Saturday, April 24, 2010

Israel Has Offered To Ease Gaza Blockades, Chinese Navy, Boy Scout Abuse

Hendrik Hertzberg
Aaron David Miller

The lengthy opinion piece by Aaron David Miller is an example of an old Middle Eastern warrior who has become burned-out and disillusioned. A more tempered look at the history of the peace process is found in Martyn Indyk's memoir, Innocent Abroad. Mr Miller offers these thoughts:
"I can't tell you how many times in the past 20 years, as an intelligence analyst, policy planner, and negotiator, I wrote memos to Very Important People arguing the centrality of the Arab-Israeli issue and why the United States needed to fix it. Long before I arrived at the State Department in 1978, my predecessors had made all the same arguments. An unresolved Arab-Israeli conflict would trigger ruinous war, increase Soviet influence, weaken Arab moderates, strengthen Arab radicals, jeopardize access to Middle East oil, and generally undermine U.S. influence from Rabat to Karachi."
"Obama is clearly determined not to take no for an answer. Fresh from his victory on health care, he's King of the World again and in no mood to let the King of Israel frustrate his plans. This willfulness is impressive, and it makes it even more imperative now that he's engaged in the faith to give that old-time religion a fresh look, based not just on what's possible but on what's probable. We don't have the right to abandon hope, but we do have the responsibility to let go of, or at least temper, our illusions."
I'm sure that more will be leaked out how George Mitchell's meeting with Palestinian leaders went, but Mahmoud Abbas responded to Israel's proposal for a Palestinian state with temporary borders by saying to Obama and the American community that if it is committed to a peace deal, its time to fit action to rhetoric: "Since you, Mr. President and you, the members of the American administration, believe in this, it is your duty to call for the steps in order to reach the solution and impose the solution - impose it - But don't tell me it's a vital national strategic American interest ... and then not do anything." I believe the ball has been hit back into our court...

Abbas is afraid that any temporary borders would become permanent, and that Palestinians would be seen as temporary inhabitants. Israel has offered this before, and it is a part of the US's plan towards peace, so it may become the first stepping stone, along with an actual timeline with an end goal. For his part, Netanyahu took the US's previous suggestions to heart and to sweeten the deal: "Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has agreed to release more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails, to remove several roadblocks in the West Bank, and to ease the blockade on the Gaza Strip." Abbas would be a fool not to accept, unless his relationship with Hamas has soured and he wants to screw them over again.

Obama wants to publicize his own peace plan, but if he does, Israel will immediately reject it, saying that only a plan that it has a direct part in negotiating is acceptable. We all must retain face... If all of this activity can happen when George Mitchell comes to town, we may have to buy him a permanent residence in Jerusalem... It's evident that both sides hold Mr Mitchell in high regard, now if we could find someone similar for Afghanistan, who can work with Hamid Karzai and help mentor him in the ways of diplomacy...

A commentator to the above-mentioned article by Aaron Miller, J Taylor, opined what we might expect after a successful negotiation:
"A future peace, where Israel and Palestine were at peace, Palestine has open borders with Jordan and Egypt. Arab nations allow reasonably free trade with Israel. Israel's economy expands to products that arabs can use and afford. Refrigerators etc. Israel stop sabotaging arab economies. Probably Egypt would get a democracy pretty quick without the USA propping up a dictator. Would Egypt's economy start to recover? If so, that's plenty of exports to Israel and imports from Israel. Lots of investment possibilities for Israelis all over the Arab world, starting with Palestine. 
It might take two generations for the hard feelings to die out. There are still Finns and Russians angry about things that happened before WWII. (Finland was desperate enough to accept help from the Nazis, which caused them a lot of trouble over the years.) But the old people die off eventually." See? There must be a pony in there, somewhere...

in the navy...
The Chinese own or have business interests in over half of the world. To help secure those interests in future times of strife, China is expanding its Navy: "China calls the new strategy “far sea defense,” and the speed with which it is building long-range capabilities has surprised foreign military officials.

The strategy is a sharp break from the traditional, narrower doctrine of preparing for war over the self-governing island of Taiwan or defending the Chinese coast. Now, Chinese admirals say they want warships to escort commercial vessels that are crucial to the country’s economy, from as far as the Persian Gulf to the Strait of Malacca, in Southeast Asia, and to help secure Chinese interests in the resource-rich South and East China Seas." And, to show their appreciation to the Tibetan Buddhist monks that helped so much during the earthquake, China is offering to take each one for a ride out to sea on a ship...

And a quick comment from the Asia Times: "It's kind of sad to see the Chinese following the American example of filling the seas with expensive targets for relatively inexpensive rockets. There are no racial barriers for stupidity." It will soon be commonplace to see Chinese Navy ships stationed in places like both ends of the Panama Canal, since Chinese "business" interests bought it up long time ago... I'm waiting until they sail into British Columbia or San Francisco to secure the newly declared areas that were previously known as Chinatown, now being declared as part of the Chinese sovereignty, after Taiwan, of course...

on my honor, I will do my best...
As a former Boy Scout, I found this next story quite interesting. It seems that the Catholic church is not the inly organization that knowingly allowed abusing of children within its organization. An Oregon jury awarded a former Boy Scout $18.5 million award because the Boy Scouts allowed a former abuser to associate with boys, back in the 1980's: "When he was aged 11 or 12, Mr Lewis was abused in Portland by a former assistant scoutmaster, Timur Dykes. Dykes, now 53, was later convicted three times of sexually abusing boys, and served time in prison. Timur Dykes has been convicted three times of abusing boys. The jury found that Dykes had been allowed to associate with scouts despite admitting to a BSA official in 1983 that he had molested 17 boys."

Even creepier than being molested by your scoutmaster, is the fact that the Boy Scouts organization collected and kept secret files on its members, for security purposes?: "These documents, formally known as "ineligible volunteer" files and nicknamed the "perversion files", have been compiled for nearly a century, since the organisation was formed. They were kept under lock and key at BSA headquarters in Irving, Texas, and the organisation argued in court that its system was put to good use, quietly keeping out molesters for decades."

The Boy Scouts were formed by an ex-military spy for the British, so emulating similar behavior is to be expected. In the past 20 years, the Boy Scouts have increasingly been taken over, er, sponsored by the Mormon Church. Hmmmm. Catholic to Mormon church? I wonder how far the scandals will go, and if our religious infrastructure will fall apart because of the sins unveiled? I'm still wondering at the hidden meanings of certain phrases I had to memorize from Cub Scouts on:
"... to be square, and to obey the law of the pack. "

1 comment:

  1. Rider I
    Special Library Manager


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