NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE KINGDOM OF BHUTAN

December 14, 2020

By Patricia Sohn


What is going on out there?  It feels as though we are in the middle of a “Bizarro World – 101” course for the whole country, and no one can figure out how to press the little red “End Session For All” button.

The Democratic Party is ensconced in its efforts to deny, deny, deny all examples and evidence of improper electoral conduct in local, or even inter-state, contexts as if they are not all a bunch of clinicos.  Reasoning by assertion and invective appears to be Ok with some media venues; thankfully, not with others. 

Nonetheless, as I gaze at my very Eastern Orthodox-inspired (I might say, Byzantine) Christmas tree with its international ornaments from all over the world – as well as locally made at home – I wish I were surprised at the relative silences around the great, unsung victory of the 21st century.  It is a victory, or set of victories, that history will note for what they are despite our present-day Tammany Hall antics; apparently, some Democrats think it is pre-1965 again.  As a scholar of the Middle East, I want to say that the gravity, substance, and greatness of these victories cannot be ignored.

No one ignored the peace established between Egypt and Israel in 1979, and then Jordan and Israel in 1994.  But, now, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Sudan, as of four days ago Morocco – and as of two days ago, Bhutan – have established peace and diplomatic relations with Israel.  You can hear about it if you google it.  It really did happen.  And you can hear about it on some news venues – but not on the standard, lefty outlets, unfortunately.

HUH?

Trump has made peace in the Middle East, and with a very important South Asian Buddhist country.  Bhutan borders Tibet, Nepal, and India.  It is close to Bangladesh and Myanmar.  It is a small country with a quiet gravity and (a sort of moral) influence in the region.  It is reputed to be a decent, wholesome place in spirit and in politics.  It has had some tensions with its Nepali citizens in the past.  But when things are good in Bhutan, things may be good elsewhere for a while as well.

Meanwhile, Israelis – and people who have Israeli stamps in their passports like myself – can now travel to Dubai and enjoy the fountains, sky scrapers, super-modern amenities, attractions and allure of glass on metal on light on water.

This peace was created by Trump and Pence and a number of very brave, visionary leaders in the Middle East and Asia.  They envisioned a more peaceful world, and they have given it to us. The American left needs to rise above its (un) holy (-ier than thou) self and give them credit as due.  I say this as someone who likes Biden a great deal. 

When history looks back at this period, our school teachers will teach, in wonder, that the country was so divided, one side did not even want to give credit to the outgoing President for ending a 104-year-war in the Middle East (e.g., since Husayn-McMahon and Sykes-Picot).  (Let us not be led, here in the U.S., by divide-and-conquer any longer either.)

Thank you, Mr. President.  You have saved many lives.  And you have made many lives better.

Now, let’s clean up our electoral discrepancies, inconsistencies, improprieties, and ballots-for-hire-and-distribution.  It is what it is.

And then, assuming they do not change the election results in this case, let us allow Biden to lead us as he will.  We can hope for equally great things from his court.


Dr. Patricia Sohn, Ph.D. is an associate professor. She specializes in Middle East (MENA) and Israel/Palestine politics, and particularly the intersection of religion and politics, courts and politics, and gender politics. She has interests in historical institutional, political sociological, micro-level, and grassroots analysis of state and society. A prime example of the American melting pot, she has heritage from Prussia, the Philippines, Spain, Ireland, and Holland.

Note: The views herein represent only myself, not my employer. -PJS

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