Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

Lebanese Blockade

with 16 comments

Olmert insists that Israel’s air and sea blockade of Lebanon will continue. Think about this in the perspective of your homeland. What would you say if some foreign nation prevented ship and planes from entering your country? Most people, especially in the west, would foam at the mouth over what is an act of war.

What in the name of God or anyone gives Israel the right to blockade a sovereign nation? Nothing, yet the west carries on as if this arrogant and illegal action on Israel’s part is just a minor inconvenience. No, Israel ignoring its neighbors sovereignty is a big part of the problem in the Middle East. This attitude sadly is an all too common attitude in the west, especially Britain and the USA. They routinely claim to be shining examples of international law and justice, and routinely insist that other nations uphold these standards. Yet when it is in their interest to ignore them, they do so flagrantly.

A nation cannot simultaneously claim to be a law abiding nation and then ignore provisions of the law they find inconvenient. Well, they can. It’s called hypocrisy. It’s also the same old colonial attitude that Europe and now Israel uses to lord over non western nations. As long as this “I can do what I like but you have to do what I say” attitude is a touchstone of American, British, and Israeli foreign policy, there will be no peace in the Middle East or anywhere else on Earth.

At least the Lebanese see the humor in all of this. I particularly liked this joke that refers to Israel’s repeated occupation of Lebanese territory:

An Israeli recently arrives at London’s Heathrow airport. As he fills out a form, the customs officer asks him: “Occupation?”

The Israeli promptly replies: “No, just visiting!”

Sometimes ya gotta laugh to keep from crying.

Written by unitedcats

August 30, 2006 at 7:26 am

Posted in Peace, War

16 Responses

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  1. Hi Doug,

    Maybe I can shed a little light on this. I used to teach political science at Penn State and geo-politics has long been an interest of mine.

    A lot of people truly don’t understand how the world works. For example, what gives the United States the right to develop nuclear weapons and yet forbids a country like Iran? Who determines international law and who enforces it? Who determines if an action is illegal or not?

    In order to understand these things a thorough knowledge of treaties is in order. For example, the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) determines who can’t (and who can) develop nuclear weapons without attracting the animosity and reprisal of the others. Nations can be members to this treaty or elect not to participate, but it is the strength of numbers that determines who does what.

    In the situation above that you describe, Lebanon and Israel are both “sovereign” nations. Sovereign means that they are self-governing and self-determining. Lebanon can at any time try to blockade Israel, but they would have to have the military might and the allies available to help them in order to make it work. Since Lebanon would be “sovereign” any such action taken would not be illegal for them. Contrary to what most believe, there is no “world court” that can try nations (something most Americans who function within a fairly decent legal system are unaware).

    There are other factors to consider here also. Lebanon has been an enabler of Hizbolah, and in so doing has brought upon itself a consequence to the improper behavior of such. No one is denying the ties between this terrorist organization and the Lebanese government, so in all reality, Israel (as a sovereign nation) has taken it upon themselves to blocade this nation to stop its actions. But…the interesting thing is that Israel CAN carry out this action because it does have the support of the west, and an adequate military force to do so.

    So what gives Israel a right? I would say that Hizbollah’s action supported by the Lebanese government was enough, but also the fact that they are a sovereign nation that has the ability to do so.

    And a quickie point. There never has been peace on earth–long before Israel, the United States or Britain existed, I don’t know that we can pin it all on them.

    Regards,

    -j

    bereans

    August 30, 2006 at 10:18 am

  2. According to Iraq Body Count ( a conservative estimate), over 40,000 Iraqis have died due to the US occupation. Since we “enable” the US military, does that make it all right for Iraq to (if they could, which they can’t, this is theoretical) blockade the US?

    Agent KGB

    August 30, 2006 at 12:19 pm

  3. Hi AKGB,

    Not sure if this is directed at me, but I wasn’t particularly discussing morality or ideals here. The issues Doug put forth was that the action was illegal, and inserted the sovereignty of nations. I just wanted to point out that since Israel is sovereign it has the “right” to do whatever it chooses if it is able.

    And also, this is an apples to oranges comparison. We do not “enable” the military, it is a function of our government and therefore directly under our Commander-in-Chief. If our military does something wrong, then yes, we as a nation can be held responsible for it by other nations if they have the wherewithal to do it.

    I agree with idealism, but the world works in a realistic way, not according to your and my ideals. If it did, there would be peace on earth, good will toward all men–but when is the last time we have seen that on this earth?

    Nice to chat,

    -j

    Jack

    August 30, 2006 at 6:00 pm

  4. My point is not that The USA, Britain, and Israel are the cause of the world’s problems. Far from it. My point is that their imperial 19th century mindset and foreign policy is making the situation in the Middle East worse, not better. Maybe that is what they intend, I’m not a mind reader. But if they genuinely want a modern peaceful democratic Middle East…arial bombing campaigns, assasinations, blockades, invasions, threats, occupations, etc. will be as successful as say…strapping explosives to your body and blowing up cafes. And considering that between them the USA, Israel, and Britain are the most powerful alliance that has ever walked the Earth…it’s fair to hold them largely responsible for the never ending mess in the Middle East.

    Doug :)

    unitedcats

    August 30, 2006 at 7:14 pm

  5. Actually, I believe that chaos IS what they intended all along — remember Condasleeza and her perverted “birth pangs.”

    Ms. Clio

    August 30, 2006 at 8:06 pm

  6. Jack,
    My comment was, if directed at anyone, directed at bereans. It was a theoretical question, not in reference to the real world.
    My point about enabling was that if Lebanon enables Hizbollah, then we, even more directly, enable the US military because we pay our taxes. I’m not saying we have a choice in the matter, I’m just saying the US military wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for US citizens, regardless of who controls it.

    Agent KGB

    August 31, 2006 at 5:18 am

  7. Hi AKGB,

    Actually I am bereans–sorry about that. I get your point and it is completely valid.

    Also, Doug, I agree with you’re assessment of the West. It is my personal opinion that all wars are about money (or its equivalent). Either that or fanaticism. We’re not very fanatical in the West, so that mostly leaves money.

    I happen to believe that democracy is born in the hearts of citizens and cannot be forced upon others. Democracy has also been spread by example, not by military might.

    Looking forward to further posts, Doug.

    -j

    bereans

    August 31, 2006 at 6:07 am

  8. Thank you kind sir for your considered comments. Food for thought in subsequent posts.

    Doug

    unitedcats

    September 1, 2006 at 8:05 pm

  9. Bereans, you pass off opinion as fact. Hezbollah is not universally considered as a “terrorist organisation”. It is by the US and Israel but last time I checked, that wasn’t nearly the whole international community.

    You employ an absurd argument of might makes right, and ‘because it can, it must be OK.’ No, it is NOT OK that Israel lay waste to its neighbour Lebanon just because it has US provided firepower to do so. I do not condone Hizbollah violence either, but the weight of blame is at Israel’s door for its hundreds of border violations, provocations and the immoral and illegal detaining of THOUSANDS of Palestinian and Lebanese prisoners, many children and many without charge or trial.

    I’m sorry, the capture of two Israeli soldiers is not justification for what Israel did and continues to do, Israeli lives are NOT worth more than that of their neighbours, and for an explanation of the regular rain of primitive, ineffective Katyusha rockets from the Hezbollah resistance you need look no further than Israel’s appalling human rights record, itsd flagrant disregard of its Arab neighbours and its invasion and continiung occupation of Gaza. It was the first invasion of Lebanon in 1982 that gave rise to Hezbollah in the first place.

    You absurdly claim “Lebanon has been an enabler of Hizbolah, and in so doing has brought upon itself a consequence to the improper behavior of such.”

    Excuse me, Hizbollah has a political wing that includes twto legitimate government ministers. Look at Northern Ireland. You are obviously intent upon demonising Hezbollah and then blaming the whole Lebanese government. The Haganah was eventually integrated into the IDF, Bereans.

    The rest of your argument is uncleard, particularly the section on the NPT. Iran is a signatory, Israel who DOES ALREADY possess a still officially unacknowledged nuclear arsenal (known thanks to the courage of Israeli dissenter Mordechai Vanunu) is NOT.

    Best wishes
    Ann

    peoplesgeography

    September 3, 2006 at 4:16 am

  10. I’m agreeing with Ann/Peoplegeography. “War does not decide who is right, war decides who is left.” (Bertrand Russell). Murder, for instance, is wrong, whether it’s done by an individual or a sovereign nation. Also, for instance, if Hitler had been able to take over Eurasia, the facts that Hitler was ruler of a sovereign nation, and that nation was able to take over and kill everyone they didn’t like, wouldn’t make it right.

    Agent KGB

    September 3, 2006 at 5:06 am

  11. Hi Ann,

    Sorry so long in looking back in on the post. What do you define a terrorist organization as?

    -j

    bereans

    September 7, 2006 at 5:02 am

  12. A terrorist organisation would be an organisation whose only purpose was to commit crimes against civilians for political purposes. That’s what terrorism is. The only such organisation I am aware of was Hitler’s SS, which was created to round up and gas the Jews and other “undesirables” in Europe. Even then I don’t include the Waffen SS, which was the military branch of said organisation. I’m sure other people such as Stalin had similar organizations, but I don’t know their names of hand. Some of the smaller Palestinian and Zionist splinter groups of the past might have qualified too.

    Doug

    unitedcats

    September 7, 2006 at 6:38 am

  13. So you wouldn’t include groups like Al-Qaida, Al-Jihad, Hamas, the IRA, Black Star, the past KKK and hundreds of other organizations of this type?

    Doug, when a Palestinian straps a bomb to their 6 year old child and sends them into a Jewish marketplace, what is that?

    I’m just a little confused.

    -j

    bereans

    September 7, 2006 at 8:37 pm

  14. It’s a crime against humanity, the same as when an Israeli Air Force pilot pushes a button that releases a cluster bomb that will maim and kill Lebanese children years or decades from now. When an innocent dies, “They started it” holds no credence with God. God knows his own. The crimes of the “hundreds of organisations of this type” pale compared to the tens of millions of inocents that “legitimate” organistations like the governments of Israel, China, Russia, Britain, and the USA have sent and continue to send to their graves. Virtually every group on the planet that has ever taken up arms has skeletons in its closet when it comes to terrorism, I know of no exceptions. If the nation-states that were fighting these purported “terrorist” organisations truly lived up to their ideals, they would have a case. They don’t, and the bloodshed has continued since at least the crusades with all sides claiming divine sanction to their violence. They are all wrong.

    That’s my opinion and I’m sticking to it so far. :)
    Doug

    unitedcats

    September 7, 2006 at 9:17 pm

  15. I agree 100%, Doug. I, too feel that “legitimate” actions are few and far between, and rare. I tend to believe that if someone comes into my yard and menaces my family or friends that action must be taken, but one can pursue that to an extreme in the name of “defense”.

    Good opinion, and completely valid!

    -j

    bereans

    September 8, 2006 at 7:22 pm

  16. One more point. I may have been unclear (which is a frequent shortcoming of mine:) ) on the point I was trying to make, and that is that there is a difference between legal/illegal and moral/immoral. In this present evil world, it is often the strong who rule and dominate and that is not necessarily the right or good thing.

    -j

    bereans

    September 8, 2006 at 7:25 pm


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