Category Archives: FTAC – From The Awesome Conversation
If — in my own head — I hit a universal note just about right in Facebook or other conversation, I may simply wrench it from context and publish it here in this category as a mix of observation and, I hope, a writer’s wisdom.
True scope: East-West Rivalry; Moscow v Washington; Political Absolutism – i.e., the power of the sovereign to destroy property and persons alike with impunity – v Democratic Distribution of Power & Rule of Law. Flies in the ointment: black markets; corruption; guerrilla wars; low intensity conflicts; wars by proxy.
For fair good reason, the nuclear powers seldom directly confront one another. Financial and political arrangements and families have become deeply entangled above the table and below it, and there’s not much we ordinary people can do about it but ride out the storms with awareness that ultimately the modern world, as we would know it, is well at war with feudal-medieval power as well as barbaric and primitive forces in nature expressed through history.
And the Taliban?
The Taliban are already failing Afghanistan, and Afghanistan, by way of our investment and presence across 20 years, has now to choose for itself — out of sight but in the hearts of Afghans and through resistance — what it wishes to be.
One may hope the warlords and others have no wish to become or remain themselves irrecoverably backward.
Greed obliterates authentic purposes to become an end in and of itself. Perhaps it helps create an ordered society, bureaucratic, impersonal, programmed — but that rather misses the mark as regards human services and well-being.
By way of cold categorization, it might be said that all addicts are criminals, but one may wonder what part are themselves predators and what other part preyed on by dealers and doctors or equivalents in counseling.
From time to time, I catch the boilerplate conservative prescription “personal responsibility!” in relation to the kind of damaged, enslaved, marginalized, and traumatized person that has lost all agency, confidence, efficacy, and esteem and wonder how pernicious and greed-ridden a society we have become. Can we tell the difference between the sad sack hipster and self-serving and profiteering sociopaths? Have we overemphasized the substance — whatever it may be or have been — and under-emphasized disconnection, marginalization, ostracism? And if so, for what?
In business terms, we are each and everyone of us our own “cost centers” — we want to live with means; we wish to pay our way; and for the most part, that’s what we do — but for a portion of America’s 320 millions souls — about a million or so the last time I checked (2019 with figures from 2017 compiled by authorities in 2018)— personalities or problems attach to expensive dependencies, and those persons then become the smallest of “profit centers” — revenue generators — for the money mad among sociopaths, and that from the curb to the corporate suite. Family’s gone and all the connections left are “fiduciary”, i.e., all about money and control bereft of conscience and soul.
As so often happens, a frantic mother called us about her 19-year-old daughter, who I’ll call Jen. A heroin addict, Jen had been shuttled between multiple treatment centers and sober homes by greedy marketers looking to cash in on the teenager’s insurance benefits by keeping her perpetually in recovery, but never sober.
Why focus always returns to Israel or the Jews eludes me when, in fact, the primary conflict driver has been Arab and other (well, Russian) anti-Semitic habit welded to lies and willful political misguidance to keep democracy and humanism away from the dictatorships, including those systems headed by Palestinian “leaders”, disinterested in either.
I confess only to having made note of the KGB-Palestinian relationship a time or two and to asking the apparently novel question: why has the world not focused on the Palestinian’s feudal internal politics and the community’s historic emotional dependence on Moscow?
What earlier Arab intransigence, anti-Semitism, and KGB ends have done to the Arab refugees of 1948 (at that time, left stranded between armies) has perhaps today an unspeakable quality as vast sums intended for the community’s development have been diverted to war (“Resistance!” they call it) for more than 73 years — and the Palestinian main base has gotten nothing out of that deal but absolute rule (no elections!), corruption and exploitation, Gaza (for Hamas!), neglect, political repression, and, as a sop in the press, the globally distributed artificial image of an heroic narcissism for ultimately gazing upon themselves.
I feel a little need (not much at all) to fill out my gripe, but the reader knows the online keys: “Fatah, corruption”; “Hamas, corruption”; “Palestinian child soldiers”; etc. Have curiosity, and you may travel online to your heart’s content. Nonetheless, I’ve listed a few ready references with which to click through to both greater knowledge and reflection.
The story this time is not Israel. It’s the corrupt no-good Palestinian leadership. It’s Hamas and the PA that keep stacking the chips higher, imaging that this time the bet will prove itself.
Ali was incredulous. “You call them a government?” he asked. “I call them mafia.”
For the 22-year-old Palestinian resident of the southern occupied West Bank city of Hebron, the Palestinian Authority (PA), headed by President Mahmoud Abbas, is a corrupt institution that benefits only an elite few.
Rather like the good (!) arbitrator, doctor, judge, police, or social worker who steps in to resolve an issue once, I’d like not to again feel compelled to revisit this workout for the Middle East Conflict.
From the Awesome Conversation
Iran’s expansionist ambitions, religious and spatial, and its relations with the authoritarian hypocrisies of China and Russia doubtlessly drove the Arab world into Israeli alliance as made possible by western flexibility and Israeli supremacy in security technologies internal and external. Two games potentially in play: firm alliances for inevitable war (choose sides!); encourage the Cold War habituated PLO/PA and the post-Soviet Islamist Hamas to embark on their own transformation in light of their both lost and losing positions, for by the motion or progress known to history, both have stayed in the same ideological or political space for too long.
The Middle East Conflict has been always about Power — Medieval or Modern — Across Time and never truly about real estate, the latter a myth for mobs. The Fatah and Hamas sponsors have long endorsed criminal absolutism, would that some Palestinians would wake up and respond appropriately to their own duping exploitation.
Former President Trump himself knew all about mobs , which partially accounts for why he was as he was. His world was black and white, Hobbesian, zero sum and not a space for political clarity, honesty, or vision. Unfortunately, Biden, the much better man, appears to be looking backward himself and inclined to replay some aspects of the Obama Era experience (as with the renewal of the JCPOA) rather than move forward with the radical prospect of expecting from the Palestinians courage, independence, and integrity in their own right and from the best of themselves rather than the unscrupulous worst.
For deep conservatives in Israel and elsewhere, the presence of the Palestinians tends to fade away behind defensive considerations coupled with ambitions that make the Palestinian population . . . a bothersome “externality” to the revival of a romanticized ancient Jewish past. That’s not going to work either.
Staying locked in place in Orwellian fashion (in which case, someone like myself will be chatyping here in about the same way 75 years from now) may work (if any have the patience for it); war might work, but considering the “East v West” alliances involved, what would contain it? Best bet: encouraging an appropriate and honest sea change across the Palestinian campus, and while that may be difficult to approach — i.e., the idea that they really have been duped and exploited for more than 73 years by those most claiming to defend them — not by the Jews, Israelis, or the West, which is true — it’s the only practical and inherently achievable, good, and helpful adjustment in sight.
Shorthand for the above: the Palestinians were birthed on the wrong side of history and this is a good time, so motivated by pain and threat as facilitated by their own camps for the Palestinians to bravely call history — their own true history — back into open review against all post-WWII and Soviet / post-Soviet Era dogma and propaganda.
On the dishonest tack foisted upon the refugees of 1948 and subsequent wars by Arab and Communist — and now Islamist — interests, there never will be a state recognized by responsible Israelis, Europeans, North Americans, or others worldwide. Some idiots in official diplomatic circles and many on the know-nothing (Far Out) Left will encourage you to death, but history and the worldwide community of historians and political analysts possessed of integrity will never rewrite or revise their subjects to suit your egotism, emotions, or narcissism or, ultimately, Jew hate and want of absolute and capricious power.
The sooner Palestinians wake up to History Undeniable, the sooner Israelis and Palestinians may stop dying in the path of poisonous falsehoods.
Recommended related look-ups: KGB, PLO | Iranian proxy, Hamas
The Palestinians, now a community in situ, have let Moscow and others lie to them through their own leaders, and the price paid for that has been more than 73 years of sustained conflict, death, and dislocation.
In strident tone, the proto-fascist “hoo hah” of America’s Right/Far Right precludes here any but the most gentle introduction to Russia’s Soviet / Post-Soviet efforts to drive extremism on the Left and Right. In relation to that – and more specifically the Middle East Conflict and the intellectual poisoning of “revolutionaries” whose efforts actually sustain the misery (!), I’ve posted similar to the following on Facebook and Twitter —
Elements on the Left supporting “Palestinian Liberation” have frightfully little knowledge of the Cold War background behind their own pernicious intellectual channeling, and they may not understand the extent to which they themselves are responsible for sustaining the middle east conflict. I’ve about run out of breath harping on “KGB, PLO” and other nifty look-ups. With personal insecurities tending to reject good — clear and accurate — information that doesn’t support the latest in “revolutionary” narratives (now old, well worn, and wearing out), it’s hard getting through with integrity and intelligence. Nonetheless, my short list for Palestinian apologists and Solidarity sorts —
Hamas, Iranian proxy Ion Mihai Pacepa KGB, PLO Russian Active Measures Zionology
There are in the world many who for insecure ego matched to an unhealthy narcissism will lie to themselves and their people for misplaced admiration.
Weak cases present lies; strong cases don’t need them.
With “broadband Internet” well distributed internationally and the World Wide Web fully open in the west, there should be less room for ingesting fabrications and other forms of lies and the political conceits built on them — and there should be no room for ignorance. For those leading today’s cultural and political revolutions, here are a few additional suggested look-ups —
Palestinian corruption Palestinian political repression
No one has abused, deceived, exploited, or lied to ordinary Palestinians quite like the once KGB-guided (PLO and others) and now Tehran-supported (Hamas, among others) organizations most claiming the defense of the same. The political cant and propaganda invented to install a nearly permanent war — and block and goad for the expansion of liberal and comparatively high-integrity democracies — has long been a foundational component of a duped “Far Left” whose dogma appears popular but whose decision-making and financial spending turns almost inevitably into enrichment schemes primarily benefiting the closed circles of their leadership. As much transpired for the Soviet nomenklatura and, in general, the Communist Party Soviet Union (CPSU) back in that day — the same elites got first crack at the post-Soviet fire sale of Russian state assets, the same that produced the oligarchs — and the same has served ultimately to undermine the integrity or sincerity of similarly “Marxist” oriented political entrepreneurs.
Whatever their purposes, all do-good nonprofit organizations needs must make money, and some exploit sensational claims to do it. However, and in relation to the Middle East Conflict, why do that when authentic concern would devolve to integrity and the recognition of a full plate of fair basic concerns that neither Fatah nor Hamas nor any other “revolutionary” organization has done much to tackle?
From my perspective, while “Marxism” has been ever fashionable and hip — who doesn’t want a better world — its promoters have long been more about power, prestige, and wealth themselves than about environmental and human progress and stewardship. In related reference, I’ve cited two BackChannels posts, one on Jacob Zuma and his slip with kleptocracy in South Africa, the other on the East Jerusalem enclave of Shuafat that Palestinian leaders demanded to managed autonomously, and it too appears to have been a kleptocratic enterprise (some sanitation issues have seen improvements, however, since its publication). ]
One hope the Palestinian communities in Gaza and the West Bank may claim: hope for honest and practical appraisal, evaluation, and feedback across dimensions and based on modern democratic and rule-of-law expectations. Anything less may sustain their captivity in the brutality of the medieval past.
For the Palestinians: more Medieval Political Absolutism (and related dogma and political theater) or Modern Open Democracy with its emphasis on practical, responsible, and responsive governance?
For the Israelis: is there a right mix between medieval habits and forces within and the modern and hyper-modern worlds that might become ultimately human-centered and less interested in cultural and religious revivals?
What is really at stake between Moscow x Tehran (as critically influential in the creation of Palestinian politics) and Washington x NATO (with modern Israel representative of the western civilizational project) is this argument about political power and purpose, medieval or modern.
Were it up to me, I’d see the medieval world largely packed away but for aesthetics, beliefs, comforts, rites, and rituals, i.e., communal, familial, and personal behaviors that we may engage in of our own free will, but not political and social behavior in which we needs must cooperate for both greater personal freedom and the many operations of complexly integrated and progressing societies.
I feel in my overviews of extremism over many years that the worst — of any camp! — devote themselves more to an imagined past and central narcissistic roles in power — or the vagaries of real ones that today would be anachronistic at best — than to the environmental and human challenges of the present and future.
Look ahead: medieval or modern?
With the above posted yesterday in a Facebook Israel-Palestine peace group, I arrived at the same this morning to find no response, or in old terms made new: the sound of silence.
So if I read the silence correctly, Palestinians deserve medieval governance, corrupt with their money, dishonest to their face, with education bent and twisted, and with intimidation and violence politically repressive. No elections. Politics again at the end of the gun barrel. I don’t know if that’s what Palestinians deserve, but as much would seem to have been delivered to them through more than 73 years of hostilities sustained by their KGB-handled and Ayatollah-sponsored “leaders”.
With little ado and much copy-and-paste, I’ve again engaged the narrative — and truth — about the “Middle East Conflict” and the idea that the Palestinian leadership has over time served other than the Palestinians.
As mentioned in previous posts, any Palestinian today may look up “Palestinian, corruption” or “Palestinian, political repression” with a simple search request.
The argument for Palestinians is for the refuge of a Palestinian state.
Unfortunately, the Palestinian governments remain proxies to Moscow and Tehran and, through both, corrupt and suffocating in the cause of political absolutism. The Palestinians will not find their freedom through Israel but through loss of faith in the PLO/PA and Hamas as their representatives.
Some background on East Jerusalem issues:
Palestinians will be free (“from the river to the sea”) when those who claim most to represent them — while effectively neglecting and plundering them by turns — are finished in the eyes of the Palestinians themselves.
The Palestinians are the victims of the same forces that sustain Putin, Assad, and Khamenei. While the deflections may be toward “The Jews” and western political will and technology, the simple fact is that the Syrians have only to look at the financially or morally failed states — dictatorships — associated with Soviet Era circles of control and regions of influence. Of the choices given by Yassin Swehat, I would choose for the PLO/PA and Hamas “ideological contortions” as they continue to serve the phantoms of the Soviet more than 30 years after the death of the same.
Regarding the west’s moral failures involving Moscow and the Syrian Tragedy: fear of direct nuclear exchange has probably been part of it; global warming and displacement without financial or political mechanisms in place beyond the shaping of migrant policies has certainly been part of it — as has the reflexively controlled turn toward proto-fascist New Nationalism in some democracy-degraded EU/NATO states (Hungary and Turkey, foremost; Poland and Italy mumbling along); finally, perhaps especially in the middle east, “disinformation” must be considered poison and lazily “missed information” something of its antidote. Arabs and Jews quick to come to their feet and raise their fists in anti-western solidarity often choose not to acknowledge authentically genocidal wars against the “Jewish State” nor look into the differing situations for enfranchised Israeli Arabs and those who would reject Israeli governance or influence at all costs nor, in the end, comb over the history of anti-Semitic / anti-Zionist incitements and the long history of horrific acts of terrorism associated with them.
Everyone, even Israel, may be with the Palestinians this time but not the once KGB-guided PLO/PA (still) and Iran’s proxy Hamas. The same forces in Moscow and Tehran that produced them have sustained Assad the Butcher and other miserable post-Soviet “leaders” (Venezuela’s worth a look) around the world.
I absolutely support democracy, freedom, and rule of law for the Palestinians, and no less for them than any living in the west.
How is it then that Palestinians should be subject to PLO/PA and Hamas corruption, lies, and repression without end?
And how much of the world’s information (in English) should be withheld from Palestinians by evidently more powerful Palestinians (for their own good)?
Why shouldn’t Palestinians enjoy the privileges attending “free and fair elections” with plenty of responsibly vetted, cogent, and reliable information (on par with the best investigative journalism published anywhere else in the free world) with which to make political policy and representation decisions in their own right?
Shouldn’t Palestinians be able to evaluate for themselves their near state relationships with Moscow and Tehran?
Is there any reason for Palestinians not enjoying the benefits of democratic, liberal, and modern responsible and responsive governance subject to impartial internal auditing?
Or do the same need to be subject somehow to other less modern, less “western”, less universal, and less savory principles?
(The statement responded to essentially declared freedom a universal right, irreducible and recognizable).
Not so strangely, I agree. However, not all who are powerful agree, and some in charge of substantial communities, from Beijing to Gaza City, seem to believe their people need more authoritarian control and guidance — backed by repressive measures and violence — than others elsewhere, especially in the open societies of the Wild West. What is it about Palestinian Freedom that Palestinian leaders fear?
Putin, Assad, and Khamenei — I have their pictures in one place: https://conflict-backchannels.com/…/syria-the-horror-2011/ — have cut adrift the conventions of medieval absolutism. Their worlds — and the worlds attached to them! — should be fading behind us, and “us” includes the Palestinians.
For Iran — https://www.reuters.com/investigates/iran/#article/part1 — the fig leaf’s slipping, and that will be a very good thing for the Palestinians who may be — or will be — free to question the dogma that has attended their existence — their very breathing in situ, in fact — for more than 73 years.
The medieval competition between monarchies would seem about finished by World War I and made additionally irrelevant by the rise of an angry and industrialized Nazi Germany and its ravages through World War II (most of Europe’s monarchies have become constitutional enterprises), and yet Stalinism, ordinary dictatorship, and brutal theocracy have persisted into first fifth of the 21st Century. Along the way, the Soviet Union courted and used Arab power plus the Palestinian Refugees of 1948 to goad and block the expansion of western liberalism, democracy, and rule of law. When presented the choice between supporting the “Arab Spring” in Syria in 2011 or backing a dictator, Putin chose the dictator — and for himself on the way into power, a most manipulative and feudal-medieval Russian revanche.
While Assad’s slaughter drove down Syria’s population by 5 million between 2011 and 2018, the Palestinians, who had been handled since 1948 by an array of “revolutionary” personalities and organizations, were pinned in place, and eventually kept so by Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria, each of which today maintains special-status Palestinian camps. While each “Arab war” against Israel has been lost, the Palestinians have not been treated as normal refugees, dispersed, resettled, or settled in place but rather meanly kept intellectually clouded with anger and incitements and weaponized for war against the “Zionist entity”. That strategy now regularly erupts in acts of terror or acts of war, drawing to Palestinians Israel’s defense operations that while securing Israel create the world’s most awful memories for Palestinians. The strategy works some on the post-Soviet Communist Far Out Left, but as western governments do their homework — and perhaps independent Palestinians will too — the “strategy” fails reliably.
The lies — the poison slipped into ears for decades — will eventually fail too.
As the “Greatest Generation” (WWII) has largely passed away in the United States and the liberal professoriate has grown lax with the acceptance of all stances and thought, however absurd, the Palestinians have found themselves in the pleasant but miserable condition of getting themselves killed by way of delusional encouragements and bitter incitements cooked up by their own medieval leaders.
I believe modern Palestinians wish to live modern lives but do not have modern leaders who would serve them first and with integrity before serving themselves and their relationships elsewhere.