The tony blare of British political rhetoric has been filling the air of late, what with transfers of power and soccer players, natural disasters and dramatic releases of books about wizardry. With their characteristic nasality and banality, British pols pontificate on all and sundry with a confidence that allows for no possibility of error. Although an English accent does not count for much in the mother country, here in the former colonies we remain besotted with their patrial, patrician patois. Not for nothing have most of our greatest con men delivered their spiels with inflections that suggest an education in Oxford or Cambridge.
Against this backdrop, the newly-ex Prime Minister, Mr. T. Blair, has smoothly sailed into his new position. It may be appointive, but it is one he definitely elected. He said his envoi and immediately became an envoy. His mission is to the Middle East, where he will apply his skills at conciliation in an effort to achieve reconciliation. If he wants to continue his smooth sailing, I can set him up on a nice boat here in Miami, and we can pilot it together to Bimini. To his credit, he is voluntarily sailing into the diplomatic equivalent of the Bermuda Triangle.
It would be facile for us to predict failure and frustration. History is on our side; the last ten guys in that role are off licking their wounds and noticing how attractively non-confrontational it is to own a pizza franchise. The problem is not so much that Blair will fare no better. The problem is that he is likely to have an effect… a deleterious effect. Chances are that Israel will emerge from this episode with fresh scars.
If we take a moment to reflect, we will realize that Blair was named to the position on June 26, immediately after Hamas took armed control of the Gaza Strip. His people instantly leaked to the Guardian that he “could” call for an end to the international boycott of Hamas. It takes a spectacularly bloody-minded wrongheadedness to respond to this development with that policy suggestion. It sounds very much like the people who want to fight crime by giving more handouts to the criminals.
What should a right-thinking person say when we see Hamas conquer half of the Palestinian territory by force? Remember, this is a group that did very well for itself in elections. Yet, they insist on using bullets to wrest whatever power they had not yet accrued by ballots. If anything, had there been no boycott against Hamas earlier, that should have been the final straw to have it instituted. Instead, a supposedly bright, with-it world-class leader surveys that scenario and sees in those events a reason to stop the boycott. Yo, Blair?! Where’s your head?
Not that we have never encountered that sort of thinking in the past. Quite the contrary, it is all too familiar. This pattern was repeated in African countries many times. Take Zimbabwe nee Rhodesia. In the 1970s, the British muckety-mucks and the Carter Administration failed to back the democratically elected and peace-loving President of Rhodesia, Abel Muzorewa. Why? Simple. Because Communist revolutionary Robert Mugabe would not stop revolting until an election could be rigged to make him the winner. The British desire for peace at all costs ultimately forces them to kowtow to whichever force, however vicious, however evil, however undeserving, that proves to be the most implacable.
As Homnick’s First Law of communal life insists: “The terrorists always win.”
The only way the stranglehold of terrorist forces on Palestinian life can be eased is by a combination of making the killers into pariahs and brutally retaliating to their attacks. This is actually the current policy in place, for once something sensible. Hamas had the option to respond by modifying their tone and using their political victories for advantage in non-violent ways. Instead, they took the opportunity to murder Fatah members (no powder puffs themselves) in cold blood and create a dictatorship. The idea that these people will ever be part of a diplomatic solution is an unalloyed chimera.
With Blair telegraphing his dangerously naïve view (he actually said last year that solving the Israel-Palestinian conflict “is simple”) in advance of his adventure, friends of Israel can only cringe. No amount of Israeli cooperation and civilized behavior ever seems to satisfy these kinds of “global” thinkers. Nor does any amount of Palestinian terrorism and barbarism ever seem to change their rosy view. With him walking all over Israel, and the Palestinians walking all over him, his term will be anything but a walkover.