Once again Israeli rightwingers manipulated Washington into doing something that harms U.S. national security. Eventually, this bill will come due.
How does a superpower earn friends and influence people? It’s just like at home – Mom and Dad really do not get much respect or love from the kids by owning the biggest house. They get it by earning it, through the little things, like attention and consideration and fairness. (If this sounds like preaching, all you dear readers on Main Street, well, it is, but don’t be offended: I’m not talking to you; I’m talking to Washington, where the above homilies are unappreciated.)
Washington earned little respect with its fearsome display of arms over the last decade. It did get a little bit of momentary, grudging obedience, but mostly from folks who really did not wish to pick a fight in the first place, and even that is all short-term. We do not yet have any idea how many people around the world are just waiting to pay the U.S. back for its string of recent invasions and occupations and embargoes. When we find out, everyone in Washington will be astonished, outraged, and innocent.
Respect is something altogether different: harder to earn than obedience but much more lasting because it generates voluntary cooperation and, more, persuades people to think of one as a model to be followed.
Alright! Enough with the endless carping! Complaining is easy, so for superpower leaders who want to earn the world’s respect, who want to be a model the world will willingly follow (if you were good parents, you’d know…), it is all about the little things.
On August 27, a little thing was reported: Washington threatened to cut Palestinian aid if the Palestinians asked the U.N. for statehood
. Note that Washington did not threaten to cut aid to the colonized, abused, and ethnically cleansed Palestinians for terrorism or fighting for national liberation or joining the Communist Bloc, or supporting al Quaida. No, the sole global superpower is threatening economic coercion of Palestinians, whose right to a homeland has been ignored by the world for 60 years, for adhering to international standards and going to the U.N. for help to resolve a conflict that the impoverished and semi-starved population of the Israeli colony cannot possibly obtain on their own (in the face of relentless U.S. hostility). The superpower is punishing a population that has been isolated and prevented from participating in the closest institution we have to world government for wanting to talk.
The lessons here are pretty clear (though perhaps not on the banks of the Potomac):
- Do not follow international law;
- Do not demand the right to talk;
- Do not assume that the democratic process is a public right (it is, rather, by invitation only).
In short, if Palestinians want to be treated with respect, they are going to have to behave disrespectfully. They are going to have to throw stones.
Now, where do you think this leaves all the rest of the world’s one billion Muslims
(not to mention, say, one billion Chinese)? Do they respect the U.S. more today as a result of this lesson in democracy?
Situations Where the Superpower Could Use a Little Respect for Democracy
Nigeria – rising Muslim terrorist campaign
if you thought Iraq was bad, imagine the U.S. intervening in Nigeria – on the equator, oil exporter, 155,000,000 people with a median age of 19; 389 ethnic groups; twice the size of Iraq