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An Introduction to ECCMEI...

The Middle East today, as it has been for a hundred years, is a puzzle and a challenge to the nations of the world, as well as to the cognitive powers of individuals: be they philosophers, journalists, diplomats, or just plain citizens. The Middle East is a tangled knot that awaits Alexander’s sword.

A hearty, Welcome – to all would be Macedonians bringing their daggers of wit and wisdom. Or, if you are not Macedonian, but an Alexandrian from beyond the wine-dark sea, or Zeus forbid, an Epirot or a Boeotian. i.e. an Othello rather than a Hamlet, you are still welcome! Alexander when he cut the knot of Gordius was an Othello precursor. But then, nobody would want to be an ever procrastinating Hamlet, delaying his father’s commission, to the very end. We all have to walk a fine mean between the two. If we cannot be either, then Yorick, a “fellow of infinite jest; of most excellent fancy” offers himself as an alternate model. The intelligent Fool has his value, even today.

Pardon the transposition of the discussion to the Hellenistic era, and the classical analogies. Certain comments that might seem personal, partisan, officious and offensive, are as Gibbon assures us, best left to the ‘decent obscurity’ of a classical language, and, in this case, classical geography; for the characterization of certain human types thought by the Greeks to typify the residents of those provinces. It is less offensive, this way.

At this site, you could exercise all the ingenuity you command. Anything goes - as long as it is significant, original and entertaining by way of comment.

What is significant, in the year AD 2002 ! A myriad topics; there is no shortage of them, but, even if an UN sponsored Athenian arrangement is unacceptable, clearly the Spartan solution ought to be ruled out as anachronistic and cruel that, in in the words of Mr. Cook, the Fmr. British Foreign Secretary, reminiscent of the Middle Ages. And, for another, it is too simple. ‘Bomb the Bastards’ leads us nowhere, unless it be to Hades. Killing off 'enemy populations' is the forte of red-blooded he-men on other Web Sites: not this one. Bomb first; and send food, clothing and toys to the widows and orphans afterwards; is Pres. Bush’s variation of the same theme - a combination of primitive barbarism and Christian 'missionary' ethics, reminiscent of Imperialism in the 19th century: it is the foundation of all his speeches, since, in his opinion, these are the eternal values of the American Public! Well, these aare not the values of the founders of ECCMEI!

Someone may come up with a witty essay advocating not mass-murder, or extermination as such but the reduction of wealthy natives to helots in the manner of Clive of India and King Leopold of Belgium. Or, their mass-extradition in a way reminiscent of the fate of Irish Catholics, Volga Germans, Chechen-Ingush, Crimean Tatars, Hindus and Muslims in post 1947 India, and the Palestinians of the present day. Such proposals, however controversial, are advocated in the legislatures of soi-disant democracies; hence they call for an airing, or a hearing (pro and con), on these pages. A lawful successor to Sir Norman Angell has yet to appear with a new “Great Illusion’ Perhaps he or she will debut on these pages! But, until such a time, the pupils of the late Rehavam Zeevi, if they can be entertaining, will not be blackballed from membership at this site.

There are ever so many interesting topics. Some, other than the above, may be mentioned; even if they sound a bit flippant or absurd when stated in a matter-of-fact way.

How did we get into this mess. Are Arabs of the Children of Abraham. Have they read the Torah. Why do they dispute God’s gift of the land of Israel to His Chosen People. Did the British have ulterior designs in allowing us to resettle the Holy Land. Was Balfour really honest. Is the present state of the Israel, a mess, or really a part of God’s Plan moving inevitably to a New Temple. Is Western Civilization under attack. Is Israel a part of Western Civilization – or vice versa. Can we use any and all means to defend ourselves. Is offence the best defense- are we entitled to hit our enemies before they hit us. Should we expand NATO to include the Russians. Can we believe Putin. Will he go along with us over Israel. Will he help us keep the price of oil down. Is he trying to ‘make up’ with China and North Korea. Should we bomb Jordan, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Iran, N Korea, etc, before they get us. Should we sell military technology, such as the Phalcon and air-to-air missiles to the Chinese. Why doesn’t the US release Jonathan Pollard. Why didn’t Clinton allow Bibi Netanyahu take Pollard with him to Israel for a Triumph in the Roman manner through the streets of Tel Aviv. Was Clinton jealous. Why did Clinton and the US Judicial System apologize to Wen Ho Lee for the espionage he committed. Why is Pollard treated differently. Is anti-Semitism involved. Why does the US suck up to the Chinese, instead of investing in Israel. Does Isarel really want US investment. Why should Israel not re-occupy the West Bank, now that Oslo is dead. Why shouldn’t we arrest and try Arafat as a terrorist. Was the late Menahem Begin right to cede the Sinai to the Egyptians. Should the Mormons be permitted to build a temple in Israel. Should the Southern Baptists be allowed to proselytize on the streets of Israeli cities. Are Russian Jews, really Jews, or agnostics whose eventual destination is the US. Who, truly, is a Jew. Should we permit the Arabs to draw water from the Jordan. Should we confiscate Arab wealth stored in Western, or Far Eastern Banks. Such a list is truly endless.

Then, there are the meta-topics. Why do people adopt the positions they do adopt. What does it say about there fundamental attitudes to Middle Eastern questions. Why should they be trusted, or not trusted. How is US domestic and foreign policy to be correlated with the Middle Eastern problem. Should there be anschluss between the two sole Judeo-Christian Powers on this planet. Should we permit the EU, and the Euro succeed in their attempt to supplant the dollar, if this is likely to strengthen the antisemites. And so on!

All constructive discourse can be located somewhere in a “House of Intellect” in Barzun’s phrase. Paraphrasing from his work in 1958, 'Knowledge is a Mansion whose Master Plan is not known to the builders of any generation but the last. They add their little contributions to it: by intuition, a feel for the aesthetic and intelligent speculation; and sometimes, the builders of a later age will abridge or demolish the work of an earlier generation. This is rare: more commonly, the earlier construction is slightly modified to accommodate new insights. In time, if God wills, a great Cathedral will arise, Unified and Perfect. And only then, will the unknown Master Plan be fully revealed.' It is an inspiring metaphor for all serious workers, in all fields.

There are serious issues behind this impromptu little essay. To disinter them, define them, and discuss them, will be a worthwhile goal. For more information, see,GUIDELINES

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