Lieber for Congress, P.O. Box 410064, Creve Coeur, MO 63141

Current international conflicts

Hafsa writes:Q&A

What is your view on the current foreign conflicts, namely Gaza and Crimea? With which party do you align in either case? Israel or Palestine and Russia or Ukraine? And finally, should America involve itself in these conflicts? If so, what do you propose the US do to stem or stop the bloodbath?

I know it’s a long question, but I’m truly curious as to what you think.

Response from Arthur

I think that the issues in and around Gaza and Crimea reflect the two major political global issues that we face now, ones that the world has confronted for time immemorial. First the world is ensnarled in a multitude of disputes among tribes, nationalities, and warring factions. Second, strong nations have a tendency to be aggressive against the less strong. In the Middle East, we have ongoing eruptions between groups that have been at odds with one another for centuries. Whether it’s Israelis and Palestinians or Sunnis and Shiah, the parties seem to exist in a constant state of conflict. Violence has become a norm.

History has shown that conflicts tend to diminish as countries grow economically and socially. Economic growth normally is followed by increased human rights. In the Middle East we need to work with Israel and others to expand economic opportunities for those who are disenfranchised and living in poverty. When people need to protect their possessions, both private and public, they are more likely to see the downside of violence.

In the case of Russia, Crimea, and Ukraine, we have a rather clear-cut example of bullying. The United States needs to work with other countries, particularly in Europe, to contain Russia. At the same time, we don’t want to be goaded into military action. That is what some Republicans seem to want and recent history has shown that willy-nilly American intervention is not good for anyone. We need to apply sanctions on Russia that hurt – ones that either will force Mr. Putin to change or for the country to look for new leadership.

Both situations require patience and wisdom. By being rash, we only hurt the state of affairs. Patience is hard to accomplish in the twenty-four hour news cycle because criticism runs rampant. The thoughtful among us must do all that we can to chill the situations, both internationally and domestically. We need to remember that the best results will come over time, not the instant when we want them.

5 thoughts on “Current international conflicts”

  1. Susan Cunningham says:

    Arthur, I agree with your general statements. Groups of people tend to find peaceful solutions to problems when they have something to protect. In the case of Ukraine, there is much more to the story, and don’t believe all the stuff about Putin and Russia being the only culprit. More on that another time.

    I have come to the conclusion that the decision-makers in Israel do not want a ceasefire or peaceful solution. They want all the land for themselves with no independent Palestinian state. Their plan has been working for 40 years and there is no incentive for them to stop now. They continue to destroy homes and farms of Palestinians and build houses for Jews to settle. Can you imagine any other country in the world doing this and not being condemned by the “world community” (as our diplomats love to call those who agree with us)? I’m sickened by the disproportionate violence being inflicted on the people of Gaza who cannot flee. They can’t even become “refugees” in another country because they are trapped. As much as I’ve been horrified by what is happening in Syria and the hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians who have fled their country, they are still much better off than those who cannot flee.

    Can you imagine trying to protect your family when you hear fighter jets tearing up your village? I’ll have to look it up, but I’m sure there is something in the Geneva Convention and international law about punishing a general population for the crimes committed by a small portion of the population.

    On a purely practical level, what Israel is doing to the Palestinians will continue to increase the hatred that many Muslims already feel toward the U.S. I put myself in their shoes and can understand why they see us as the enemy. We have done the same thing with those countries who allied themselves against OUR enemies many, many times.

    It makes me sick the way American media is portraying the “conflict” in Gaza. The elephant steps on the mouse, and we say the mouse is equally to blame. Shame on all of us.

    1. David Eidelman says:

      Susan, what planet are you living on? Your statement that Israel “wants all the land for themselves with no independent Palestinian state” is not supported by the facts. Israel kicked its settlers out of Gaza, and turned it over to the Palestinians lock stock and barrel, including millions of dollars of greenhouses which could produce income for the residents of Gaza. So what did Gaza do? They destroyed the greenhouses and took the majority of funds they received to build a military state designed to destroy Israel. This included building hundreds of tunnels and thousands of rockets. If Israel didn’t respond the way they are, they would essentially be wiped out. If not this time, then surely the next time. Hamas is counting on people like you to sympathize with their casualties to stop Israel, even though they know from past history that shooting rockets into Israel will result in hundreds if not thousands of deaths of innocent Gaza civilians. Hamas is essentially murdering their own people, stealing their assets, and ruining the lives of their own citizens. Then they blame Israel, who just wants to live in peace. I am sure that most citizens of Gaza are nice people who just want peace. But Hamas leaders have behaved like sociopaths, with nothing but death and destruction on their minds.

  2. Susan and David, I truly appreciate your comments. You both have obviously done your research and are passionate about the issues. I know that there are partisans on both sides of the issue who do not have the restraint that both of you do.

    I was listening to former U.S. Senator and Middle East Envoy George Mitchell Tuesday (7/29/2014) night on AC360. He said that one time he traveled to the Middle East and visited seventeen countries. Each had their complaints about U.S. policy. He asked the leaders of each of the countries what they would suggest that U.S. policy be in the Middle East. He said that all seventeen suggested a policy for the U.S. that would be consistent with their own county’s interests. Certainly not a surprise, but also clear evidence that many nations cannot see a global view in addition to their own self-serving interests.

    I believe that Hamas, and Israel to a certain extent, have problems seeing a vision beyond one that serves their own particular needs. Maybe they shouldn’t be asked to do so because they are players in a hot war. But sometimes we need nations and groups to actually visualize peace. That’s what the allied powers did following World War II and they created the United Nations. It has not been perfect, but it is a place for nations to vent rather than fight. If it is currently too difficult for Israel and the Palestinians to find a non-violent way to disagree, then it is the responsibility of other nations to create a way. The U.S. could play a key role in an economic development program for Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank.

    I believe that it’s helpful for Hamas to have an advocate like Susan and for Israel to have one like David. This way their interests will be best represented at the negotiating table. The current fighting will pass and when it does, we all need to do more than to look forward to the next round of violence. The forces of moderation and collaboration are rather thin around the globe, but those who are committed to lasting peace need to step forward.

  3. David Eidelman says:

    The solution to the Gaza-Israel situation would be to have a receivership group of countries…..kind of like the allies did in Germany and Japan in WWII….who would take over Gaza and demilitarize it…..returning the government to the people of Gaza after they have developed a constitution and a true democratic system with the necessary institutions that go along with it to insure its soundness and stability. Under these circumstances, Israel would not need a blockade to prevent Gaza from importing advanced weaponary, and the citizens of Gaza, with a Marshall Plan type of economic boost (As Arthur Lieber advocates) could enjoy greater economic strength.

  4. David, I completely agree with you. It really helps to have the perspective of history. Your suggestion is the kind of creative solution that I think could also be helpful in addressing the current influx of children from Central America into the United States.

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