In the past year, Alfred de Grazia has sought out basic solutions to the world crisis, especially to its highly contagious component, the Israel-Palestine crisis. A grave assessment of "the year since September 2000" is ended with a plea for governing the world effectively and fairly.
A year ago today, disaster struck the World Trade Center and the Central Headquarters of the U.S.A. military forces, and we knew that the world had changed. Now we ask, what has happened since? Is the world better or worse for it?
Changed for the better? Almost nothing at all!
Americans and others have become more aware of the extensive and fearsome world. Greater awareness, even if fearful, is commendable.
In Afghanistan, at huge cost, the U.S.A. and its allies, with UN approval, have overthrown the disreputable Taliban government and put a partially secular government in its place, at least temporarily.
So much for the better side. But many things have happened for the worse in the world!
The United States has become a garrison state, even a rogue state, both domestically and abroad. Its foreign policy has become "Every state for itself, and the devil take the hindmost."
The U.S.A. government record has been almost entirely negative and wherever possible violent. Its incompetency and costs have cost the prosperity of the country, leaving only a rage for personal consumption. America's leaders, from both parties, and from the public in general - these several thoU.S.A.and of individuals who run America - have been utterly lacking in courage and enlightenment. It appears that the great American democracy is incapable of calling up fit leaders.
The President has scorned to attend a UN conference of all the nations on creating a sustainable decent world future and has suggested instead some modicum of aid.
The economic fall-out from the disastrous attacks of September 11 has been heavy. Many great [transportation] companies have faltered and failed. The tourist industry was crippled. The living conditions of the world's poor have became more wretched. Stock markets have crashed and recovered feebly. The U.S.A. has been wasting its inheritance in wars, bribes, and security measures, but the world's people have only suffered, not benefited from the tragedy of last September 11.
The U.S.A. government has frustrated international efforts to cope with the growing crisis of climate.
It has refused to let Americans accused of war crimes be brought before world courts with jurisdiction in international criminal law.
Its huge arms expenditures, with no major enemies in sight, have overflowed with weapons aid especially to Israel, Egypt and Columbia.
It has imposed many new restrictions on its own people, and upon others entering the country, not only inconveniencing them but suppressing their freedoms of movement, speech, privacy and legal rights.
It has increased taxes and squandered many billions in its so-called war against terrorism.
It has promised to bring down by violence, if not by threat, the hostile dictatorship of Iraq, claiming the right to do so in the U.S.A. Presidency, even acting alone. It has readied a third "war" in the Middle East.
It has manipulated the continuing "terror" crisis to cover up flagrant and widespread abuses of corporate and financial practices by leaders of the business world, including top members of its own governing group, up to the Presidency.
In the face of opposition from most nations and the whole world community, the U.S.A. has supported the government of Israel, with billions of annual aid and the strongest backing possible in world diplomacy and world organizations, contradicting some of its long cherished humanistic, legal, and military policies. No cost in friendship, alliances, money, and military force has been too heavy a price to pay to guarantee the ascendency of Israel over the Palestinian people and its neighbors.
Although the U.S.A. press, the leaders of both parties, and the spokespersons of American Jews have vainly sought to keep their different wars and manoeuvers connected in the public mind and record books solely with the disaster of September 11 last year, the Mideast turmoil surrounding Israel before and after September 11 has inevitably become joined to September 11and the subsequent "war" against terrorism.
It is possible that the continued "war" against terrorism proclaimed by the Bush presidency will cost double, triple and more of all the costs outlined above. Osama Bin Laden, the occasion of the "war," whose capture dead or alive is still uncertain, will, as time goes by, become as unessential to the intensification of the struggles and disorders as the Serbian patriot whose assassination of the Austrian Archduke began World War I. Unlike his Serbian forerunner, however, Bin Laden, now a hero of Islam, deliverer of a stupendous blow against the world's sole superpower, will not be forgotten.
The U.S.A. has descended to the lowest point of world respect and esteem of its 230-year-history. Israel, which was originally trusted by men and women of good will and intelligence everywhere to show the world how universal and humanitarian America was, has unexpectedly and increasingly shown the opposite -- how America could be led backwards.
And, despite everything that the U.S.A. has sought to do and done on behalf of Israel, Israel, too, has lost battle after battle for the esteem of the world. No intelligent humane public or government heartily respects the Israel government any more. Millions of Palestinians have been robbed of their basic rights of existence and self-support. Israel is sinking financially and must get ever more support from America. It is sinking morally, as well
For those who value individual lives, Israel is again losing the war, because a continuing 1 to 5 ratio of violent deaths of Israelis to Palestinians, and a continuing 1 to 5 ratio of Jewish births to Palestinian births will in the end depopulate Israeli Jewry.
Anti-semitism, hitherto held in check by the strongest authorities, and even much diminished in popular thought, has begun to develop once again. As Israel's conduct is disapproved and foreign nations become sufficiently unfriendly, the Jewish people and their friends and relatives everywhere will suffer diminished regard and reduced opportunities. In the several centuries of the past 3000 years during which the Jews actually peopled and ruled Palestine, their religious fundamentalists were prominent in the elite. Today, they are also prominent, indeed dominant, in the Israeli elite. If they continue so, backed frantically by American Jews sharing their views, Israel can imagine a repetition of its dolorous national history, with an enforced diaspora and "brain-drain."
Therefore, all that can be said now, one year after September 11, 2001, is that world conditions have become so bad that a full recognition of the world situation and fully just and satisfying solutions -- for the whole world, and, by the same token, for Israelis and the Palestinians -- have become practically impossible.
The only way out for the world as a whole is a true world government with the U.S.A. as its most potent constituency. The only way to escape the spreading contagion of the Middle East is a bold international insistence upon a single territorial Federation of Israel-Palestine, in which Israelis and Palestinians maintain separate functional governments of their equalized respective five millions of persons, with true majority elections, and with freedom of and from religions.
To conclude: It's not for the world to find a respectable place for Israel. It is for Israel to make a respected place for itself in the world.
Just so, it's not for the world to guarantee America's super-potency and prestige. It is for America to pledge and apply its many talents and resources as guarantee of its leadership of the world.
Alfred de Grazia