micah holmquist's irregular thoughts and links
Welcome to the musings and notes of a Cadillac, Michigan based writer named Micah Holmquist, who is bothered by his own sarcasm.
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Sites Holmquist trys, and often fails, to go no more than a couple of days without visiting (some of which Holmquist regularly swipes links from without attribution)
Blogs that for one reason or another Holmquist would like to read on at least something of a regular basis (always in development)
Sunday, October 19, 2003
While nowhere near as exciting or important as a United Nations non-resolving resolution on Iraq or events in the entity that may or may not come to be known as "The Kobe Trial" just as the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and their immediate aftermath have come to be known as "September 11,", Wednesday’s bombing in Israel deserves consideration. The BBC writes:
United States diplomatic convoy has been hit by a massive bomb blast in the Gaza Strip which killed three American security personnel and injured one.The attack came one day after Pentagon advisor Richard Perle reportedly attacked current efforts for "peace."
Cameron W. Bar of The Christian Science Monitor repoted on Thursday about how this bombing might represent shift in the strategies employed by Palestinian militants.
Palestinians feared this attack would lead to anti-Palestinian actions on the part of the United States, according to Nidal al-Mughrabi of Reuters.
A recent survey conducted by Palestinian Centre for Policy and Survey Research found that a majority of "Palestinians" -the group is not defined- support a recent suicide bombing, which is slightly different than what Reuters said, but that "# 85%... support a mutual cessation of violence while only14 % oppose it."
While this bombing has lead to visciously anti-Palestinian rhetoric, I'm doubtful that it will lead to any dramatic change since it is unclear how this gives Israel any greater incentive to move dramatically and the Palestinians are unable to do much at all except submit or continue the status quo, which, however bloody, is going nowhere.
Outside forces could step in but why would they want to now? Bush could tell the Israelis to have them Palestinians but that would cause all sorts of political problems in the Middle East by fulfilling the worst expectations of many in the region at a time when Bush is trying to place nice. A move to violently repel Israel and establish a Palestinian state would go against everything Bush stands for, take away resources from other areas that the U.S. is committed to, possibly have a tremendous cost in terms of the lives of U.S. soldiers, offend some of his strongest supporters and just might end in disaster since Israel has what used be known as "the bomb," which is perhaps all the proof needed to say that there is pro-militarist angle to the video for Doctor Dre's "Nuthin' but a 'G' Thang." O.k. Not really. (That said, it would be fun to hear Bush justify it. "Across the world and in every part of America, people of goodwill are wondering why we have attacked one of our closest and most historic allies at a time when they, like us and the rest of the civilized world, are in a struggle to make sure that the terrorists are defeated and evil does not prevail," he could say. "Well I don't have a good answer other than that you watch Paul D. Miller's 'Rebirth of a Nation.'") A coalition of Arab and/or Muslim nations could fulfill John Hagee's wildest fantasies... I mean prophecies and intervene but why would they want to risk war with Israel, if not Israel and the United States, especially when victory is far from certain. In one section of Welcome to the Desert of the Real philosopher Slavoj Zizek calls on a "unified Europe" to make its presence known and engage in a "new political initiative, which is the only thing that can break the present deadlock." While Zizek has IMHO correctly analyzed the present situation, he neither accounts for the problems that could result, which is especially disappointing given how his valuable critique of how Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri's Empire fails to account for some of the likely real world consequences of the baby steps they propose towards utopia, nor for how it is unrealistic to think that any sort of "unified Europe" would want to devote the resources and lives to the goal of a solution even if success was expected when it probably shouldn't be. Thus, even though it is part of a very serious larger call for "'Eurocentrism'," here the point comes across as rather silly.
In the end, I suspect that hope should not be lost but fixes that do not involve ideological changes where the majority of both Israelis and Palestinians come to accept each other are far less likely to succeed than they are to end in ruin.
If the situation often referred to "Mid-East Peace," as if countries like Iraq didn't exist and Peter Tosh had never sung "Equal Rights," looks hopeless, and it does, it is good to know that things might be different in other places.
Bolivia was the scene for several weeks of what Andrea Arenas Alípaz and Luis Gómez of Narco News call a "popular revolt" over that country's pro-free market and pro-U.S. policies. On Friday President Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada's responded by turning in his resignation. Vice President and acting President Carlos Mesa has said the country will hold early elections. Don't worry about Sanchez de Lozada, however. He's in the U.S., a country that did nothing to support his regime or to harm Bolivians. (Thanks to Al Giordano for the first link.)
This "revolt" is just latest manifestation of what has been termed the "new Latin American left," one of the most interesting developments of the post-Cold War era even if it is far from clear if the movement has much in the way of new ideas. The most common call is for an end to the "war on drugs," which would be humane and just but not do much to break free of the trap of the reigning economic, military and political systems. Bringing a tear to Rosa Luxemburg, such a move would be reform not revolution. Beyond that all they seem to have is the restoration of the systems that once produced Stalinism. Hardly a new way.
Of course part of me suspects that, for better or worse, reform is the only available means of not worsening the present. That part is both frightened and heartened by this "new left."