History doesn’t apply to Mid East

Penticton resident responds to letter on Middle East situation

I note that Ernie Slump thinks that history can be applied to the Middle East situation. However, as philosopher Jose Ortega y Gasset pointed out years ago, history only helps if an exact identical set of facts and circumstances exist today that parallel a situation in the past. He also points out that this never happens as technology advances, weapons evolve, allies change, etc.

The good news is that as Gwynne Dyer, Robert Kaplan and others have pointed out, given the reality of today’s weapons, it is unlikely that another world-wide war is likely to erupt and wars will be localized as they have been since the Second World War. Not good news for the Middle East.

Besides, if one strips away the nationalities and religions involved, most wars since the Second World War have been fought over water and the land to use the water on to grow food. These days people do not usually resort to war if they have sufficient to eat.

Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on ones point of view, the United Nations has deteriorated to the point it is little more than a food distribution organization with effective UN diplomatic effort a thing of the past. I used to work out of the ILO in Geneva in the early 1960s and at lunch one day across the road at the UN building I heard a diplomat say, “At least as long as they are talking, they are not fighting,” and they have been talking for a long time now interspaced with a few localized wars.

I don’t think any of the parties involved really want a war involving nuclear weapons but clearly Israel has to make some concessions to resolve the current situation. What worries me is what happens when the oil revenues dry up when say hydrogen, the most abundant element on the planet, replaces oil and the Middle East countries no longer have the oil income to buy food and fill their populations stomachs.

As Bob Dylan said in one of his songs “When you’ve got nothing, you’ve got nothing to lose,” and that is what causes most wars.

Brian Sutch

Penticton