The utopianists return
Gerald M. Steinberg
Published: 05.09.13, 07:56
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24 Talkbacks for this article
1. Man's yearning for peace combined with love of war will for-
tom ,   tel aviv   (09.05.13)
ever produce such tides of lunatic behaviour. Nothing short of genetic engineering of our psyche will change that....but we wouldn't like that either. This is how Somebody/thing created us, this is how we will live & die. Not a big issue really, in the grand scheme of Cosmos.
2. A Question
Michael ,   Haifa   (09.05.13)
And what long-lasting peaceful effects has "interventionism" brought to the world ?
3. I'll bet
PaulZion ,   Israel   (09.05.13)
That when they do find the chemical weapons, they will find that a lot of them came from Iraq and were smuggled over the border, 10 years ago. It would be too late, however to vindicate those who took action on the basis of the intelligence they had, or restore their careers. This will always happen when peoples' common sense is fogged by hypocrisy. However, although Russia's behavior has been despicable, Obama could take a page out Putin's book about steadfastly standing by one's ally, showing true loyalty and support. I will also bet that if the perpetrator of any misdeed were Israel, even if were something miniscule in comparison to this atrocity, there would be an immediate galvanization of supporters for a condemnation, without demands for "absolute, incontravertible proof".
4. Utopianists return like a cancer of
DT ,   TA Israel   (09.05.13)
thworst evil. What is the difference between people killing children and those who stand and do nothing ?- Simply the latter are an accessory to a monstrous evil. They should be put on trila as well.
5. To no 2 The end of Nazism and Imperial Japan...
Jay   (09.05.13)
6. The Brits
Madeleine ,   i   (09.05.13)
The Brits still have delusion of theirimportance on the world stage. with their economy all but in tatters, their armed forces severely reduced, their huge Muslim population, their contry being flooded by Europeans - partcularly east-Europeans - looking for work, they can talk all they want - who cares?
7. gitur qui desiderat pacem, praeparet bellum
The original Latin of the expression "if you want peace, prepare for war", from "Epitoma Rei Militaris," by Publius Flavius Vegetius Renatus.
8. To No. 6
Bertram ,   London, UK   (09.05.13)
If Britain had supported military intervention in Syria you would have lambasted it for having delusions of self-importance. The fact that Britain has held off then that means they also have delusions of self-importance. Madeline, you revel in your ignorance of current affairs and contemporary history. There are 2 million Muslims in the UK out of a total population of over 60 million. There is freedom of movement between all EU countries and, thus, there many ex-patriate Brits living in Spain, France, Cyrpus, etc. You therefore do not need an excuse for your anti-British invective. It comes naturally.
9. Paul Zion # 3
Eaglebeak ,   Left Coast, USA   (09.05.13)
I imagine they already know quite well many of these weapons in Syria came from Iraq. It will be no different than Obama's publicly stating he was born in Kenya and a Muslim right after he was elected to the senate. It will never be reported in the mainstream news. The sheeple will continue to believe whatever they are told to believe and truth will be ignored.
10. #8:While you're probably right as to the statistics,it makes
tom ,   tel aviv   (09.05.13)
it even more scary to witness the power Islam wields in your country. Imagine when the numbers rise, as they naturally will- the kind of reality you might find yourself in. European population has grown accustomed to relative peace & well being by now, so any thought of disturbing the illusional Nirvana with an entanglement "far-far away" seem irrational. A mistake made by countless societies with dire consequences. The "far away" will come knocking at 10 Downing st. in no time.
11. What does the author suggest then?
Jon ,   Baltimore US   (09.05.13)
Do we bomb Syria just a little bit? How many dead is enough to prove your point, on top of those already killed? Do we kill 1,429 so that we show we are just as serious as they are or should we kill more? How do we choose who to kill? Do we bomb the Syrian military? We claim that we are not forcing another regime change so do we bomb them just enough to insure the conflict continues? Second guess others only when you are fully prepared to follow through with a plan that is better that is possible and feasible.
12. Isolationism
Lord Sandwich   (09.05.13)
I'd add that the driving force behind opposition in both the US and UK appears to be a growing isolationism on the right rather than pacifist tendencies. The anti-war hard left have long campaigned against further conflict with virtually no success. The recent anti-intervention trend is clearly motivated as much by the right and centre's growing scepticism as it is by old-fashioned pacifism.
13. No. 8 Bertram
Madeleine ,   Israel   (09.05.13)
Actual I am British though living in Israel many years. The Britain of today bears no resemblance to the country I grew up in, in the fifties and sixties, a country of which I was then proud to be a citizen. Not any more. I stand by everything I wrote. And Britian was certainly no friend to Israel or the Jews. their attitude , for the most part, towards the Jews of Palestine during their Mandate here was pretty abbysmal. As for your 2 million Muslims, their sheer intolerance of their host country is something you should fear - they will only grow in strength. And no, my anti-British invetive does not come naturally, as you would have it, but rather of years of watching Britain slip into a self-righteous decline.
14. Utopia but also the economy & fatigue...
Alan ,   Canada   (09.06.13)
It is a long standing defect of many democratic minds to defy logic & forget or dismiss historical facts in believing diplomacy can in some way bring evil dictators to do good. But this utopia is not the only & not the main cause of the current western indifference to the fate of the victims of oppression & to the hegemonic ambitions of such rogue states as Iran. As in the 1930's , the poverty resulting from the 2006-2009 economic crisis has left the electorate only concerned by internal matters. In addition, like in the 30's, the people are tired by the losses of previous wars especially given that they were poorly carried out & with few lasting successes. Obama was elected to conclude the wars of the previous administrations. Even if he were not inclined to rely on negociation but inclined to resort to military action, in the present situation in which he has only two countries to support him (France & Turkey), he may have felt he needed the approval of the US Congress as a substitute for the UN sanction & for the lack of a strong coalition. To those at the current G20 conference who in their majority repeat their motto that only diplomacy can resolve the Syrian crisis, the French foreign minister correctly responded that not punishing Assad for his crimes will not entice him into negociations, It did not work for 2 years while over 100 000 victims were murdered & 2 millions people became refugees in foreign countries , 4 millions displaced internally. Assad knows well that given the enormity of the atrocities he is guilty of, he will never get a complete diplomatic whitewash of his crimes from the democratic countries. He is sooner or later the candidate for an arrest warrant of the ICC. For political & physical survival he can only rely on rogue states & only as long as he is useful & subservient to them. So it certainly does not leave him with any independant wiggling space for diplomacy.
15. Netanyahu
John Prophet   (09.06.13)
You've lead Israel into a trap. Now what?
16. Damascus is just a road stop along the way to Tehran.
Daniel ,   Los Angeles, USA   (09.06.13)
That's how I would preside over this war, if it were mine to orchestrate.
17. prof Steinberg wants war
utopianist, so what?   (09.06.13)
this is not Israel's problem. it's very sad what happens in Syria now, Assad is a bad demon, but I repeat: this is NOT Israel's problem. No war. שנה טובה, שלום על ישראל
18. Question
Sarah B ,   U.S.A. / Israel   (09.06.13)
Why should the United States, the U.K. or Israel get involved in an internecine Arab conflict? Where's the Arab League? Thanks to the United States, the U.K. and any number of other countries, the Arab League is armed to the teeth. Especially the loudest proponent for Western action with respect to Syria -- the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Do it your damned selves, then, House of Saud. How generous of you to be willing to fight to the last American, Brit, or Israeli. Would it surprise you to learn that we'd rather you cleaned up your own mess, and there is little, if anything, worth dying for in Syria? They're YOUR brethren -- marshal your own resources. Don't you love reminding us that there's one billion Moslems, many of them Arab? Do what you do best -- slaughter and maim. Leave us out of this one.
19. intervention
john ,   toronto   (09.06.13)
Intervention did not bring an end to war.It still continues. Every nation has enough resources for itself but still one wants what the other has.
20. To No. 13 Madeline
Bertram ,   London, UK   (09.06.13)
Your comments are strange, to say the least. The Britain of the fifties and sixties, of which you were then 'proud to be a citizen', was much closer in time to the Britain of the Palestine Mandate era than the Britain of 2013. I am no apologist for the UK government or for the actions of a minority of Muslims in Britain but I see more religious tolerance there than in Israel, given the tight hold of the rabbinate over civil life. If Britain has declined, which it has in many ways, then it is sad to say that no less has happened in Israel.
21. expense
john ,   toronto   (09.06.13)
If intervention was done to save lives it would be good. How many Jewish lives could have been saved? This intervention is to keep the arms trade going and for some to profit and to get power at the expense of the suffering of others.
22. totally wrong
Although entirely predictable, Libya proved to even the most stupid that sometimes intervention is wrong. The US/english/french illegally "intervened" in peaceful Libya, and all they managed to do is butcher thousands or more civilians, destroy the lives of hundreds of thousands, imposed Islamic rule on innocents, release endless weapons to terrorists and destroyed the fabric of internatonal relationships. If Steinberg thinks it is so important to kill Syrians he should answer the following: Is genocide without chemical warfare legal? If not, what does Steinberg propose doing when Sunnis start genociding Alawi after an Obama attack on Assad? What proof does Steinberg have that Assad used chemical weapons? If it turns out that Sunni used chemical weapons, should Obama support Assad and attack them? Does Steinberg support Iranian and International attack on the US for their use of chemical weapons against Iran?
23. #13 The utopianists return.
Elsie. ,   Gush Halav.   (09.06.13)
#13, Madeleine, I am also English and live in Israel for many years now, I can say I was born English and will die English, for good or the bad, right or the wrong, its my blood and my country and I am bloody well proud of it. PS no offence to Israel who is in my heart.
24. justification and prevarication
larry ,   LA   (09.09.13)
There is a thin line between justification and prevarication and it is difficult for the human to distinguish between them. Prof Steinberg has done a remarkable job in this article. History has shown that Great Britain and the rest of the super powers through their inaction enabled Hitler to build up and develop his war machine. Today Obama is the leader (?) of the free world and is the first leader to encourage the demagogues of the world to rise up. May we be spare of the consequences.
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