A Western disease of cause-and-effect amnesia

Oct 28, 2023
New York, USA. 18th Sep, 2023. United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres waits for visiting leaders at the UN headquarters. Image: Alamy/ Enrique Shore/Alamy Live News

The savage Israeli reaction to the suggestion by UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, that some Hamas actions may be a response to 56 years of Israeli repression was extraordinary. We have long known about Israeli sensitivity to criticism. But this brings things to a new level. Cannot Israel accept even some of its own responsibility for the Hamas response?

To be fair, insensitivity to cause and over-sensitivity to effect is not exclusively an Israel domain. Many others have travelled in the same route. Few in the West seem interested, for example, in the causes for Russian military action against Ukraine – among them the breaking of the 2014 Minsk agreements and the eight years of semi-Nazi Ukranian attack against Russian speakers in the Donbas.

Or the pretexts invented to justify the illegal (non-UN approved) NATO bombing of Serbia in 1995 or the NATO 2011 bombing of Libya.

Go back to the Vietnam War and we find that many in the West managed to forget the 1954 peace agreement for Vietnam that came first, not to mention the many thousands killed by the 1967 CIA sponsored Phoenix assassination campaign.

Or the large-scale killings of leftwing Koreans, (some say 300,000), in South Korea that preceded the 1950 Korean War.

In every case we are not talking just about the cause-effect amnesia that afflicts our hardcore Western militarists when their nations set out on one or other of their crusader missions against imagined enemies.

I am talking also about the pundits, the mainstream media, the conventional wisdom and the mass hysteria that underlies much of what passes for foreign policy and public opinion in the mainly Anglosaxon-dominated West.

In Israel it is a visceral hatred of Palestinians that allows them to blot out 56 years of cruel history and ignore the Palestinian natural desire for revenge.

In the minds of that otherwise intelligent but immature and newly born nation, Israel, the exaggerated details of the results they cause are allowed totally to obscure the horrors that caused those results – the 56 years of continual abuse and occasional massacres of the Palestinians with their thousands of civilisation behind them.

National maturity seems to be the deciding factor. The brave wisdom of a civilised European, António Guterres excels by far the naive but destructive babblings of a Boris Johnston, Liz Truss, or Trump, or the illogicalities of an Anthony Blinken ranting on about respecting international rules when his own nation blatantly denies his own nation’s agreements to accept Taiwan as part of China.

The contrast between the sophisticated policies and response of a China, with its 5,000 years of history, to the heated rhetoric and insults of a brutally ignorant US and a pipsqueak Australia, 5,000 miles away which still lacks the maturity to handle to its own once brutally suppressed indigenous minority, (China manages 50 of them quite well) says it all.

It’s time we all grew up.

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