When holding the hammer…

“When neither their property nor their honor is touched, the marjority of men live content.” – Niccolo Machiavelli

As the United States continues to hold a hammer, everything looks more and more like a nail.

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict seems like an ancient battle between good and evil, where both good and evil are relative to the agent.  But people often misname the crisis:  It should be read “The Israeli-American-Palestinian Conflict” with “American” strategically sandwiched in between the original two contenders. The Middle East has continued to be a hotbed of problems because of unnecessary involvement ever since the West chose to divvy the Ottoman Empire rather than allowing each region to claim its own sovereignty as America did during and after its Revolution. Rather than witnessing the natural evolution of states, the West forced state boundaries, leading to many of the problems we have today.

Today, Vice President Joe Biden decided to condemn Israel for increasing settlements in East Jerusalem after reminding the world yesterday that the Israeli-American alliance was “unshakable.” This is the same individual who drafted a plan to divide Iraq into three separate states. After the United Nations deemed settlement expansion “illegal” under international law, nothing happened. What we have today is a quasi-functional international system. It is quasi-functional because internationalism is improbable and does not work because states are more likely to defect before cooperating with one another. Collective action is the epitome of international naivety and thinking that the U.N. is a legitimate threat to anyone around the world is both foolish and careless. And rather than letting Middle Eastern countries seek their own sovereignty through their own wars and self-determination, the United States and Great Britain would rather meddle in internal state affairs, creating more dissent and opposition in the region.

Western democracies often forget the price they had to pay to become democracies. England has a history of ethnic and religious cleansing before finally establishing a semi-functional parliament. France had to endure half a century of revolution before finally establishing itself as a stable Republic under Napoleon III; even then, the Republic of France declared war on its Westminster-modeled neighbor, Prussia, shortly after. Everyone also forgets that democracies and republics have historically been the responses to feudalism and aristocracies. They were neither forced nor contracted, and came from consent of the indigenous population.  

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