I just love me a conspiracy. Don’t you? I bet you do. I bet people who believe in conspiracies make up the vast majority of any population. Something THEY don’t want you to know. And if you don’t believe me, well, that just proves my point exactly, doesn’t it? Kanye West says “I know the government administers AIDS”. Just prove the man wrong if you can. In ‘Sinai’ wily old generals plot to take over from a democratically elected Egyptian government. Israelis scheme to get Moses’s old stomping grounds back while American evangelicals sing Haleluja to the Rapture. Far-fetched, right? Perhaps I’ve eaten too much humus in my life. On the other hand, as a man more eloquent than myself put it, the question is not are you paranoid, it’s are you paranoid enough?
Welcome to the Middle East, where nothing is as it seems. Conspiracy, by definition a secret action by at least two people to produce a tangible outcome, rules supreme. In this world Bin Laden is CIA, 911 was an inside job and all the Jews had mysteriously taken that day off. Fiction often sits on a comfy couch holding hands with fact. Sometimes one or the other even gets to second base. Of course, Bush and Blair did lie about Saddam’s nukes. Bin Laden really was on an American payroll at some point. And we don’t know why the American military was holding an exercise on that sunny September morning simulating an attack by means of hijacked airliners. I mean, what are the odds?
But sometimes another principle might be at work. Call it ‘laziness’, or ‘inertia’. I like to call it ‘convenience’. “As the Arab Spring remakes the fabric of the Middle East, Israel has been torn between support for democratic change and a surprising comfort with the established order,” write Josef Federman and Karin Laub for Associated Press. The Assads, while terrible tyrants, former hosts to Hamas and keeping Syria in an official state of war with the Jewish state, never fired a shot for close to forty years. Arab dictators were a known quantity, mostly weak and controllable. Again, that last word, ‘controllable’, implies evil schemers subverting the sovereign will of the people. And of course, governments wield all the instruments of power and rarely -I mean never- tell everyone about everything they’re doing.
Misanthropists simply deny that people are capable of dreaming up complex new arrangements and at the same time keeping everyone else in the dark. And yes, history more or less confirms this. At least partly. For instance, yes, American neocons toppled Saddam, but the place is a stinking mess today, oil has never been more dear, and U.S. oomph is on the fritz. The world is a dynamic system, and long-term change unpredictable as ever. It’s just a terrible place for even the ablest of conspirators.
However, people are very adept at coping with adverse situations. In other words, we make the best of things. Governments conspire after the fact. They don’t invent the new, larger constellations. They just deal with them. Israel’s coming into existence was fought tooth and nail by inept Arab governments. When the latter realized they were unable to change this new fact, not only did they accept it, they worked the ‘Zionist entity’ to their benefit. Domestic opposition was muzzled thanks to the external enemy. In turn the Israeli nation was forged -in the metallurgic sense- in the crucible of Arab hostility. During the latter half of the twentieth century a precarious power balance came to be. The setup turned out to be very beneficial to and in time actively nurtured by oil-consuming America and Europe. The conspiracy, in short, arose after the fact. Israel was not created to help bring about cheap oil. European anti-Semitism was not created to one day bring about Israel. But they did more or less.
Arab populations took so long to revolt against horrible leaders because revolting is a serious drag, and I for one can think of a million zestier afternoons than getting shot in the face by gas-masked shock troops. The revolution wasn’t planned. It took a single man to set himself on fire to ignite the hearts of millions, the outcome of which everyone is still grappling with, including said millions. Israelis sure weren’t looking forward to dealing with a bunch of angry revolutionaries in stead of the predictable pashas of yore. Western ‘security architects’ surely didn’t come up with the idea. Why spend an entire day doing serious thinking when you can copy-paste in the morning, and play racket ball in the afternoon. To put it more succinctly, people are lazy cunts. Prove me wrong why don’t you.