Do The Freakin Math

Liberals and conservatives alike frequently rely on limited evidence, personal experience, religious beliefs or gut emotions to determine solutions for complex problems. From immigration to global warming - taxes to terrorism - or health care to free trade - analytical study is rare. Science based policy making isn’t the way of Washington. And the consequences are catastrophic. Change is urgently needed. Just do the freakin’ math.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Israel's seige suicidal future



The Israeli/Palestinian conflict is highly unlikely to be peacefully resolved as long as ‘national sovereignty’ remains the supreme factor in its resolution.  The UN General Assembly vote to admit Palestine into the Assembly was a faint in a useful direction – a super majority vote (138 to 9 with 41 abstentions) against the power of any state to do anything it wants, whenever it wants, to whom ever it wants, but unfortunately, any UN resolution lacks any real power of enforcement capacity.  That was the way it was designed  and maintained today.  The UN may as well be handing out toilet paper.  It would be far more useful in cleaning up the bloody mess this unresolved evolving conflict will inevitably yield.
The extraordinary effectiveness of Israel’s ‘Iron Dome’ has again demonstrated Israel’s superior technological advantage in exchanging of violence.   That advantage won’t last.  A defensives siege mentality of fences and domes cannot sustainably ensure the security of Israel or Israeli citizens given the exponential evolution of weapon power, affordability and availability.   This unyielding trend ensures Israel’s eventual destruction more so than any demographic trend.  A nuclear weapon detonated near or smuggled underground Israel’s border  is one possibility.  A biological, cyber or chemical weapon is far greater possibility.  A biological weapon would be virtually impossible to stop and has the potential for dwarfing the human loss of life from original Jewish Holocaust.   The evolution of bio technology alone combined with other advances in conventional technology (drones, archery, catapults, clothing)… ensures that any rogue Palestinian force possessing such a weapon, can and mostly likely will deliver it to Israel.  Depending on the specific pathogen and it’s genetically engineered purpose it could dwarf the human damage of a nuclear detonation, and not be limited to the geography if Israel’s politically determined borders.
A simple fact.  The exponential growth of every technology and the advances these technologies give to the offensive aggressor means that either side’s possession of advanced weaponry will embolden their extremist elements.   This is not the path any reasonable, rational, sane people or nation should want to take.   If being offensive is the only perceived avenue to security and survival of a particular group, the limited civilization we have today anywhere is doomed.   If one believes the US will remain untouched by the inevitable escalation of offensive actions by either side, they simply don’t understand world history and our current reality.
Israel’s ‘sovereign’ decision to build 3,000 new homes on contested land in East Jerusalem and the West Bank only increases the Palestinian hatred of Israel and its abuse of its ‘sovereign’ power to over reach international norms and inalienable human rights the world has already in spirit and text agreed upon.  December 10th was anniversary of the global passage of the United Nations Universal Decoration of Human Rights.  Inalienable rights that Israelis’ also possess.    Rights that cannot be secured with walls and domes but only enforced by universal agreement.  
Humanity today is faced with a trilemma.  We want freedom, security and independence (national sovereignty ).   We can only have two.  Freedom is real.   Humans can do virtually whatever they want, whenever they want, to whomever they want.  And there are consequences to this freedom.  If we ignore the consequences, security cannot be ensured.  Independence?   It only exists in our minds and on paper.  In the real world of increasing global interdependence… insisting we are independent forces us into an unwinnable dilemma , trading freedom for security or security for freedom.  Eventually we will lose both.  Future civilization depends on our jettisoning the illusion of independence with the primary objective of maximizing human freedom and security. 
Before making this leap we must fully understand that security is an illusion.  This should be increasingly obvious in today’s world of ubiquitous and increasingly powerful and affordable duel use technologies.  Given the impossibility of stopping the prospects of abusing any source of destructive technology Israel and the world have only has one chance for long term survival and security.  Putting the protection of human rights, all human rights (Israeli, Palestinian, Syrian, Iranian, Sudanese…) superior to the power of national sovereignty.
Israel is not alone in the world.  It is a choice we must all make.  The right choice has been profoundly evident since the invention of the nuclear weapon over 60 years go.  It is evident in the basic intent of every predominant religious text.   At the risk of oversimplifying the answer is love…and law.  The love of law instead of the law of force. 
It is the global ‘rule of law’ we must chose over the existing paradigm where the national sovereign  ‘law of force’ has persistently reigns supreme since the treaty of Westphalia over 600 years ago.  It’s past time we chose the global rule of law over nature’s law of the jungle.  Israel future and the future of civilization depends on making the right choice.   As Woody Allen once said, humanity stands at a crossroad. One road leads to hopelessness and despair.  The other, to complete annihilation.  He hoped we would choose the right path.   We have not.
Our nation’s founding fathers were face with a monumental choice over 200 years ago.  They could remain 13 independent states or move from the untenable confederation of states (no different than the UN is today) to a federation where the rule of law would replace warring between states .  They failed to include protection of all people’s inalienable human rights in their laws and this led to a use of force that killed more Americans than all other wars combined.  Our survival relies on us not making the same mistake. 
The movie “Lincoln” left this American feeling ashamed.  Most of us American’s today act as though some human lives are less valuable than others.  We see (consciously or unconsciously) populations that are undeserving of basic human rights and collectively we fail to elect individuals to represent us who will speak up and make the sacrifices essential to walking our talk as Americans, God fearing believers, or loving human beings. 
The sacrifice we must eventually make is the same Lincoln chose.  To abandon the power of state sovereignty to the supremacy of inalienable human rights.   I believe it is a choice supported by the Declaration of Independence, the Bible, the Torah, the Quran and every other respected religious or political doctrine.   God gave individuals rights.  It is not the gift to or of nations.   It is ‘we the people’ with the ultimate power of sovereignty.   If we continue to limit this ultimate sovereignty to the rights of nations we should not be shocked when those without political power turn to the power of technology.  It won’t be pretty.   It won’t be civilized.  It will be the greatest failure of ‘we the people’.

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