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相對於社會學和心理學,我對政治學的興趣開始得比較晚。一方面從1415歲開始,我主要想了解的問題在倫理學;另一方面,我和大多數人一樣,性向上急功近利;對政治學的興趣始於軍事學。

大學一年級前後我讀了徐訏先生的《回到個人主義與自由主義》,印象深刻35歲以前,我在聖荷西大學附近舊書攤上,買了常常被其他學者介紹和引用的《君王論》和《政府論》,但大概都只讀了1/41/3。不過,馬克思的政治經濟學批判我倒是讀得非常仔細,此書也構成我對政治的基本理解。當然,之後偶而也會涉獵一些政治學方面的書籍,但為數不多。

2002年以前,除了以上四本經典名著之外,我對政治/政治學的了解,大部分來自新聞報導和報紙/期刊上的政治評論。2001年我退休以後開使在網上漫遊由於在不同論壇上經常和其他網友就政治理論與實際議題進行討論,我不時有「書到用時方恨少」的感慨。於是我開始花較多時間閱讀「政治學」領域的書籍

我對「政治」的「定義以及對「民主政治」的詮釋,都是根據以往30多年對政治實務的觀察,以及這段時間對政治理論的領悟,綜合兩者而形成。

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群眾取向政治路線淪為花招 –----- Michael Lind
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請參考本攔下一篇的《讀後》。

Populism has become a gimmick

From Wilders to Milei, politics is now pantomime

MICHAEL LIND, 11/30/23

When populist candidates started to win national elections in the 2010s, panicked establishmentarians on both sides of the Atlantic warned that they could consolidate their power and destroy democracy. On both counts, these misgivings were misplaced. From Donald Trump to Boris Johnson, contemporary populists have proved incapable of consolidating power or exercising it effectively. And far from being incompatible with democracy, they owe their success to today’s version of democracy, in which protest votes are becoming ritualised. As opposed to being a harbinger of a new fascism, populism is now just another political style, detached from any substantive politics and incapable of radical reform.

Donald Trump’s embrace of Argentina’s new President, Javier Milei, shows how empty of ideological consistency populism can be. If Trump in his first run for the White House and his presidency stood for anything, it was for the rejection of economic libertarianism in favour of tariffs, immigration restriction and a refusal to cut the middle-class entitlements on which his voters depended. Milei, however, is a free-market radical whose programme is the exact opposite of “Trumpism”. And yet, hours after Milei was elected president of Argentina, Trump posted on social media: “Congratulations… you will turn your country around and truly make Argentina great again!”

This might seem like a contradiction, but only if Right-wing populism is considered a coherent public policy programme. And that is far from the case. Today, populism is little more than a shared campaign style — like the weird hair Trump shares with Milei, Johnson, and Geert Wilders.

Further evidence that populism has become a gimmick, rather than a serious programme, comes from the record of populists in office. Silvio Berlusconi, the original Right-wing populist, a plutocrat and media celebrity before Trump, was prime minister in four Italian governments. Despite all the commotion, it is hard to see what, if anything, changed as a result. Under Georgia Meloni, Italy’s hard-Right has reconciled itself to the EU and softened its tone. In the UK, Johnson came and went, securing Brexit but otherwise leaving no trace on public policy. And like a bad-tempered, orange-haired Cheshire Cat, Trump in his first term left nothing but a scowl.

Populist voters in all Western democracies, whatever their other differences, want current high levels of immigration to be reduced. Trump made this central to his campaign in 2016, and it was inextricably wrapped up with Brexit under Johnson. But once in office, Trump betrayed his voters by refusing to press for the only effective way to reduce demand for immigration — requiring American employers to certify that their workers are all US citizens or legal immigrants. Instead, Trump avoided clashing with the business wing of the Republican Party, which is keen on cheap illegal immigrant labour, and diverted attention to a “big, beautiful wall” along the US-Mexican border which his own party failed to fund.

For his part, Johnson as prime minister proved to be as ineffectual in stemming mass migration to the UK as King Canute was in stopping the tide. In 2021,
Johnson promised not to return to “the old failed model of… uncontrolled immigration”. And yet, more immigrants arrived in the UK in 2022 than all those who arrived between 1945 and 2022.

The problem here is structural: the very feature of modern Western democracies that creates the demand for populist politicians also ensures their failure. In the north Atlantic, this structure has been transformed in the last generation by two phenomena. The first is the transfer of decision-making power away from democratically elected legislatures and executives to entities that are highly insulated from election results: national and transnational judiciaries, central banks, international institutions, and corporations such as the social media giants that function as de facto public utilities but with no democratic oversight or control. The second is the disintegration of political parties as mass membership organisations, in which ordinary citizens in local chapters can participate and exert influence outside of elections.

The first transformation — the loss of power to technocrats, both public and private — is in itself sufficient to explain the rage and alienation of much of the electorate in the West. In many countries, voters have learned that, no matter what party or candidate they select come election time, nothing will change in terms of policy. After they put in a lot of coins and press a lot of buttons, with no drink rolling out, they start to kick the vending machine.

This fury, particularly when it comes to immigration, is then exploited by populist candidates. But here another transformation comes into play — the capture of powerful, hierarchical organisations by outsiders such as Trump, Johnson or, for that matter, Jeremy Corbyn. With the collapse of organised parties as gatekeepers, competition among protest candidates tends to produce theatrical mavericks who take pride in their independence, even if they happen to run for office as a candidate of one or another legacy party.

Here, then, is the challenge. It took a generation or more for authority to be drained from the political branches in the West to these technocrats. And it will take at least as long for the political branches of government to regain decision-making power that they never should have ceded.


For this to happen, it will require a prolonged campaign of legislative reform and “lawfare” by disciplined parties and coalitions in national legislatures. This, in turn, will require skillful and patient leaders who are institutionalists and party-builders devoted to creating organisations that will outlast their time in office — the very opposite of the wild-haired maverick who campaigns on a slogan such as “build the wall” or waves chainsaws around. On being elected to office, the populist can try to rule by decree, but will lack an organised party to work through, and will find that many policy reforms are impossible to implement.


In the US, those who say that they vote for a particular candidate on the basis of their likely nominations to the Supreme Court or the Federal Reserve show that they actually understand where genuine power lies in modern democracies. Under the unwritten constitution of contemporary America, activist judges make the most important laws; the role of the President is to appoint them, and the role of the Senate is to confirm or reject them. Instead of a big, beautiful wall, Trump’s only lasting legacy, for instance, may indeed be his judicial appointments, which produced the conservative majority on the Supreme Court that
returned the power to regulate abortion from the federal government to the states.

For structural reasons, then, popular frustration with the thwarting of voter preferences will continue to create demand among angry, disempowered voters for outsider candidates with big, striking promises, if not always big, striking hair. And, once they are elected, populist demagogues will press the buttons on their desk that are supposed to make their government or party spring into action — only to discover that, in reality, the vending machine is broken and nothing happens.


Michael Lind is a columnist at Tablet and a fellow at New America. His latest book is Hell to Pay: How the Suppression of Wages is Destroying America.


SUGGESTED READING

Britain is Europe's liberal outcast, BY ARIS ROUSSINOS
The Left was blinded by Berlusconi, BY THOMAS FAZI

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季辛吉的「(政治)現實主義」 - Michael Hirsh
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先生這篇文章批評了季辛吉的劣跡(該欄第3)但也對季辛吉的「(政治)現實主義」有詳細的闡述。所以我把他的大作放在此欄

此文附多張歷史性照片:請至原網頁觀看。


Henry Kissinger, Colossus on the World Stage

The late statesman was a master of realpolitik—whom some regarded as a war criminal.

Michael Hirsh, 11/29/23

Henry Alfred Kissinger, one of the most influential statesmen in American history, died on Nov. 29 at age 100 after a long and tumultuous career in which he helped author some of the greatest triumphs—as well as some of the most tragic failures—of U.S. foreign policy.

Kissinger, a German-born refugee from Nazism who came to the United States at the age of 15, was credited with several of the most epoch-making diplomatic achievements since World War II. These included launching detente with the Soviet Union to preserve peace during the Cold War and, along with his boss, President Richard Nixon, dramatically altering the terms of that 40-year conflict by opening relations with communist China in 1972.

As Nixon’s national security advisor and then secretary of state, two roles he combined, Kissinger was also possibly the most successful Mideast negotiator ever, creating the art of “shuttle diplomacy” that produced four Arab-Israeli agreements. In doing so, he “established a new American-led order in that turbulent part of the world and laid the foundations for Arab-Israeli peace,” wrote veteran Middle East negotiator 
Martin Indyk, author of the book Master of the Game: Henry Kissinger and the Art of Middle East Diplomacy.

In the view of some biographers, Kissinger ranks in stature with George Kennan, the principal author of America’s successful Cold War containment strategy, as well as with other hallowed architects of the post-World War II global system. “The structure of peace that Kissinger designed places him with Henry Stimson, George Marshall, and Dean Acheson atop the pantheon of modern American statesmen,” Walter Isaacson wrote in his 1992 biography of Kissinger. “In addition, he was the foremost American negotiator of this century and, along with George Kennan, the most influential foreign policy intellectual.”

Yet Kissinger also came to be reviled, especially by liberals, for practicing what they regard as a cold-blooded projection of American power that contributed to countless deaths. At Nixon’s side, he supported the disastrous bombing of Cambodia that led to the rise of the Khmer Rouge and its monstrous slaughter of more than a million people. Following the U.S. invasion of Cambodia, Kissinger completed peace talks with Vietnam that won him a Nobel Peace Prize but ultimately led to the humiliating North Vietnamese takeover just two years later in America’s worst defeat in a war until that point.

Kissinger also backed the 1973 coup d’etat against elected President Salvador Allende in Chile, who was considered friendly to communism, and turned a cold eye to the 1971 genocide in Bangladesh. Nixon and Kissinger stood behind Pakistani generals as they sought to prevent independence by East Pakistan (later Bangladesh) and armed them, in violation of U.S. law, as they oversaw the mass slaughter and rape of Bengalis. 
Gary Bass, a political scholar at Princeton, later characterized this episode as “among the darkest chapters in the Cold War.” Declassified White House tapes and documents quoted by Bass show that, in internal meetings at the time, Kissinger expressed contempt for those who “bleed” for the “dying Bengalis.”

In his 2001 book The Trial of Henry Kissinger, the late Christopher Hitchens argued that Kissinger should be prosecuted under international law for “ordering and sanctioning the destruction of civilian populations, the assassination of inconvenient politicians, the kidnapping and disappearance of soldiers and journalists and clerics who got in his way.

Born Heinz Kissinger in Fürth, Germany, on May 27, 1923, Kissinger was forever haunted by the breakdown of order in Weimar Germany and the rise of the Nazis, who killed much of his family. Exiled to the United States, he embraced his new country with passionate zeal and yet never abandoned his admiration for European-style realpolitik, just as he never lost his heavy Franconian accent.

His hero in international affairs was Otto von Bismarck, the fabled “iron chancellor” who, as Kissinger later wrote, “urged that foreign policy had to be based not on sentiment but on an assessment of strength.” As Isaacson noted, “That would also become one of Kissinger’s guiding principles.”

An academic star at Harvard, Kissinger became known both for his brilliance and his ambitiousness in wangling his way into the confidence of rising U.S. leaders, starting with John Kennedy, then Nelson Rockefeller, and finally Nixon, whose notorious insecurities were sometimes rivaled by Kissinger’s own. Kissinger often displayed an incendiary temper behind the scenes, and he was ever at work trying to sideline rivals such as William Rogers, Nixon’s first secretary of state.

Kissinger also became, to the chagrin of Nixon and his many rivals in government, an international celebrity, squiring Hollywood actresses to movie openings and fancy restaurants. Power, Kissinger famously said, “is the ultimate aphrodisiac.” At one point, when Marlon Brando, star of The Godfather, declined to show up for the film’s premiere in 1972, producer Robert Evans prevailed on Kissinger to appear in Brando’s place, as the only celebrity with sufficient star power to do so.

Yet it was as a scholar and a persuader par excellence that Kissinger left his most enduring mark. After completing a doctoral dissertation at Harvard that dissected the successful 19th-century realism of Klemens von Metternich and Lord Castlereagh, Kissinger first achieved some renown with his book Nuclear Weapons and Foreign Policy, which improbably hit the bestseller list. The book argued in favor of limited nuclear war, a view Kissinger later disavowed.

He supported the Vietnam War—even though scholar Barry Gewen notes that Kissinger had concluded as early as 1965, after a visit, that the war was futile—but also brilliantly calibrated its draining effects on American power. Thus, he launched the era of detente and nuclear-reduction talks with the Soviets, angering many conservatives.

At the same time, however, Kissinger blindsided Moscow in 1972 by launching an unprecedented rapprochement with communist China, with which the USSR had split. According to some scholars, this may have helped prevent the outbreak of war with the Soviets at a time when Washington was distracted and split by domestic turmoil.

It was a moment in history uniquely suited to Kissinger and his equally realist-minded boss, Nixon. Both men came to realize earlier than most that the 1960s concepts of monolithic communism and the domino theory, by which successive nations would inevitably topple to the communists, were unsound. As Gewen wrote in his 2020 book, The Inevitability of Tragedy: Henry Kissinger and His World, “Once the idea of a monolithic communism was discarded, what sounder policy could there be for two Realpolitikers than to play the feuding Communists off against one another?”

“Detente was ultimately driven by the Vietnam War, by the sense of overreach,” said Charles Kupchan, a scholar of international affairs at Georgetown University. “Kissinger and Nixon saw the need to, one, retrench, and two, lower the temperature when it came to the Cold War. They were largely successful at this, especially in moving China out of the enemy column.” He added, “Kissinger thought strategically in a way that some other important figures have not. When it comes to U.S. statecraft, I often think there is a problem of too much policy and not enough strategy. Kissinger was someone who reversed that.”

And yet Kissinger also became renowned for his personal touch, winning over foreign leaders and diplomats with his charm, humor, and mastery of history. It helped, of course, that he never seemed terribly bothered by the abuses of the dictators with whom he negotiated.

The two foreign leaders Kissinger came to admire most, according to Isaacson, were Premier Zhou Enlai of China and Egypt’s Anwar Sadat, whom Kissinger considered a “prophet” for his willingness to engage in talks with the Israelis. During Kissinger’s first attempt at shuttle diplomacy in 1974, Sadat brought him to a tropical garden by his presidential villa and “beneath a mango tree, kissed him,” Isaacson wrote. “You are not only my friend,” Sadat told the startled secretary of state. “You are my brother.” Kissinger later joked to the press corps that “the reason the Israelis don’t get better treatment is because they don’t kiss me.”

Despite the controversy that surrounded him, Kissinger never really lost his reputation as America’s preeminent foreign-policy expert. In the decades before his death, both Republicans and Democrats, along with many world leaders, sought his counsel. Kissinger bolstered this reputational rebirth with a tireless output of memoirs, books, and articles that some scholars consider to be the most exhaustive and profound elucidation of foreign policy by any American expert.

Considered America’s foremost realist, Kissinger also proved prescient in his skepticism about the world-changing Wilsonian idealism—essentially the notion that Washington can reorder the world in America’s image—that has so often characterized U.S. foreign policy. More clearly than most, he saw Wilsonianism’s pitfalls even as he conceded that it formed the “bedrock” of American foreign policy.

Nowhere has he been more vindicated than in his skepticism that, after the Cold War, the spread of democracy would prove a panacea. As Gewen noted, Kissinger foresaw that the end of the Cold War would not lead to the triumph of American-style liberal democratic capitalism, but was more “in the nature of a brilliant sunset.”  

This proved especially true for China—the country Kissinger came to know best—as developments in the last decade or so have shown. Successive administrations, starting with Bill Clinton, sought to co-opt China into the post-Cold War system of global markets and emerging democracies, what Kissinger once called “the age-old American dream of a peace achieved by the conversion of the adversary.” But China, along with post-Soviet Russia, has become the driving force behind a new era of autocracy and suppression of human rights.

The only reasonable approach to China and other major powers, Kissinger long argued, was a brand of realpolitik that did not seek to solve the world’s problems in an idealistic way, but rather to manage them through a careful tending of the ever-changing balance of power. “The task for policymakers in his view is a modest, essentially negative one,” Gewen wrote. “Not to steer the world along some preordained path to universal justice but to pit power against power to rein in the assorted aggressions of human beings and to try, as best they can, to avert disaster.”

The key to his approach was to identify achievable goals rather than permanent solutions. Or as Indyk put it, “For Kissinger, peacemaking diplomacy was a process designed to ameliorate conflicts between competing powers, not resolve them.”


Kissinger himself defined this realist philosophy in Diplomacy, his 1994 masterwork. “International systems live precariously,” he wrote. “Every ‘world order’ expresses an aspiration to permanence. … Yet the elements which comprise it are in constant flux. Indeed, with each century, the duration of international systems has been shrinking.”


This would be especially true of the 21st century. He added, “Never before have the components of world order, their capacity to interact, and their goals all changed so rapidly, so deeply, or so globally.”


Kissinger concluded, “In the next century, American leaders will have to articulate for their public a concept of the national interest and explain how that interest is served—in Europe and in Asia—by the maintenance of the balance of power. America will need partners to preserve equilibrium in several regions of the world, and these partners can not be chosen on the basis of moral considerations alone.”

Kissinger was fearful toward the end of his life that Washington, by taking a confrontational approach to both China and Russia on moral or ideological grounds, might be in danger of isolating itself and resurrecting the old alliance between Beijing and Moscow. In 2018, he reportedly counseled then-President Donald Trump to try to work more closely with Russia to counter China.

At the same time, Kissinger also warned that by launching a new Cold War against China, Washington might be creating an even greater danger than it faced against the Soviet Union. The USSR, he said in May 2021 at the McCain Institute’s Sedona Forum, “didn’t have developmental technological capacity as China does. China is a huge economic power in addition to being a significant military power.”

In one of his last essays, written for the Economist after America’s humiliating withdrawal from Afghanistan, Kissinger yet again warned against an excess of idealistic zeal about changing the world for the better. He harked back to the nation’s previous counterinsurgency failure in Vietnam and diagnosed Washington’s failures in terms that fit his lifelong approach to foreign policy:

“The United States has torn itself apart in its counterinsurgent efforts because of its inability to define attainable goals and to link them in a way that is sustainable by the American political process. The military objectives have been too absolute and unattainable and the political ones too abstract and elusive,” he wrote. “The failure to link them to each other has involved America in conflicts without definable terminal points and caused us internally to dissolve unified purpose in a swamp of domestic controversies.”

Until the end, Kissinger was hard at work trying to figure out the world. In a series of writings culminating in The Age of AI, a 2021 book he coauthored with former Google chief executive officer Eric Schmidt and Daniel Huttenlocher, dean of computer science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he expressed his deep concerns that things were going in the wrong direction.

Ironically for a statesman who, for most of his career, had been accused of ignoring moral considerations, his main worry was the loss of the human element. He worried that the paradigm that ruled since the Enlightenment—the primacy of human reason—was being overturned and, as he put it in an essay in the Atlantic, too many decisions were now “relying on machines powered by data and algorithms and ungoverned by ethical or philosophical norms.”

With his grave demeanor and rumbling German accent, Kissinger could often seem aloof. But he was a close student of humanity, both broadly and narrowly defined, and throughout his career he excelled by studying closely the character of the leaders with whom he negotiated. He was at work on a last book summing up these experiences at the time of his death.

In an interview with me in 2000, after the death of Syrian dictator Hafez Assad, Kissinger tended to gloss over the dictator’s bloody history but otherwise frankly assessed his strengths and weaknesses. “His success was in managing to stay in office for 30 years, which was not a mean achievement,” Kissinger said. “He was a man of survival and small increments. He was not a man of huge departures. … What he lacked was to transcend the environment in which he grew up.”

Kissinger himself proved a man of huge departures, yet in some ways his assessment of Assad could be applied to him as well, at least in terms of whether he truly transcended his native environment. Throughout his life, Kissinger remained the European exile, the student of Bismarck and Metternich, even as he passionately embraced America and deftly manipulated—for better and worse—the morality-based power politics of his adopted country.

“He was much more aware of morals in foreign policy than he’s been given credit for,” said Joseph Nye, the diplomat and political scientist who was Kissinger’s student—and later became a political rival—at Harvard. “He knew that order rests on the balance of power and, at the same time, legitimacy. His wasn’t a crude realpolitik. It was a sophisticated realpolitik.”

It is this complex legacy that Kissinger leaves behind, for the United States and for the world.

Update: The regional origins of Henry Kissinger’s accent have been clarified.

Michael Hirsh is a columnist for Foreign Policy. He is the author of two books: Capital Offense: How Washington’s Wise Men Turned America’s Future Over to Wall Street and At War With Ourselves: Why America Is Squandering Its Chance to Build a Better World. Twitter: @michaelphirsh

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DEPT OF SECRETS 
, TOM BLANTON

ESSAY 
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ARGUMENT
 STEPHEN M. WALT


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《以色列與哈瑪斯的崛起》評論
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1.  評論

契林先生這篇文章,對美、以兩國在中東地區「以阿制阿;分化來擊破」的策略史有詳細報導(請見本欄上一篇)

張智北教授在他的演講中提及以色列扶植哈瑪斯的歷史(請見本欄《我看「以巴衝突」 -- 張智北》)。我以「陰謀論」回應(請見本欄《再論「以巴衝突」:敬覆張智北教授》)。因為,我相信即使以色列扶植過哈瑪斯,其目的在分化巴勒斯坦人民,並對抗「巴勒斯坦解放組織」。本質上,哈瑪斯並非以色列的「鐵桿衛隊」。以、哈鬥爭多年足以顯示:以色列政府資助或扶持哈瑪斯組織,並不表示他們「哥倆好」,只是兩者心照不宣的「各懷鬼胎,各有算計」;或美國俗話說的:「政治人物經常野合」。

這類策略幾乎都造成「尾大不掉」或「養虎貽患」的結果。計畫者自以為:「兩害相權取其輕」,得到的卻是「事與願違」,甚至「悔不當初」。增加了一些「聰明反被聰明誤」或「計畫趕不上變化」的範例,讓世人警惕而已。

契林先生這篇文章一個有趣的分析是:以色列政府資助或扶持哈瑪斯組織,除了對抗「巴解」之外,另一個目的在破壞美、歐「西方國家」希望和推動的「兩國方案」。即使在當下,以色列政府認為自己的錢「花在刀口上」,達到了她既定的排斥「兩國方案」這個目標。成效如何,恐怕要等30 - 50年才有定論。

以色列雖然不聽美國老大哥下的指導棋,但出了事以後,美國還是不得不替她擦屁股。此之謂「奇貨可居」;可知中東地區政治的複雜詭譎。也可看出:國際政治上,扯後腿或捅一刀的人往往是自己的「親密戰友」。台灣這些小孩玩大車的幼稚園級政客們,可不慎乎!

2. 
為什麼「以、巴問題 10年內無解」

我一向認為:99%的情況下,「政治是爭奪資源分配權的活動」是牢不可破的硬道理。我也深信:「資源分配」是一個沒有「皆大歡喜」解決方案的難局。兩者是我討論政治議題的出發點。

我對「中東議題」信興趣不大,自然也就沒有什麼研究。根據以上的認知談談「兩國方案」。

第二次世界大戰後,歐洲勢力不得不退出中東地區。其「核心利益」在維護(當時)「能源」的穩定供應,以色列建國是美、歐「大戰略」中所布置的後手、樁腳、或暗樁。如果中東地區有動亂,以色列立刻變身成為美、歐軍事部署的基地,軍事行動的跳板。但在第一次波灣戰爭後,此功能的重要性大幅降低。這是西方集團過去十多年來熱衷於「兩國方案」的背景。

但對在地的兩大勢力來說:泛阿拉伯世界(自認為)沒有妥協的必要,其「核心利益」是把所有的猶太人趕下海(見本欄《以巴問題 10年內無解》第1-2)小節);而以色列的「核心利益」則是開疆闢土,讓人民有更大的繁殖和生存空間。它也是歷來該國二流政治領袖鞏固基本盤的手法。

以上補充我《以巴問題 10年內無解》的「論述」

3. 
結論

在上述三方「爭奪資源」活動中,各國領導人挖空了心思來爭取對自己有利的態勢。從而,大多數老百姓也就不得不繼續生活在苦難和殺戮中。此之謂「政治領袖不仁,以百姓為芻狗」。

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以色列與哈瑪斯的崛起 ------ BRAHMA CHELLANEY
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Israel's historical role in the rise of Hamas

The Jewish state's future will be shaped by the war against a monster it allegedly help spawn

BRAHMA CHELLANEY, 11/21/23

Israel, which withdrew from Gaza in 2005, has come full circle with its invasion of that territory in response to the atrocities perpetrated by the Hamas militants.

But, just as the United States invaded Afghanistan in 2001 to oust from power a terrorist militia whose rise it had facilitated via its Pakistani intelligence connections for Afghanistan's stability sake, Israel is tasting the bitter fruits of a divide-and-rule policy that helped midwife the birth of the Hamas "Frankenstein monster" that it is now seeking to subdue.

Treating the Hamas slaughter of innocent civilians as a kind of Pearl Harbor moment, Israel has vowed to “wipe out” the Gaza-based militia group through a military offensive that is one of the most intense of the 21st century, according to the New York Times. The terrorism-glorifying ideology of Hamas, however, cannot be crushed by military means alone, raising the question whether Israeli forces could get bogged down in Gaza the way America’s Afghanistan invasion turned into a costly quagmire.

The international focus on the war in Gaza has helped obscure the fact that Israel in the 1980s aided the rise of the Islamist Hamas as a rival to the secular Palestinian Liberation Organization and its dominant faction, Yasser Arafat’s Fatah. Israel’s policy was clearly influenced by the U.S. training and arming of mujahideen (or Islamic holy warriors) in Pakistan from multiple countries to wage jihad against Soviet forces in Afghanistan.

The multibillion-dollar American program from 1980 to create anti-Soviet jihadis represented what still remains the largest covert operation in the Central Intelligence Agency’s history. In 1985, at a White House ceremony attended by several mujahideen, then-U.S. President Ronald Reagan gestured toward his guests and declared, “These gentlemen are the moral equivalent of America’s Founding Fathers.”

Out of the mujahideen evolved the Taliban and al-Qaida. As then-U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton openly admitted in 2010, “We trained them, we equipped them, we funded them, including somebody named Osama bin Laden ... And it didn’t work out so well for us.”

Hamas, for its part, is alleged to have emerged out of the Israeli-financed Islamist movement in Gaza, with Israel’s then-military governor in that territory, Brig. Gen. Yitzhak Segev, disclosing in 1981 that he had been given a budget for funding Palestinian Islamists to counter the rising power of Palestinian secularists. Hamas, a spin-off of the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, was formally established with Israel’s support soon after the first Intifada flared in 1987 as an uprising against the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands.

Israel’s objective was twofold: to split the nationalist Palestinian movement led by Arafat and, more fundamentally, to thwart the implementation of the two-state solution for resolving the protracted Israeli-Palestinian conflict. By aiding the rise of an Islamist group whose charter rejected recognizing the Israeli state, Israel sought to undermine the idea of a two-state solution, including curbing Western support for an independent Palestinian homeland.

Israel’s spy agency Mossad played a role in this divide-and-rule game in the occupied territories. In a 1994 book, “The Other Side of Deception,” Mossad whistleblower Victor Ostrovsky contended that aiding Hamas meshed with “Mossad’s general plan” for an Arab world “run by fundamentalists” that would reject “any negotiations with the West,” thereby leaving Israel as “the only democratic, rational country in the region.” Avner Cohen, a former Israeli religious affairs official involved in Gaza for over two decades, told a newspaper interviewer in 2009 that, “Hamas, to my great regret, is Israel’s creation.”

To be sure, some others, including the U.S. intelligence establishment, have not endorsed the Israeli connection to the rise of Hamas, portraying it simply as an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood.

About seven years before U.S. special forces killed bin Laden in a helicopter assault on his hideout near Pakistan’s capital, an Israeli missile strike in 2004 assassinated Hamas founder Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, a quadriplegic and partially blind cleric. By drawing specious distinctions between “good” and “bad” terrorists, Israel and the U.S., however, continued to maintain ties with jihadis.

While Barack Obama was in the White House, the U.S. and its allies toppled Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, creating a still-lawless jihadi citadel at Europe’s southern doorstep. They then moved to overthrow another secular dictator, Syria’s Bashar Assad, fueling a civil war that helped enabled the rise of the Islamic State, a brutal and medieval militia, some of whose foot soldiers were CIA-trained. And apparently shocked by the brutality of some of those U.S.-backed militants, and amid questions over the effectiveness of the policy, then-American President Donald Trump in 2017 is reported to have decided to shut down the covert Syrian regime-change program.

Israel, by contrast, persisted with its covert nexus with Hamas. With the consent of Israel, Qatar, a longtime sponsor of jihadi groups, funneled $1.8 billion to Hamas just between 2012 and 2021, according to the Haaretz newspaper.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has been in power for much of the past decade and a half, told a meeting of his Likud Party’s Knesset members in 2019 that, “Anyone who wants to thwart the establishment of a Palestinian state has to support bolstering Hamas and transferring money to Hamas,” adding, “This is part of our strategy — to isolate the Palestinians in Gaza from the Palestinians in the West Bank.”

Israel, like the U.S., may have been guided by the proverb, “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.” But, as history attests, “the enemy of my enemy,” far from being a friend, has often openly turned into a foe.

America’s longest war ended with the Taliban’s return to power. The reconstitution of a medieval, ultraconservative, jihad-extolling emirate in Afghanistan has no direct bearing on a distant America. But Israel’s war against the monster it helped spawn will greatly shape Israeli security.

Brahma Chellaney is a geostrategist and the author of nine books, including “Water: Asia’s New Battleground.”


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再論「以巴衝突」:敬覆張智北教授
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0.  前言

我把拙作以巴問題 10年內無解》的簡略版發表在另一論壇。承智北兄賜教(本欄《我看以巴衝突》;這個標題是我加的)謝謝他的指正。以下進一步申論見。

1. 
共同觀點

我同意張智北教授以下的觀點:

1)  巴勒斯坦問題帶給阿拉伯各國領袖許多困擾;
2) 
阿拉伯各國人民支持巴勒斯坦人民;
3) 
哈馬斯10/07的攻擊目的在破壞「和談」,尤其是以、沙烏地和談。

但我不了解:

4) 
以色列扶植哈馬斯這個判斷。

看起來這是個近於「陰謀論者」的說法

2. 
阿無法共存的原因

但是以上四點和我認為「以阿無法共存」的判斷並不衝突。

1)  「政治是爭奪資源分配權的活動」;在中東地區,石油之外,我所謂「資源」指的是土地和水源。隨著人口增加,土地和水源的爭奪勢必加劇。我對當地「族群結構」沒有研究,但是僅僅「宗教信仰」的歧異,就足以使得以阿雙方的「爭奪」是典型的「你死我才能活」模式
1)- 1 如果以上分析成立,則我對阿衝突長期結果的預測應該成立
1)- 2 目前的「和談」與「承認」只不過是阿拉伯國家「以文書換取時間」的拖延策略。套用美國人一句俗話:所有「和議」「協議」與「協定」的價值,都沒有登錄它們的那幾張紙值錢

2) 
阿無法共存的第二個原因是有人發「衝突財」「難民財」「戰爭財」;或借這個「衝突」擁兵自重,當寨主或軍閥來幹收買路錢這類勾當(如黎巴嫩)。此所以一旦和平有望,就有暗殺(如薩達特、拉賓),以及武裝衝突(10/07事件)

3. 
阿拉伯各國」不團結的原因

1) 
深度分析

我們討論政治議題時,要盡量避免使用「全稱名詞」「全稱概念」

阿拉伯世界」是個「全稱名詞」;但在這個「全稱概念」之下,它並非鐵板一塊。除了我們熟知的回教什葉派-遜尼派之爭外,就我上面提到的「族群結構」而言阿拉伯世界」有五花八門的部落和族群。相對於以色列,她/他們是「一個」族群;彼此之間,她/他們爭奪資源敵對行為的慘烈,不遜於和以色列的生死鬥爭。如過去的兩伊戰爭,巴勒斯坦的內鬥,現在進行式的葉門內戰等等

除此之外,統治者和被統治者之間也有嚴重的內部矛盾。如阿拉伯之春」,伊朗不時發生的抗議示威,埃及軍政府、沙烏地王室等和穆斯林兄弟會」的鬥爭等等。宮廷陰謀就不在話下了。

推而廣之任何社會、國家、或族群的內部都有同樣「爭奪資源分配權」的活動。我們討論政治必須確認和分別這些衝突和矛盾。否則,如黑格爾所說「晚上一眼望去,所有的牛都是黑的」(精神現象學79頁;我的翻譯)

2) 
巴勒斯坦建國

阿拉伯現有的政府並不願意巴勒斯坦建國成功。原因很簡單多一個正式政府就多一個分大餅和分一杯羹的勢力。反之,有了巴勒斯坦議題」就多一個和美、歐政府討價還價的籌碼還附帶一個號召國民向心,接受壓榨的正當性

4. 
結論

1) 
要解決以巴衝突或任何「戰爭問題」,只有兩個方法

a.  建立一個大多數人可以接受的,公平公正的「分配資源」機制。
b. 
老百姓從政客手中拿回決定是否開戰的權力。

不幸的是:這兩個方法在現階段都是鏡花水月,說了等於沒說。

2) 
國際社會仍然是一個適用「弱肉強食」規則的場域。如我以前說過:「權利」(包括「生存權」)不是「天賦」的是爭來的,搶來的,拼命拚出來的巴勒斯坦人民能否建國,不是根據道德公平正義這類概念來決定。

事實上,巴勒斯坦菁英遍佈全球。可惜的是:絕大多數的這些菁英們都以做個「自了漢」或「嬌嬌女」為己任。巴勒斯坦建國與否,要看她巴勒斯坦人民自己能不能像當年猶太人一樣,團結一致和建立實力。

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我想你的第二點不存在(編者以巴問題 10年內無解文)。美國幾十年來的外交攻勢已經破解了阿拉伯國家要繼續支持巴勒斯坦的意願。除了埃及和一些阿拉伯國家紛紛已經承認以色列,基本上爲了自身利益放棄替巴勒斯坦人奮鬥之外,沙地阿拉伯也接近用承認以色列換取美國的安全保證。這些阿拉伯國家都已經膩了為巴勒斯坦老百姓花錢和出來各種頭痛,只是在大群人民的壓力之下不敢公開說而已。

埃及的情報系統就一直和以色列合作提供加薩走廊和哈馬斯的情報,它和約旦都拒絕讓巴勒斯坦的難民進入,因爲會帶來沉重的負擔和各種麻煩。約旦就好幾次很生氣巴勒斯坦難免鬧事想逼迫約旦出兵。這次就是哈馬斯認爲巴勒斯坦人已經要被完全放棄,在以色列逐步清除驅趕下永遠翻身無望,才做出的絕筆。

將來他們就只剩下伊朗的支持,前途一片黑暗,説不定就會像美國的印第安人逐漸消聲,或世界很多族群慢慢流失。這正是反對兩國方案的以色列右派所希望的。這個希望也正是以色列爲什麽扶植哈馬斯的原因。我的視頻裏有這些分析。

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以巴問題 10年內無解
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0.  前言

在另一個論壇上,張智北教授談到以巴問題的「兩國方案」何以前途艱難?我一時手癢,略抒淺見如下。它們只是我的感覺,說不上分析或具有任何理論基礎。我在2009以巴衝突時,發表過兩篇討論和該議題相關的文章,請參考。

1. 
以巴問題何以無解

我可以想到的原因有以下三個  

1)  雙方軍力懸殊

此處的「雙方」不是指以色列和巴勒斯坦,我指的是:以、美、歐聯盟對上伊朗與泛阿拉伯軸心。由於軍力懸殊,所以交戰雙方不會有「和平協議」;只可能達成「停火協議」 。目前先各自找個理由下台;生死鬥留到下個回合,下個引爆點。

2)  長遠的看阿拉伯方只會贏不會輸

因為阿拉伯各國國佔了主場優勢,能夠細水長流。以色列雖然一時佔了上風,但如老子所說:「飄風不終朝驟雨不終日」,她的優勢終將有時而盡。我沒有時間去查當下雙方人口比例,但阿拉伯各國總有一天在人口上能取得50:1 甚至100:1的優勢。或者如俗話所說:一人吐一口水也能淹死你。

這是整體而言,阿拉伯人從來不接受「任何」解決以巴問題方案的第一個根本原因。

3)  朱門酒肉臭,路有戰死骨

任何一場戰爭中,絕大多數死的都是老百姓或原本是老百姓的士兵。那些決定打不打仗的人,都在大後方吃香喝辣搞床戲,或欣賞高爾夫球賽。對她/他們來說,死幾個或幾千人算個屁;如中華民國某國防部長的名言:那裏不死人嘛?(我希望這個豬頭三記得孔夫子這句話:「始作俑者,其無後乎!」)

這是阿拉伯政府領袖們從來不接受「任何」解決以巴問題方案的第二個根本原因。

2. 
結論

1)  政治是爭奪資源分配權的活動;而戰爭是玩政治的另一個方法。因此,兩個能有效解決戰爭問題的方法是:

a.  建立一個大多數人可以接受的,公平公正的「分配資源」機制。
b. 
從政客手中拿回決定是否開戰的權力

2) 
不幸的是:這兩個方法在現階段都是鏡花水月,說了等於沒說。

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