Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Colour of Appeasement

Following hard upon the heels of this news, we now hear that "U.S. plans to pledge $900 million for Gaza".

On the Spine, Marty Peretz fulminates, appalled by his adored Obama's bad judgment and naivete:

"The real issue is: where will the cash go? The administration is assuring us that it will not go to Hamas, as if anyone can assure that materiel and money can be siphoned off just to the desired parties. This, frankly, is a joke...and Mrs. Clinton knows it. So should President Obama."

Instead of opining myself I'd like to quote from the comments:

"This is a colossal waste of money. Money is fungible and this subvention will help Hamas first and foremost."

"... this insane sum tells us that Obama actually considers I/P conflict central to all regional problems, and is determined to "solve it" once and for all. If one firmly believes that we can buy a comprehensive ME peace for mere 1 billion $US, that's a bargain.

Hence, we'll shower Palestinians (Hamas or others) with goodwill and money, they'll unclench their fist, and everything nice and good will follow. Even the Israelis will eventually thank Obama for he knows what's best for them & everybody else."

"At least when Israel gets military aid from the USA, a large chunk (probably a majority) must be spent in the USA. I wonder if the same requirement is being imposed on Hamas / the PA / UNWRA or what have you.

What will the money go for? For starters, deeper more reinforced tunnels. Not only those crossing the border with Egypt, but also the veritable maze of tunnels that connect(ed) many many many of the buildings throughout the Gaza strip.

Piping will also be needed - ostensibly for rehabilitating the plumbing, storm sewerage & waste treatment infrastructure, but in reality to serve as Qassam rocket casings. And we musn't forget fertilizer and the like needed to kick-start agriculture... and to make rocket fuel and / or explosives (see Oklahoma City). Ah yes, but of course they will need explosives to help clear away buildings only damaged by Israel -- and to make better Qassam warheads than you can with the "roll your own" made-from-fertilizer variety. etc. etc. etc."

There is a method in this madness, or rather, an emerging pattern of thought and sensibility, quite new and divergent from what we have known thus far. Obama seems to prefer actions over words. He had not openly declared that he supported Israel in the latest Gaza war. He promised he would have lots to say once he became president, though. And indeed he is saying it now, by keeping silent about the demonization campaign against Israel by Durban II organizers, and by offering this gargantuan help to a people who have shown they cannot be trusted to channel their aid money into nation-building projects.

So what is he saying in fact?

When it was reported in 2008 that he had remarked in 2007 that ‘‘no one has suffered more than the Palestinians’, Obama later argued that this remark was taken out of context, and that he was merely lamenting the poor quality of political leadership under which he believed the general Palestinian population had suffered.

It seems that the poor quality of the leadership could not be more pronounced than in the last conflagration, with Hamas choosing to place its own people in harm's way in order to score PR points for the Palestinian "cause" (whatever it is) and Abbas declaring support and joining the general condemnations of Israel "genociding" the Palestinians. For these acts of leadership they are now rewarded and their "cause" helped by the silence of Obama's new "engagement" policies..

I wonder if all that money will have some provisos attached to it, such as that Palestinians would behave like responsible people, not launching random missiles into civilian centres in Israel, not hiding among their own women and children when they do so, stop digging tunnels to smuggle weapons in.

But with the choice of the UN as the body is charge of distributing the money, it's hard to anticipate any adherence to any demand for Palestinian responsibility.

In a way it comes as a sort of relief, to know where Obama's real sympathy lies and to what extent.

Some call Obama's new foreign policy principles "appeasement".

We are told that

"Appeasement is "the policy of settling international quarrels by admitting and satisfying grievances through rational negotiation and compromise, thereby avoiding the resort to an armed conflict which would be expensive, bloody, and possibly dangerous."[1] The term is most often applied to the foreign policy of British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain towards Nazi Germany between 1937 and 1939.

Appeasement has been the subject of debate for eighty years among academics and politicians. The historian's assessment of Chamberlain has ranged from condemnation to the judgment that he had no alternative and acted in Britain's best interests. The word "appeasement" has been used as a synonym for cowardice since the 1930s and it is still used in that sense today as a justification for firm, often armed, action in international relations."

As I said, we'll wait and see. Though I have a bad feeling about this.


At 12:41 PM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Welcome back Carter.

At 8:25 PM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And another thing, we have serious economic problems at home, why on Earth would we borrow $1 billion dollars from the Chinese and pass that debt onto our children in order to fund these assholes who hate us and their continued war on Israel.

Its mindboggling.

The money should be spent in the West Bank to support Abbas and the moderates and to help them garner support for peace and prosperity as an alternative to what Hamas is selling.


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