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Yesterday dengre wrote a diary entitled:  Jumping in: a Word on that I/P situation... to which I added this comment:

First we have to want to have no enemies.

That would be the end of a lot of things whether we succeeded or not.

Then houndog said

Your should write a diary about this insight, Don

Being in favor , global stability and security, and international rule of law are goals we can unite on and accomplish, or at least make progress towards.    

But fighting abstract "wars against terrorism" always require an enemy, by definition.
And this "fight-our-enemy-at-all-costs" orientation and psychology appears to make victory impossible, as how can we cooperate with our "enemy."

And, if we sacrifice other principles to win these all important wars, we will constantly be creating new enemies as unintended side effects.  

 Come with me below the break and let us see if we can get anywhere with this.

houndog's comment continues:

Does anyone doubt that the recent 500 deaths has created more than that many new angry and more radicalized jihadists?  Even if we counted them all as a "reduction of terrorists" for the sake of discussion.  Apparently, at least half were woman, children, or innocent civilians.  

But, all have families, and sympathetic brothers and sisters in faith, who will be charged up to seek justice against their enemies - their own symmetrically other half of the "war on terrorists."  

Creating a feedback loop that may never end.    

You appear to have an idea worthy of much more discussion Don.

 It is as my tag line suggests,

An idea is not responsible for who happens to be carrying it at the moment. It stands or falls on its own merits.

not who carries the idea but whether it has merit.  Whatever your position on the Israeli/ Palestinian conflict, you must be at least as frustrated as I am by the lack of resolution and the way that lack of resolution drags us all into a quagmire that some see as ending in the mythical Armageddon.

I did my post-doctoral studies in Israel from 1963-65 working at the Weizmann Institute mentored by Aharon Katchalsky who was later machine gunned to death getting off a plane at the airport in 1972.  Irony abounds in this story.  It is one of those truth is stranger than fiction tales.  

You may recall that Aharon's brother Ephriam who I also worked  with a bit became President of Israel.  When Ilya Prigogine was awarded the Nobel prize in Chemistry, I believe it was because they do not award them to dead people.  Otherwise it would have been Aharon.

Ten years later I arrived in Israel one June day to meet with others for a tribute to Aharon.  We were going to have a spectacular week of science devoted to the memory of the great man who had inspired all of our work.  There was one hitch.  The representative from the Weizmann who met us at the airport told us our trip to Rehovot would be delayed because the country was attacking Lebanon and all the transportation was tied up moving troops.

We eventually had our conference.  Each day, planes from the nearby airbase left laden with bombs and rockets and came back empty.  Meanwhile we were trying to pay tribute to one of the greatest pacifists who ever lived.

Yes there is a lot of irony in this story.  The biggest is the reason I made my comment yesterday.  In the two years I lived there, 1963-65, I saw or was given information about the refugee camps.  I talked to Israelis and to Arabs about the 1948 war.  There is only one conclusion I can come to.  We needed an enemy and we created one.  Who is "we"?  You name it.  The British got it started by underestimating the Israeli will to prevail.  Then the rumors that the poor Arab families had to try to sort through.  If they stayed and the Arabs won they would be seen as collaborators.  If they stayed and the Jews won they would all be killed.

Let us stop here for a moment for I have had this conversation many, many times.  Why did they believe such rumors?  OK, flash forward to this country in the time of MLK's assassination and the riots.  We spent a lot of time after that setting up Urban Rumor Control Centers because lives were lost and property destroyed due to stupid rumors being circulated.

So they left and became refugees.  The "refugee" camps often made concentration camps look fairly comfortable.  These were really incubators.  We were breeding future generations of people who would become some of the most dangerous in the world.  How can that be?  It is simple.  All you have to do to create such a group is to take away any stake they might have in living productively among us.  Then make sure it goes on for more than one generation so the myths and stories become an integral part of the culture, if it can be called that.

There's one very effective way  to create enemies.  Then, of course, when they finally get out among us, they know what we think of them.  They use the myths and the stories and fuel their survival instincts beyond their reason and they lash out.  Now there's a surprise for you.

My dentist in Israel was a member of a group that tried desperately to reverse this.  The group was made up of, among others, scholars from the Jews and the Arabs,  Martin Buber was one as I recall.  These were learned people trying to understand how this cancerous mix of people could have been allowed to happen.  Their conclusion was rather frightening.  You can do with it what you wish, but it is one answer to the question of why this was so predictable, so preventable, and yet allowed, or even worse, encouraged to happen.  They saw it as part of the Cold War.  They saw both the USSR and the USA as being wary of the potential for peace breaking out in that region,  The idea is simple and plausible.  The Israelis provide industry and the Arabs agriculture (to simple I know, but this is a diary, not a book)  in a part of the world that could be super productive and real competition for the interests of both Cold War "antagonists".

So if you don't like this particular thesis please supply a better one.  The one thing that seems certain is that the Cold War bred "enemies" all over the map.  The colonial powers did it earlier, and then came neocolonialism.  Certain ideologies need enemies or they wither and die.  So far they have not had to fear that.

Originally posted to don mikulecky on Tue Jan 06, 2009 at 08:23 PM PST.

Poll

Enemies exist

6%1 votes
12%2 votes
6%1 votes
56%9 votes
6%1 votes
12%2 votes

| 16 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  TIP JAR (9+ / 0-)

    rec this for the hope of a world without enemies

    An idea is not responsible for who happens to be carrying it at the moment. It stands or falls on its own merits.

    by don mikulecky on Tue Jan 06, 2009 at 08:24:44 PM PST

  •  Agree with your last paragraph -- (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Septima

    would add that enemies are useful to war making profiteers.  

    But the creation of Israel while borrowing much from western imperialism was unique.  The macro-trend in the world was towards secularism and multiculturalism.  Hitler promoted the most unspeakable acts to reverse that macro-trend.  His defeat restored that macro-trend in the west.  Israel reversed it in the Middle East - legitimizing a nation with a primary identity based on ethnicity/religion.  Is it any wonder that other minorities, either ethnic or religious fundamentalists would subsequently feel empowered to seek the same for themselves?    

    What FDR giveth; GWB taketh away.

    by Marie on Tue Jan 06, 2009 at 08:40:15 PM PST

    •  The way we said it in the '60s was (0+ / 0-)

      War is good business. Invest your son.

      Israel is indeed unique.  The super powers never dreamed that a small nation could control them.

      An idea is not responsible for who happens to be carrying it at the moment. It stands or falls on its own merits.

      by don mikulecky on Tue Jan 06, 2009 at 09:07:51 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Enemies end up depending on each other (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    don mikulecky, Septima

    to justify themselves.

    Bin Laden said in his statement right before the 2004 election that people were saying that he and Bush were "on the same team" because everything one of them did strengthened the other.

    The extremists in Israel/Palestine can always count on each other to respond to any provocation.  Whenever one side or the other is losing support on their side an attack from the other side sets them right.

  •  Enemies allow (2+ / 0-)

    for a mindless rallying of group think and a failure of logic, compassion or human maturity and development.

    I was moved by this diary.  Thank you.

    Peace, contentment, sufficiency, sharing, gratitude, reverence, awe, mutuality . . . absent in any thought of enemies.

  •  Thanks (0+ / 0-)

    Keep writing on this topic, please.

    Might (might!) be good strategy to focus on shorter diaries, focus on just one aspect of the idea. When reading about an idea that, for many, is radically different, small pieces of info may be good strategy.

    The quotes that lead this one off are good.

    Look forward to the next one.

    And boy -- do I agree.

    Be good to each other. It matters.

    by AllisonInSeattle on Wed Jan 07, 2009 at 03:16:13 AM PST

  •  This paragraph's insight is stellar (0+ / 0-)

    So they left and became refugees.  The "refugee" camps often made concentration camps look fairly comfortable.  These were really incubators.  We were breeding future generations of people who would become some of the most dangerous in the world.  How can that be?  It is simple.  All you have to do to create such a group is to take away any stake they might have in living productively among us.  Then make sure it goes on for more than one generation so the myths and stories become an integral part of the culture, if it can be called that.

    Hope you repeat that. Thank you for it.

    Be good to each other. It matters.

    by AllisonInSeattle on Wed Jan 07, 2009 at 03:18:34 AM PST

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