Vietnam Redux, Trump's Middle East War


          The conflict in the Middle East is a continuation of the Vietnam War. The United States was getting its clocked cleaned in Vietnam, and the Johnson Administration needed a "win" somewhere else. In the zero-sum balance of the Cold War, supporting Israel 's aggression in 1967 with its seizure of the Golan Heights, Sinai, and the West Bank, was seen as a victory for the west. Also, the Israelis were white Europeans while the dirty Arabs were Towelheads and the Vietnamese were gooks and dinks. President Johnson also hoped the Israeli victory would placate the Jews who were some of the most vociferous opponents of the Vietnam War.


          The problem is that the Trump Administration is making the same mistakes in the Middle East that the Johnson-Nixon Administration made in Vietnam. The United States bombed North Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia in an attempt to win in South Vietnam. The truth was that the war was in South Vietnam, not North Vietnam, Laos or Cambodia.


          The same problem is facing the Trump Administration in the Middle East. The United States has invaded Afghanistan, overthrown the government of Iraq, tried to overthrow the government of Syria and exerted pressure on Iran over its nuclear weapons program. But the threat to Middle East peace stems from Israeli aggression and its refusal to live up to previous agreements. Whatever happened to the Oslo accords? Where is the Arab state that was called for when the United Nations created Israel 70 years ago? The Arab state in the Middle East is a commitment of the international community through the United Nations. Saying an Arab state can only come into existence with Israel's consent is taking Israel's side in the dispute. Why weren't the Arabs given a right to veto the creation of Israel, if Israel has to agree to a Palestinian state?


           Israel is destabilizing the Middle East with targeted killings, illegal annexations and settlements, and mass incarceration of Palestinians. Gaza is really a concentration camp with 2 million inhabitants, including women and children.


          Trump is trying to create a war in the Middle East inciting violence by handing Israel all the leverage the Palestinians have to extract justice from the Israelis without asking for any Israeli concession for peace in return, while also closing the Palestinian office in Washington, cutting their aid and pulling out of the nuclear agreement with Iran. Opening the American Embassy in Jerusalem on Nakba, the day the day the Palestinians commemorate as the disaster of the creation of Israel, was a provocation guaranteed to create violence. Antagonizing people is a good way to start wars, not a viable path to peace. Trump says there is a peace plan coming. He also said he would release his tax returns.


          But here's the dirty little secret about Zionism. In 1942-1943, the Zionists in Palestine were terrorists fighting the British. Why doesn't anyone point out that the Zionists in Palestine were aiding the Nazi war effort under the logic of the enemy of my enemy is my friend. Maybe if they hadn't fought against the British, the war in Europe would have ended sooner, and thousands and thousands of more lives would have been saved.


          There needs to be regime change in the Middle East, but it is Israel that needs to give up the Jewish State and become a civil society as it was originally intended. Neither the Balfour declaration nor the United Nations resolution creating Israel called for a Jewish State. They called for a state for the Jews. There's a big, big difference. It is the mission creep of the Zionists that is responsible for the inability to have peace in the Middle East for the past 70 years. When Israel was founded, it was essentially a socialist country. Like with the Kibbutzes, all property was held in common. Therefore, it was possible to conceive of the Arabs and Jews living together in peace when both cultures saw the land and water as common property. But in the late '70s and early '80s when Likud and the terrorist Menachem Begin became Prime Minister of Israel, and Reagan became president of the United States, suddenly everything became private property, and in Israel that meant that all the land and all the water belonged to the Jews, and the Arabs who lived either under occupation, or in Israel proper, or in the refugee camps in the neighboring countries got the scraps from the Israel table.


          And because the United States has given Israel massive amounts of military and economic aid, and the French gave Israel its atomic capability,  Israel is essentially a western colony in the Middle East. That is why the 9/11 hijackers attacked America. Dick Cheney's broken promise to remove American troops from Saudi Arabia in the wake of the war to "liberate" Kuwait was the straw that prompted Osama Bin Laden to start Al Queda.  Broken promises lead to war.


          Domestically, Trump is doing the same thing, trying to foment domestic chaos by antagonizing minorities, raising their taxes to fund deficit-financed tax cuts for the rich and corporations, destroying their health care, insulting their ethnicity and encouraging racism. He is trying to foment riots in the ghettos so that the rioters who are arrested can be prosecuted as terrorists and denied their right to vote.


          During the presidential debates in 2016, Hillary Clinton said Donald Trump was temperamentally unfit to be president; and Donald Trump said that if Hillary weren't a woman, she wouldn't get 5%. They were both right.


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Contact: Joshua Leinsdorf