Donald Hank
US elites: Can't make peace? Make way for someone who can
By Donald Hank
February 17, 2015

Don Feder recently wrote an article titled "Christians and Jews – Same Boat, Same Sharks," showing that Christians and Jews are both targeted by ISIS, the terrorist du jour in the Middle East, and should therefore understand each other's situation and help each other out.

I hope that Israeli and US leaders understand the full implications of this situation. Back when Obama had nearly trapped himself into conducting a missile strike on Assad's military positions, he left himself an exit by saying such an attack would have to be supported by Congress (a lie. Obama's lips were moving again).

Around that time, a poll showed that the US public did not support such a strike, although there had been claims that Assad had used chemical weapons against his own people. To be sure, there was also evidence that those responsible for the use of these chemical weapons were the US-supported Syrian "moderates."

At any rate, in September of 2013, The Times of Israel reported that several pro-Israel lobby groups were throwing their weight toward such a strike by US forces:
    "Among those that have released public statements and made private calls to lawmakers to urge them to vote "yes" are The American-Israeli Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC, the Anti-Defamation League and the Simon Wiesenthal Center."
Did these lobbyists not know that Assad was likely the only impediment to the deaths of countless Syrian Christians? Of course, there was that Golan Heights issue. Was this sliver of land more important than the lives of Syrian Christians?

I don't mean to be cynical. I understand that the Israelis were only looking out for their interests and this no doubt blinded them to other issues that constituted a conflict of interests with the people whose Congress they were lobbying. But the American political class had the responsibility to throw their weight toward a peaceful settlement between Assad and Israel. The trouble is, these politicians are out of practice when it comes to making peace. Indeed, it was none other than Russian President Putin who got Obama out of that hot spot by negotiating a deal with Assad, inducing that leader to destroy his chemical weapons.

There is a clue here that everyone in the West seems to be missing, namely, that if Putin could work that kind of magic back then, he may very well be able to do so again but on a larger scale. That is, he can be assumed to have major influence over both Assad and Iran and could – and no doubt would – use that influence to everyone's advantage, knowing as he does that peace in the Muslim world can only benefit Russia by benefitting the economy. After all, Israel is now pushing Congress again, this time for measures against Iran – almost certainly military measures, using Netanyahu himself as a lobbyist, and the GOP, with its predilection for war and more war, would no doubt bend to any of their wishes for political purposes, Christian Syrians be damned.

If Western leaders were both smart and cared about peace (alas they are neither), they would stop the provocation in Ukraine, reestablish good relations with Russia and enlist that country's aid in working out a peace arrangement among Israel, Syria and Iran that would favorably change the balance of power in the Middle East. After all, it is unclear at best whether Iran really intends to attack Israel, but even if it were, that country would listen to Putin's pleas for a peaceful settlement with Israel because Putin holds the key to the Iranian economy and Iranian defense. Putin is also a skilled, trusted and influential negotiator in the Middle East and has more clout with Iran and Syria than any Western power will ever have.

Putin's enemies are essentially people who chose to be his enemies. Thus, Putin chooses friends but gets enemies. The US oligarchs choose enemies and get more enemies. Surprise!

Peace is precisely what they do not want, because when there is peace, they lose power – since they have no viable or attractive peacetime platforms.

Every time an innocent person is killed in the Middle East, you can lay the blame squarely on the shoulders of the bipartisan warmongers in Washington, DC, who refuse to help save innocent lives from merciless terrorists or whose help is studiously insufficient to do so. There is blood all over their hands. And yet, you the public may have just the right amount of input to make a difference, as you did during the last crisis when Obama wanted to launch that airstrike mentioned above. That is, you can have input if you care. And you will care if you understand.

Unfortunately, there are plenty of anti-Semites out there who want to help Israel's enemies. Likewise, there are plenty of pro-Israel Americans who would give the Israelis anything they ask for without question based in part on a naïve fundamentalist viewpoint that ignores facts or equates the bombing of innocent Iranian civilians or of the soldiers of the legitimately elected Syrian government with the liberation of Auschwitz.

Neither side thinks of itself as extremist, but both actually are.

In dangerously short supply are Americans who eschew both extremes and just want a fair settlement in the Middle East, one that would be acceptable to all sides. No favoritism, no bias.

Where are they?

If you are one of the annointed, kindly step up to the plate and demand a peace action in the Middle East involving President Putin. It will work if they let it. And they'll let it if they have to.

© Donald Hank


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
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Donald Hank

Until July of 2009, Don Hank was operating a technical translation agency out of his home in Wrightsville, PA. He is now retired and residing in Panama with his wife and daughter.

A former language teacher, he holds an undergraduate degree in French and German from Millersville State University (PA), a Master's degree in Russian language and literature from Kutztown State College (also in PA), has studied Chinese for 3 years in Taiwan at the Mandarin Training Center, and is self-taught in other languages, having logged a total of 8 years abroad in total immersion situations.

He is also the founder of Lancaster-York Non-Custodial Parents, a volunteer organization that provides Christian counseling for non-custodial parents.


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