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The Myths of Globalization

Pankaj Ghemawat of IESE Business School in Spain has studied benchmarks of globalization for more than a decade and points out in “World 3.0” that many indicators of global integration are surprisingly low, according to The Economist.
Only 2% of students are at universities outside their home countries; and only 3% of people live outside their country of birth. Only 7% of rice is traded across borders. Only 7% of directors of S&P 500 companies are foreigners - and, according to a study a few years ago, less than 1% of all American companies have any foreign operations.

Language, currency, trade block and colonial past

Exports are equivalent to only 20% of global GDP. The global trade also forms according to predictable cultural patterns:
Mr Ghemawat argues that two otherwise identical countries will engage in 42% more trade if they share a common language than if they do not, 47% more if both belong to a trading block, 114% more if they have a common currency and 188% more if they have a common colonial past.
Less than 20% of venture capital is deployed outside the fund’s home country.  
Only 20% of shares traded on stockmarkets are owned by foreign investors.  
Less than 20% of internet traffic crosses national borders.
Larger diversity in "vital industries"

World 3.0 also seeks to debunk the the myth that the world is being taken over by a handful of giant companies.
The level of concentration in many vital industries has fallen dramatically since 1950 and remained roughly constant since 1980: 60 years ago two car companies accounted for half of the world’s car production, compared with six companies today.
Not so Much Homogenization?

Finally, the "balanced view" report refutes the idea that globalisation means homogenisation. According to The Economist's review of World 3.0
the increasing uniformity of cities’ skylines worldwide masks growing choice within them, to which even the most global of companies must adjust. McDonald’s serves vegetarian burgers in India and spicy ones in Mexico.  
The last quote from Schumpter is just asinine. I hope that's not how it is presented in the book. As a commenter states on The Economist:

What an absurd argument. So, minute differences in what is practically the same thing, mean that there is more choice? I mean, seriously.

A Variety of Comments to the Report

From the Economist:
The world is far more globalized than that presented by Mr. Ghemawat. The globalization is most and foremost in the spread of ideas – which in the end drives all other forms of globalization. The fact that I am reading The Economist from my home country, Bulgaria, is only a testament of that.

On the more idiotic side (idiocy is a major factor in the global economy):
The truth is that globalization is impossible without some forms of common culture. It is simple, Europeans will never accept large scale emigration from countries that think it is NOT OK for their daughters to go our with outsiders.
Because Europeans, code for "white people", are so accepting and just loves it when their fairy haired blue eyed daughter dates interracially.

From my own Facebook:
It just shows the major differences in worldview between the normal citizen and the intellectual elite. The elite live in an international world, where most people travel often and have international experiences. Most people stay within 100 KM of where they were born for all their lives. Globalisation remains so far off.  
But it also raises the issue of the difference between the globalisation of markets--where products, ideas, capital and culture flows around with few constraints, and a world that's still based on state lines centuries ago. There remain very strong restraints on free movement of persons and workers.  
Globalisation seems to be a bill of additional rights for superconnected, rich entities, with many more choices on where to work, shop, buy, sell, keep money, buy houses or whatever else than the normal person.
I concur.

The Data Reveals Neo-Colonialism

World 3.0 does not, of course, as my own headline may suggest or be misinterpreted, completely refute the integration of national economies and cultures, the increased global trade or the local effects of globalization. 

I haven't read the book yet, so I base my observations merely on the meagre statistic data offered by The Economist review.

The most significant would be the numbers indicative of "propensity for foreign trade", which is what globalization is all about.

Let's look at those numbers:
Mr Ghemawat argues that two otherwise identical countries will engage in 42% more trade if they share a common language than if they do not, 47% more if both belong to a trading block, 114% more if they have a common currency and 188% more if they have a common colonial past.
The most conspicuous is that the highest ranking factor is common colonial past. That effectively validates claims that globalization is based on colonalization. That, in itself, does not make globalization odious. It may also represent progress on a tragic and criminal background.

However, it is interesting how this would apply to, for instance, the Commonwealth of Nations encompassing 53 independent member states. A colonial past, it would appear, is still a huge advantage when comes to positioning yourself on the global trade market, greater even than being a part of a trading block.

Let's not argue whether or not this is also an advantage for the developing markets in a dysproportional trade relation here, but simply conclude that when "common colonial past" is involved, it outdoes all other key indicators in the report.

General Error: Overlapping Categories

The language comparison between countries indicates they are done, according to scientific method, between "otherwise identical countries", as much as this is possible, of course. In spite of healthy criticism of the standard, it is fair to assume the tendency described is reality-adequate.

Does, it however, transfer to common colonial past? It is a well-known fact that language similarity was and is imposed on former colonies, so that would detract from this rather sensational number and puts it in question as one actually blind-sided by neo-colonialist attitudes and categories.

The point being: Just because the countries aren't "otherwise identical", such as France and Algeria, there is no reason to assume that language similarity between the countries does not kick in. You cannot just subtract the percentage points. On the other hand, it is difficult to imagine how you can compare these numbers in a way that accurately detracts what may be called "common factors" such as language bonds.

Also the other categories are operating with a vast array of overlapping factors. Many countries a part of various trading blocks, have or have not relative language similarity with other countries inside and outside of this block, and on top of it some shared colonial past. Think Spain, where the author of the book comes from.

Then there are all the notable exceptions not revealed through such statistics. Sweden, for instance, a lucrative trade partner, shares no language similarity and has no colonial past. It does not currently use the Euro. If you extrapolate from these conclusions in World 3.0 Sweden should rank low on global trade.

"Only", "Less Than" - Diminishing Effect

Another error that sets in later in the process, is when conclusions are formed:
Less than 20% of venture capital is deployed outside the fund’s home country. Only 20% of shares traded on stockmarkets are owned by foreign investors. Less than 20% of internet traffic crosses national borders.
20% of venture capital in any economy is rather a lot. Similarly 20% of shares traded on stockmarkets represents an enormous amount of value, and so forth, also for internet traffic (in spite of obvious language barriers) and for the fact that 
exports are equivalent to only 20% of global GDP
We can agree more easily to facts than to interpretation of facts. The global GDP lies around 60 trillion, so it is primary school math to calculate what 1/5 of that represents.

When The Balanced View is the Most Extreme

Denying the enormous impact of globalization is denying the obvious. The fact that business leaders overestimate the rate of globalization, the openness of various national markets to trade - and, most of all, their own ability to navigate different cultural traditions reflected in business institutions as well as market - does not mean more than just that.

The fact that they oversell globalization means nothing more than excitement about prospects.

As for the critics, the problems with globalization they point out through their "exaggerated claims" or "globaloney" are very actual, and critical, paradoxically for the process of globalization as well as for the national interests globalization is arched upon.

Reversely, it is a paradox that the integration of commercial interest, in spite of detractors, is the best method of lowering global cultural conflict. This paradox is best illustrated with the case of the European Union, which has actually kept the notoriously unstable continent at peace for 61 years - in spite of the fact that the peace-making effect of economic integration is just propaganda for the market forces.

So yes, there may be simplification and exaggeration at work in the fringes, but the "balanced view" represents the most simplified and the most exaggerated: 

Quite remarkably, the view of a balanced world, in which national and local interests are as evenly represented as globalist interests, is more of a myth at the 20% benchmark than both the extremes.

If you are interested in globalization and how it applies to conflict reduction, please read Cultural Codependency as a Grand Narrative


The Response to the Arab Revolt from American-Jewish Commitee (AJC)

Left: Abdullah Gul, President of the Republic of Turkey. Right: David Harris,  Executive Director of the American Jewish Committee. Montage: Geopolitical Dynamics. The photos have been photo-processed.
An AJC two-page ad in Thursday’s Wall Street Journal aimed to remind Americans of the lasting military alliance between Israel and the United States.

“Every U.S. President since Israel’s founding, from Harry Truman through Barack Obama, has reaffirmed the essence of the U.S.-Israel partnership – shared democratic values,” said AJC Executive Director David Harris.

“This is all the more true now when the Arab world is engulfed in turmoil.”

The AJC ad titled “The United States and Israel: An Enduring Partnership” features the photos and quotes of all 12 presidents who have served since Israel’s independence in 1948.

“Amidst uncertainty in the Middle East, Americans can always count on one reliable, democratic ally,” states the AJC ad.

Tension Between American Zionists and Turkey

An op-ed by Turkish President, Abdullah Gul, also featured in The New York Times, raises protests from the Zionist advocates.

Under the headline "Turkish President is Wrong on Mideast Turmoil" David Harris objects in an open letter-to-the-editor that Gul asserts that “the plight of the Palestinians has been a root cause of unrest and conflict” in the Middle East and North Africa.

Abdullah Gul stresses that whether the current upheaval leads to democracy or tyranny depends “on forging a lasting Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement and a broader Israeli-Arab peace.”
I call upon the leaders of Israel to approach the peace process with a strategic mindset, rather than resorting to short-sighted tactical maneuvers. This will require seriously considering the Arab League’s 2002 peace initiative, which proposed a return to Israel’s pre-1967 borders and fully normalized diplomatic relations with Arab states.
References to Palestine have been a frequent but also a frequently underreported aspect as a rallying point in Arab insurrections with Arabs feeling their conditions are symbolized in the Palestinian plight, but Harris objects to the comparison and the involvement of Israel as a primary cause for the Western sponsored dictatorships in the region:
In essence, he places the entire onus — and therefore the solution — for this vast region’s ills on Israel’s shoulders. That’s misguided.
Harris points to "the endemic problems at the region’s core, which have been described in detail in the United Nations Arab Human Development Report".

The reports are based on studies of major benchmarks of development and democracy and published over four consecutive years points out freedom, gender and knowledge deficits, also stressing the importance of distrubution and penetration of IT and internet use.

"Those Problems Have Nothing to Do With Israel"

David Harris denies that the Israel-Palestine conflict is in any way connected to the Arab woes.

"With virtually no Arab democracies, a vast gender gap and glaring weaknesses in higher education and research, this region lags behind other developing areas. Those problems have nothing to do with Israel and everything to do with domestic conditions," Harris writes in his response to Gul.

Gul points out that the Western sponsored dictatorships are accused of not taking their people's wishes into account in their foreign policy as well as in domestic policies. He also points out that the demographic development in the region, favoring Arabs, and the current turn towards democracy, could put Israel in altogether greater danger over the years.

"...President Gul does the Palestinians no favor by placing responsibility for the peace process on Israel. It simply relieves them of any accountability for their own actions - from rejecting the Barak-Clinton two-state plan a decade ago to honoring terrorists, as occurred earlier this month with the murderer of 30 Jews at a Passover gathering in Netanya in 2002", Harris states.

The Palestinians were accused of foiling the Barak-Clinton partition plan, but it has later surfaced that Israel may have planned to reject the offer too over the dispute about Jerusalem, and leaked this to Palestinians, who in turn walked out on the negotiations.

"The international community wants the United States to act as an impartial and effective mediator between Israel and the Palestinians, just as it did a decade ago. Securing a lasting peace in the Middle East is the greatest favor Washington can do for Israel", says Abdullah Gul.

"Yes to a two-state Israeli-Palestinian agreement. Yes to a democratic Arab world. But not based on such a skewed analysis", says David Harris.

Intervention in Libya Made The World More Dangerous

I will post this new article from AlterNet with some reservations. First of all, I do not believe the purpose of disarming the world (unilaterally) from WMD possession is a worthy cause, considering that USA is the only country to ever use nuclear bombs, and against a civilian population, twice, near the end of a war, after the breaking of the Axis Powers as Italy and Germany surrendered. The cause is posturing, a part of USA's Grand Area strategizing and its cultural and economic warfare.

Secondly, I am not adamantly opposed to the intervention in Libya, but merely the premises and the method, which are intrinsically tied, as I outline in How NATO Bungled the Libya Campaign. Had the Western powers ceded influence to Turkey and Egypt, as the rebels expressly desired, and had they respected the rebels enough to coordinate movements on the ground, they would have shown good faith and respect for lives. I am not against intervention, but against Western led intervention, because the West has lost all strategic sensibility, and all foreign political credibility, particularly in the MENA region. Enough is enough.

There are two sides to the air-ground inter-communication aspect and why it is critical that it is non-existent: One has to do with protection from friendly fire, as both rebels and civilians have become victims of NATO incoming. The second is that the forces on the ground are restricted to road movement for as much as they rely on their private vehicles to ride into combat, and that makes them predictable - an easy target for the highly trained Gadaffi loyalists. Without communication with the central command the rebels are effectively blind.

Thirdly, I do not consider the Libya invasion a "humanitarian intervention", but simply a failed military campaign to support a democratic insurrection on North Africa.

The AlterNet article's point on how it becomes more difficult to assure "rogue nations" it is wise policy or immunity from invasion to give up their WMD is nearly absurd in the aftermath of Iraq and the Downing Street Memo.

I agree, however, that the campaign has participated in making the world more dangerous, as described in the two articles The Danger of a Faceless Enemy: How Drone War Turns Citizens Into Prey and How Killer Drones Produce More War. The article does touch on the converging economic and military interests behind the surprising support for rebels trying to topple Gadaffi. It also contains additional information about how fragmented the operation is, politically in USA and Europe, and in the military sense.

Return of Revolutions?

By Guest Contributor Saladdin Ahmed, first published on Critical Thinking april 12, 2011:

From Iran, Bahrain, Yemen, Jordan, and Syria to the countries of North Africa, such as Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya, the anger, the desire to change the unbearable reality, the mass movement, and the process of reorganization of the political space are all present.

What seems to be lacking, however, is a progressive revolutionary ideology that would be capable of not only abolishing direct political suppression, but also reshaping the exploitative social relations.

The peoples of Near East and North Africa have the capacity and the will to change their world, but how big will that change be? Is it too unrealistic to expect a revolution that could reshape societies fundamentally, i.e. not only the representatives of the ideological superstructure, but also the relations of production, to use Marx’s terminology?

If this is a progressive revolution, will it be able to exceed the aim of abolishing dictatorial regimes to create a more radical transformation of the societies of the Middle East?

I think so far what is lacking is a grand progressive ideology, but is it possible for a new social and political vision to be emerging as the cross-national revolution continues?

That is the hope.

This article however, for the most part, expresses the less optimistic interpretation of what seems to be happening.

Part of what determines the boundaries and the nature of a historical event at the moment of its occurrence is our (we who do support the event) own expectations, interpretations, utopias, criticisms, and doubts.

My own wish is that this movement will not only target the dictators and their institutional apparatuses, but the entire exploitative social order including class and racial relations.

Nationalist Attachment to Powerful Armies

After the last presidential elections in Iran, many Iranians were angry enough to make a revolution, but what happened fell short of a revolution.

That is so not only because they did not succeed in changing the repressive regime, but because many of them had no idea whatsoever what the next Iran should roughly look like, even though for the most part the ultimate hope was the collapse of the Islamic regime.

In Tunisia and Egypt, the uprisings did accomplish their goal, but those goals were not ambitious enough to go beyond the removal of the two dictators and their immediate circle from the political scene.

Some revolutionaries in both countries to this moment are determined to continue their struggle until the removal of the entire group of the ruling politicians.

However, it seems that many Egyptians and Tunisians still have too much faith in the army.

The Egyptian army produced Egypt’s three dictators since 1956, and Tunisia’s two dictators – since 1957 –  enjoyed the support and protection of the Tunisian army during their prolonged rule over the country.

There is no such a thing as a good army. An army is inherently suppressive and violent. What makes this truth undetectable by some people is their unfortunate nationalist and patriotic attachment to the armies of their countries.

The Lack of a Social Vision

At any rate, what appears to be certain is that the era of traditional tyrannies, represented by the absolute power of an individual dictator, such as Mubarak and hopefully the theocratic tyrannies as well, have already started to end.

But the coming era will bring its own disappointments to the oppressed and marginalized groups who, due to their desperation, are perhaps too hopeful about the new era.

These movements are far from accomplishing a redistribution of wealth, changing the existing relations of production, bringing about any kind of economic justice, or confronting racial, ethnic and, religious discrimination.

The reason this is the case is not only that the riots lack a progressive revolutionary ideology, but also that the nature of the class identity of the “revolutionaries” themselves make the movements lack a grand dream of the future of the social relations.

The Contradictions of Arab nationalism

The riots are led by the middle class educated youth whose demands and dreams are relatively conservative.

These are mainly present or former students whose motivations do not go beyond two main ideological territories: nationalism and liberalism.

Arab, Persian, and Turkish nationalism have never made the situation even for the Arabs, Turks and Persians, respectively, any better.

There is no reason to think Arab nationalism is going to accomplish any progressive goals in the post-tyrannical era.

As far as the minorities or the demonized Other is concerned, the above nationalisms have been at the heart of the most common forms of Middle Eastern fascism.

One of the reasons Arab dictators became unpopular among their peoples was precisely that they were not as aggressive as their people’s wished them to be against Israel.

We have to remember Saddam Hussein was the most aggressive of all Arab dictators both internally and externally, and for that very reason he was the most popular among Arabs.

The Shortcomings of Liberalism

Liberalism, being the other main ideological motivation of these movements, bears some promise of economic reform, yet that reform is not necessarily going to be in the interest of those who have already been economically exploited in the era of tyrannical despotism.

Thanks to the twentieth century model of despotism, the basic promises of liberalism are still a utopia in the Middle East, and thus even the poor hold a great irrational hope in it.

Being able to mock the head of the state publicly is still a great dream of many Middle Easterners, but the new totalitarianism, that of the market, yet to be experienced.

I am not trying to undermine the legitimate appeal of freedom of speech for people who are deprived of it, myself being one of them for a long time; rather, I emphasise the fact that these movements could have aimed at a more profound destruction of the existing reality and a greater improvement of the social conditions if there were a stronger presence of the radical left.

The model for the majority of these revolutionary youth in Tunisia, Egypt, and Iran is the Western liberal democracies as the ideal form of state. What we are witnessing are not revolutions in the direction of social and economic justice but movements of political reform in the direction of liberal democracy.

Arab and Persian Democracy Differ on Israel

In Iran and most Arab societies nationalism and liberalism are the dominant ideology.

In the case of Iran, the Western governments do not hesitate to show empathy and symbolic support to the movement.

In the Arab world, however, the Western governments do not necessarily want so called “free and fair elections” in the Western fashion.

The Western countries have two major fears of free elections in the Arab countries.

The first is the fear of the rise of the Islamists to power, and the second is the fear of the rise of Arab ultra-nationalists, both of which will be hostile to Israel.

In Iran, however, because the state is already an Islamist one, and is openly hostile to Israel, the West prefers a secular nationalist regime which, unlike Arab nationalism, would certainly not be a threat to Israel.

In the Arab countries, almost any change is a change towards the worse as far as the interests of Western liberal capitalism are concerned. Hence, from the point of view of Western Liberalism, represented by the Western governments, the problem is precisely the scenario of Arab countries with so called “free and fair elections”.

Liberalism's Self-Destructive Affections

Once more, liberalism is shooting itself in the foot. This is so in two senses: according to the Western liberals’ own fears, the outcome of the rise of liberalism elsewhere in the world, or at least in the Middle East, creates major crises for Western liberalism, and, hence, liberalism as an ideology is far from bringing about a peaceful stable world, which means that the liberal project of globalization is an unavoidable failure.

This, if anything, supports the grand Marxist thesis maintaining that the dominant ideology in any society is the ideology of the dominant class, which in turn reinforces the theory of historical materialism according to which the state, laws, religion, and normalized moral values are the ideological outcome of a more fundamental set of structures represented in the forces, modes and relations of productions.

As long as the bases of human to human exploitation exist, which produces and reproduces social contradictions, more and more revolutions are to be expected.

I share the Western liberal’s distrust in and fear of Islamism and ultra-Arab nationalism, but apparently, liberalism itself is a fundamental part of the problem.

Not only that, but it is also reaching a historical deadlock, which is created mostly by its own inherent contradictions.

This deadlock might take a few decades until it will make the global capitalist system collapse, but what is evident now is that the dragon has already started eating itself away from the tale.

The Rise of New Socialism

Everything capitalist liberalism did in the twentieth century in order to defeat its true rival, communism, has later blown up in its own face.

It is not too unrealistic to think that capitalism’s current reaction to the outcomes of its own older reactions will bring back a new and stronger form of communism.

Even though the current revolutions do not embody such an advanced form of communism, perhaps its historical grounds are just being formed now in the womb of this historical moment.


The Case for Palestine

The case for Palestine is very simple to make. To understand the Palestinian perspective you do not really need a book such as The Case for Palestine: An International Law Perspective, a counterpoint to Alan Dershowitz’ controversial and contested The Case for Israel.

The case for Israel is a case that needs to be made. Such a case involves the entire set of historical, cultural, religious, legalistic, political and, above all, strategic arguments needed to back the effective submission, removal and oppression of an indigenous population of a territory for political reasons.

There are three ways you can view the Middle-East conflict:

1) Israel Has No Legitimacy

Israel, as the invading entity, is the country in need of defense and justification. Palestinians are the indigenous population and, as such, the legal owners of the land. This is a view often held by staunch supporters of the Palestinian cause.

It is in conflict with both UN General Assembly Resolution 181 (1947) and UN Security Council Resolution 242 (1967). It is, however, also the way the issue looks in plain sight. You may say that it is the view of the Middle-East conflict from the perspective of natural law.

According to such a view Israel must be demolished and replaced by a Palestinian state encompassing the full breadth of the contested territory. This is the view held by Hamas, by the current administration of Tehran and by many radical anti-Zionists, whether from the Islamic world or the Christian: Israel has no legal right to the land.

Unfortunately, the most extreme view is also the most reality-adequate view. It is the plain historical truth, when all rhetoric and political complexity is cut out of the equasion.

2) Israel is Legitimized by UN

The second way to view the Middle-East conflict is that the UN General Assembly Resolution 181 (1947) and UN Security Council Resolution242 (1967) firmly establishes the legitimacy of Israel. This is also the view promoted by Zionist lobbyists and staunch supporters of Israel.

This view is contested by Palestinians in general and by their supporters, including legal experts.

The UN General Assembly Resolution 181 (1947) terminated the British Mandate issued by The League of Nations in the wake of the First World War and recommended the partition of the territory into two states, one Jewish and one Arab, with the Jerusalem-Bethlehem area being under special international protection, administered by the United Nations.

The title is UN Partition Resolution of 29 November 1947. It is not a UN birth certificate and subsequently not a source of formal legitimacy for the Israeli Declaration of Independence. The UN Security Council Resolution242 calls for recognition of Israel’s right to exist under secure and recognized borders, and for Arab war against Israel to cease.

UN General Assembly resolutions are generally considered non-binding, while some consider UN Security Resolutions binding and others contest it, saying they cannot be binding.

In simple terms: There are no legally binding UN resolutions. This is, in essence, the meaning behind the first basic rule of international politics: The world order is anarchic. 

To argue that resolutions regarding Israel are legally binding is therefore absurd. Israel attempts to argue its legitimacy on other more rhetorical (irrational) aspects of its cultural history and accomplishments.

From a realistic perspective the strongest point in Israel's advocacy is derived from relative strategic importance as an ally, unfortunately in a potential geopolitical conflict Israel in itself is instrumental in producing.

3) Both Israel and Palestine are Legitimate

The third view is a compromise that both Israel and Palestine are legitimate. This view is a common view, the fundamental concept behind peace talks and a view backed by both aforementioned resolutions and the Balfour Declaration.

It is not necessarily the truth, and from an objective perspective it makes very little sense. It is a reflection of a global power structures that currently favor the Israeli side, but is morally compelled to balance the support for Israel with some acknowledgement of the Palestinian plight.

The Balfour Declaration is a formal statement of policy by the British government from 1917, supporting the establishment of a nation-state for the Jewish people, but one with due respect for the “non-Jewish communities” in Palestine.

His Majesty's government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.

The Balfour Declaration comes into play due to the statement that “it being clearly understood nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine” cannot be said to be observed by Israel, neither legally nor politically, nor has it ever been.

The Balfour Declaration is not a legally binding document, but it expresses the political justification for the establishment of an Israeli nation-state, that it was to benefit both groups. It may be said to have been forged under pressure from Israeli terrorism and to be naïve in expressing hope for a balanced policy from the varying Israeli governments towards Palestinians.

The Balfour Declaration does, however, stress equality and moral equivalence. It is still philosophically valid and politically relevant, because it frames the spirit and the moral framework of the discussion.

The main issue with regards to discrimination against Palestinians is the Law of Return (1950), which secures that anyone of Jewish ancestry and their spouses have the right to migrate and to settle in Israel and gain citizenship.

The law gives the right of return to those born Jews, those with Jewish ancestry and converts to Judaism. Effectively, this could lead to at the very least a doubling of the Jewish population with a maximum of 13,296,100, should all remaining Jews in exile decide to apply for citizenship.

Equivalence and the Law of Return

The Balfour Declaration is one that stresses equal terms between Jewish and non-Jewish citizens. The Law of Return is clearly discriminating against Palestinians.

If the Law of Return in a moderated form that did not include those who convert to Judaism was to extent to Palestinians, about 10 million Palestinians in Diaspora would have the right to return, along with spouses and off-spring.

If the Law of Return in its current form was to extent to Palestinians, any Muslim would have the right to settle in Palestine and achieve citizenship and associated benefits.

As long as The Law of Return is in effect, Israel is per definition a Zionist state. Under the circumstances it does not make sense to distinguish between pro-Israeli attitudes and Zionism.

If the Law of Return was to be abolished Israel would still have a problem with moral equivalence, since the current Jewish citizens have been “imported” at the expense of Palestinians and with the fact that 10 million people identifying as Palestinians are exiled by the historical course of events.

Right of Return has therefore become a major issue in the Palestinian campaign against Zionist Israel.


Strictly speaking the modern state of Israel is an artificial political construct benefited by a global power structure that favors the West and Western-leaning regimes such as Israel. It represents an extention of European colonialist policies and imperialistic attitudes, favored by American neo-imperialism under the Cold War dynamics.

Israel has no claim to the territories whatsoever, and the Balfour Declaration and following UN resolutions merely reflect political interests, not de facto ownership.

The indigenous Palestinian population must be seen as legitimate owners of the land, and even a partitioning of the land into a Jewish nation-state and a Palestinian nation-state will effectively mean a vast reduction of the rightful ownership of Palestinians.

From a pragmatic view such a partition with all the difficulties it entails may be the only realistic solution. It may be an acceptable compromise, for as much as Israel can offer Palestine compensation for 63 years of discrimination, oppression including murder and torture, and displacement, plus compensation for reduction of Palestinian territory, minus perhaps costs and injuries from Palestinian actions that cannot be said to be legitimate forms of resistance, such as suicide bombings and missile attacks carried out against Israeli civilians.

Such compensation could be delivered in the form of grants for construction of infrastructure pointing towards full Palestinian independence.

The solution would benefit from the division of the Jerusalem-Bethlehem area under special international protection, administered by the United Nations, along the lines of the UN Partition Resolution of 29 November 1947.

The alternatives would be:

Utter disregard for the rights of Palestinians, complete Israeli appropriation of the Occupied Territories and settlements, removal of Palestinians and their absolute submission to any Israeli policies in a Jewish super-state. This would be a great historical crime and one that, unlike the displacement and effective eradication of the Native-American population would be widely remembered among 1.5 billion Muslims in the world.

This is a very likely outcome under the current geopolitical power structure, but it would form the basis of a massive and lasting Pan-Arabic animosity against Israel with the potential to throw the world into a global conflict.

The other option is: Demolition of the state of Israel as an unsustainable project, with the exiling of all current Israeli citizens or their subjection to a Palestinian state.

This is not a realistic scenario under the current geopolitical power structure, but could take place later in the 21st century as a result of waning American power as projected over the next two decades, or a major economic or environmental crisis crippling Washington, or a severing of economic and military and political ties between USA and Israel for other reasons.

Additional notes:

The future existence of Israel is, if a lasting peace agreement accepted by both sides is not worked out, very much in question.

In ancient times Israel has several times been under foreign administration, whether Babylonian or Persian or Roman, with scores of Jews displaced.

Historically, the ownership of the land has been contested and the centre of battles for ownership between European and Middle Eastern medieval warlords.

Establishing a nation on the basis of ownership derived from previous ownership after nearly 2000 years is historically unique and a dangerous precedent for territorial disputes.

Effectively, Israel – a country with a country smaller than New Jersey, could become a primary motive for the West to keep the entire North Africa and Middle East (MENA) in oppression in order to avoid a high-scale conflict. This is a huge and overlooked factor in the Euro-American ambivalence with regards to the current Arab Revolutions.

You may also be interested in Why Does USA Support Israel? 


Why Does USA Support Israel?

The world media has long been abuzz with complaints and criticism about the American involvement in the Middle East Conflict. Washington is not, has never been and can never be “an honest broker” in the conflict.

How much of that is true when put to an honest, objective an impartial evaluation?

They are all true.

Since 1962, when US President Kennedy authorized sales of Hawk anti-aircraft missiles to Israel, Israel has had the status of a close American ally, receiving billions of dollars in military and economic aid.

Strategically, Israel has “51st State” status, along with other small but significant countries like Denmark and South Korea1)

According to a calculus performed by If Americans Knew, an independent research and information institute focusing narrowly on the Israel-Palestine conflict, the total grants and loan guarantees for Israel is roughly 5.5 billion per year.
So the complete total of U.S. grants and loan guarantees to Israel for fiscal 1997 was $5,525,800,000.
Even if the number differs, varies or combines figures, often cited numbers of 1.2 to 1.8 billion and the IAK number of 3 billion in grants alone indicate the strategic importance of Israel to the United States.

Under such conditions USA cannot be expected to act as an honest broker. Accusations of double-dealing in Washington with regards to the Israel-Palestine conflict, posing as negotiators while feeding the hubris of an overgrown war machine, are as obviously true as accusations of Israeli double-dealing when comes to Palestinians, and as accurate as reports of Palestinian aggression.

USA and Israel has fostered what is called a "special relationship."

It is the nature of things: Geopolitics is not a game for the faint of heart.

1) Denmark no longer due to its strategic placement near the Baltic Sea, but due to USA's monitoring station on Greenland, Thule Air Base, for which reason Denmark will indefinitely be tied to USA as a crucial strategic partner. The common wisdom is that the home of the 821st Air Base Group is no longer geopolitically relevant after the end of the Cold War, but the 2008 Georgia-Russia crisis should be sufficient to prove otherwise. The real reason, however, TAB is an essential installation to USA, is that it provides the best location for the kind of monitoring required by the anti-ballistic missile program. South Korea is obviously a key strategic partner, because it marks the end of Communist China's reach to the South.

Why does USA support Israel?

The question becomes: Why does USA support Israel?

As already suggested USA supports Israel for strategic reasons, but that is not an entirely sufficient explanation.

It raises more questions: What specific strategic reasons? Have the strategic aims changed since Israel was founded and acknowledged by President Truman in 1948? Are the strategic interests reality-adequate, or do they reflect the Cold War scenario in which the alliance was formed?

Finally, there are frequent rumors of a strong and relentless Zionist lobby in USA, and of widespread support from the Christian Right.

To answer these questions, it is important to realize that Israel was not a key strategic interest when founded in 1948. For all we know USA did not put pressure on Britain to withdraw its forces, lift the British mandate and declare Israeli independence.

To Truman the Middle East Conflict was a conflict of minor importance, and the Jewish Zionist pressure a nuisance.

In 1956, when Israel attacks Egypt for control of the Suez Canal, with the support of Britain and France, USA threatens Britain with oil sanctions and forces an end to the war. USA also announces it will not sell arms to Israel because it fears confrontation in the Middle East.

A Series of Unfortunate Events

The year after, fearing a strong Soviet presence in the Middle East, USA announces the Eisenhower doctrine under which USA will offer military and economic aid to any Middle Eastern nation threatened by communism.

The CS Monitor Timeline summarizes the Six Day war like this:
1967 Six-Day War. Israel launches strike against Arab neighbors, capturing Jerusalem, the Sinai Peninsula, the Gaza Strip, and the Golan Heights. It is the last time Israel will fight without US-supplied weapons. UN calls for Israel to withdraw. Israel refuses.
In the following 1973 Yom Kippur War, when Egypt and Syria attacked Israel over the Golan Heights and Sinai Peninsula, US airlifts $2.2 billion in emergency aid and weapons, turning tide in Israel's favor. In return, Arab states cut US oil shipments.

This pretty much explains why Israel, all of a sudden, becomes a key ally to Israel. After the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran, immediately followed by the hostage crisis, where Iranian students rush into the US Embassy in Tehran and take 66 Americans hostage for 15 months, the deal is pretty much sealed.

US aid to Israel reaches a peak of 34 percent of total US foreign aid.

USA, having already drawn enmity from the Arab states and from Iran, is now obliged to support Israel as its closest ally in the region. The Cold War dynamics morphs into a war on terrorism scenario lurking dormant under the nuclear and ideological stand-off with the Soviet Union.

We must assume that already by then contingency plans for total conflict with the combined forces of Islamic nations are drafted.

Does Terrorism Constitute a Geopolitical Threat?

This answers most of the relevant questions about the US-Israeli ties. The strategic interests and investments have changed drastically since the birth of Israel. The strategic interests must be considered reality-adequate for the time, even if subsidiary to other geopolitical interests.

 It leaves the questions of whether or not the strategic investments are still reality-adequate and, if so, to what extent.

The overall scenario, before the Pan-Arabic Revolt in 2010-2011, there were very few geopolitical threats to USA left in the world. The Soviet Union had crumbled, leaving only one dictatorship in Eastern Europe, Belarus, and with the Balkan conflict reduced through Albright’s intervention and the division of former Yugoslavia into separate states.

North Korea, Iran and, to some extent, Syria remained hostile to USA. Lebanon was a critical issue due to the power of the Muslim Brotherhood, which could be found siding with Iran in a conflict. Hamas, of course, was also considered a problem, but hardly a geopolitical threat.

Even if terrorism poses a threat to a nation or multiple nations at a time, and even if it is applied for political purposes, and even if it could theoretically cause mass destruction that would morph it into a geopolitical threat, it does not necessarily equate a geopolitical threat.

The assault on 9-11, however, must be considered an attack of such magnitude the forces behind it deserve to be labeled a geopolitical threat. Not only were the twin towers of World Trade Center destroyed, causing the loss of approximately 3000 human lives, but Pentagon and Air Force One were also targeted.

How USA Plans It’s Strategic Movements

In such a scenario it is not suspicious in itself that USA considers its options for asserting itself globally with military muscle. What USA did was, most likely, to upgrade a number of countries from potentially threatening to threatening, from the calculation that a regime unstable enough to potentially fall to Islamists was too much of a risk.

This has very little to do with the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq: Afghanistan in itself did not constitute much of a geopolitical threat, but the Taliban regime threatened instability in the region, with Pakistan – a country that wields nuclear weapons – being at serious risk of Islamization.

Afghanistan was a good place to place the enemy. It is doubtful that Afghanistan was invaded to pursue Osama bin Laden. A high ranking CIA operative in charge of the hunt for Osama bin Laden has written a book about the bungled effort and performed live on 60 minutes explaining how orders from “the highest place” stopped him and his team from taking down Osama bin Laden, even as they had his camp in their sights.

Likewise, it is inconceivable that Afghanistan was invaded as retaliation or out of sympathy for the Afghans, for that matter. USA simply does not plan and execute its military strategies in this fashion. To the one schooled in modern history there is a certain element of transigence in the way Pentagon operates.

The international community is often, in strategic contexts, called a “geopolitical chessboard”. Analyst of the new mode of operation after the Cold War, however, compares it more to the Japanese strategy game go, where the objective is to secure maximum mobility for your own forces while hampering the mobility of the opponent.

Wolfowitz, when in Washington’s good graces, famously admitted that Iraq was chosen as an attack point, because it contained oil. What he meant was not that Iraq was attacked to steal or gain easy access to the natural oil resources in the simple meaning of the word, but that the presence of oil was an important motivator for Iraq and not some other Middle Eastern country to become the foothold of US imposed democracy.

The economic calculations with regards to the Iraqi oil was the influence of the liberation of the oil well on the overall oil prices, as well as the access to drilling for US companies, which would fuel the American economy to perpetuate the neo-conservative goal of perpetual motion, largely perceiving USA as a freedom machine along the lines of the Manifest Destiny ideology.

When comes to Afghanistan the country holds rich mineral ressources and an excellent location for a secure oil pipe line from Central Asia. It is called converging interest, when ideological and strategic projects also feeds a dwindling purse.

The Neighbor of My Enemy is My Enemy

Equally important: Iraq is the neighbor of Iran. It is said so often about geopolitics that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” most people are aware of this principle. Fewer are aware of the principle that “the neighbor of my enemy is my enemy too”, simply because it provides an attack point.

To further illustrate this, consider how USA did not make a move against Iran after the hostage crisis, but solved it through bartering hostages for weapons in violation of the US protocol against delivering weapons to hostile regimes, a transfer known as the Iran-Contra affair. Then she followed up with a proxy war.

Following the 1998 embassy bombings in Africa, USA did not move against Kenya or Tanzania, but rather expanded its campaign against Somalia by sending in forces from the US Joint Special Operations Command and by funding the Ethiopians.

Strategic calculus is based on three factors: Resources, firepower and logistics, in common military jargon “fire and mobility.” Mobility, however, must be understood in broader terms, since logistics comes into play in all war scenarios. In many high level conflicts such as the Crimean War, The Patriotic War of 1812 and on several fronts in Second World War, logistical breakdown paved the way for defeat or at least degrading of forces.

In very simple terms a war faring nation must have multiple and interconnected landing points for troops, planes and equipment to secure mobility. This is why USA has around 10 aircraft carriers and 1000 permanent military bases around the world.

The Contingency Plan for Everything

This leads to Israel as a permanent military installation for USA and its extended arm in the Middle East. Being in principle a democracy, an industrious one and relatively liberal when comes to social issues, not too dissimilar from Europe in attitudes (Israel competes in the European Song Contest), Israel has enough similarities to make for a reasonably good match.

On top of that, Israel is positioned between three continents or sub-continents, Africa, the Arab Peninsula (sub-continent) and Europe. Europe was, from the very ending of the Second World War, selected by USA as a buffer against the Communist domino game. Fearing Europe would be swallowed up or wander off, USA forged the Transatlantic Alliance with NATO as an effective extension of the US Army.

The Marshall Aid that reconstructed Europe was a policy with several advantages, from trade relations to a general protection against repetition of the two devastating world wars, and as such also a noble dimension. USA was an instrumental backer of the European Union that has miraculously kept Europe safe from inner war in over 65 years, and it is to USAs credit that the “beggar thy neighbor” policies of Europe that has cursed the continent to so many futile wars were finally brought to an end.

However, with the rise of Europe as an invaluable partner in business and in war, Europe’s security became Washington’s headache too. Israel serves not only as a bridgehead to the Middle East, but as a buffer to Europe’s soft underbelly.

Nobody seriously expected an Arab or African attack on Europe in the previous century. Israel was, on top of other strategic interests vested in it, just a piece in a puzzle, a centrally positioned cog in the machinery constructed to secure American dominance in any global conflict.

As a high ranking military spokesman stated during the Bush administration when asked if USA had a contingency plan for war against Europe: "We have a contingency plan for everything."

A Little More Hated Than Needed

In the Contingency Plan for Everything Israel plays a key role. Still, the Middle East conflict remains a headache for Washington, because however wary Washington may be of Islamism in The Levant, and however much enmity, latent or operative, characterizes USAs relationship with the region, Israel is a little too much the enemy of Muslims.

Regardless of what you may think of USA a few things are solid about the country’s geopolitical involvement: As fiercely opposed and ruthless USA is to her enemies, as loyal she is to those who do her bidding. This is a key factor in Pax Americana, the equivalent of “leave no man behind”, which resonates as deeply in the hallways of military planning as “don’t tread on me.”

Israel has enormous signal value to USA, so she cannot really let down “the sole democracy in the Middle East.” Of course, all this may be hypocritical in the light of US operations to stop democracies, namely the first Islamic democracy in Iran and the first socialist democracy in Chile. If the ideological values and, namely, the economic order and agenda of a democracy do not serve the US quest for world dominance, even relatively meek or weak opponents may soon enough be upgraded to enemy status.

For Israel this means that their alliance with USA is a shaky one, always dependent on the range and substance of US economic and military power, and on opinion polls within the nation. Should USA change her agenda – which nothing right now indicates – Israel could become more of an inconvenience than a productive investment.

When all is said and done Israel remains a key strategic ally to USA and all calls for Israel to be annulled as a historic error or due to non-compliance with UN resolution upon UN resolution must be considered pure rhetoric in the face of a tragic and dilemmatic geopolitical imperative.

The Israeli Interests at Stake

The best thing to hope for, when comes to peace in the Middle East and acknowledgement of the rights of Palestinians, is a two-state solution. Regardless of what one may read in the media, this solution is not supported by Israel, and for a set of obvious reasons:

First of all, Israel wants to diminish the number of enemies and potential enemies, and the prospect of having a hostile, possibly Islamist state right outside its borders, does not quieten Knesset. That is understandable.
For as long as Hamas has a charter that calls for the eradication of Israel and all territory in possession of Palestinians, forget about that option even as a diplomatic talking point.

Secondly, Israel obligates itself with the Law of Return to make any Jew who applies and can prove their Jewishness, a citizen.

The Law of Return is critical when comes to understanding Israel, because it motivates the policy of expropriation and settlement in the occupied territories. In addition to citizenship Jews have the right to habitation and other social goods.

The Law of Return is pretty much a part of the Israeli birth myth, its Zionist legacy, and as such it is both unconstitutional and discriminating, and a part of the fundamental principles and rationalizations for the modern state of Israel.

Thirdly, Israel simply does not want to let go of territory and be diminished as a nation. The division is made further difficult because the division would carve up Israel, having its enemies or potential enemies residing north and south.

It would, effectively be two Palestines, not to speak of the issue of Jerusalem, its holy places and transitional responsibilities to provide infrastructure. On the Palestinian side, the rightful owners of the land are diminished to - 63 years and lots of lost progress later - to possess only 20 percent of the original contested land, and to be divided in two sectors highly dependent on Israeli infrastructural support.

Indefinite Funding For an Oppressive Regime

In order for Israel to accept such a deal it would have to be forced. That cannot happen as long as USA provides the funding and equipment for the military apparatus that conducts the oppression of Palestinians, the destruction of infrastructure and the enabling of Jewish settlers to take permanent residence on Palestinian soil.

Speaking to a Palestinian elder, one of the heads of a large Palestinian family in Jerusalem, I was equally surprised to learn his eldest son was married to a Jewish woman and Christians were permanent occupants of his guest house, as I was to hear him say:
“I think that if only foreign powers could stay out of the conflict, Israelis and Palestinians could work it out for themselves.”
Nobody mentioned, nobody left out, but it goes without saying that he meant both USA with its blind fuelling of a relentless war machine that may only have a faint theoretical purpose in a very distant future, and the belligerent rhetoric of Islamic groups in the MENA region, inducing a state of paranoia and Panic in Knesset, where it knows no better than to sow the seeds of its own destruction.

Knowing that Israel will secretly foil any attempt to make peace, while publicly declaring otherwise, and that USA will make every possible attempt to negotiate peace, while indiscriminately fuelling the Israeli oppression, the parties inside the Palestinian camp, Fatah and Hamas, have grow equally frustrated, corrupted and incapable of good governance.

Palestine is locked in a conflict, where their weapons and military discipline – Palestine does not have an army – are hopelessly inadequate against one of the most well trained and unscrupulous military forces in the world.

A report drafted by intelligence students in the American army stated, trying to answer if US military presence in the territories would be a viable option, that the IDF is so skilled it could launch attacks on US soldiers under false flag, masquerading as Palestinians, and that it was ruthless enough to do it.

Such an assessment coming from a friend and close ally should illustrate how hot a potato Israel has become, considered a loose cannon on the deck even by its main patron.

The Danger of Pan-Arabic Escalation

Withdrawal of funding for military operations is one way to stop the escalating conflict, so far claiming over 1000 Israeli lives since 1994, and almost seven times as many Palestinians, many of which are only children and. But even cutting the grants and loans from the US budget on its own would hardly create the diplomatic equilibrium required.

The threat of overwhelming force is also counter-productive. Imagine if Israel was on its own, with the back against the wall, abandoned by its patrons in Washington and by the lukewarm supporters in racist Europe, which facilitated Zionism through centuries of persecution culminating in Holocaust: In such a desperate scenario, threatened by a coalition of Arab forces, a nation with a history as the Jewish one would be more likely to fight to the death.

In the Six Day War, Israel fought off three invading forces without significant American or European support. Israeli military planners are experts in counter-strike, and no doubt Israel also has a contingency plan for an all-out assault and one that involves the use of nuclear arms, even if it may not be a Contingency Plan for Everything.

Neither direct support nor total withdrawals of moral support are solutions. Those who hope for the Arab Revolt to produce reasonable leverage for the Palestinians should consider that the populations in MENA by and large hold such animosity against Israel it could cloud their judgment.

With regards to the PR war surrounding the issue, many Americans and Europeans now believe that the dictators they, until recently, refused to believe were funded and supported by the West, were put in charge as a lesser evil with the greater evil being Islamic fundamentalism.

USA and Europe are scared out of their minds about Pan-Arabism, so while they – under the new winds blowing – support the Arab Revolt for its democratic agenda, hoping to undercut Islamism before it grows to a level where it cannot be countered without mutual economic destruction, Pentagon and NATO are also going to make support for future democratic regimes in The Levant conditional of cooperation with Western regimes on the Israel issue.

The Arab Revolution Changes the Game

The reality of the history of the Middle East is that the dictators were put in charge to keep the region on its heels or at its toes, reaching for a development and a status it was never supposed to achieve, and fearing the swift and merciless replacement facilitated by American invasion or by nefarious scheming, from CIA assassination to proxy war.

USA leads a persistent under-the-radar war against Pan-Arabism and OPEC in particular, and breaking the oil cartel is important for both economic and strategic reasons, since oil is a weapon of mass destruction with a staggering power to undercut any military undertakings of the West.

The campaign must be largely considered a failure, but parties inside USA still believe in the cause and stand ready to revive it, in case they gain political clout to carry it out.

Before the Arab Revolt Washington had managed to carry out another agenda: Most countries in the world, including the Arab nations, acknowledged Israel’s right to exist.

This consensus is now in the wind, as the revolutionary storm unsettles country after country, leaving the experts guessing about the outcome. The outcome is not as uncertain as most people think of it: The Islamic world is Islamic now, under Western leaning dictators among who Gadaffi was one and Mubarak another and they will be Islamic and largely anti-Zionist under various democratic governments, as they come into place.

For Israel this spring has been very disturbing, as they can look forward to be pressured by democratic regimes, and USA will have a much harder time using the stick to threaten the Arabs into compliance. Again, it is a part of the communication aspect of war, the pretext. It is infinitely much easier to rally support for a war against a dictator, as we saw in the case of Saddam Hussein, than a relatively cooperative leadership of a democratic nation.

Therein lies the hope for Palestine that now shines with renewed power, but also a new set of risks: Risk of overreaching, and risk of the revolutions backfiring, turning into repetitions of the Iranian revolution with what that entails of nationalism and Islamism, and oppositely the risk of the Western powers becoming so intimidated they run backwards into full and unequivocal support of all Israeli policies.

As the Palestinian grandfather told me over tea: It does not necessarily become easier to negotiate, when there are numerous and powerful interests vested.

The Picture is Changing in the PR War

It will take restraint from both sides of the emerging negotiation table for a peace deal to be worked out. So far extreme attitudes from the rebellious Arab and African citizens have not been enough to dissuade the majority of Westerners to support the new Pan-Arabic democratic movement. There is something extremely compelling to Westerners about such revolts. As much as the establishment in the Western countries hates protests in their own countries, the pro-democratic movements remind them of their own history, from the French and American Revolution up to the liberation of the Eastern Block and the subsequent collapse of the Soviet Union.

American polls show that the vast majority of Americans side with Israel, but that the number of Americans showing sympathy for the Palestinian plight is growing, if slowly over the past years. Surveys from Europe indicates that the development is faster, and that more are informed about the Middle East conflict, and more accurately informed, and that Israel has lost its privileged status as beyond reproach.

This coincides with, and is likely caused by, a renewed effort to communicate the Palestinian side of the story. Blogging and Internet portals can take a lot of credit for increased positive exposure. Number crunching, producing illustrative graphics and historical accounts cannot be overestimated.

Simply listing death tolls and trying to urge sympathy by graphic depictions of victims – the sentimentalist approach – simply does not have enough media impact, particularly not in a complex and multi-layered geopolitical conflict with religious and racial undertones. It is too easy for Western viewers to dismiss things as propaganda.

The new communication efforts are also characterized by improved formatting, layout and design, which plays a huge role in creating trust. The journalistic approach, format and discipline – such as it is displayed by Al Jazeera – are superior to rhetoric, because it does not need translating into the debate language of the West.
Similarly, approachable and appealing designs on blogs and websites tracking the Middle East conflict increasingly signals production value and production values mean that someone with time and resources is willing to invest.

All these elements are required in order to frame the story, which is the most essential factor in balancing the scales for an equitable negotiation process. In a political battle framing the story is the equivalent to elevated position or air power in military conflicts. The part that can frame the story holds the upper hand, and so far Israel has been absolutely dominant in that arena.

This is changing, but if the freed people and the new governments in the Arab world take a frightening posture, trying to resolve the issue with intimidation or application of force, the economic and military cards are still stacked against Palestine.

Just like Palestinians must accept the unacceptable – having their country stolen from under their feet, and being offered noting but small portions of devastated land to start anew from, all with the support of superpowers and enforced by a UN resolution – the Israeli must be brought to understand that the price they pay for their new Promised Land is that they too must accept what they perceive as absolutely unacceptable.

Until a comprehensive peace has been achieved between the new East (including China and Russia) and the West has been achieved, and for as long as Westerners perceive Islamic nations as a potential threat, one cannot hope to persuade Washington that Israel is not an important ally.

However, it is very obvious that Israel is an indefensible and very disturbing ally, and ultimately an ally that may not be as important as it has come to believe.

Christian Right and Zionist Lobby

The last question I have left to answer is that of Zionist Lobby and Christian Right support for Israel. Christian Right support is a fact, both when comes to promoting Israel as a political issue, to the ability of the issue to direct voter support from Evangelicals, and when comes to financial support.

From the early 1980s a large transnational movement of Christian Zionists promoted the concept of Exodus II, arguing that in spite of the fact that Herzl was an atheist Jew, the fact that Israel was founded upon a row of crimes against humanity perpetrated against Palestinians and rampant terrorism against Britain, it was established on heavenly mandate, not UN mandate.

The events on Earth today, according to this school of Evangelicals, remains a reflection of God's will, and the illegal settlements fulfilment of prophesy, and proof of the End Times, and so forth. You may say that to Evangelical Zionists Israel's re-emergence after 2000 years of diaspora represents the last tangible sign of God.

The question of holy places, also on the behalf of Jews to whom the Evangelicals have approached a fatherly protective role, would stimulate renewed involvement. Paradoxically, that may matter much less to modern day Israeli Jews than the question of having their capitol divided, but for as long as the Christian Right is a powerful factor in USA irrational issues hold dysproportional weight.

The same goes for devout Muslims, but making holy sites a key issue is an effective show-stopper and ultimately an emergency button that can be pushed by both parties: Israel, Palestine or both parties simultanously, used it foil Clinton's attempt to negotiate a peace deal. That is not to say that any of the summits have ever been remotely close to achieving an accord.

The question of Zionist Lobby is more difficult, because naturally it exists, but it is difficult to track actual support, financial and political, from leading Jewish members of society. The project violates, to a certain extent, a taboo against raising the question of Jewishness and loyalties. Using the political climate, or the media temperature, as an indicator of the power of the Zionist Lobby, is not very accurate.

To illustrate how powerful Jewish Interest is in the West, the best indicator is that in several countries in Europe Holocaust denial is equated with hate speech and punishable by law. This may seem reasonable, considering Europe's troubled history of anti-Semitism and violent persecution, but in none of these countries anti-Semitism directed at Jews - except for incidents of Muslim assaults - constitute a problem, except for the occasional and marginalized mad man spewing neo-Nazi rhetoric.

Jews in Europe, like in America, are generally well liked, considered reliable and productive members of society, and indistinguishable from the Christian or atheist. The problem of anti-Semitism is only noticeable, when it comes to Muslims, who suffer real discrimination and are subjected to actual violence. This, however, is systematically underreported and hate crimes rarely prosecuted as such, and when it occurs, generally neglected, even if EU rules demand that countries file reports on hate crimes.

Hate speech against Muslims, however, are sometimes prosecuted, but the penalties are weak, and being sentenced with such a fine does not produce social ostracization, as it is often members of Parliament who receive them. One cannot make direct comparisons between Europe and USA, but considering that both places have the same issues with Islam, and considering that Europe is more sympathetic to Palestine, it is probably fair to say that only because America's ardent belief in free speech is the only reason it differs on the issue of anti-Semitism against Jews and the issue of Holocaust denial.

However, as a general observation, wild speculations about Zionist conspiracies are not advisable, partly because they tend to involve unsubstantiated allegations and lead in the direction of anti-Semitic propaganda, for instance the dissemination of the false flag "Jewish" manual for world control, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, and partly because it is self-defeating: Using powerful lobbyism is a convenient excuse to overlook on one side the actual strategic interests vested in Israel as a geopolitical player, and on the other flaws, errors and shortcomings in the public diplomacy for peace or, when that is the case, for the Palestinian view.


Part of the reason why so many Westerners are silence about the issue, is because fatigue has set in. The audience responds with the same indifference to repetition of arguments and news about deaths as they do to recurring bombs in Iraq, drone attacks on the Afghan-Pakistan border or suicide boms in Pakistan.

Another underlying reason is that disingenous attitudes are detected on both sides: On one side unbridled greed and on the other side grievance driven vindictiveness. However understandable or justified many Westerners are on the fence.

One of the best examples I can give, as an illustration to both sides, and to supporters on both sides, is the words of a friend who admitted:
"I have stopped giving a damn about Israel. The other day someone said something anti-Semitic about Jews, and while I would usually have protested, I didn't say anything, because I am so sick and tired of what the Israelis are doing."
This muddled, conflicted attitude, the cruel indifference and the underlying desperation over struggling with a Gordic Knot, goes a long way to explain the global under-involvement in a conflict of such principal importance. The consequence is, ultimately, that neither side will benefit. A statement like this cannot be understood as active participation or support for the Palestinian view.

To the warning of Israeli Zionists they are, as Norman Finkelstein points out, to some extent, responsible for the growing anti-Semistism. To the warning of Palestinians, their grievances can only be diminished by involvement of the international community, as I think I have explained here.

Ultimately, the conclusion is that for a peace process to take place, peace has to be the real agenda of both parties in question.

The way the dices landed, there is only one way to accomplish a durable peace in the Middle East – and there are hundreds of ways to fail.

3 Things To Support if You Really Hate America

If you really hate USA and would like to see it go bankrupt, there are three things you  have to promote:
  • Christian Right
  • Racism
  • Small Government
Christian Right Will Destroy All Progress

It is important to promote Christian Right values with all it entails: Prayer in schools, creationism over science, no abortion rights, women's de-emancipation, homophobia, physical punishment of children and so forth.

It happened to the Arab world, once the beacon of civilization with a liberal and hospitable culture that promoted tolerance, multi-culturalism and scientific progress. They experienced a religious revival, and the Islamic hardliners snuffed out reason and progress. Today the median income level in the Middle East ranks only higher than that of the poor regions of Africa.

It happened to Europe too, the cradle of modern democracy and enlightenment ideals. Both the Athenian democracy and the Roman republic died as dictatorship. Christian Rome was unable to hold the empire together, the inevitable collapse threw the continent into what today is known as The Dark Ages. You can count on the Christian Right to do the same for USA.

Racism is a Ticking Bomb

All great civilizations were multi-cultural (for instance, Egypt had black and white living side by side, and its governing institution was called The Double White House), and cultures derive immense benefits from cultural and racial integration. But racism is a ticking bomb under the system with the potential to tear a society apart.

Small Government is Code for Authoritarianism

I hesitantly add Small Government, not because the budget deficit is unimportant, or because Big Government is good, but because it is largely code for Strong Authoritarian Government, Weak Unions, No Social Responsibility and, ultimately, Low Respect for Civil Rights.

It means no oversight over corporations, general acceptance of multinational tax evasion, and many more "bubbles" to ripple out of Wall Street. It means deteriorating conditions for workers and for small independent companies. All wealth sucked up by the 1% that forms the elite, and the rest left in wanton circumstances.

The Second Amendment Issue

I do not add guns, even if rampant gun violence is an immensely disturbing and therefore destabilizing factor. US has written ownership rights into its constitution with the 2nd Amendment. It is practically a part of the American birth myth. Even if I, as a European, perceive it as hazardous, I also have to acknowledge it is extremely difficult to change a constitution, so tactically the Republicans are on the safe side with this. Also, it is not - like the other issues - going to undermine USA.

One More Ultra-Right Wing Govt Means Game Over

Quite frankly, I doubt USA will make it past another ultra-right wing government, as things stand. Projections will have it that China is going to be the leading economic power by 2020-2025. It is already the 2nd largest economy, surpassing Japan this year, and the greatest trade nation, surpassing Germany in 2010.

On top of it, most of Latin America is pinkish, and Hispanics are the fastest growing population group in USA, with "all white" population at a staggering low: 61%. That is just to say what the proponents of White Male Patriachate have to expect from the future, and to explain why they are so desperate. The old tiger goes out with a fury.

BRIC countries are projected to be the four largest economies by 2050, and they have begun forming a rudimentary union or alliance around Goldman-Sach's famous concept.

Military Muscle Without an Economic Engine Won't Last

How long can USA last as muscle power only? I doubt her military superiority will remain intact for a decade, if its economic power wanes. We saw what happened to the Soviet Union upon its fiercely imbalanced budget. No amount of conventional armament or stacking of nuclear bombs could save the regime.

The only way out of the mess is science, education, R&D, innovation and social progress.

The other way - back to the roots, paleo-conservatism ahead of all other values, religious superstition - is not just a dead end in the common meaning of the term, but realistically a road to extinction. In politics, as well as nature, the ones that adapt the best will survive.

2012 may not be the end of the world, but it could mean the end of America as we know it.

If you found this assessment accurate or interesting, please also read 42% of Tea Partiers Agree With Conservative Christian Movement


The Libyan Stale-Mate and the US Partisan Bickering

Hawkish John McCain, one of the first US Senators to call for intervention in Libya, now urges Washington to recognize the Libyan rebels as the country's only legitimate leadership.

Hazardous as it may sound - John "I Hate Those Gooks" McCain is, after all, known as a maverick and somewhat reckless - it is a clever play: Obviously American pre-Presidential Election strategizing has gotten mixed up with the Libyan stalemate.

Whether he can force Obama to commit one hundred percent, or he can later claim any level of failure was due to indecision and half measures on his behalf, McCain will come out squaky clean and look like a man of action - a good spokesman for whoever becomes the 2012 Republican candidate.

McCain says he fears a long-drawn stale-mate will cause Al Qaeda to gain strength in the civil war torn country, upon a visit to inspect "the troops" in Benghazi.

Earlier CIA reports state that the presence of Al Qaeda operatives or former Al Qaeda operatives is very small among the Libyan rebels, but there is little reason to rely on such intelligence.

The head of the U.S. military's Africa Command told Congress this month that it was the stated intent of al Qaeda's affiliate in the area to aid Libya's opposition.

Engaging USA in a Third War

France and Italy have already recognized the raggedy rebels as legitimate government of Libya, and Sarkozy says he wants to go to Benghazi too to meet up with McCain.

The absurdities don't stop there:

Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the U.S. military's Joint Chiefs of Staff, claims that Libyan ground forces have been degraded by "up to 40%". 

Anyone who knows marketing language - or basic mathematics - also knows that "up to something" can mean as little as nil. Anyone who remembers Iraq and Afghanistan, the early years, also remembers how one self-congratulatory and unduly optimistic official report followed the other.

The Libyan stalemate is quickly escalating into the next big quagmire for the USA, eager to regain initiative in a world, where it is publicly losing its grip on the world and its ability to promise or enforce Pax Americana.

That means USA is stretched on three fronts.

The Libyan Army

Anyone who has actually seen photos of the Libyan rebels will also understand that even as much as 40% is 40% of something, namely one of the best equipped and capable forces in Africa, largely due to a combination of strict discipline and Western weaponry generously provided at affordable prices, when Gadaffi was in Washington's good graces as a blessed peacemaker in the war against terrorism.

The full force of the Libyan Army is about 119,000 soldiers, so 40% of that - the generous estimate - sets the remaining force at roughly 47,600. There is little reason to believe the estimate, and there is little reason to believe that large and significant swarms of Ghadaffi loyalists have crossed over to the rebel side.

The coalition force intervention - that much is true - pretty much saved the rebel forces from crushing defeat.

Other than this, the truth is that there is no easy road to victory. However much you sympathize with the cause, and however much you hold the rebels in regard for their uprising against Gaddafi, the only way to make this a win is to set the table for war.

There is very little change Obama will risk a new polarizing war right up to the election and with a huge budget deficit and a negative trade balance to worry about, unless he can secure a quick, unequivocal win within the next 6-10 months.

Compromise is the solution

Again, compromise comes into play: Unconfirmed reports state that Washington has vowed 25 million in support to the rebels. It will take time for them to consolidate and raise a proper army out of the raggedy bunch of heavily armed amateur fighters waving from their civilian vehicles as they ride into battle and right out at the first sight of coordinated military opposition.

The rest of it? That is not war as an extention of politics, but war as an instrument of partisan positioning. Ultimately, it does not make a difference if Washingon acknowledges the rebels or not at this point. That doesn't make them better fighters.

It's either wait it out, keep pressure on Gadaffi long enough to raise a proper ground force, or move in with thunderbolts and lightning and swiftly depose of him, and be home in time to reap the accolades. The last thing is not an option. That's why McCain suggests it.