Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Land and what I might have said

Not Just Land

I recently went on about 'time travel' a bit to make a point. Victor Hanson makes the same point and more. 'Great Minds' and all that? Well, maybe not.

Despite the claims of terrorist organizations, Israel's current two-front war is not just about land. After all, Hezbollah and Hamas fired rockets from Lebanon and Gaza well after Israel had withdrawn from both places. Indeed, if sacred Arab ground were the driving force of the Middle East crisis, then surely Syria itself would now be willing to risk a shooting war over the all important Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. Meanwhile, Cairo is still perhaps the nexus of virulent Arab anti-Semitism, even though Israel finished handing over Sinai to Egypt 1982.

The world prayed that after the unilateral departure of Israel from Lebanon in 2000 and Gaza in 2005, and the recent elections in Beirut and the West Bank , it was witnessing an incremental evolution toward a lasting peace between rational democratic states. Gradually, Israel was returning to its 1967 borders. In response, gradually, it was hoped, Israel's Arab neighbors would vote into office reasonable statesmen who would renounce terror and get on with the business of crafting workable economies and governments. But all that optimism presupposed a radical change in the Middle Eastern mentality. Unfortunately, that hasn't happened.

...

Victimization turns out to be the real creed of the Middle East, uniting disparate Shiites, Sunnis, dictators, theocrats and terrorists. "They did it to us" offers an easy explanation of why Islamic states are now weak and offer little hope to millions of their poor, who, ironically, emigrate to the much pilloried West by the millions.

American cash aid, Israeli concessions, windfall petrol profits and, most of all, appeasement of radical Islamists can do nothing to alleviate these perceived grievances.

Instead, there will be no peace in the general Middle East until Iranians and Arabs have true constitutional government, free institutions, open markets and the rule of law. Without these reforms, they will continue to fail, seeking easy refuge in the shreds of mythical ancestral honor — and this pathetic neurosis of blaming nearby Israel for the loss of it.

Wish I'd said that...

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