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 Forecasting America's Destiny ... and the World's


Generational Dynamics Web Log for 16-May-2008
How inflammatory was President Bush's speech to Israel's Knesset?

Web Log - May, 2008

How inflammatory was President Bush's speech to Israel's Knesset?

The speech may have touched some nerves among the Palestinians, and changed American policy.

To people in Washington, everything that happens in the world is about them. That's why President George Bush's speech to the Israeli Knesset on Thursday is being interpreted by Washington in terms of its significance to the Presidential campaign. The people in Washington are pretty much oblivious to what's happening in the Mideast anyway, so it probably doesn't matter. We'll come back to that later.

What surprised me as I watched the speech live was that it appeared to me to be delivering a fairly inflammatory message to the Palestinians, and appears to have signaled a significant change in American policy.

President Bush spent the earlier part of the day obviously enjoying the Jerusalem ceremonies celebrating the 60th anniversary of the creation of the state of Israel, following the partitioning of Palestine by the United Nations in 1948.

In the actual speech, he said the following:

"Shalom. Laura and I are thrilled to be back in Israel. We have been deeply moved by the celebrations of the past two days. And this afternoon, I am honored to stand before one of the world's great democratic assemblies and convey the wishes of the American people with these words: Yom Ha'atzmaut Sameach. ...

We gather to mark a momentous occasion. Sixty years ago in Tel Aviv, David Ben-Gurion proclaimed Israel's independence, founded on the "natural right of the Jewish people to be masters of their own fate." What followed was more than the establishment of a new country. It was the redemption of an ancient promise given to Abraham and Moses and David -- a homeland for the chosen people Eretz Yisrael.

Eleven minutes later, on the orders of President Harry Truman, the United States was proud to be the first nation to recognize Israel's independence. And on this landmark anniversary, America is proud to be Israel's closest ally and best friend in the world."

He went on to make it sound almost as if Americans had been supporting Israel since the 1620s. Nothing like that is true, of course. As I wrote in an article in 2006, America considered itself to be a Protestant nation before World War II, sometimes to the exclusion of Jews and Catholics. It was the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution, and later Hitler's attempted extermination of the Jews, that finally led Americans to conclude that "to be a Protestant, a Catholic, or a Jew are today the alternative ways of being an American."

The change in American policy, which apparently no one in politics-obsessed Washington even picked up on, comes from the following text of the speech:

"The fundamental insight, that freedom yields peace, is the great lesson of the 20th century. Now our task is to apply it to the 21st. Nowhere is this work more urgent than here in the Middle East. We must stand with the reformers working to break the old patterns of tyranny and despair. We must give voice to millions of ordinary people who dream of a better life in a free society. We must confront the moral relativism that views all forms of government as equally acceptable and thereby consigns whole societies to slavery. Above all, we must have faith in our values and ourselves and confidently pursue the expansion of liberty as the path to a peaceful future.

That future will be a dramatic departure from the Middle East of today. So as we mark 60 years from Israel's founding, let us try to envision the region 60 years from now. This vision is not going to arrive easily or overnight; it will encounter violent resistance. But if we and future Presidents and future Knessets maintain our resolve and have faith in our ideals, here is the Middle East that we can see:

Israel will be celebrating the 120th anniversary as one of the world's great democracies, a secure and flourishing homeland for the Jewish people. The Palestinian people will have the homeland they have long dreamed of and deserved -- a democratic state that is governed by law, and respects human rights, and rejects terror. From Cairo to Riyadh to Baghdad and Beirut, people will live in free and independent societies, where a desire for peace is reinforced by ties of diplomacy and tourism and trade. Iran and Syria will be peaceful nations, with today's oppression a distant memory and where people are free to speak their minds and develop their God-given talents. Al Qaeda and Hezbollah and Hamas will be defeated, as Muslims across the region recognize the emptiness of the terrorists' vision and the injustice of their cause."

Well, isn't that special? First off, freedom most certainly does not yield peace. This web site has demonstrated over and over that genocidal crisis wars occur at regular intervals whether countries are free or not.

What's really shocking though is that Bush is talking about a Palestinian state 60 years from now. As of just a few days ago, the official US policy was a Palestinian state by the end of the year, before Bush leaves office.

Not only that, but get this sentence: "This vision is not going to arrive easily or overnight; it will encounter violent resistance." Is Bush predicting a Mideast war? Sounds like it to me.

Bush announced the Mideast Roadmap to Peace in May, 2003. I wrote my first major predictive article, "Mideast Roadmap - Will it bring peace?" I said that the Roadmap would fail, and that the disappearance of Yasser Arafat and Ariel Sharon, when it occurs, would be part of a major generational change that would lead to a new genocidal war between Jews and Arabs, re-fighting the war between Jews and Arabs that followed the partitioning of Palestine and the creation of the state of Israel in the late 1940s.

Since that time, Yasser Arafat and Ariel Sharon have both disappeared, and the Mideast has been sliding into greater and greater chaos. Still, neither the Israelis nor the Palestinians have really crossed the line to provoke what might turn into all-out war.

President Bush's Roadmap to Peace has been part of the fabric that's kept both Palestinians and Israels hoping that a peaceful solution is near. If Bush is abandoning the Roadmap for 60 years, then he's also abandoning a lot of hope.

From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, this is important because there's no way to predict what effects this speech will have. Generational Dynamics is concerned with the behaviors and attitudes of large masses of people, and Bush's obvious warm embrace of Israel and abandonment of the Roadmap could well have a significant effect. But what will it be?

What effect does President Bush's speech have, especially on the Palestinians, who at the same time are commemorating the 60th anniversary of "al-Naqba" -- the catastrophe. Was the speech as inflammatory to the Palestinians as it appeared to me to be? Will President Bush's speech have any effect that will either speed up or slow down the Palestinians and Israelis on the road to full-scale war? We'll have to wait and see.

Finally, I'd like to comment on the part of Bush's speech that caused the political firestorm:

"And that is why the founding charter of Hamas calls for the "elimination" of Israel. And that is why the followers of Hezbollah chant "Death to Israel, Death to America!" That is why Osama bin Laden teaches that "the killing of Jews and Americans is one of the biggest duties." And that is why the President of Iran dreams of returning the Middle East to the Middle Ages and calls for Israel to be wiped off the map.

There are good and decent people who cannot fathom the darkness in these men and try to explain away their words. It's natural, but it is deadly wrong. As witnesses to evil in the past, we carry a solemn responsibility to take these words seriously. Jews and Americans have seen the consequences of disregarding the words of leaders who espouse hatred. And that is a mistake the world must not repeat in the 21st century.

Some seem to believe that we should negotiate with the terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along. We have heard this foolish delusion before. As Nazi tanks crossed into Poland in 1939, an American senator declared: "Lord, if I could only have talked to Hitler, all this might have been avoided." We have an obligation to call this what it is -- the false comfort of appeasement, which has been repeatedly discredited by history."

The Senator that President Bush was referring to was William Edgar Borah. Borah was in the Missionary Generation, the generation born right after the end of the Civil War, and so in the same generational archetype as today's Boomers, born right after WW II. Borah was just as certain as today's Boomers that his "politically correct" views were the absolute Golden Truth of the Universe.

Borah was a leading isolationist. He opposed involvement in what became World War I, he opposed U.S. membership in the League of Nations, and he favored neutrality with respect to what became World War II. He died in 1940, well before the Pearl Harbor attack that pulled America into the war.

However, I'm always nervous when President Bush or someone else compares Iranian President Ahmadinejad to Hitler. Hitler came to power in Germany during a generational Crisis era, and had the support of the masses of German people. Ahmadinejad came to power in Iran during a generational Awakening era, and he's become extremely unpopular, especially with young people.

I wrote a detailed strategy analysis of Iran last year, and an analysis of the Iran-China relationship earlier this year. The thrust is that Ahmadinejad is trying to provoke hostile action against Iran by Americans or Israelis in order to regenerate the unity that Iran felt after the Islamic Revolution of 1979. Of course that kind of unity only occurs during and immediately after a crisis war, but Ahmadinejad doesn't know that.

Ahmadinejad talks like Hitler. He probably considers Hitler to be his hero. Maybe he even aspires to be another Hitler, or to have the evil greatness of Hitler. But he's no more than a tintype Hitler, and never will be. Ahmadinejad is a loser who will even fail at being evil. (16-May-2008) Permanent Link
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