Stage One: Colonial Grievances and Peace

© 2020 Jim Spence - Stage one of the eight stages necessary to establish and maintain “peace” is the recognition by all parties that attempting to re-address colonial grievances is senseless and will be ultimately be fruitless. While many colonial era victims have grievances that are very legitimate, after several generations have come and gone, the essence of re-visiting colonial grievances becomes nothing more than a preference for endless feuding, skirmishing, and bloodshed.
There’s not much regarding colonialism and imperialism that hasn’t already been written. Colonialism can be defined as, “the policy or practice of acquiring full or partial political control over another country, occupying it with settlers, and exploiting it economically.”
Occasionally, the terms “colonialism” or “imperialism” are directed as an accusation against the United States. However, by and large all superpowers including the U.S. have eschewed the practice of colonialism and imperialism for many decades. The United States acquired no new territories after World War II when it could have done so with ease. Additional evidence of this reality is the fact that independence has been granted to many former European colonies. The examples are practically endless, especially with England, France, Spain, and the Netherlands.
Every situation involving past colonialism is unique. It would be impossible to establish rules to try to settle old colonial disputes. Spain forcefully colonized and pillaged what would eventually become Mexico. Before the Spaniards arrived in what is now Mexico, the Aztecs established themselves as the dominant force in territories that once belonged to other tribes and factions. The same is true of the Mayans and the Incas in Central and South America. Mexicans fought Spain and gained independence, as did countries in Central and South America. Mexico then made the policy mistake of allowing uncontrolled immigration into colonial Texas, mostly by poor Americans from the south. Eventually the colonists in Texas fought successfully to break away from Mexico. Later the Texans voted to join the United States, which had seized the American west from Mexico in the middle of the 19th century. This was the era when colonialism and imperialism were fashionable in the U.S.
The point here is a simple one. It is virtually impossible to identify all the damaged parties from the colonial/imperialism era, let alone sort out all the grievances. Perhaps some Americans do owe some Mexicans for colonialist/imperialist aggression. Who are these Americans? Do these Americans owe the ancestors of the Spaniards that took Mexico from the Aztecs? Or do these unidentifiable American descendants owe the ancestors of the Aztecs, since they are themselves the descendants of the victims of the Spanish imperialists? The fishing line is tangled. It is best to start over.
At some point for the sake of peace, old territorial grievances must be dropped if peace is preferred. Naturally, hitting the reset button won’t make inter-generational wrongs become right. However, neither do endless feuds and skirmishes. Peace must be deemed more palatable than endless fighting by ALL parties.
Observers can see how this dilemma has become seemingly permanent in the Middle East. There, territorial claims and counterclaims go back dozens and dozens of generations over thousands and thousands of years. In the end, when the living generations of both sides insist on refusing to recognize the rights of the other side to exist, it is impossible to even try to draw borders that will be respected, let alone establish embassies and diplomatic relations.
Again, the premise that the condition of war and strife is normal, and the condition of peace is elusive can be easily acknowledged, when considering the Middle East in general and Israel in particular. Middle East peace is an oxymoron simply because the region has never even made it past Stage Two of the eight stage sequence necessary for maintaining establishing and maintaining peace.
Israel is the superior military force in the region. It is nearly impossible to see this changing given their free market economic model. Diplomatic offers by Israel to return significant portions of land, as well as establishing mutually recognized and respected borders, are essentially stages three and four in the eight stages necessary for establishing and maintaining peace. Sadly, these offers have always been rejected in favor of a continuation of feuding and skirmishing. It is disturbing that there are radical Democratic Party members in the U.S. House of Representatives, who refuse to recognize this situation for what it is. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) are the kinds of people who make getting to Stage Three of the peace process seem like an impossibility. They seem content to blame the U.S. and Israel for thousands of years of war and strife. In doing so, they stonewall the impasse to peace, while fomenting perpetual feuding and skirmishing in the Middle East. The fundamental truths associated with the eight state sequence get torpedoed and the bloodshed continues. Omar and Tlaib are an embarrassment to all peace-seeking Americans.
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