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  •  The power of humiliation (3.75)
    What the framers of U.S. foreign policy have repeatedly been shown, but decline to learn, is the power of humiliation as a motivator.  

    People may tolerate poverty indefinitely if they believe that there is no hope of changing it --- and it's hard to convince people that a revolutionary movement could improve their material lot.  [Reference: see twentieth century.]

    By contrast, a man who is humiliated in front of his family has a powerful and immediate motivation for retribution.  This is particularly true in parts of the world with strong customary codes of personal honor.  And a person who sees her nation humiliated has a motivated for vengeance that may be much more visceral than any that could be aroused by grinding poverty.

    The United States humiliated Iran in 1953. It was quick and easy -- at first.  The Shah held power with the aid of SAVAK, which killed, tortured, and humiliated thousands of people.  Iran grew materially richer between 1953 and 1979, but this was no compensation for the deeper wounds that the U.S., through its agents, inflicted.

    Inflict enough humiliation, and people will die rather than submit.  When they start doing that, as they have in the Middle East, it won't help to build schools, and it won't help to increase repression.  The only thing that will work in the long run is to stop the humiliation.

    A generous settlement by Israel of the Israel-Palestine problem would go a long way.  Recognition that people were displaced to make way for the state of Israel.  Compensation to those displaced.  A real Palestinian state.  What would that cost? Less, I would wager, than we have spent already in Iraq.  And that would remove a major cause of the pan-Arab humiliation that many undeniably feel.

    President Bush: Weakness in Isolation.

    by C S McCrum on Sat Mar 20, 2004 at 05:59:11 PM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  A Lot Depends On What You Mean By Poverty (4.00)
      When the Europeans arrived in Australia they found mostly naked black people living with very few possessions and assumed that these people were too stupid to build a decent, materialistic life in this huge land and therefore had no right to survive.

      The Euros didn't understand that these stupid black people lived richly endowed cultural lives where providing their material needs only took about 3 hours each day, the rest of which was given over to talk, ceremony, play and rest. The Euros also didn't understand, because their own technology was so limited, that these stupid black people had invented the remote controlled attack helicopter for killing birds in flocks, it was called the boomerang and its aerodynamics match anything that Boeing can build.

      As in most places when the Euros arrived, there was a perfectly functioning society based on a sustainable economy that had worked for 40,000 years plus. The poverty was introduced by the Euros, who forced everyone to exchange only cash at a fixed rate for goods and services and since they controlled the cash, you had to work for them. Since they also controlled the rates at which people were paid, so the grand theft began.

      But even that wasn't enough, so they invented debt and now we all owe our souls to the company store, and that is  the beginning of the endless humiliation that leads to violence. Americans protest loudly when they proclaim that those killed in the WTC attacks were innocent. Perhaps a few of them were, but their wealth and privilege was traded for the poverty and powerlessness of millions of others. To that degree, they were not innocent. And neither is anyone able to read this.

      "Till the last dog dies"

      by Deep Dark on Sat Mar 20, 2004 at 07:57:33 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  god bless you (none)

      May there be peace on earth and may it begun with me

      by lazbumm on Sun Mar 21, 2004 at 04:25:51 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Nonsense (none)
      A generous settlement by Israel of the Israel-Palestine problem would go a long way.

      There is no "settlement" of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict acceptable to OBL and his followers. The only outcome they seek is the elimination of the state of Israel.  To them, the existence of a Jewish state in the Middle East is an affront to history, a humiliation to Muslims.  

      Unlike the dictators who rule Syria, Saudi Arabia and other repressive Arab states who find the Israeli-Palestinian conflict useful to divert the attention of their subjects away from their own failings and therefore don't really want a settlement of any kind, OBL truly does want to destroy Israel and knows that the only way to do that is to weaken support for Israel in the US.

      Polls show that Israelis would support a settlement with Palistinian leadership that they felt they could trust.  Someday that will happen but now it is important not to make the mistake of thinking that terrorism has anything to do with "settling" the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

      •  Missing the point and losing the war (none)
        The point is not to "convince" OBL; the point is to stop creating followers.  If justice is done at the same time, that is also a good in itself.  

        Why do 86 percent of Jordanians believe that suicide bombings by Palestinians against Israelis are justifiable?  Your hypothesis seems to be

        the dictators who rule Syria, Saudi Arabia and other repressive Arab states who find the Israeli-Palestinian conflict useful to divert the attention of their subjects away from their own failings and therefore don't really want a settlement of any kind. . .

        Is there a Jordanian state propaganda machine that is trying to "divert the attention of [its] subjects" by blathering about Israel? Hardly. The price of daily humiliation of Palestinians in the occupied territories is the murderous fury of 6 out of 7 Jordanians.  Other countries in the region

        President Bush: Weakness in Isolation.

        by C S McCrum on Sun Mar 21, 2004 at 12:09:50 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Missing the point and losing the war (none)
        The point is not to "convince" OBL; the point is to stop creating followers.  If justice is done at the same time, that is a good in itself.  

        Why do 86 percent of Jordanians believe that suicide bombings by Palestinians against Israelis are justifiable?

        Is the explanation that there is some Jordanian state propaganda machine that is trying to "divert the attention of [its] subjects" by blathering about Israel? I don't think so. Jordanians are quite well aware from personal experience of the realities on the ground.  The price of daily humiliation of Palestinians in the occupied territories is the murderous anger of 6 out of 7 Jordanians.  

         Large numbers of Turks, Moroccans, and Pakistanis tell pollsters that suicide bombings against Israelis and Americans are justified.  These disturbing results can't be explained by "diversionary propaganda by repressive Arab dictators," and they can't be repaired by ratcheting up the repression ourselves.  

        President Bush: Weakness in Isolation.

        by C S McCrum on Sun Mar 21, 2004 at 12:27:47 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Who misses the point? (none)
          Forcing a settlement on the Israelis in a misguided attempt to appease the terrorists doesn't serve our interests, the interests of Israel or the Palestinians.  Trying to force a settlement that doesn't address the interests of all sides and that is not seen as fair and just by all sides will not help anyone except OBL and the Islamo-fascists.

          You may not like it but until both sides are willing to and capable of meeting each others needs, nothing will happen.  Appeasement of OBL and his ilk will only make things worse for everyone, including us.

          •  Buzzword bingo (none)
            Let's see... we've got "appeasement," "forcing a settlement," "Islamo-fascists"...

            So many tendentious phrases to choose from.  Let's start with "forcing a settlement."  I don't happen to think that Israel is entitled to carte blanche to the tune of billions a year when its foreign policy is directly contradictory to international law and to the interests of the United States.  So you won't be surprised that I don't think that putting reasonable conditions on future assistance would not be "forcing" anyone to do anything.

            "Appeasement" gives the warm fuzzies to those who would like to see a wide variety of historically disparate situations through the lens of Munich.  Munich involved an expansionist state that sought to extend its reach into territory not its own.  The world made a big mistake in caving to that expansionist state.  

            The Munich analogy does not hold.  Israel is not Czechoslovakia.  The Palestinians are not the Third Reich.  It would not be appeasement for Israel to act lawfully and justly in the territories it occupies, nor to offer compensation to those it displaced.

            "Islamo-fascists"... Jordan??? Jordan is a fascist state? Stateless Palestinians are fascists? Or are you perhaps referring to Lebanon? Egypt? Pakistan? Morocco? Turkey? Bad historical analogies again.

            President Bush: Weakness in Isolation.

            by C S McCrum on Mon Mar 22, 2004 at 01:43:28 AM PST

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            •  correction (none)
              end first full paragraph should read:

              ...I don't think that putting reasonable conditions on future assistance would be "forcing" anyone to do anything.

              President Bush: Weakness in Isolation.

              by C S McCrum on Mon Mar 22, 2004 at 01:46:09 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Jordan? (none)
                I've been quite clear that I am referring to appeasement of OBL and his fellow travelers (they are the terrorists, Islamo-fascists etc).  You have chosen to misunderstand me.  So be it.

                Let's talk Jordan. You seem to think this is a wonderful example of an open, free society.  It is not.  It is an autocratic repressive state that appears better than it is only by comparison to its Arab neighbors.  Do a Google search of the term "honor killing".  Look up the history of the Palestinian uprising against King Hussein.  Who did Jordan support in the Gulf War?  With friends like that, neither we nor the Palestinians need enemies.  

                •  It is not "appeasement" (none)
                  to remove one's boot from one's neighbor's neck in order to reduce the likelihood that the neighbor's son, when he grows up, will want you dead.

                  The whole "appeasement" thing is riven with  inconsistencies.  If there is a general principle that one doesn't make concessions to an adversary who does terrible things, then no armed conflict will ever have a negotiated end.  Israel says that making concessions to Palestinians would be appeasement, but it faults Palestinians for not appeasing Israel: i.e., for not conceding territory to Israel, from 1948 forward, in hopes that Israel will be satisfied and not want more.  [Hard to blame them: Israel, alone among states, won't even say how much territory it claims rightfully belongs to it.]

                  Not sure what your point about Jordan is.  I don't hold it up as a paragon.  Israel's problem is that the population of Jordan and the rest of the region has very good reason to hate Israel's guts.  Sharon's solution is to give them more reasons.

                  The problem with OBL and fellow criminals is not that they are "fascists," a historically silly label, but that they is riding a wave of resentment that it is in the power of the West to stoke or dampen.  I favor dampening it. You seem to favor stoking it, though I may be misreading you.

                  President Bush: Weakness in Isolation.

                  by C S McCrum on Mon Mar 22, 2004 at 11:56:01 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

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