On almost the exact one year anniversary of Obama personally bringing bin Laden to justice by gunning him down unarmed in his pajamas, State Department innovator/gadfly Alec Ross has resolved the other remaining issues in the Middle East, with his mighty Twitter.
Now one could speculate that Alec’s and Bibi’s intellectual appreciation for Atheian Democracy probably revolves around the image of 300 oily Spartans standing bravely against the bastard Iranians. After all, if 300 guys in codpieces could do it, why couldn’t an Israeli air strike be just as tidy a solution? Of course, the Spartans were actually defeated and killed, but we don’t need to overdo the analogy; we’ve only got 140 characters.
However, since we are talking Athenian Democracy, I’d suggest Alec free up a hand from social media self-stimulation and re-read his Thucydides on the plane ride home, particularly the Melian dialogue from the Greek’s History of the Peloponnesian War. That portion outlines the Greeks’ abandonment of morality (torture, secret prisons, pointless invasions, loss of rights, Guantanamo, the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must) in search of what they thought was an expeditious action in support of their war. It didn’t work out for the Greeks and as long as Alec is dialoging with Bibi on ancient history, it is not going to work out for the US and Israel either. Abandoning morality for expediency always fails in the long run.
Alec, and Obama, might also remember Pericles’ saying “Far from exercising a jealous surveillance over each other, we do not feel called upon to be angry with our neighbor for doing what he likes” as a basic tenet of democracy, equal justice and the right to pursuit of individual happiness. “Equal justice under law” is carved on the Supreme Court building in Washington, though largely now regarded as a kind of hipster humor.
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