The bumper sticker said, "Stop U.S. Aid To Israel." I thought about it for a while and it seemed like it was forever ago when that would have been an unthinkable thought, at least on these shores. We, the United States, were indispensable supports for the beleaguered nation of Israel. Now, after years of protecting them from the bullies in their neighborhood and sitting down with them and the bad guys who were making life difficult for them. And selling them tanks and guns and missiles and the kind of aid that we don't generally consider "humanitarian." If I were asked today who the bully was in the Middle East, I don't know if I would have picked Egypt. Or Palestine.
But the way things stack up presently don't line up with all of our past commitments and the history that surrounds them. It's an easy enough bet to make that the San Francisco Giants would win the World Series now, but six months ago, the Bay Area's Sure Thing was the Oakland Athletics. Time and perspective allow us to see how all the movements and machinations of the baseball world came together to help create this outcome. All the pieces were in place, it just needed a shove to send it in motion. The reason for all those other teams to be sitting at home in October? Strings.
The strings that were connected months ago. Years ago. Decades ago, if you happen to be a Kansas City Royals fan. What does baseball have to do with foreign affairs? Strings. The treaties and agreements made over the past century have put our team in a position to win it all. Or not. Mostly we try and maintain the status quo, whatever that is. World peace is pretty much out of the question, but we'll be happy if we can avoid world war.
In my twenties, I didn't see all those strings. I lived in a world that kept me righteously and blissfully unaware of the muck and the mire. I was immersed in the very idealistic world of Amnesty International, where all we wanted to do was cut those ties that kept anyone bound. Torture was bad. Enhanced interrogation techniques? That would have brought only outrage, not even derisive laughter. Torture, as it turns out, is still wrong, but thirty years later I can see all the strings that were pulled to make it appear that we might have needed to waterboard those bad guys to save American lives. Strings I could not have imagined half my life ago. Could we stop sending aid to Israel? Cut those strings and see what happens. Maybe nothing. Maybe next year the A's will win the World Series.