When Britain ran the world, it was easy to resolve international disputes. The Brits sent a gunboat over to the affected area and told the locals how they were going to settle their differences. In India, for example, Britain decided to separate the Muslims from the Hindus and carved out an area named Pakistan for the Muslims to inhabit. India and Pakistan have been fighting off and on ever since. As I write this, the two nuclear powers are squaring off in a dispute that could end really badly – not only for them but also for the rest of us. Similarly, after World War I, it was Britain that chopped up a part of the Ottoman Empire, designating a piece of it as Jordan and another piece as Israel.
After World War II put an end to the British Empire (by draining it of its wealth, much the same as the Iraq War has done to the American Empire), the United Nations took over the responsibility for running the world. The UN has done a lousy job – even worse than the Brits. It was the UN that gave Israel 55 per cent of what was then Palestine back in 1947. The Israelis and the Palestinians have been blowing up each other’s children almost continuously since that fateful decision.
You would think that in the past six decades, the UN would have figured out how to sort out the multitudinous grievances accumulated by both sides in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But the UN has been curiously disengaged. If Zimbabwe and Uganda were involved in a war that endangered the rest of the world, you can bet the territory would be crawling with peacekeepers, but nobody wants to get between the Arabs and Israelis.
The UN could be a useful organization if its member nations would set aside their individual agendas and think about the welfare of the world for a change. There is international legal machinery that could resolve disputes and avert the bloody horror of war, but this machinery is used in the most capricious manner. If I were running America, I would do everything in my power to strengthen the UN, encouraging it to become the world’s de facto law enforcement agency. It would save America a lot of money, a lot of lives and a lot of heartbreak.
It is nonsensical to talk about Israel being “our most important ally in the region.” That’s gunslinger lingo. This is the 21st Century. By now we should have figured out ways to resolve human differences without resorting to violence. If individual countries can claim to believe in the rule of law, why can’t the concept be applied globally?