The lessons of history

On The Other Hand

Reinhold Niebuhr, an American theologian, said, “There are limits to our ability to shape other societies or even to fully anticipate the consequences of our actions.”

The Middle East’s instability and the successive creation of newer and more violent groups, ISIS, al-Qaeda, Taliban, Hezbollah, Hamas and the PLO are the unanticipated consequences referred to by Niebuhr.

Between the Ottoman, British, French, Americans, Germans (under Kaiser Wilhelm II and Adolf Hitler) and Russia (under the Tzars and the communists), the peoples of the Middle East have been colonized, divided as spoils to victors after both world wars, oppressed and left in poverty while their puppet leaders are lavished with wealth and weapons by the West and Russia.

Arabs, Persians, Muslims, Christians, Kurds, Turks, Palestinians, Azeris, Jews and Armenians (to name just a few religious and ethnic groups in the Middle East) through the centuries have had tense relationships but also understanding amongst the various tribes. There truly have been peaceful times between Christians and Muslims. Although there has always been fairly high tensions between the two Muslim groups, the Shia and the Sunni.

But the region became a powder keg after what could be called the worst decision ever made by Britain and the United States. Canadian, Australian, British and American governments today are quite pro-Jewish, but that was not the case after World War II.  With millions of Jewish refugees fleeing Germany there was not one ally country willing to allow a massive immigration of Jews into their lands.

The in-conceived solution by the U.S. and Britain was to scoop ancient Palestinian land and create an European Jewish state in the middle of a region with thousands of years’ history of multiple religions and tribes. Middle Eastern Jews, Christians, Muslims co-existed for centuries, but now a totally different culture (Europe) not just a religion, was thrust upon the region and then armed to the gills with the latest state-of-the-art weaponry.

By taking away traditional lands and creating an European Jewish state, the Middle East was to become a forever powder keg.

The British spent much of their colonization days believing that they were the finest race in the world and the more of the world that they inhabited the better the world would be.  But during their days of colonization, they raped the occupied countries of their resources, lived as kings and queens in armed compounds while the masses were slaves and continued to live in extreme poverty.

The Americans are the same in believing they are the greatest nation on earth and everyone should feel privileged to have their friendship.  However, their history of manipulating and/or overthrowing governments for their own economic purposes have left behind violence and poverty in many of the Middle East and Third World countries they supposedly befriended.

People like Republican presidential nominee, Donald Trump want you to believe that the “only reason we have ISIS today is because of Hilary Clinton and President Obama,” which shows complete ignorance of history.

Ironically Trump followers are feeling the same way as many Arabs and Palestinians have felt after years of being controlled by puppet leaders who have done little to bring the masses up out of poverty. Trump is feeding on the anger of a huge swath of Americans who once held good-paying factory and manufacturing jobs. He blames the immigrants but, of course, that is far from the truth.

It has been the policies of successive American governments since the time of Ronald Reagan that has pushed so many people from the middle class into poverty. Through the policies of neo-liberalism (free trade, low taxes and de-regulation), the U.S. is moving economically towards a third world status. The very rich holding the vast majority of the wealth (again, ironically Donald Trump being one of main beneficiaries of neo-liberal polices), a shrinking and indebted middle class and a growing, angry class of poor people.

It appears that Donald Trump doesn’t care how he becomes President. If his ticket to victory means stirring up hatred, racism and angry amongst disenfranchised American citizens, he seems more than willing to be a participant.

But what Donald Trump may not realize, if elected, his angry group of gun-toting Americans will want changes and for anybody who understands the American political system, the only two things a President has absolute power over are starting wars and vetoing a bill.

Mr. Trump and his gang need to be very mindful of the words of Reinhold Niebuhr. If he is elected, unfortunately there will be significant consequences to his election campaign actions and those consequences will not only affect peace in America, but Canada and the entire world.

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