Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Ziad J. Asali Likes Intervention...Sometimes

One of the most common refrains on the Huffington Post is that America must stop interfering. Interfering with whom? Doesn't matter. Don't interfere with anyone. Interference is bad. Non interference is the Prime Directive, you might even say. Say what you will about the Huffington Posters, they have been consistent on this point. They were even against bombing Libya, even though no Americans died and President Obama was the one pushing for it. We see this again in the Syria threads where even though everyone is upset about what is happening there, everyone is equally clear that America should not get involved. I get the impression that most Huffington Post bloggers feel the same way.

That is, until Ziad J. Asali weighed in. I don't mind Dr. Asali as much as some other Huffington Post bloggers, even though he is the President of the American Task Force on Palestine. He supports a two state solution and his columns are not one endless anti-Israel screed after another. We've had our disagreements of course, but compared to some other HP bloggers Dr. Asali is quite reasonable. His latest article is a bit dense but in summary it is about the Arab spring, which Dr. Asali still hopes is about democracy and freedom.

In summary the article is a rehash of recent Arab Spring history and Dr. Asali's concern about Islamist parties potentially taking over (a point of view that, if it had appeared in the comments six months ago, would have been immediately denounced as racist). Both in the title and in the following paragraph he calls for the West to intervene, but in the most round about why possible:
"The Arab people deserve the opportunity to join the rest of the humanity in the pursuit of freedom from want and oppression, and to live in a political order based on the consent of the governed. Post-dictatorship Arab societies must be based on a healthy balance between the right of the majority to form governments while protecting the inalienable rights of individuals, women and minorities. These uprisings provide opportunities to promote an Arab political culture based on the rights and responsibilities of the individual citizen and ensuring a healthy relationship with the broader society and state in which they can participate fully and freely. The West, and the world in general, have a strong stake in ensuring that this happens in order to expand the circle of regional and global stability."
So...does that mean you do want America to bomb Assad's forces in Syria, or what? And although the above is just a short summary, the entire article is like this. A lot of roundabout language without any kind of a plan. It's not that I disagree with his ideals, but like many Huffington Posters his point of view seems to contradict itself: Intervention is bad (Egypt), except when it's good (Libya), except when it's bad (Syria). Only left-wingers like the kind on the Huffington Post can tell the difference.

Oh, in case you were wondering, yes, it is all about you-know-who:
"Palestine is a key battleground in this struggle. Constructive forces are trying to develop positive changes on the ground, in spite of the deep freeze in negotiations with Israel, and other political difficulties. These efforts are particularly structured around the institution-building program developed by Prime Minister Salam Fayyad. But at present they are not receiving the requisite international support. A committed and substantive effort is required to provide the advocates for good governance, pluralism and free enterprise the tools and resources they need to promote these ideals. Victory in this ultimate symbolic conflict, Palestine, will yield political dividends across the region."
Actually, I would say that it is quite the opposite. The Arab Spring showed that the "linkage" between the Israeli-Palestinian situation and the entire rest of the Middle East doesn't actually exist. The Syrians, Egyptians, Tunisians, etc, started standing up for themselves and for the first time ever "Palestine" stopped being such a priority. Why do you think the Palestinians were so upset by the Arab uprisings? Because suddenly they weren't in the spotlight any more. Clearly that attitude has also transferred to Dr. Asali, whose job it is to advocate for the Palestinians. That's not a shot at him, he's just doing his job and I wouldn't expect anything less.

But it is kind of ironic because the Palestinians if anything are ahead of the game. After all they elected an Islamist party to lead them years ago. Nor does it seem like any Palestinians (especially their so-called supporters) have any interest at all in "freeing" them from anything except of course the universal evil that is "the occupation."

Unfortunately for Dr. Asali, not even his poorly argued statements could convince the Huffington Posters to change their attitude towards the Prime Directive, and they didn't appear to know how to react to his article. So they went back to the classics: Bashing Israel and America. You can't go wrong there, I suppose.

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