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McDonald’s McCafe an Election Indicator

30 Sep

McDonald restaurants from coast to coast are introducing a McCafe line of espressos, cappuccinos, and lattes.  The McCafes are already active in 2500 McDonald’s, with over 14,000 units expected to serve them by the middle of 2009.  McDonald’s main purpose here is to add to their bottom line, but the willingness to expand into this market segment reveals a significant perceived shift in American society.  McDonald’s knows Red State America like no one else, making this move a key indicator in the 2008 Presidential Election. 

Twenty-five years ago the only people in the US drinking cappuccinos, espressos, and lattes lived in Seattle, Los Angeles, and the Northeast Corridor.  They were poets, gays, displaced Europeans, Ivy League elites, and girls whose Dads had sent them to Nice for the summer.  Things changed when Starbucks burst onto the national scene in the 1990’s, becoming the purveyor of foamy coffee, Italian slang, and alternative, non-threatening music.   Whether due to marketing, good coffee, or stratospheric sugar content, many Americans started drinking Starbucks-type concoctions.  In the third quarter of 2008, Starbucks sold over 2.0 billion dollars worth of coffee in the United States.  Those sales can’t have come in Blue States alone.

Naturally, McDonald’s wants a piece of the action.  It’s clear that the 29 billion-in-annual-US-sales behemouth has determined that the citizens of Wichita, Missoula, Gary, Little Rock, Davenport, and Cheyenne are ready to abandon their Chock Full o’Nuts tin cans for a McCafe Hazlenut Iced Latte.  If the mindset that governs our heartland’s most important drink of the day can be altered, then the thought process with which Americans choose their President can also evolve.

This mid-American transformation will extend right into the 2008 election.  McDonald’s is certain that their customer base (not exactly your Northeastern Liberal Elite Obama-types) will drink these foofy mega-coffees.  The Hangover is equally sure that this means the Red Staters are ready to expand their range of political thought.  Typical Republican scare tactics will fall short and “change” will rule.  Obama will carry some traditional Republican states and win.  McDonald’s tell us so.

The World of Commander McCain

27 Sep

In September 26th’s Presidential Debate, Republican hopeful John McCain often touted his vast experience in both domestic and foreign affairs.  McCain entered politics in 1981, when he retired from the Navy.  According to his talking points, the Senator was heavily involved in many of the most critical American political actions of the past 25-plus years.  And if that’s the case (who would doubt this man of honor?), why haven’t things turned out better for the United States?

Early on in the debate, McCain stated, ” We Republicans came to power to change government, and government changed us.”  He later added, It (meaning the money laden system of politics in Washington) corrupts people.”   This is one arena where McCain knows of which he speaks.  He was one of the infamous Keating Five:  A group of Senators found wielding influence for Charles Keating, director of the corrupt Lincoln Savings and Loan (There’s that deregulation, greed, and collapse formula again).  After receiving more than $100, 000 of Keating’s ill-earned dollars in campaign funds, as well as stays at Keating’s Bahamian vacation home, McCain attended hearings with federal regulators on behalf of Keating.  In the words of the Seattle Times, this placed McCain (and the entire group) “under an ethical cloud for years.”  It also led to McCain being found guilty by the Senate Ethics Committee of “using poor judgement” in acting on Keating’s behalf.  The incident does prove that McCain can work across the aisle–the other four members of the Keating Five were Democrats.  The Hangover is puzzled as to why that wasn’t featured in McCain’s considerable self portrait last night.

McCain did manage to mention that he’s been to Iraq, Afghanistan, Vietnam, Pakistan, Georgia (the country) and New Hampshire (the state).  He also boasted of meeting with Henry Kissinger, George Shultz, Misha Saakashvili, and General Patraeus.  He looked into the eyes of Vladimir Putin and saw “a K, a G and a B”  Perhaps McCain was drunk at the time.  Just about the only thing McCain hasn’t done is kept track of how many houses he owns.

Through connections in Washington DC, The Hangover has gained access to a video of McCain actually taking on terrorists in New York City.  Only great modesty must have prevented McCain from sharing these exploits with the American People:

Bitter, Yes. And Why Not?

17 Apr

There’s no doubt that last night’s Democratic debate left small town, suburban, and even city-dwelling Americans bitter. The Obama-Clinton entanglement was a “he said this, she said that–what does it all mean” painfest.   Watching candidates backpedal and rationalize only served to neglect the real issues facing the country.  Most of this nonsense stemmed from Obama’s comments made at a fundraiser last week in which he stated:

“You go into some of these small towns in Pennsylvania, and like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not. And it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”

The real problem here is that Obama is absolutely correct.  Middle class and working people are bitter and they have plenty of reasons to be: NAFTA, Iraq (including the WMD bullshit that hoodwinked us into going there), Enron, gas prices, record oil company profits, the mortgage and financial crises, federal response to Katrina, rising college costs, stagnant incomes, the shift from a manufacturing to service economy, the response to 9/11–meaning a free Osama Bin Laden, etc…   While one can blame George W. for a host of these issues, a Democratic congress resulting from the 2006 midterms did nothing to slow down the war.  In fact, the President was able to launch a “surge” and increase American presence.  

There isn’t a gun in Hangover headquarters, coincidentally located in small town America.  The Hangover doesn’t take “the opiate of the masses.”  We don’t have anything against immigrants (our grandparents being “off the boat” themselves).  However, free trade has scuttled the American manufacturing economy as Ross Perot predicted.  That is frustrating.  If you can’t tell, the Hangover is also fairly cynical, if not disgusted.  But as explained above, we have our reasons.

However, the bitter and apathetic have no one to blame but themselves.  Hello, Ohio!  John Kerry lost the presidency in 2004 because the people of Ohio were more concerned with the prospect of having homosexuals get married than the economic conditions crippling their state.  The Hangover, being  one for common sense, would consider a good job more important than the possibility of gay neighbors “enjoying” marital bliss.  While married gay neighbors might invite you over for dinner every now and then, they won’t provide you with a weekly paycheck so that you can eat on those other nights and make payments on your Honda.

As a result of his remarks, the McCain and Clinton camps are now trying to attach the “elitist” label to Obama.  He should be grateful, whether it is true or not.  (This with the Clinton’s out-earning the Obama’s by 16 million dollars in 2007).  The tag marks Obama as a thinker and an intellectual.  It’s clear that America could use an infusion of brains at its highest level.  Our folksy, horse-riding, jean-wearing, down-to-earth President has been more terrifying than terrific.  At the least, the label distances Obama from Clinton (coat tail-riding policy wonk) and McCain (war-hawking maverick).   Obama speaks well and sometimes advances ideas beyond the standard political rhetoric.  When one candidate is making up stories of a commando entrance into Bosnia and the other is confusing Iraq and Iran, eloquence should be considered a positive.    

Perhaps it is time again for America to have an elitist President.  Our last, FDR, wasn’t so bad, was he?   All Obama has to do is convince America that education, intelligence, and thoughtfulness are actually good qualities.  Even the guy who mows your lawn, pours your drink, or defends your tax fraud case should be able to see that. 

No Draft, No Vietnam, No Outrage: Iraq War 2008

11 Apr

66% of Americans currently oppose the war in Iraq, yet there is little of the public outrage that spilled into the streets during the Vietnam era.  As discussed in a previous post, one explanation lies in questionable media coverage of the conflict.  Another factor is the lack of a Selective Service draft.  The draft was activated for the Vietnam conflict in December of 1969 with a birth-date lottery for men 19-25 years of age.  A protest movement that had been forceful and wide-ranging grew even more powerful as anti-draft demonstrations began in 1967. 

Today’s American Military is an all volunteer force.  Soldiers, sailors, and marines come from all areas of the country and, for the most part, all strata of society (although the very rich and very poor are under-represented).  Most Americans know someone who has served in the conflict.   However, a draft increases the scope of war beyond that of volunteers to the families of all American men between the ages of 18 and 25.   

If one is eligible for conscription or has a son, nephew, or cousin who is draft-able, perceptions of and responses to war are likely to change.  The conflict then becomes an active, harsh reality.  The engagement is suddenly tactile and palpable.  Simply, a draft brings the war into more American households.  At that point, “Whatever”  or “That’s a shame” can easily turn into, “Hell, no.”  Self interest is a powerful motivator.

In Farenheit 9/11, Michael Moore questioned members of the 2003 Congress and found:  “Out of the 535 members of Congress, only one had an enlisted son in Iraq.”   (Give Democrat Sen. Tim Johnson and his son credit here, as well as John McCain, whose son is also serving in Iraq.  At least he practices what he preaches.)  Common sense suggests “leaders” would be more wary of commiting troops if their sons and daughters were eligible to face fire.  Average citizens who oppose the war might be more inclined to take to the streets in protest if someone in their family was ticketed for Iraq via a draft.   And one can question if those in favor of the war would continue to be so if their children might be sent to fight.  The all-volunteer force allows a luxury of distance for those those not directly connected to a volunteer serviceman or servicewoman.   

That distance did not exist in the Vietnam era.  One-third of those serving there were drafted.  But another important consideration is the size and nature of the respective conflicts.  Vietnam’s reverberations through American society were much greater than we are experiencing with the Iraq war.  In 1969, troop levels In Vietnam peaked at 543, 000, over three times the highest levels in Iraq (170,000).   Over 50, 000 Americans were killed in Vietnam, with over 300, 000 were wounded.  In Iraq, the numbers are considerably less, with just over 4000 dead and 29, 000 wounded to date.  The war in Vietnam touched more American families in negative ways.  Publicly displayed opposition to that conflict corresponds proportionately in size and scope to that of Iraq.

Protests against Vietnam were widespread and often large.  April 15, 1967, 500,00 gathered in New York’s Central Park and marched to the UN to rail against Vietnam.   In April of 1969, 250, 000 marched to protest the Vietnam war in New York.   In November of 1969, 250, 000 demonstrators gathered in Washington, DC.  An April 24, 1970, another 200,000 protested in Washington, while 156, 000 marched in San Francisco.   2005 and 2007 protests against Iraq drew more than 150, 000 in Washington.  But the ferocity, volume, and effectiveness of protest in the Vietanm era was much greater than found today.  Just a glance at the archive of the UCal Berkely Libraary Media Resource Center  (the source of the above statistics) will confirm that.   

One fact remains clear:  The impact of the war in Iraq on the home front today is considerably less than Vietnam’s was in the ’60’s and early ’70’s.  This is reflected by a lack of publicly expressed outrage and civil disobedience.  Troop levels, the number of killed and wounded, the Selective Service draft, and media coverage all contribute to the difference.  There is less protest today, and the protest which has occurred has been ineffective.  The 2006 midterm elections, which were considered a referendum on the war and resulted in a stronger Deomcratic voice in Congress (gaining six senate and 29 house seats), has done nothing to slow down American involvement in Iraq.  In fact, the current “surge” strategy escalated our presence there.  

The American people have a voice.   But Iraq protests and demonstrations have been few and ineffective.  The citizenry spoke in the 2006 midterms and it proved to be a whisper.  The upcoming Presidential election will give Americans another chance to express their opposition through action, with clear choices cut along Democratic and Republican lines.  It may be the public’s last chance to effect Iraq war policy.   At the conflict’s current level with an all volunteer force, the Iraq war just does not generate the amount of outrage needed to fuel political change. 

Where’s the Outrage? Iraq and Public Opinion 2008

3 Apr

American public opinion of the wars in Viet Nam and Iraq have shown similar trends according to various Gallup polls, with American dissatisfaction growing as the wars progressed.    Of those thinking it was a mistake to send troops to the respective countries at quarterly intervals during the wars, Americans today are more likely to claim the action a mistake when compared to the same calender points of conflict during Viet Nam.  In fact, 66% of those polled this month by CNN/Opinion Research Corporation state that they are against the war in Iraq.  But while the citizenry is even more opposed to the Iraq war than at the same point relative to Viet Nam, there is little of the public outrage that marked the earlier conflict.  One rarely hears of demonstrations, protest marches, and college campuses in anarchy.  The Hangover asks why.   

While there are many similarities between US actions in Viet Nam and Iraq, the difference in publicly displayed opposition to the wars is clear.  The lack of protest spilling into the streets can be explained several factors, the foremost being a significant difference in media coverage.  (The importance of the lack of a selective service draft will be discussed in a subsequent post.)  

The Hangover grew up in the ’60’s and ’70’s.  The nightly news often consisted of photos and film of American soldiers, something that we do see today.  However, during the Viet Nam conflict, shots of struggling, wounded, and dead Americans were not uncommon.  They became a standard aspect of television and print news reports, as did pictures of flag-covered coffins returning to the country.  These images provoked a visceral reaction with the public.  Vice President Hubert Humphrey noted:  

“… This is the first war in this
nation’s history that has been fought
on television were the actors are real.
Where, in the quiet of your living room
of your home, or your dormitory, or
wherever you may be, these cruel, ugly
dirty facts of life and death in war
and pain and suffering come right to you;
and it isn’t Hollywood acting.  I’ve had
letters from mothers that have seen their
boys shotdown in battle …”

It’s one thing to read of soldiers killed by a roadside bomb.  It’s quite another to actually see the results in color on your 50-inch high definition Sony.  But that’s not happening.  Despite the instantaneous capabilities of current media technologies, the grisly, all-too-real aspects of the war in Iraq are not being presented to the American public.  The images of battle we were given in the ’60’s and ’70’s were less sanitized, more graphic, and as a result, more disturbing.   It is clear that they spawned action.  The Viet Nam war was something tangible and awful, seen on a daily basis.  Current reporting often makes Iraq seem like a far-away concept or a policy for debate.  That allows the conflict to continue.

It is interesting to note that the source of the Humphrey quote is a 1984 paper presented by Marine Major Cass D. Howell titled, “Television Coverage of the Viet Nam War and it’s Implications for Future Conflicts.”   Howell contends that television coverage inhibited the military’s operational effectiveness in Viet Nam by stirring public opinion against the war.   Although Howell’s main concerns point to a liberal media bias, he does recognize the importance of the content of shown footage:

“Not only is the amount of coverage selected for
broadcast a critical factor in molding the news, but the
type of news selected is of equal importance.  Television is
essentially an action medium and strongly favors combat
scenes over a dry recitation of facts and figures.  In
Vietnam this came to be called “shooting bloody,” a
preference for footage of dramatic engagements, even though
they were often irrelevent or uncharacteristic of the total

At the beginning of the Iraq conflict, we were shown “shock and awe” tapes of missiles and fighters lighting up the skies over Baghdad.  In film terms, those were “long” shots; they did not reveal human damage–more Space Invaders than the Normandy of “Saving Private Ryan.”  There is a twisted framework involved when violent, gore-filled war footage can win an Academy Award, but is deemed unfit for our television, print, or even Internet news.  It causes The Hangover to question just how free our free press is.

Major Howell concludes his report by advocating that post-Viet Nam wars need “Freedom from the Press.”  The television camera is a deterrent to victory and that unlimited media (television) access will cause America to “suffer.”  While The Hangover doesn’t necessarily agree with the restrictions Howell would place on reporting, he does make a thoughtful, valid argument.  Using the coverage of Iraq as evidence (certainly more facts and figures than anything else), it is not just lonesome bloggers who have read his work.  Those in power have heeded the Major’s analysis. 

Although reporters are now embedded with troops in Iraq, less hard news results.   War correspondents have complained of restricted access, lack of individual mobility, and an empathy and connection with their troops, which George Wilson of the National Journal said made him feel like “a willing propagandist.” Although a few firefights have made it onto American television, the overall coverage is nothing like what was produced in Viet Nam.  And that is the main reason our soldiers are still facing fire in a desert country in the midst of a civil war.

Physical civil unrest in opposition to the Viet Nam war became a part of everyday life in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s.  It was what brought our presence there to an end.  President Richard Nixon stated:

 “The War in Vietnam was not lost on the
 battlefields of Vietnam.  It was lost
 in the halls of Congress … in the
 editorial rooms of great newspapers …
 and in the classrooms of great

The will to fight the war in Viet Nam was eroded by public opinion that had turned into collective action.  Resistance was more than a letter to the editor, a post on a blog, or a sigh when reading the morning paper.  It was a hands-on, in-the-street I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!  Human nature might just dictate that Americans need to see twisted bodies, bleeding soldiers, and spilled guts before opposition to Iraq evolves into something that can affect policy.  It’s unforunate that our news media won’t provide those images for us–whether allowed to or not. 

Dick Cheney: Public Servant Translated

20 Mar

Vice President Dick Cheney has some strong beliefs and he tends to communicate them clearly.  In recent interviews, however, Cheney has made some comments that the average American might find confusing.  In the Hangover’s never-ending commitment to public service, we have translated them below:

From an interview with ABC White House correspondent Martha Raddatz:

Raddatz:  “Two-third of Americans say it’s (the war in Iraq) not worth fighting.”

Cheney:  “So?”

Translation:  “Fuck you, citizens.  You’re the ones who voted us in.  Live with it or move to Canada, (as if any of you morons could even find Canada).” 

Cheney:  “I think you cannot be blown off course by the fluctuations in the public opinion polls.  There has in fact been fundamental change and transformation and improvement for the better.”

Translation:  “There has been great change.  My friends at the oil companies are enjoying record profits.  So are my pals at Halliburton and their subsidiaries.  My portfolio has never looked better.  That’s the kind of change we can be proud of.”

And from his speech to American troops in Iraq:

Cheney:  (Following 9/11) “So the United States made a decision: To hunt down the evil of terrorism and kill it where it grows, to hold the supporters of terror to account, and to confront regimes that harbor terrorists and threaten the peace.”

Translation:  “It (9/11) was a good excuse to go into Iraq and grab their oil.  Who cares if Osama Bin Laden is still running around free while hooked up to his dialysis machine?  We’ve got Iraq’s oil.  Yipppeeee!”

Cheney:  “They (the Iraqis) know, above all, that America can be trusted.”

Translation:  “The Iraqis know that America can be trusted–to take their oil, to sell them Coke and Pepsi, to bring MTV to the region, and, hell, if we can get those women out of their burqas, you can bet your ass we’ll put up a few Victoria’s Secrets, too.” 

Cheney:  (To the Troops:) “I appreciate your attention this morning — it’s been my privilege to be with all of you. Keep up the great work. And thank you for what you do for all of us. “

Translation:  “It’s a privilege to be here with you troops, who are actually serving your country out of a sense of duty.  And thank you for what you do for me personally–making it possible for my buddies and me to make off with piles and piles of loot.”

Israel-Palestine Conflict Deconstructed and Defused (in 1500 words or less)

17 Mar

One doesn’t need to be a graduate of the Fletcher School of International Affairs to know that relations between Israel and the Palestinians are screwed.  While American attention is now focused mainly on Iraq, Iran, and Afghanistan, a series of articles in this past weeks’ Boston Globe caught The Hangover’s ire.  Israel and the Palestinians are at it again.  Of course, that line could have been written just about every day since 1947.

The Headlines:

Monday, March 10:  “Shooting Leaves Holy City On Edge” (Matti Friedman, AP)

A Palestinian gunman shot and killed eight Jews in a Seminary library.  Jerusalem Palestinians and Jews were set “on edge” as further violence and a tennis match of reprisals seemed possible.

Monday, March 10:  “Israel to Allow Contractors to Build in Disputed Areas” (Mark Lavie, AP)

Israel gave the go-ahead for 1000 homes and apartments to be built in disputed areas of East Jerusalem and the West Bank.  Considering the tenuous (absent?) nature of peace in the region, one wonders if Donald Rumsfeld hasn’t found work consulting for the Israeli government. 

Tuesday, March 11: “Israel Orders Military To Reduce Operations In Gaza” (Aron Heller, AP)

This would seem to be a wise, logical decision, as quelling the violence that has surfaced over the last few weeks would be a relief to those who actually live there.  But then Heller states:

“Hamas said it was encouraged by the relative lull, citing it as evidence that attacks on Israel were paying off.”

“Israel, concerned that calm could enable the militants to claim victory and rearm, said it reserves the right to strike at will.”

Oh yeah, that sounds like a solid foundation for peace talks. Both sides are more concerned with the perceptions of their opponents than with the actual results–fewer of their people getting killed.

Wednesday, March 12:  “Rocket Attack Breaks Lull in Palesinian-Israeli Conflict”(Isabel Kershner and Taghreed El-Khodary, New York Times News Service)

Palestinian rebels fired a rocket into the city of Ashkelon.  A militant group, Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine claimed responsibility for the attac.  Israel blamed Hamas.

Thursday, March 13: “Hamas seeks period of ‘calm'”(Ibrahim Barzak, AP), “Israeli Forces kill 4 millitants” (Isabel Kershner and Taghreed El-Khodary, NYTNS)

Hamas PM Ismail Haniyeh appealed for a period of mutual calm, urging Israel to halt military operations on the West Bank.  Shortly thereafter, Israeli soldiers killed four Palestiniam militants in Bethlehem.  So much for that cease-fire.

Friday, March 14:  “Gaza rockets barrage Israel after deaths:  Attacks follow W. Bank raid by Israeli forces.” (Amy Teibel, AP)

No explanation needed.

Here they go again.  Despite a small period of relative calm between Israel, Jordan, Syria, and Palestinians both inside and outside of Israel’s borders, hostilities have resumed.  This should surprise no one, simply because the conditions that give rise to the violence remain unchanged.

Some key factors that lead to conflict:

  • Israel now occupies land on the West Bank of the Gaza strip and in East Jerusalem.  These lands were acquired by Israel in the Six Day 1967 War with Jordan and Egypt.  Palestinians everywhere view the lands as being Palestinian.  Israel views them as the spoils of war–Israeli land. 
  • There are eons of hatred between the groups based on religion and disputed ownership of land.
  •  Palestinians living in Israeli-occupied land are not considered Israeli citizens.
  • Both sides consider the other to be terrorists.
  • The Palestinian state that was mandated in the 1947 Partition Plan has yet to exist.  Note that neither Palestinian or Israeli factions were pleased with the 1947 agreement.

Although it is not our usual style, The Hangover is going to go academic here.  There are both historical and sociological  perspectives that indicate violent conflict will continue until Israel changes its regional philosophy and adjusts current policy.

The Sociological Perspective:

Relative Deprivation can be used to explain the existence of conditions that can lead to social conflict.  Sociologist Jock Young concisely explains :

“Relative Deprivation occurs where individuals or groups subjectively perceive themselves as unfairly disadvantaged over others perceived as having similar attributes and deserving similar rewards (their reference groups).” 

The feelings of deprivation can be economically, socially, or politically based.  When the deprivation reaches a certain level, frustration results, which in turn, if the conditions are strong enough, can result in aggression.   This Deprivation-Frustration-Aggression model can be applied in an obvious “paint-by-numbers” approach to Israeli-Palestinian relations.

Palestinians view Israelis as their reference group.  Comparisons with their Israeli peers reveal the following points of deprivation.

  • The Palestinians feel they rightfully own lands now occupied by Israel.
  • Palestinians living in Israel do not share the same rights as Israeli citizens.
  • Israel exists, the Palestinian state does not. 

Frustration arises when the sense of deprivation is prolonged and heightened.

  • Sixty years and still no Palestinian homeland.
  • Palestinians denied access to former homelands and important religious sites.
  • Palestinians in Israel remain less-than-citizens and terror suspects.
  • Aggressive actions by Israel against Palestinian militant groups often injures Palestinian civilians.

  Aggression results in violent social conflict:

  • Palestinian militant organizations strike Israel using modern guerrilla tactics.  (Israeli response is also viewed as terrorism by Palestinians.)
  • The first “punch” was thrown so long ago, it doesn’t matter who struck first, only who struck last.
  • Militant group acts, Israel reacts. Or Israel acts, Militant group reacts.  Rinse, lather, repeat.  Rockets. Tanks. Ruination.

The Historical Perspective:

Occupied land never works.  Over time, the natural population will eventually contend for self-determination, equal rights, or access to the political process.  When those are continually denied, unrest follows.  That is, unless an “occupier” can decimate the native population (as the Europeans did in North America).  However, devastation of that level requires a technological advantage, as well as the will to accomplish it.

The cases showing failure of occupied land are many.  The first that comes to mind is Ireland.  After centuries of simmering and often violent conflict, the English relinquished the south of Ireland in 1922.  It is only recently that hostilities were quelled in the North by allowing Catholics access to the Protestant-English dominated political process.  Through those actions, the sense of Catholic deprivation (and frustration) that fueled the conflict was greatly minimized.

The age of empire is over for a reason:  An inability to govern occupied land.  India is no longer English.  The French long ago left Viet Nam.  South Africa is governed by native South Africans.   It doesn’t matter if the empire is halfway across the planet or across the street.  Unrest will follow. 

Israel and the Palestinians have shown they each have the will to persevere, but neither has the means to end the conflict.

The Solution:

Israel must eliminate the conditions triggering the collective deprivation-frustration-aggression construct that exists for Palestinians, which results in civilians of both sides being blown to bits on a regular basis.  If these conditions are not eradicated, violence will continue.  History in the Middle East (and everywhere else on the planet) proves that.

Israel should be a leading proponent for the formation of the mandated Palestinian state.  This would remove a major trigger of Palestinian deprivation-frustration.  It would also give the Israelis a focal point for communication and negotiation.  Instead of having to deal with a variety of militant organizations, Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon, Israel would have the opportunity to let Palestine be responsible for the actions of Palestinians.  Secondly, Israel should be prepared and willing to give back land they have occupied since 1967.  Mark Lavie of the AP indicates that there are “some Palestinians” who would consider swapping those settled and developed lands for other blocks of Israeli territory.  This seems specious, but at least a point for discussion.  It would be a break (if not a miracle) for everyone involved if logic and reason became operative aspects of the peace effort. 

A nation-state’s first concern should be the security of its people.  If Israel does not make concessions to eliminate the conditions fueling collective violence in the region, they can expect to continue their existence under siege.  That’s what history and social conflict theory make perfectly clear. 

Israel has the will to defend itself in perpetuity.  But why would they want to have to?  As the English relinquished Ireland, Israel should release disputed occupied land (or a negotiated equivalent) to a Palestinian state.  In what the Palestinians will claim as a victory, Israelis will reap tangible benefits.  They will have a chance for peace.  To forsake a significant change in their regional policy will doom Israelis to carry the threat of a ticking bomb in their collective consciousness, as well as in their communities.   There are better ways to live.