Sunday, March 05, 2006

Conflicts and power

From an outstanding interview with Professor Ilan Pappe of Haifa University (my emphasis):

“I think that neo-conservatism is mainly a product of the Cold War, and I think as happened in Israel, so in the US, a lot of people benefit economically, sociologically, politically, from a situation of conflict which begins with the producers of arms, and it ends with the people who have a hold on the decision-making apparatus in the name of national security.  And of course this was all lost in a way when the Soviet Union collapsed, and the cold war ended. And I think this group of people were looking for a new bogey man, a new threat to the national security of the US and they found it because of the very strong influence, I think, of Israel among other things, in the Arab world and the Islamic world. Of course, movements such as the Islamic Al-Qaeda did not help. They provided the pretext, and the context for even pushing these ideas even further. And what we have now is the same people, a next generation, who would do all they can to perpetuate the conflict, because they benefit from the conflict. They benefit from situations of wars, of conflicts, and so on, and I think this is what enforces their hold over the American policy making in the world at large, and in the Middle East in particular.”

We often wonder why people like Ledeen seem to be so interested in creating conflict for the sake of conflict.  One reason is that people who are aware of the timing of a conflict are in a position to make money off it.  Another reason is that this constant conflict constitutes the sole reason why these people have any power.  They create an escalating series of problems, and then have to remain in power to ‘solve’ them.  Of course, the solutions continue to lead to more conflicts.  We can understand all the the talk about Iran as another example of creating a conflict which gives these characters something to do.  While a civil war in Iraq benefits Likudniks in the American government and in Israel, it also benefits a guy like Cheney, whose only interest is in creating more power for Cheney.  The United States has fallen into a vicious cycle where the jobs of the neocons and their fellow travelers like Cheney and Rumsfeld are dependent on their cleaning up the messes they have already started.  An end to conflict would put them out of power, so we’ll never see an end to conflict.