It seems from what I read that objectivism would tend to have a pretty laissez faire attitude towards other countries but the more I read, the more I discover that this is not true for one special foreign country: Israel. For a variety of reasons, some convincing, others little removed from "bomb the savages" rhetoric that would seem to hail from the colonial era, it seems that there is a special place in the minds (hearts ?) of objectivists towards the state of Israel. Amy Piekoff writes that she won't vote for Ron Paul largely because he doesn't support Israel ( http://bit.ly/mdEjRl ). This leaves me perplexed and confused. Is that one issue so important that it overrides all others?
Leonard Piekoff says that someone who is anti-Israel is also anti American. He states that Israel is hated by all fundamentalists but what of the legions of evangelical Christian religious people who seem to be in love with the state of Israel ? I could understand if he said that fundamentalist Islamists hate Israel, but all fundamentalists ? I think not. Some of that country's strongest supporters are vehement evangelical Christians. Leonard's short words on on the subject are here: http://goo.gl/qD03m judge for yourself.
I find myself unconvinced with the trite explanations that I have seen that since Arabs are "savages" and that since Israel is somehow an example of Western values, that anything goes when Israel does it. By that standard, Israel could expropriate any land, abuse anyone and essentially behave as it wished since anyone that stood against it would be automatically be defined as an un -American "savage". I also see shades of this thinking in some objectivist writings about Saudi Oil: the theme seems to be: go grab it, we own the technology anyway. Is this the morally correct approach ?
Now mind, you Hamas, Fatah and the innumerable terror organizations that infest the Middle East are not savory entities but why don't the objectivists at least acknowledge how much the policies of the USA itself have fed, comforted, nurtured and helped our own destroyers (USA money funds the Wahabis of Saudi Arabia...). The people of the mideast in many ways were taken hostage by dictator after dictator. Under this kind of ambiguous environment, I do not hold anyone Israel-included as any "gold standard" of righteousness although I concede that Israel is the one place I would live in that region... which says a lot.
In some ways, I am trying to understand whether this extreme pro-Israel bent of ARI and many objectivists. In most things I find objectivist thinking to be refreshingly....well... objective but in this Israel area, it is reminscent of nothing so much as the Paul Wolfowitz type neocon rhetoric. 110% pro Israel no matter what. Israel = USA = good.
In the 1970s, Ayn Rand regarded Israel as a beacon of civilization in an otherwise arid wasteland of primitive nomadic tribes and pervasive homage to Islam. She was asked about the Middle East several times, and her answers have been published in Ayn Rand Answers, pp. 96-97.
Today, after decades of Western oil money and technology, many Arab governments are richer and more able to support increasingly deadly terrorist attacks against Israel, the U.S. and other Western countries. The fundamentals have not changed. The Arab countries are just as determined as ever to wipe Israel out of existence and institute an Islamic state in its place. Israel all along has sought secure and defensible borders within which to live in peace, through production and trade. The Arab countries, in sharp contrast, seek only to conquer and plunder, as they have done so lucratively for sixty years with the oil fields originally developed by Western countries and later seized by the Arabs.
For an extensive list of recent references for further study, one can log onto the website of The Ayn Rand Institute and initiate a search on "Israel." One will find more than 200 separate articles and news releases regarding the Arab-Israeli conflict and an Objectivist perspective on it.
In her 1974 article, "The Lessons of Vietnam," republished in The Voice of Reason, Ayn Rand wrote (p. 142):
Israel and Taiwan are the two countries that need and deserve U.S. help -- not in the name of international altruism, but by reason of actual U.S. national interests in the Mediterranean and the Pacific.
For additional references on the philosophic principles underlying Ayn Rand's conclusions, one can find numerous concise overviews in The Ayn Rand Lexicon under the following topics:
It would be a monumental tragedy for the nations of the West to stand idly by and allow Israel to be overrun and obliterated by militant Islamic fundamentalists. That is what is at stake in the Arab-Israeli conflict, today and historically. Happily, Western nations don't need to do much other than refrain from interfering with Israel's legitimate efforts to defend itself, and to state clearly their moral support for Israel -- along with retaliating decisively against militant Islamic attacks on the U.S. and other Western countries.
Also be sure not to miss a new article by Craig Biddle this month in The Objective Standard, titled "The Iranian and Saudi Regimes Must Go."
answered Jun 30 '11 at 15:58
Ideas for Life ♦
Objectivists tend to defend Israel for the same reasons they would defend a western European country under attack by a bunch of worthless Arab dictatorships: it is a tremendous value, while they are worthless.
The reasons for this assessment should be fairly clear. Israel exports a tremendous amount of useful knowledge and technology, plus it's a mostly secular, this-worldly, pro-human, rational country. In other words, it's a "Western country" in the traditional meaning of the term.
On the other hand, most of the Arab/Muslim countries are more of a threat than a value.
Moreover, this is in keeping with the principle of meeting force with force. As far as I understand it, the anti-Israel countries are the aggressors.
Separately, on your question about US funding for other Arab countries:
Funding Saudi Arabia might not be such a bad deal, given that we get to place military forces there in return. Plus, imagine what would happen there if that regime were to fall.
On the other hand, Objectivists are highly critical of many aspects of US foreign policy toward the Middle East.
A couple of nit picks, regarding your question:
(1) It's "Objectivism," not "objectivism." It's a proper noun because it names a unique entity--specifically, the philosophy of Ayn Rand.
(2) I could be wrong on this, and any clarification would be welcome, but contrary to what you stated, I am pretty sure that Amy Peikoff is not a daughter of Leonard Peikoff.