THE ONE-DIMENSIONAL ARIEL SHARON
By Uri Avnery
[This article published on October 21, 2004 on www.Freace.com is translated abridged from the German on the World Wide Web, http://www.freace.de/artikel/200410/211004a.html.]
Ariel Sharon's worldview is important. Sharon's world is one-dimensional as limited as the flat world before Galileo.
A world in which brutal power - and only brutal power - rules.
This is a world without a past and a future, with no lessons from history and no foresight of coming things. What exists now will always exist.
This is a world without moral powers where the opinions of humanity do not count.
The world of Stalin who once asked contemptuously: "How many divisions does the pope have?"
The only thing that counts is the interest of Israel and the Jewish people (according to Sharon's view).
Their interest is taking possession of all land between the Mediterranean and the Jordan.
The Palestinians are powerless. Therefore they are nothing but objects that can be pushed around at will.
Europe is like a miserable rabble. To hell with Europe.
There is only one real power in the world: the United States. The US is the "world management".
All power of the US is concentrated in the White House. The president and a handful of other persons are the managers.
As it is now, so it will be in the future.
Therefore there is only one imperative for us: maintaining the power of the Israeli army and the alliance with the White House. Everything else is nonsense, phantasies of eggheads.
The Israeli army and the White House is the winning combination. We will take possession of the whole country. A peace process is unnecessary. Peace is unnecessary! The Palestinians are a factor that can be disregarded. Let them vegetate in their ghettos! They are now disappearing from the country.
This is Sharon's world, a realistic picture seen superficially. Sharon's ideas are primitive. Perhaps people believe he sees things as they really are.
Is this in truth the real picture? History shows that brutal military power is a dull instrument that never solves complex problems. A leader who puts his whole trust in military power will discover that military power is like a broken reed that wounds the hand that seizes it.
What Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of independence about "a reasonable respect for the opinion of humanity" were not only empty words. This was a realistic judgment. The public opinion of the world influences the conduct of nations and governments in a thousand ways. This can have far-reaching effects. According to a British writer, "the pen is mightier than the sword". The pope actually has divisions even if they do not march.
Military power is only one of the active forces in the world. Economic forces have more than a trifling influence. Their influence from a long-term view could become much greater. Moral forces are invisible but their effects are tremendous. One of the greatest military leaders of history, Napoleon, was very aware of this.
The human longing for freedom is invincible as well as the struggle for independence of oppressed nations. Ignoring this is blindness, not realism.
Even George W. Bush, a person not less primitive and brutal than Sharon learns that narrow limits are set to "world management" since he is slowly sinking in the Iraqi morass. The belief that Israel's problems can only be solved through alliance with the "world manager" is illusory.
Even if a country gains an impressive military superiority, the world is not one-dimensional. The world is a very complex place. Many forces are at work. Nothing remains the same. "Everything is in flux", as the ancient Greek philosopher said.
One is tempted to quote Hamlet: "There are more things between heaven and earth than you, Arik, can dream in your philosophy."
Sharon's worldview that at first seems realistic is the complete opposite of realism. This view of things will lead us into catastrophe.