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Chaos in Gaza: The libertarian position on the Middle East fiasco
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Author Topic: Chaos in Gaza: The libertarian position on the Middle East fiasco  (Read 17252 times)
joshbrenton
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« on: January 05, 2009, 18:20:11 EST »

What do you guys think of this assessment?


Quote
Since its creation as a Jewish state in the late 1940s, Israel has been one of the main sources of tension and unrest in the Middle East.  Now, more than 50 years later, Israel once again finds itself at odds with its Palestinian neighbors, forcing the hand of the United States to show where it stands on one of the most polarizing issues in modern history.

The tension between Jews and Arabs in the Middle East goes back thousands of years, and there is no easy solution to the issues in the Israeli/Palestinian dispute.  Many U.S. presidential administrations have tried to act as brokers of power or arbiters of peace without any success.

Libertarians aren't foolish enough to think we have the answer to solve the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.  However, we do realize that steps can be taken by the United States to remove itself from injury in the conflict, and perhaps begin the process of long-term stability in the region.

The biggest of these steps is to eliminate all economic and military aid to Israel and all other foreign countries. 

It's the general opinion of Libertarians that as far as the U.S. government should be involved, Israel should look out for its interests so long as its actions are not subsidized by the American taxpayer and Israel does not look to the U.S. for assistance.  However, because Israel is the top recipient of foreign aid (aside from Iraq), it is reasonable to assume that some of the money given to it by the United States in foreign aid is used to either directly or indirectly support Israeli military operations.

Therein lies the problem.

There are several complications with U.S. foreign aid going to Israel.  One, it makes the United States culpable for the actions of Israel that many times come with international condemnation.  Secondly, it opens up the United States to cries of extreme bias in favor of Israel—a main catalyst for terrorism against U.S. interests at home and abroad.

Critics of removing foreign aid from Israel cite that this is the United States turning its back on a staunch ally.  However, this couldn't be further from the truth.  The United States is not "giving up" on Israel by removing foreign aid as much as it is adhering to a principle of non-intervention—in Israel and across the world as well.  Israel will still be a trading partner with the United States, and will benefit greatly from this trade.  Additionally, Israel has a strong and effective military along with nuclear arms to deter aggression.

The United States' top priority needs to be the United States, and our billions of dollars of foreign aid to Israel have hurt our national security and international standing. "Contrary to the warnings of the do-something buffs, U.S. interventions in the Middle East have likely unleashed more anti-American terrorism and more pressure on energy markets than they have prevented," says Leon Hadar, a research fellow in foreign policy studies at the Cato Institute.

In essence, the interests of Israel are not always those of the United States. 

However, it is not an analysis of what we have gotten in return from our relationship with Israel as it is an adherence to the principle of non-intervention.  There is great wisdom in remaining disconnected from the problems facing other nations, especially when these problems are complicated and have negative consequences for getting involved. 

At issue for Libertarians in the current situation with Israel and Palestine is not so much who is right or wrong, but whether the United States should continue to support other countries with foreign aid.  Libertarians may all feel differently on whether Israel is "justified" in invading Gaza, but Libertarians all agree that taxpayer-subsidized foreign aid to other countries is bad for business and bad for peace.

Treating Israel like any other country is not abandoning an ally, but freeing the United States from a cumbersome relationship of the likes George Washington, Thomas Paine and Thomas Jefferson all warned against hundreds of years ago. 

In the words of Jefferson, "peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations; entangling alliances with none.

- Andrew Davis
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Medivh
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« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2009, 20:24:46 EST »

Lost me right around "remove itself from injury". This is an attempt to shirk responsibility, and it's reprehensible.

There is a solution, and it's not "get the hell out". The solution is the same to all terrorism problems, though. Less army, more police force.
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And if i catch you comin' back my way
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And that ain't what you want to hear
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So what you're telling me is that LTV's fudge factor means more than it's independent variable?
Yes...
Bringerofpie
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« Reply #2 on: January 05, 2009, 21:06:14 EST »

"The tension between Jews and Arabs in the Middle East goes back thousands of years" is where I sort of stopped paying attention. See, this is a widely accepted myth. The conflict really only goes back (in any meaningful way) about 60 years. You can cite biblical examples, but then I'd have to refer you to a definition of "Arab."
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wodan46
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« Reply #3 on: January 05, 2009, 21:35:21 EST »

What do you guys think of this assessment?
I really don't think much of any talking head's assessment, including that crazy one in the mirror that keeps mimicking my actions.

Quote
Since its creation as a Jewish state in the late 1940s, Israel has been one of the main sources of tension and unrest in the Middle East.  Now, more than 50 years later, Israel once again finds itself at odds with its Palestinian neighbors, forcing the hand of the United States to show where it stands on one of the most polarizing issues in modern history.
Blah blah blah stop sounding like me bullshitting my way through a report.  I swear, every one of my history papers begins with lines exactly like that.

Quote
The tension between Jews and Arabs in the Middle East goes back thousands of years, and there is no easy solution to the issues in the Israeli/Palestinian dispute.  Many U.S. presidential administrations have tried to act as brokers of power or arbiters of peace without any success.
As Bringerofpie says, this is bullcrap.

Quote
Libertarians aren't foolish enough to think we have the answer to solve the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.  However, we do realize that steps can be taken by the United States to remove itself from injury in the conflict, and perhaps begin the process of long-term stability in the region.
I agree with this statement, to the extent that we have no particular reason to fund and support Israel's military, seeing as we have supported them enough in the past to make them stable, and now all our support does is make the Middle Easterners get pissed off at us.  I don't see why we have to fund the crazy bastards.

Quote
The biggest of these steps is to eliminate all economic and military aid to Israel and all other foreign countries.
I agree.  Military aid usually comes back to bite us, and Economic aid usually won't get us returns.  There are exceptions, such as the Marshall plan, which helped revitalize Europe, which was then able work with us effectively against the Soviet Union, a real threat, and our aid to Japan has ensured that they are still buddy buddy with us.

Quote
It's the general opinion of Libertarians that as far as the U.S. government should be involved, Israel should look out for its interests so long as its actions are not subsidized by the American taxpayer and Israel does not look to the U.S. for assistance.  However, because Israel is the top recipient of foreign aid (aside from Iraq), it is reasonable to assume that some of the money given to it by the United States in foreign aid is used to either directly or indirectly support Israeli military operations.
You know, excluding Iraq/Afghanistan, the two biggest forms of foreign aid we give are weapons to Israel and weapons to Egypt, sworn enemy of IsraelIsrael's bestest friend

Quote
Therein lies the problem.

There are several complications with U.S. foreign aid going to Israel.  One, it makes the United States culpable for the actions of Israel that many times come with international condemnation.  Secondly, it opens up the United States to cries of extreme bias in favor of Israel—a main catalyst for terrorism against U.S. interests at home and abroad.
Correct.  I fail to see why we are bothering to assist a nuclear armed country, when all they do with that money is fire air strikes at crowded urban areas.

Quote
Critics of removing foreign aid from Israel cite that this is the United States turning its back on a staunch ally.  However, this couldn't be further from the truth.  The United States is not "giving up" on Israel by removing foreign aid as much as it is adhering to a principle of non-intervention—in Israel and across the world as well.  Israel will still be a trading partner with the United States, and will benefit greatly from this trade.  Additionally, Israel has a strong and effective military along with nuclear arms to deter aggression.
Correct

Quote
The United States' top priority needs to be the United States, and our billions of dollars of foreign aid to Israel have hurt our national security and international standing. "Contrary to the warnings of the do-something buffs, U.S. interventions in the Middle East have likely unleashed more anti-American terrorism and more pressure on energy markets than they have prevented," says Leon Hadar, a research fellow in foreign policy studies at the Cato Institute.
Correct.  Gotta love Cato Institute, putting Free Markets as an ideal as important as Liberty and Peace.

Quote
In essence, the interests of Israel are not always those of the United States. 
Correct

Quote
However, it is not an analysis of what we have gotten in return from our relationship with Israel as it is an adherence to the principle of non-intervention.  There is great wisdom in remaining disconnected from the problems facing other nations, especially when these problems are complicated and have negative consequences for getting involved. 
Less of that and more common sense.  Would you stick you hand in a woodchipper?  Would it matter if your best friend asked nicely for you to do it?

Quote
At issue for Libertarians in the current situation with Israel and Palestine is not so much who is right or wrong, but whether the United States should continue to support other countries with foreign aid.  Libertarians may all feel differently on whether Israel is "justified" in invading Gaza, but Libertarians all agree that taxpayer-subsidized foreign aid to other countries is bad for business and bad for peace.
Agreed.  However, right and wrong is important in an indirect way.  If we do things that are perceived as wrong by nations, such as invading a sovereign country on faulty grounds, this will result in negative consequences to us.  Similarly, if we support a bunch of Orthodox Jews having a competition with the Palestinians to see who can kill the most civilians, we will reap nothing but unpleasantness.

Quote
Treating Israel like any other country is not abandoning an ally, but freeing the United States from a cumbersome relationship of the likes George Washington, Thomas Paine and Thomas Jefferson all warned against hundreds of years ago. 

In the words of Jefferson, "peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations; entangling alliances with none.

- Andrew Davis
In the words of Wodan46, "Jefferson, go fuck yourself, you hypocritical, moronic, twat of a person".  Sorry, couldn't resist, but I really hate that man.  Also, ya, pretty much, but that definition is rather vague.
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Medivh
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« Reply #4 on: January 05, 2009, 21:49:54 EST »

"The tension between Jews and Arabs in the Middle East goes back thousands of years" is where I sort of stopped paying attention. See, this is a widely accepted myth. The conflict really only goes back (in any meaningful way) about 60 years. You can cite biblical examples, but then I'd have to refer you to a definition of "Arab."

A good point, and well made, sir.
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And if i catch you comin' back my way
I'm gonna serve it to you
And that ain't what you want to hear
But that's what I'll do
-- "Seven Nation Army", The White Stripes

So what you're telling me is that LTV's fudge factor means more than it's independent variable?
Yes...
Bringerofpie
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« Reply #5 on: January 05, 2009, 22:40:13 EST »

"The tension between Jews and Arabs in the Middle East goes back thousands of years" is where I sort of stopped paying attention. See, this is a widely accepted myth. The conflict really only goes back (in any meaningful way) about 60 years. You can cite biblical examples, but then I'd have to refer you to a definition of "Arab."

A good point, and well made, sir.

Thank you. That's what I learned trying to be as contradictory as possible in Hebrew school.
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joshbrenton
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« Reply #6 on: January 05, 2009, 23:23:16 EST »

"The tension between Jews and Arabs in the Middle East goes back thousands of years" is where I sort of stopped paying attention. See, this is a widely accepted myth. The conflict really only goes back (in any meaningful way) about 60 years. You can cite biblical examples, but then I'd have to refer you to a definition of "Arab."

There has been tension between these factions, but probably not to the same magnitude of what we've seen in the last century.

I agree with this statement, to the extent that we have no particular reason to fund and support Israel's military, seeing as we have supported them enough in the past to make them stable, and now all our support does is make the Middle Easterners get pissed off at us.  I don't see why we have to fund the crazy bastards.

I agree. The practice of giving money to nations in disproportionate amounts based on who we like and dislike has fostered a lot of hostility. Personally, I think a more rational solution would be to focus on strengthening trade between our country and others like Israel, and encouraging them to do the same. Greater trade means a better chance for economic buildup and strength, and less reliance on foreign aid.


Correct.  I fail to see why we are bothering to assist a nuclear armed country, when all they do with that money is fire air strikes at crowded urban areas... if we do things that are perceived as wrong by nations, such as invading a sovereign country on faulty grounds, this will result in negative consequences to us.  Similarly, if we support a bunch of Orthodox Jews having a competition with the Palestinians to see who can kill the most civilians, we will reap nothing but unpleasantness.

Correct again. America should focus on defending itself, not inserting ourselves into foreign military actions that we have no role in.


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rwpikul
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« Reply #7 on: January 05, 2009, 23:34:37 EST »

"The tension between Jews and Arabs in the Middle East goes back thousands of years" is where I sort of stopped paying attention. See, this is a widely accepted myth. The conflict really only goes back (in any meaningful way) about 60 years. You can cite biblical examples, but then I'd have to refer you to a definition of "Arab."

Well, one can push that a bit farther back, dating things from the Nabi Musa and Jaffa riots in 1920 and 1921, but that is about the limit.  Before that, the Jews and Arabs had a common foe in the Turks, and there was a very limited Jewish population.
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« Reply #8 on: January 05, 2009, 23:51:33 EST »

The libertarians, though not alone in doing this, are playing with the theoretical deck.  Many people act as if this is some sort of board game and one can say "Mea Culpa, shall we try a different approach?" and everyone will say "All is forgiven!"

America really has little choice at this point but to play out the hand it dealt itself, abandoning Israel will not make America suddenly clean and crisp and pure in the eyes of all people everywhere.  That is just not how the game works.  The world does not run on the magic power of hope and ideals.  If you could go back and shoot Carter, maybe, but it's far too late now.

America needs to hem in Turkey and use the Kurds to leverage Iran.  gaza may well be a lost cause, but remember that Israel has nothing, it's people cannot survive on thier own, they are just a militant theocracy.  if it cannot survive on bribes from America, it will survive on military extortion.
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Ihlosi
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« Reply #9 on: January 06, 2009, 04:56:20 EST »

There is a solution, and it's not "get the hell out". The solution is the same to all terrorism problems, though. Less army, more police force.

My thoughts exactly. The whole "let's bomb the shit out of the local population so they rise up against $EVIL_OPPRESSOR" never worked in any of the conflicts it has been used in - the population will _always_ hate the side that's actually dropping the bombs on them.

As long as they kill 3+ civilians along with every militant, they're effectively just doing a recruiting drive for Hamas. Unless their goal is actually to reduce the number of civilians to an, err, more manageable level. There's a word for that, it must have slipped my mind.
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« Reply #10 on: January 06, 2009, 08:22:13 EST »

I agree with the policies suggested by the piece.  The US should not support Israel as they do.

There is a solution, and it's not "get the hell out". The solution is the same to all terrorism problems, though. Less army, more police force.

My thoughts exactly. The whole "let's bomb the shit out of the local population so they rise up against $EVIL_OPPRESSOR" never worked in any of the conflicts it has been used in - the population will _always_ hate the side that's actually dropping the bombs on them.

As long as they kill 3+ civilians along with every militant, they're effectively just doing a recruiting drive for Hamas. Unless their goal is actually to reduce the number of civilians to an, err, more manageable level. There's a word for that, it must have slipped my mind.
I disagree.  It is not the business of other countries to police what goes on in the middle-east.  It is not something that is likely to work.  We westerners -as electorates- don't know enough about the situation to intervene wisely.

Besides, whether those who intervene are police or military will not matter to those involved on the ground.  When forces come from abroad people always regard them as military, whether they are or no.  Especially the people of the middle-east.  People from that area do not see any difference between the military and police anyway because there isn't really a difference in the nations they live in.

"The tension between Jews and Arabs in the Middle East goes back thousands of years" is where I sort of stopped paying attention. See, this is a widely accepted myth. The conflict really only goes back (in any meaningful way) about 60 years. You can cite biblical examples, but then I'd have to refer you to a definition of "Arab."
That is true.  The rest of what the article says is mostly good though.

Quote from: Heq
Israel has nothing, it's people cannot survive on thier own, they are just a militant theocracy.
That is not true.  Israel actually has quite a lot of domestic industry.  They would suffer if they were not supported certainly.  But they can stand on their own.
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« Reply #11 on: January 06, 2009, 12:12:58 EST »

Current, they have vastly more military and government costs then their industry can possibly support, with the options being government default, military cutbacks, or extortion, I belive they would choose extortion.
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« Reply #12 on: January 06, 2009, 12:33:25 EST »

Current, they have vastly more military and government costs then their industry can possibly support, with the options being government default, military cutbacks, or extortion, I belive they would choose extortion.
In 2008 the US government will pay $2.4Billion in aid to Israel.  They have generally paid ~$3billion for many years.  The GDP of Israel was $162billion in 2007.  Government revenues are $53.6billion.

Much of the high tech industry is now located in Israel.  They have been doing very well recently.
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wodan46
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« Reply #13 on: January 06, 2009, 14:11:21 EST »

My thoughts exactly. The whole "let's bomb the shit out of the local population so they rise up against $EVIL_OPPRESSOR" never worked in any of the conflicts it has been used in - the population will _always_ hate the side that's actually dropping the bombs on them.
Sometimes I think that groups know this, but they just can't bring themselves to care.  Just like suggesting that they cooperate and negotiate is greeted with "how can you say that after everything they done", even though it is known full well that is the only way (besides genocide) to end the conflicts.

As long as they kill 3+ civilians along with every militant, they're effectively just doing a recruiting drive for Hamas. Unless their goal is actually to reduce the number of civilians to an, err, more manageable level. There's a word for that, it must have slipped my mind.
Actually, they kill 1 Civilian for every 3 Hamas, despite the Hamas deliberately living in areas full of civilians and children.  I was impressed.  The Hamas have similar score  I'm rather surprised at the low civilian casualties on both sides.  Perhaps they are smarter than we give them credit for?

In 2008 the US government will pay $2.4Billion in aid to Israel.  They have generally paid ~$3billion for many years.  The GDP of Israel was $162billion in 2007.  Government revenues are $53.6billion.

Much of the high tech industry is now located in Israel.  They have been doing very well recently.
Correct, as I said, Israel can fend for itselves.  It needed our help when it was a fledgling country being attacked on all sides, but after we provided it with a modern military and nukes, they are safe, and they have indeed generated a modern industry.
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Andrei
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« Reply #14 on: January 06, 2009, 18:16:35 EST »

Quote from: joshbrenton
What do you guys think of this assessment?
I don't sympathize.

I'm not sure I would consider myself a military interventionist (I definitely am one as long as I don't care about any of the countries involved, I'm more circumspect otherwise), but I definitely think that if you get into a fight, you better do all you can to win it.

Let's face it, no one is buying the "US as impartial world police" schtick, so you might as well give it up, state that some countries are allies and others not for reasons as arbitrary (and selfish) as diplomatic alliances have usually been.

Then, pump up the infantry (I didn't use to believe it, but I think Irak has shown that more troops => more control), officially declare war on Palestine (yes, the country, you can't turn a movement into burning rubble), invade and declare it a colony... or better yet, turn it over to Israel for governorship.

I think I just outlined what my Irak strategy would be like too...
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