Saturday, August 12, 2006

From the horse's mouth : As Israel's leaders once understood, the Washington-Jerusalem strategic partnership has always been nurtured by a steady stream of Israeli successes, both in defending its own security and in advancing American interests.

Haaretz

Meanwhile, Blair and co. demonstrate that they are no longer on this planet by bigging up a ceasefire that was negotiated without one side in actual conflict being involved. Having decided among themselves that Hezbollah will stop fighting and disarm (surprise, surprise), they now intend for a UN peacekeeping force to monitor it. Except Hezbollah have said they'll do no such thing, so I guess the expectation is that the UN peacekeepers are going to go in and make them do this by, presumably, not-so peaceful means.

Yeah, right!

Meanwhile, events in Britain and Pakistan confirm what you could call "Fighting Terrorism in One Lesson" :

Police : Yes! Soldiers. No!.

If you're in the business of creating a connected, stable, world where crazy groups don't go round slaughtering thousands of innocent people, then you do that by investing in, nurturing and trying to build collaborative and co-operative relations with others, not by throwing as much random destruction around as possible in the hope that you make them more disconnected than you.

The reason the latter doesn't actually work is because humans are connected animals. We're social by nature. To be human is to be enmeshed in language, wrapped in a cocoon of family and friendships and alliances and collaborative projects mediated by whatever circulating object link comes to hand.

The problem with naive Barnettism is that it thinks that our rule-sets are the only wones that matter. But people will make links of whatever they can. If not transport and trade and legitimized political connections, then religion and ethnicity and shared suffering. By attempting to spread disconnection among its enemies, Israel only succeeds in cutting itself off from them. By spreading disconnection within Lebanon and Hezbollah, it burns its bridges to them, making then rely more heavily on, and strengthen, their connections with Syria and Iran.

3 comments:

Kaunda said...

Phil you make such important points so succinctly.

As an average American my differences in reaction to the 9-11 attacks with so many of my fellow Americans has been so frustrating.

You write: Police : "Yes! Soldiers. No!."

The counter argument was made by Karl Rove: "liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers."

Rove injected the "liberals" part but I'm not sure the divisions really fall along those lines. It is clear that there is a division of opinion here that follows from viewing human relations and conflicts in term of connectedness as opposed to those who view it primarily from a stance of exceptionalism.

When people talk from a "connectedness" point of view here they are met with: "Why do you hate America?" Our motives are questioned; the argument turns to protecting dissent, arguments in favor of the liberal tradition as distinct from conservatives vs. liberals. And the exceptionalists wonder why our hair's on fire as we try to protect the foundations of Western achievement or as some would frame it as an open-society.

I agree with your observations in this post. What I'm most appreciative for is how you put out an argument for the importance of understanding how people are connected without falling into the rhetorical traps I so often fall into. At least you show it can be done.

Dr. Chadblog said...

I agree for the most part. But heres something difficult to think about: those of us here in the US who see the folly of this militarism are always immediately accused of being "un-american" or "anti-israel" if we even point this out. How to have a discussions about it in the face of this kind of venom?

Kaunda said...

You mention horses, and another comment on this post is beating a dead horse. Still so pleased to see Chad's comment; how surreal it sees to be an American. In my morning paper http://www.washingtonpost.com/
wp-dyn/content/article/2006/08/14/
AR2006081401163.html George Will said that? My surprise may not be obvious to you, but George Will is an incomparable conservative movement hack, and in this column he's way off the reservation.