Sunday, December 2, 2012

Middle East Morass

Troubling, is what I would call some of the commentary from libertarians on Facebook and other social media with regard to the Palestinian - Israeli conflict recently.

Steve Horwitz, a professor of economics and an advocate of the Austrian School, wrote a blog post on the conflict that sums up my thoughts very well, in an argument that might satisfy many libertarians. Have a look at his blog post, it's worth your time.

The issue of course is extremely complex, made worse by missteps on both sides and by the 24 hour news cycle that needs to be fed. On top of that there are issues of political correctness when one or the other side is criticized.

A great many younger libertarians and modern day liberals have approached this conflict with the same view promulgated by politicians, commentators, and reinforced by the modern liberal mainstream media who believe they are being objective in their position which sounds something like this: 

Poor tiny Gaza is being blockaded by the tyrannical Israeli's, whose apartheid policies have caused the Palestinian people untold hardship. It's an unfair fight, the Israeli's with their modern military might against the Palestinian's homemade rockets and plucky attitude of resistance. 

That represents the superficial argument if you, like many, are unaware of the history of this conflict or you have been fed the revisionist story widely available on the CBC et al. 

The purpose of my blog is to advance the cause of liberty and secularism. It is difficult to ignore that this conflict seems to be a clash of religions. Lets put aside the conflict for the moment, one has to consider which side in this conflict has the greatest possibility of advancing the cause of liberty in the future. So lets look at that.

Over the past two years a number Arab states in the region have undergone what is called the Arab Spring. This has been touted as a freedom movement by the liberal media, a move towards democracy and away from dictatorial rule. In several of the countries dictators have been overthrown or killed and replaced by new government. Lets look at Egypt, one of the more "peaceful" revolutions. The dictator Mubarak was overthrown, the new President, Mr. Morsi, after 100 days in power has adopted temporary sweeping new powers, effectively making him a dictator now backed by the Muslim Brotherhood. A Mubarak military dictatorship has been replaced by a Morsi theocratic dictatorship. 
Is that a move forward or backward? I'm not sure. 
Its happened in other places and in Syria, it is still happening. The dictator is slaughtering his own people, cutting them off from the rest of the world (Internet was turned off for two days) with no peace in sight yet. The Arab Spring has morphed into the Islamist Winter. I'm going to take a guess and say that it is unlikely that any of these revolutions will result in classical liberal democracies with the type of liberties common in other countries like Canada.

On the other hand Prof. Horwitz has this to say: "Let me be blunt: there is one and only one state in the region that rests on broadly classical liberal values and that is Israel. It has the rule of law, an independent judiciary, a more or less market economy that protects private property, not to mention a higher degree of ethnic/religious inclusiveness in its political institutions. It is far from perfect, but it is the most classical liberal game in town."

Their have been several wars since the state of Israel was founded 65 years ago, Israel has been victorious in all of them. Do you seriously believe that if Israel had lost one of those wars the country would still exist? I don't. Yet each of Israel's neighbours still exist, they have even (foolishly IMHO) had land returned by the Israeli's in an attempt to have peace, but those wars have morphed into an ongoing war of attrition. I'm predicting this war is going to get much, much bigger, in many different ways. I hope not, but history is not on the side of peace. 

The video below is a bit of history, and if you haven't seen it you should.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.