By Ted Belman
These are obviously legitimate questions as were Bollingerâ€™s. In both cases, the answerâ€™s are obvious but not what you would expect. All countries pursue their interests and not justice or democracy or human rights or anything else that these questions raise. If we debate these issues, it is not to reconsider our policies but to score debating points. Our interests do not change, though our policies to achieve them do.
The purpose of dialogue is to balance interests and not to arrive at truth or justice. The dialogue I speak of here is the attempt to cut a deal. It is sometimes better to abandon some of our interests to secure the rest. But the stronger one is the less likely one is to compromise. If you are not prepared to compromise there is no reason to have dialogue other than for atmospherics.
Intellectual debate serves no purpose. Debate at the UN is all about posturing and propaganda. Power politics is all that matters. Cutting deals in the back room is where it is at.
Freud said, â€œIntelligence is the maid-servant of the emotionsâ€. Similarly â€œintellectual debate is the maid-servant of interests.â€
The Columbia faculty is dominated by the liberal left who invited him in order to buttress their attack on Bush. Both on content and atmospherics i.e. giving him respect. The outcry was so great that Bollinger, following someones marching order, had to take away the legitimacy he had offered Ahmedinejad. So he called him evil, a dictator and a thug. Name calling is not part of intellectual debate. It was designed to lessen the damage he had done by inviting him. i.e to show him disrespect.
This should be kept in mind when it comes to all the criticism levelled at Israel. Israel does what it has to do to pursue its interests namely to stay alive. Everyone else levels criticism at Israel in order to destroy Israel. That is why there is a double standard when it comes to Israel. The critics don’t want to destroy the other countries so criticism is muted. Israel is wrong to adjust the pursuit of its interests to accommodate these criticisms.
International law of war which developed after WW II was designed to outlaw war. It is used as a club to inhibit small or weak powers but it is never used to inhibit the big powers. No one would dare. Furthermore there is no law without the means of enforcing it. Thus all permanent members of the SC can protect themselves with their veto.