Palestinian Independence, Cnt’d

Now that we have looked at how the US pursues its rational self-interest, let’s take a look at other countries. Palestine is surrounded by extremely rich Muslim countries. How easy would it be for those countries to keep Palestinians (who are relatively small in number) well-fed, well-provided for with medical care, clothes, housing, etc..?

How ultra easy would it be for them simply to take the Palestinians in? Of course, I know, Sunnis, Shiites, Wahhabi. But those divisions are surely not more difficult to get over than the ones between Muslims and Jews. Why can’t the richest countries in the world (Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia) build a city each for fellow Muslims from Gaza?

“Ah, Clarissa,” you’ll say. “Now you are just being stupid on purpose. Can’t you see that these are completely unrealistic suggestions?”

Of course, I can and yes, I am doing this on purpose. Countries pursue their self-interest. All countries. Palestinians make very convenient martyrs who can be used for a variety of purposes.

As Rob F aptly put it:

Despite their public rhetoric about “Wiping Israel off the map,” the state of permanent confrontation gives leaders of those countries a convenient enemy to blame their own countries’ problems on. It gives them an excuse to have a vast military an security apparatus, allowing them to suppress dissidents in their own countries and to ignore solving their own countries’ problems.

I hope everybody sees now why I consider the BDS movement to be completely silly. There is nothing even remotely similar between the geopolitical, religious, geographic, etc. situations of South Africa and Palestine. The lazy folks at the BDS despise Palestinians so much that they refuse to see them as actual people and not part of a huge, indifferent, non-white non-Western mass.

Palestinian Independence

I think that Palestinians will definitely achieve independence, if not extremely soon. I come from a country that fought for its independence for centuries, so I understand the power of the Palestinians’ liberatory drive.

In Ukraine, we were so concentrated on the dream of independence that the question of what would happen after it was achieved was never answered in a very realistic way. As a result, we have what we have: a deeply corrupt, extremely poor, mafia-ridden country whose citizens predominantly have a single dream, namely, to move to the former colonial power, Russia. None of this means that the independence was not worth achieving, of course.

So now I suggest we imagine what independent Palestine will look like. I see a piss-poor (no resources, no help from anywhere, ravaged by the decades of war) country, led by a fanatically fundamentalist regime that grows more extreme as the poverty deepens. Do you see any alternative to this scenario? (I mean, realistic alternatives that do not include US and Israel offering financial assistance to Palestine.)

I’m not presenting this scenario to suggest that the independence is not worth having for Palestinians. It is always worth having, no matter what the cost. The only reason why I’m writing all this is to ask: are you still wondering why the US opposes Palestinian independence? Do you believe it would be a rational thing to do for a country that pursues its self-interest to support an emergence in a conflictive region of yet another piss-poor country, led by a fanatically fundamentalist regime?

I see so much naivete in the discussions (among intelligent, extremely well-educated people) of the US foreign policy that it scares me. On the one hand, people will riot if the price of gasoline goes up to the level of what Canadians pay for theirs. On the other hand, those same people – who get into hissy fits of major proportions when I suggest they could give up their cars – insist the US should get out of the Middle East. They probably expect the president of the US to be able to piss gasoline.

And then there are all those folks who detest the security measures at the airports yet are appalled by drone strikes and kill lists. I even heard one well-fed overgrown Momma’s boy complain in a tone of a spoiled brat that the killing of Osama bin Laden was not carried out to his satisfaction and that bin Laden should have been captured alive and brought to trial instead. The hilarious thing is that this same guy and I had had several discussions where he expressed his extreme annoyance at how entitled the lay public felt to criticize the work of college professors without even knowing what that work entailed.

None of us are even remotely willing to sacrifice our self-interest. I am yet to meet any people who are likely to sacrifice their levels of consumption, their feelings of security, their entitlements, their routine, or pretty much anything of value to benefit Syrians, Palestianians, Ukrainians, or even their neighbors down the road in some major way. Yet those same people condemn the very policies that give them their levels of consumption, their feelings of security, their entitlements, and their routine. How is this approach different from that of my former colleague who was a passionate Marxist as well as a factory owner?

I have lived in very different countries and one thing that my fellow progressives share in all of them is this frustrating insistence on the slogan of “let everything be good and nothing be bad” that is infantile, unrealistic, and dangerous. I am shocked at the feelings of self-righteousness all of these Chomskys and Co experience when they condemn the foreign policy of the US while feeling completely entitled to enjoy the fruits of that same policy.

Palestinians fight for their independence because, as rational people, they pursue their self-interest. But the US also does the rational thing by pursuing its self-interest. Hence, the only valuable argument for why the US should not oppose Palestinian independence is to demonstrate how it would benefit the US more than the alternative.

If such an argument exists, I would love to hear it, I seriously would. Everything else is just childish.