Posts Tagged ‘Peace Negotiations’

Are normal relations with Russia even possible?

July 19, 2018

I didn’t vote for Donald Trump in 2016, but I thought one of the good things about his campaign was his promise to try to improve relations with Russia.

Now I wonder whether this was even possible.

President Trump in the Helsinki summit showed himself incapable of engaging in normal diplomacy.

Even if he were, he is locked in to Cold War by Congress and by the Mueller investigation.

I have no liking for Vladimir Putin’s regime, but since Russia is the only country in the world with enough nuclear weapons to destroy the United States, I think the drift toward military confrontation with Russia is dangerous.

Trump in his rhetoric seems to agree.  But his administration has armed Ukraine, continued to deploy nuclear weapons around Russia’s borders, sought an increased military budget agreed to increased sanctions against Russia and kept troops in Syria, which is Russia’s ally.

Either Trump does not understand the implications of what his administration is doing or he Is not in control of his administration.

Probably both are true.

It’s also hard for Trump to justify peaceful co-existence with Russia or North Korea while he is stepping up military operations around the world and flirting with war with Iran and Venezuela.

Since he is ignorant and inexperienced in diplomacy, he would need the help of experts to negotiate successfully.  But he has staffed his administration with war hawks who oppose normalizing relations with Russia.  He fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, the only one who could have helped him.

He is an example of the Dunning-Kruger effect.  He doesn’t know what he doesn’t know.

Even if he were not the person he is, the ongoing Russiagate investigation stands in the way of peace.  So long as Trump and members of his administration remain under suspicion of plotting with Russian agents to rig the 2016 election, it is not politically feasible to treat Russia like a normal country.

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Is an Israeli-Palestinian peace even possible?

July 14, 2014

This video is an admirable effort by the Jewish Voice for Peace to describe the Israel / Palestine conflict objectively and to propose a constructive solution.  Sadly, I doubt a constructive solution is possible.  I’d be glad to be proved wrong.

I’m currently reading Empire of the Summer Moon, a history of the Comanche nation and its great chief, Quanah Parker.   The history of United States treaties with the Comanches and other American Indian nations is very like the various peace plans between Israeli and the Palestinians.

The problems with the Indian treaties were that, on the one hand, the United States government did not and maybe could not hold back white settlers who wanted Indian land, and that, on the other hand, Indians did not recognize the authority of negotiators making concessions in their names and did not consider themselves bound by the treaties.

I do not equate the Palestinian Arabs with tribal peoples of North America, but I do see parallels in their situations.  The only possible outcomes of the merciless wars between the Plains Indians and the white settlers were that the Indians would drive out the settlers, or that the United States Army would subjugate the Indians and force them to live on reservations.

Via Juan Cole.   Hat tip to Jack Clontz.

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