At the table we were five people from five nations: Korea, Finland, Denmark, Israel, and the USA. So I thought there would be plenty of perspectives on my theory about the US and Israel. But I only got half way into the two-sentence theory before the guy from Israel took offense at one of the words I used, and that was the end of that discussion.
To the casual on-looker, it might seem that the discussion went on for another five minutes or so, but in fact there was no discussion. Rather is was the guy from Israel lecturing me about two things: Facts and complexity.
- He listed a number of facts about the Middle East over the last three thousand years. I hear these facts every day on the television. Sometimes I also hear some of the facts from the other side of the debate, but not today at lunch.
- Things are so complicated in that region (which you wouldn’t have guessed after just hearing his nice string of facts that made the situation sound perfectly simple). And if I didn’t have a complete solution to present, I shouldn’t talk to him using that particular word.
So, because he chose to just get angry and a little abusive instead of hearing me out, he never actually heard my point of view. He just put forward the same-old same-old (point 1), and he advocated laissez-faire: just don’t interfere and mess things up (point 2).
I argue that this describes the current policy here in the US: 1) Listen to one side of the argument, and 2) Let the stronger side in the argument dictate the existence of the weaker side.
This supports me in my conviction that if the European want anything but pure Darwinism to influence the development in the Middle East, the current policy (which is to nag Israel and the Americans to change their actions) is hopeless. Europe has to do something by itself.
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