Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Uncovering a Secret History to Build a Lasting Peace


Book Review: The Forgotten Palestinians

By Rod Such
Beaver County Peace Links

Ilan Pappé's The Forgotten Palestinians: A History of the Palestinians in Israel (2011) is an important new addition to the growing literature about the Israeli government's treatment of its own Palestinian Arab citizens.

Most people are unaware that Palestinian Arabs now represent 20 percent of Israel's population, a larger minority group than African Americans who make up 11 percent of the U.S. population. Israel's Palestinian Arab population is made up of those Palestinians who remained in Israel after its founding in 1948 and their descendants. Pappé's

The Forgotten Palestinians focuses on the history of this group of people from the period just prior to Israel's formation to the present. It also discusses current conditions facing Israeli Palestinians and their political consciousness and development. For those who want a more detailed understanding of current conditions, however, The Forgotten Palestinians should probably be read in conjunction with Israel's Palestinians: The Conflict Within (Cambridge University Press, 2011) by Ilan Peleg and Dov Waxman.

Pappé is one of Israel's so-called "new historians," a group that includes among others Benny Morris, Tom Segev, and Avi Shlaim. The difference between these historians and all previous histories by Israeli authors is that the new historians-all Israeli Jews--were the first to have access to official Israeli, U.S., and British documents. In this sense, Segev suggests, they should be known as Israel's "first historians" because they were the first to be able to write authoritative history based in large part on actual government and military documents that had previously been classified secret.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Taking on the Military Keynesians

War: The Wrong Jobs Program

By Mark Engler via Foreign Policy in Focus

More than 40 years ago, long before anyone had ever heard of Barack Obama, before the collapse of Bear Stearns, and before contemporary debates about bailouts and debt ceilings, two authors, Paul Baran and Paul Sweezy, considered a tricky problem. In times of downturn, the government must spend to stimulate the economy. Yet getting the political establishment to agree on one particular program of spending seemed nearly impossible.

Baran and Sweezy phrased the conundrum as a question: "On what could the government spend enough to keep the system from sinking into the mire of stagnation?"

After assessing the political realities that steer America's power elite, they could find only one response. It was not what typically comes to mind when we think of economic stimulus or government-led job creation.

Their answer: "On arms, more arms, and ever more arms."

The authors did not approve of military spending as a strategy of economic development.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Trying to Squeeze China? Bad Idea…

China’s new missile ships

America's New Cold War With China

By Tom Hayden
Beaver County Peace Links via

Nov. 17, 2011 - By declaring that he will dispatch 2,500 Marines to Australia, President Obama has crossed a line, beginning a new Cold War with China, one based on military encirclement on sea and land, costing unknown trillions in defense dollars, and shoring up cheap labor markets in a free trade zone excluding China. An increased emphasis on China’s systemic human rights violations will provide a liberal rationale for the new global competition.

Just as some might wonder what the North Atlantic Treaty Organization is doing in Afghanistan, one might wonder what the United States Navy is doing in the China Sea. Call it imperialism, globalization or great power politics; the new strategy is a replica of the eighty-year Cold War against the Soviet Union.

That conflict resulted in the implosion of the Soviet Union and much rhetoric about America becoming the “sole superpower,” but has done little to advance the US wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan; end the American isolation in Latin America; or prevent the rise of China as the emerging economic power. Along the way, millions of people died, were wounded or displaced in a series of hot wars with the Cold War as backdrop and rationale. By analogy, the new Cold War is based on the historic Soviet model of squeezing China’s budget through military encirclement, while hoping for internal uprisings by Chinese workers and intellectuals against austerity and repression.

The new Cold War may be intended to be more economic, political and diplomatic than military. But bloody wars might erupt between North and South Korea, China and Taiwan, or through proxy wars involving Pakistan and India. The US network of emerging military alliances could obligate the US to enter such conflicts.