Monday, January 5, 2009

Being Zbigniew Brzezinski II

Last week Zbigniew Brzezinski, former National Security Adviser to President Jimmy Carter, made some very astute comments about the Israeli and Palestinian conflict on “Morning Joe.” Today, without the presence of Dr. Brzezinski, Joe Scarborough sought to elevate his position, after being skillfully shown the weakness of his argument last week, by citing a number of news sources and people for whom legacy and moving forward with the same agenda may mean more than just about anything.

Dr. Brzezinski called Scarborough "stunningly superficial" in the discussion. Youtube and bloggers latched on to this phrase. But in my first post here of Dr. Brzezinski's segment on “Morning Joe” I did not focus on Scarborough's words. In fact, I did not even repeat the "stunningly superficial" quote in the body of my post. It was simply insignificant as I listened to the reason, intelligence, and fairness of Dr. Brzezinski's words. I included the video here but did not highlight this little phrase that lit up the blogosphere. Scarborough was simply not the issue.

This morning Scarborough sought to do a bit of revisionist history of last week's show, by adding the voices of others with some skin in the game, be it legacy or some kind of liberal hawkishness, which is akin to conservative hawkishness—a hawk is a hawk, to perpetuate a certain agenda. Scarborough sought to use others to elevate himself and his position. But he did not rationally rebuff Dr. Brzezinski's argument; he mainly said these people agree with me so I must be right. This made me wonder about our inability to simply look at ourselves and say, "You know, I may be wrong. Let me look at this differently." Or, present a rational dissent. A flurry of others who agree with our point of view does not make a dissent rational.

Instead of coming back with Dr. Brzezinski around the table and presenting arguments that would bolster his position, Scarborough simply chose a litany of others with vested interest to justify his lack of knowledge. Dr. Brzezinski sent him to school. Scarborough said nothing different that would make Dr. Brzezinski’s words irrelevant or less than. He instead used his daughter, Mika, as a proxy to rectify his bruised ego and battered image. This is a good reason not bring the good Dr. back.

Scarborough’s litany of people and flurry of news sources to bolster his position may have taken stands that have indeed brought us to this moment. (And, quite frankly, to look back nostalgically what could have been or point forward with accusing fingers does little good anyway.) Whenever we are in search of others to bolster our position when there vested interest by others this can always be found. But it does not make our position best or fair and balanced.

Our not admitting to failed policy, hawkishness, and international strong arming, will have to be considered if we are to be true brokers of peace. Scarborough's reaction today seems all too familiar. My only hope is that we sincerely look anew at all issues involved in the Israeli and Palestinian conflict with fresh eyes for peace and justice. Otherwise, we will continue to do the same thing with a litany of others who support our position and expect a different result. This is irrational. It also does very little in challenging ourselves to be more responsible, accountable, and equitable.

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