Paul Ryan Apparently Didn’t Learn Any Lessons From History
I certainly understand the idea of standing up for a friend, especially one in need. It is part of what makes up part of the American character. We aren’t afraid to extend a helping hand to our friends or even to a stranger who needs it. We look for this trait in each other, and prize the people we find with it. It is an admirable thing that should be cultivated in our society.
However, not everyone deserves the kindness bestowed upon them in this fashion. In the same way, not every state deserves America’s steadfast support no matter what they do. You wouldn’t back up and support a serial child molester who was unrepentant of his deeds. Why should America be willing to go to war and send its men and women to die for another nation who wantonly commits genocide of another people just because we signed an agreement years and years ago with a different government?
Times change, as do governments and people. I am not saying that America shouldn’t make alliances and be ready to follow through with our agreements. Far from it. I am just trying to point out that just as people change over a lifetime, democratic governments change far more rapidly, and agreements made with them need to be re-evaluated at times.
I only bring this up, because on Monday, Paul Ryan and many of the Presidential candidates appeared before AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee which advocates pro-Israel positions to Congress and the executive branch of government. Like usual they gave their speeches reaffirming our undying support for Israel. Like I said before, we should have alliances, and in that region of the world we can use them, partly because of our support for Israel.
However, that isn’t why I write this. I have no beef with Israel. The Zionist movement and the situation between their current government and the Palestinians, I certainly have disagreements with. That argument will have to wait for another day, though.
Let’s return to Paul Ryan’s speech. It is nice in its own way, but it is hugely duplicitous. He complains about entangling alliances and how bad they were for Europe, while saying we were able to avoid them. I’m not going to bust Mr. Ryan’s chops about history, mostly because Charles Pierce did a little bit in his article already. Having studied the early 20th century extensively I could spend days boring you to death about how wrong Mr. Ryan’s evaluations on history were, but I won’t.
Why is this important? If you listen to his speech, you can see how hypocritical it becomes when he says we must support Israel no matter what happens. I suppose he doesn’t see how this is an entangling alliance. I know in the past Israel has fought wars where we have not been involved, but a certain faction of our government has been moving ever closer to Israel’s current government.
We are beginning to sound and act a lot like Germany did for Austria, when we espouse undying and steadfast support for Israel or any nation no matter the circumstances. If we follow the same pattern, one wrong move on Israel’s part could lead them to a war we would be duty bound to join. I am not going to directly equate the two because we do not have a shared history with Israel. However, I think maybe the Evangelicals “End Times” beliefs might play into why the Republicans are throwing so much support behind Israel.
What bothers me about this whole thing isn’t that we are supporting Israel, despite its current government. It’s that we are foolishly and blindly allowing ourselves to be led by people who do not see that the situation has changed. We continue to be locked into an agreement with a government that isn’t the same one it was. It is acting in a way that we wouldn’t want to be seen as. Well, I would like to think we wouldn’t want to be seen this way.
After all, until this election, we generally wanted to only choose people we thought were of good character that could get things done. I can’t say that so much now. But it only stood to reason that our nation was supposed to be a reflection of the people who we wanted to elect. That’s why we always thought of ourselves as the land of truth, justice, and freedom. Many conservatives think that just because I am liberally minded that I do not believe in these ideals, but that cannot be further from the truth. I know we have not always lived up to these ideals, but I always want my nation and my people to strive for them.
With that in mind, I want my government to act with these principles in mind. I am not foolish enough to realize that there are situations where you have to make deals with people who are not of great reputation. That does not stop me from demanding my government and its representatives from living up to the Exceptionalism many of them claim we have. That means they must have reason and rationalism. It is something that they repeatedly refuse to use.
The best example I can use is one most Americans will hate to hear. When America demanded of its allies to join them when it invaded Iraq, some said no. The most prominent of which was France. It evaluated our reasons and justifications and found them lacking. It would not go along with what it felt was an uncalled for invasion. Turns out, they were right. They are still our ally, but they know, as probably much of the world does now, that they have to make certain of any claims we make.
The reason I have said all of this is to make one point very clear. Americans view themselves as good people, and the vast majority of us certainly are. Our representatives in government should reflect that. Do not blindly follow your allies through the valley of death just because you signed a piece of paper saying you would. See them for who they really are, be they England, Israel, Canada, or even Saudi Arabia. Know the character of the man or the nation you extend your help to before you commit everything and find out they were the unrepentant child molester.