of Islamists: as we US country boys say, Me Neither! Israel is democratic, relatively open, mostly secular, and a significant contributor to medical, technical and other quality of life advances. As to religion: today — millennia after the Torah/Old Testament (and many centuries after inhuman practices in the name of Christ) — I don’t find Judaism tyrannical, exploitive, cruel, aggressive, or vengeful. These religiously-institutionalized primitive and medieval “sins” are now the exclusive province of Islam, the culture in which Obama was raised and mentored.

        • *facepalm* Sorry, I wanted to reply to the main post of Aziz, but it came as a reply to your comment.

          I am not sure that I could agree with your remark about Obama’s cultural upbringing. One could of course point that Abrahamic religions in general have a tendency to bring ‘tyrannical, exploitive, cruel, aggressive, or vengeful’ feelings – or, if we go one step further, that all religions are associated with authoritarianism and thus with heightened aggression. But I think that religious beliefs play negligible role in the actions of Obama and Israel’s government. For all we know, Obama is probably an atheist.

      • To the Israelites Palestinian arabs are little better than primitive barbarians. They are those who killed countless Jewish civilians in the terroristic acts and purposeless wars, who have not even progressed to the modern nationalist level of development and who couldn’t live in a modern democracy and not a tribe.
        Gazans are not all poor and desolate (I’ve read accounts of soldiers finding pounds of hashish and stacks of cash in some apartments – and leaving them untouched due to the orders) – there are wealthy sponsors of their unrest. Israelites I’ve read are firm in their belief in the need to confront militant Islamic movements.

        • RomanP @ Nov 20 03:19:51: Muslim “religious” beliefs and the possibility of Obama’s “atheism” — if meant as eschatology (theology of heaven, afterlife, judgment, etc.) — has little* to do with the damage that Obama, Muslim theocracies and Islamists have inflicted on democracy, brotherhood, rule of law, individual liberty, human and family life. Muslim indoctrination, including Jihad, Shariah Law and the convert-enslave-or-kill command, impose an expansionist EARTHLY CULTURE/lifestyle/value system based on tyrannical rule of elites over people. Whether or not Obama is an “atheist” is, therefor, incidental to his top-down, tyranny over liberty, Muslim, Marxist, anti-white, politically corrupt (a la Chicago) lifelong lust for power** over people.

          * Of course, Muslim-indoctrinated “martyrdom” (heavenly reward for dying while killing infidels) is quite useful to the theocratic manipulators. Note that the Kings, Sheiks, Osama, Arafat, et al, don’t go or send family to be martyred.

          ** Whereas the language of Muslim indoctrination is Jihad, Diminitude (sp.?), etc. , Obama used American Communist (and Obama mentor) Saul Alinski’s “Rules for Radicals” as the textbook in his classes on Community Organizing. The theme and slogan was “Everything we do, we do for POWER!” Uplifting the downtrodden, helping people, curing racism, etc. were mere means to the end: Communist revolution and dictatorship.

  12. Interesting quotes… the point it is the ideology runs deep.

    DEUTERONOMY

    7:6 For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth.

    11:23 Then will the LORD drive out all these nations from before you, and ye shall possess greater nations and mightier than yourselves.

    15:2 And this is the manner of the release: Every creditor that lendeth ought unto his neighbour shall release it; he shall not exact it of his neighbour, or of his brother; because it is called the LORD’s release.

    15:3 Of a foreigner thou mayest exact it again: but that which is thine with thy brother thine hand shall release;

    15:6 For the LORD thy God blesseth thee, as he promised thee: and thou shalt lend unto many nations, but thou shalt not borrow; and thou shalt reign over many nations, but they shall not reign over thee.

    19:1 When the LORD thy God hath cut off the nations, whose land the LORD thy God giveth thee, and thou succeedest them, and dwellest in their cities, and in their houses;

    23:20 Unto a stranger thou mayest lend upon usury; but unto thy brother thou shalt not lend upon usury: that the LORD thy God may bless thee in all that thou settest thine hand to in the land whither thou goest to possess it.

    28:10 And all people of the earth shall see that thou art called by the name of the LORD; and they shall be afraid of thee.

    • 64.37:123.65 And all the people of the earth went to McDonald’s for a double quarter-pounder [with cheese] when the LORD appeared above the golden arches and told of a sacred blue-light [special] at the last remaining K-mart. And the people went to K-mart and bowed down in reverence to the blinking blue beacon; and the LORD appeared again, and spoke to the obese but satiated masses…

      “Consume, then rest, then consume again, then rest, and consume once more.”

      And the people were radiant with happiness and they took out their credit cards in order to pay homage to their Lord by going to Costco and purchasing in bulk.

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  14. I think it’s best if I repeat my comment, hopefully not screwing up and replying to the main post this time. So:

    Aziz,
    First, do you really perceive Obama’s speeches as his private opinion and not a part of the realpolitik? It is part of his duty to say things that are in line with the foreign policies of his country.

    Second, I could hardly muster the care for the arabs of Palestina. Perhaps my perceptions are painted by the writings and opinions of the Russian-speaking Israelites, but I just don’t get that strange empathy of the Western lefties/progressives/socdems/etc towards the inhabitants of the Gaza and other Islamists.

    • I try to be a very empathetic person. I would like to think that as human beings we should try and empathise with everyone. I’m not really left wing. I’m economically and politically quite libertarian, but I believe that successful societies are based on mutual empathy. I ask myself why are these people Islamists? Well, in any society there are insane people who advocate extremism and radicalism (that is true here in Britain and in the United States too), but why do they rise to the top in Palestine? And the answer is obvious — these are hopeless people. The economic situation there is disastrous. They are enclosed on all four sides. They cannot leave, and they are constantly flown over by Israeli F16s and drones (even in” peacetime”). Talk about claustrophobia. Their grandparents were refugees, and they feel angry and aggrieved for their generational loss. They have never been compensated for 1948. That combination of reasons would probably drive me insane. Would it not do the same thing to you?

      Rationally, I understand that violent resistance and terrorism for the Palestinians is totally suicidal and pointless, and does more harm than good. Only nonviolence and economic growth can really improve their situation. But these are angry and scared people, and rational voices get drowned out, allowing extremists to rise to the top and dominate the politics of the nation.

      Personally, I think that eventually the Palestinians will learn to defy the extremists and reject violence. But the more Israel bombs, the angrier the survivors will be. They will strike back at the first chance, which will only irritate the Israelis even more, and so the cycle goes on. I think it will be the Palestinians who break the cycle. There are Palestinian leaders such as Marwan Barghouti who are talking in terms of nonviolence.

      Obama’s speeches are realpolitik, and my headline is rhetoric.

      • I’m afraid I am not very empathetic in general and my views on the world border on nihilistic, or so I am frequently told. I am not a sociopath and I am aware that cooperation may improve outcomes, but I am hardly surprised when people decide to not cooperate for rational or irrational reasons.

        For the Palestine Arabs, what could I say, tough luck. Were they strong enough, advanced enough and cooperative enough to create their own national state by, say, 1920’s, the history of the region would have been quite different. But it happened as it happened and now they are only a nuisance for the state of Israel. It is a world where might makes right and weak nations are exploited by the strong. American colonists waged genocide on Indians. British starved Irish and Indians to death and waged Opium Wars with China. Russians conquered Caucasus to secure a strategic advantage over Ottomans. I find it hard to carry about the self-inflicted plight of Gazans. Either they put themselves together and become a nation that could solve its problems rationally, or they remain an amorphous mass of Islamist insurgents.

        The other side of the problem is that a lot of powers in the Near East region are interested in the continuing unrest amongst the Palestinian Arabs. I am not even sure what countries are ‘main’ geopolitical enemies of Israel (one geopolitical researcher even put a good case that Iran is a natural ally of Israel and the oil monarchies of the Arabian peninsula are the most interested in its fall – but I am not qualified enough to judge this idea), but it is safe to say that a lot of Israel’s neighbors need Gazan Islamists as a counterbalance to the Israel political power in the region. Israel is, after all, in the ‘ring of fronts’ amongst the hostile nation of Muslim culture. I’d say that Islamist insurgencies will continue unless there cease to be countries willing to supply Gazans with money, weapons and political support or Israel decides to wage genocide on Palestinian Arabs. Or, in the same words, these insurgencies will continue for the foreseeable future.

      • Obama’s “realpolitik” raises another BIG question: has Obama decided to become a statesman* and abandon, at least in foreign policy, his campaign for personal power and prejudice against free enterprise and Muslim-free nations?

        * “Statesman” in the major-power tradition.

      • Empathy is no substitute for truth, discipline, non-bias, factual history, examination of pros&cons, rigor — what works best (or least bad) in economics. In the ubiquitous battle between ISes and OUGHTs, empathy is apt to overweight Oughts.

    • robc: I applaud your posting the link to Zakaria’s excellent speech to Harvard graduates. Maybe it will help ameliorate Harvard’s disgraceful hiring of a political hack posing (falsely — completely and obviously) as a Native American: pay > $300K per year to teach one class and run for the US Senate. That’s even more generous than a Chicago institution’s doubling of Michelle Obama’s pay when her husband became a US Senator. Though I expect that few other feeders at the public trough have bought at such bargain prices.

  15. I find the argument that as Palestine didn’t have a recognised state or president etc and therefore no right to exist very hard to accept. It seems to me very arrogant to say that only one version of organisation, which just happens to be the one we are most familiar with is the only one that is acceptable. There are countless ways for a society to be organised. It obviously worked for the Arabs before the state of Israel was bombed into existence. There was a long history of occupation so a state of its own wasn’t possible. It was a British mandate so perfectly acceptable as the percursor to their own state.
    Unfortunately the violent history of Israel, the ingrained hatred and the aggression of the present government is going to make peace and a lasting solution hard to find.
    Until the American public wake up and say enough is enough, we are not going to fund any more wars and inflict our version of ‘democracy’ on other countries there is no encouragement for Israel to do anything other than bomb rather than talk.
    Of course peace is possible. 1million were slaughtered in the Indian/ Pakistani Partition yet on the whole the weapons have been put away and Muslims and Hindu villages co-exist side by side in India.
    It is a long path but the Palestinians were trying to accept a long-term truce. Why did Israel scupper that so brutally?

  16. Aziz,
    “Israel controls Gaza’s airspace, territorial waters and border crossings”. I’m confused. Isn’t the Gaza strip part of Egypt? Doesn’t Egypt control part of it’s border? The question is why are the Palestinians imprisoned in “camps” in Egypt, Lebanon and elsewhere throughout the Arab world, rather than being allowed to travel and assimilate as they wish. If the Arabs loved their Palestinian brothers as much as they profess, these camps would have disappeared decades ago. The fact is that these Arab nations hate Israel more than they love the Palestinians and they have served as useful pawns all these years.
    Imagine if all of the displaced persons after World War II had been left in internment camps until today. Only they weren’t. The Western world allowed and helped them to resettle.
    Imagine if the Arab world had done the same.

    • Well, while I agree that the other Arab nations have failed the Palestinian refugees, I can understand why they have not been resettled. The Palestinians don’t want to integrate into a new country; they want to go back to their old country, either to their old homes as per the 1948 borders, or to some new state based on the 1967 borders. On the other hand, I don’t think that this wish is very realistic…

      • Wish is “realistic”: Has “OUGHTs vs. ISes” caught on in the UK and elsewhere? Or how about “People in hell want ice water!”?

        • To be honest, I think the Palestinians could get their wish for return to their ancestral homes in Palestine 48 — or at very least a decently-sized new state in Palestine 67 — if they totally renounced violence and embarked on a Gandhian nonviolent struggle for Knesset votes.

          This is why Israel calls Palestinian birthrates a “demographic threat”. Unfortunately for the Palestinians, they have not realised this yet.

      • Are Palestinians that Nationalistic? Don’t they see that Jews need a homeland? Why don’t Arab countries resettle? They are rich enough.

        I don’t know why, perhaps you know or could post this in the future.

        Or are the Palestinians useful pawns?

        • If someone confiscated my house without compensation to give to someone else, I would be pissed no matter how badly that other person needed a house.

  17. This is real simple for the west: Remember the Ten Commandments? If not get your head out from where the sun doesn’t shine and employ common sense. Politicians are never the answer. That’s precisely why we don’t need Obama and his henchmen making “foreign Policy”! Where is Dr. Ron Paul when you need him!

    • RTS: Your Nov 20 post sparked an epiphany — Ayatollahs & Mullahs, Arab Kings & Sheiks, Arafat & Osama, Obama & Farrakhan, Wright — are nothing but “politicians”! Whatever their titles and disguises, they use force and guile to gain and hold power over people.

  18. Pingback: Betray Us « azizonomics

  19. Sometimes I just wonder if the entire Middle East situation isn’t just being exploited by our gov’t. for 3 things.
    1. It makes most Americans mistrust, fear and hate a perceived “enemy.”
    2. A populace living in fear will ALWAYS run to their gov’t. begging for “protection” under the mistaken idea that Big Brother can actually protect THEM (individually and personally) and will even give up their basic civil rights and freedoms in the name of “protection”, because they “don’t want THAT happening here.” A foolish and destructive idea because NOONE is EVER 100% safe from anything.
    3. A “slave state” will always arise under a fearful populace, leading to the rise of “the power elite” who will wax fat and happy from the suffering of others.

    • Sorry, I neglected to mention that a situation like this can (and does) distract the populace from addressing the problems within their own country, like, say, INFLATION or our ECONOMY or UNEMPLOYMENT; none of which have been addressed by the government in the last 4 YEARS!
      The Senate can pass bills to read my eMail without any warrants or subpoenaes, but they can’t come up with a balanced federal budget!

    • That is a good point. I admit I totally forgot about Syria, and especially the fact that in Australia, the lower oil price and higher dollar has not translated to lower fuel prices. Because I use a card when buying fuel I totally disconnect between the price and the reality of what it costs me.

      And I am passionate about these issues! Can you imagine how the big oil companies are laughing all the way to the bank.

      Could you imagine the redistribution of wealth from the 1% if we had these issues addresses? That is why it is not addressed because they lobby the same people who beg for our votes. Democracy is a farce.

      When will we get a benevolent Dictator? That’s right. Libya had one but now he is dead.

      Better to have one super wealthy ruler illuminated by public notoriety, with the threat of execution if benevolence wanes , than thousands hidden in the shadows.

  20. My Question is who starts the bombing of their neighbors? Israel always is claiming they are just responding. I don’t know, I have not been there.

  21. Here’s a cliche (& simplification), while it’s as pertinent now as ever.
    Yassir Arafat rejected the Bill Clinton-Ehud Barak proposal, and so
    many if not most gave up. I perceive that “practicalists, rationalists
    and/or moderates” are frustrated, dis-heartened and fearful.

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