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Month: January 2017

Alternative Facts: The “Pro-Choice” Argument

Alternative Facts: The “Pro-Choice” Argument

 

This week marks the 44th anniversary of the worst Supreme Court decision since Plessy vs Ferguson, Roe vs Wade. 7 of the 9 unelected human beings on the Court ruled that it is a Constitutional Right for a mother to kill her child, depending on location. One of the most consistently well-attended, and greatly ignored yearly protests, The March for Life, is set for this Friday in D.C.. President Trump re-signed into law Reagan’s policy of not providing federal funds to any international organization that kills babies, Paul Ryan is leading the charge to defund Planned Parenthood, and we’ve been promised a pro-life Supreme Court Justice. All signs so far point to this administration being very against killing babies, and one of the most sure-fire ways to watch the Left lose their minds is to get in their way of killing babies.

So why is it that those on the Left advocate so strongly for the “right” to kill babies? If you ask them, they’ll give you a plethora of meaningless answers including, but not limited to: “It’s no one’s business what I do with my body,” “It’s not murder because it’s just a bundle of cells that needs me to survive,” “Keep your rosaries off my ovaries,” “People will still do it whether it’s legal or not,” and the ultimate “Women’s Rights are Human Rights.” Let’s take a look at some of these arguments.

Probably the loudest thing you’ve seen on your social media, or on the news from the “Woman’s March,” is TRUMP/MEN/OTHER PEOPLE DON’T GET TO TELL ME WHAT TO DO WITH MY BODY. They’re, of course, correct. As I’m fond of saying, nobody cares what other people do with their private lives. Those who are pro-life tend to lean to the Conservative side. They are not supportive of the government being all up in your business.  So, let me say it very clearly for those in the back: I do not care what you do with your body. Not one bit. Live your life. I do care, however, what you do to the body inside your body. The Atlantic recently released a pro-abortion piece called “How the UltraSound Pushed the Idea that the Fetus is a Person.” This was in the same section as “How the Telescope Propagandized that There are Other Planets” and “How the X-Ray Made People Think that Bones Break.” The actual science deniers strike again. Contrary to the alternative facts used to justify the killing, there is a human being present inside every pregnant woman. You may not care, but your attempts to say there isn’t one are provably untrue. It’s literally science.

This brings us to the “Bundle of Cells” argument. Those who perpetuate this are either ignorant or liars. First off, I’m just a bundle of cells, you reading this are just a bundle of cells, and my daughter was a bundle of cells from the moment of her conception until this moment right now when I wish she was a sleeping bundle of cells. The particular number of cells in the bundle does not affect the humanity of said bundle. Location also doesn’t determine the humanity of a Bundle of Cells. Everyone agrees (for now) that once a baby is born, you shouldn’t be allowed to murder them. What is the difference in humanity between that moment, and the moment before when the child was still inside the mother? I wasn’t aware that vaginas magically bestow humanity.

Another popular argument is that women should be able to kill babies because those parasitic bundles of cells are dependent on them for survival. For those who don’t know this, the umbilical cord is still attached after the magical birth canal bestows rights on the baby. It appears we have reached an impasse. The location has changed, the baby is out, yet the bundle of cells is STILL anatomically attached. What do we do?! Your children are going to be living off your body in one way or another for at least 18 years (30 years if they major in Gender and Diversity Studies). So, does dependency take humanity away? If so, does a baby who is born, but requires life-support, not have a right to life? Can I suck out my father’s brains once he becomes too old and senile to live on his own? Get back to me, time is of the essence with this one.

We’re now going to play a small game called “When can we kill this baby?” using knowledge from a decade-old high school Child Development textbook. You can’t legally kill the human person once they’re born. Some pro-choicers, who aren’t completely murderous, believe that there should be a cut-off date. So Let’s Play! Months 7-9: The baby could survive outside the womb and utilizes 4 of the 5 senses. Ok to kill? Months 5-6: The baby is practicing their breathing with amniotic fluid, reflexively grasps the umbilical cord, and the mother and father can both feel very active movement. Ok to kill? Month 4 (this is the earliest the term “late term abortion” is used): Baby recognizes their mother’s voice, and their brains are capable of REM sleep, where dreaming occurs. Ok to kill? Week 12: Baby has all the nerves to experience pain, has vocal chords, and sucks their thumb. Ok to kill? Week 8: All organs are in place, bones begin to replace cartilage, and the baby can hear. Ok to kill? Week 6: Brainwaves detected, mouth and nose distinguished. Ok to kill? Day 22: The baby’s heart is beating the baby’s blood, which is often different than the mother’s blood type. Ok to kill? Most of us agree it is bad to kill innocent humans. You tell me where the humanity begins. If you cannot say with any certainty when is the precise moment that Bundle of Cells magically turns into a person with inalienable rights, then the only option is to err on the side of preserving those rights.

Speaking of people who care about humanity, there is a lie promulgated by the pro-abortion crowd that all pro-lifers (and Conservatives in general) are just crazy religious folk that wish to impose a theocracy, and force their religious convictions upon all citizens. This is the “Rosaries off My Ovaries” shtick. Let me make something clear: Abortion is not a religious issue. It is a Human Rights issue. The Bible also condemns theft. Should that be legal because most major religions are against it? There are things that are right and things that are wrong no matter how you were raised, what you do on Sunday mornings, or who/what you worship. It doesn’t seem unreasonable to lump killing a child into that category.

Now that we’ve established that people are people and you don’t get to frivolously kill them, how do we feel about the “people are still going to have abortions even if you evil men outlaw it” argument? I don’t feel that I need to get into this too much. As is the case with every law, outlawing abortion would not completely elimate the practice, but it would significantly reduce the amount of it, as well as send a clear message that this is an unacceptable act. Evil actions should not be permitted in any society.

If you want to make certain decisions with your life, again, have a fun time. There is, unfortunately this thing called reality that the Left hates so much. I don’t know how to break this to you, but there are consequences for your actions and YOU have to deal with them, not the government. Take responsibility for yourself. Be a grown up. You have a right to make dumb decisions with your body, you do not have the right to have Daddy Government help you deal with the repercussions.

So, what did we learn today? Unborn babies are human beings. It is wrong to kill innocent human beings. The right to life is a founding principle of this country. All the time. No situation or circumstance makes it acceptable to kill innocent human beings. I find it deeply hypocritical that those who are so concerned about their perceived “rights” are willing to overlook actual rights. Namely, the right to be alive. Those who push the pro-abortion agenda are either ignorant to these facts, or are aware of them, and simply don’t care. In this era where any information you seek is a click away, which is worse? I’ll let you make that choice.

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Luke Garrison is currently studying Criminal Law and Constitutional Theory at Seattle University Law School, and is a graduate of The Catholic University of America. For Questions, Comments, or Hate Mail, he can be reached at contact@lukegarrison.com. To hear more from Luke, follow him on Twitter: @_lukegarrison.

Why Conservatism Is On The Rise (And Will Continue to Grow)

Why Conservatism Is On The Rise (And Will Continue to Grow)

As we swear in our new president amid protests and bellyaching, there are many questions about where this is all going to lead us.  No one would deny that the majority of people across America, and across the world for that matter, woke up shocked the day after Election Day 2016.  Even Conservatives who kept the faith, were not willing to bet the farm on a Trump victory.  So how did Conservatism withstand the year-long onslaught from the left, and end up with commanding control of two branches of the Federal government?

Let me start off by saying that I am going to use generalizations, superlatives, and speak in black and whites, not greys.  If that bothers you, then I suggest you do two things.  First, understand that this is both silly and not possible to try to include all attitudes and opinions when you are discussing something that covers millions of people.  There will inevitably be those who say, “Since I don’t feel that way, this writer must be an idiot!”  Don’t be that person.  The second thing I suggest you do is relax and read on.   Whether the ideas expressed by others apply exactly to you or not, that in no way dismisses their validity.

For those of you who do not understand the meaning of the word “Conservative” in America today, let me help you. Democrats in the government and the media would have you believe that being a Conservative means “unwilling or incapable of change”, “intolerant of anyone who is different than you”, or “refusing to move forward”.  In actuality, it does not mean any of those things.  Being a Conservative simply means that you value the traditions of the past.  Conservatives understand that the traditions of the past are the cornerstones which every single American has stood upon to get to where they are today.  That is not an arguable point. Whether you believe as strongly as Conservatives do in those traditions or not, you cannot deny that this country was built upon them.  Traditions such as natural rights, freedom, sovereignty of the individual over the state, the social contract, a free market, Judeo-Christian foundations of morality, and the belief in the exceptionalism of this country as the rightful and well-earned leader of the free world.  These are the American traditions that Conservatives want to “conserve.”  Conservatives believe that these ideas are to be revered, preserved, and fought for.  Why?  Because, as previously stipulated, they are the reason why every one of us has the truly amazing life we enjoy today in this country.

If you are now having a breakdown, and feel the need to inform me of all the American traditions that have been ugly and hurtful to people, then please try to remove such emotionalism from an intellectual conversation.  Bringing emotional evidence to an intellectual discussion is puerile.  So let’s not do it, please.  Yes, there have been things in our American past that were wrong and downright despicable; things in our history of which we are not proud.  Here is what you need to remember about those things – they were all done by people.  People can be bad.  People can hurt others.  Any time that people are involved, there is the chance that they will do something terrible.  It was people who killed Native Americans, people who owned slaves, people who destroyed lives in the name of weeding out Communism, and people who forced blacks to drink out of separate water fountains and used loaded weapons to block their access to white schools.  It is people who abuse and beat homosexuals nearly to death.  And it is people who loot and burn buildings while pretending to be supporting a cause.  All these acts are committed by people, not ideas.  These awful incidents are not traditions of America, these are actions by people.

When I speak of American traditions, I am speaking of ideas, not actions. What makes Conservatives angry, and what propelled Americans to so roundly reject a Hillary presidency, is the constant assault on those traditions by those on the Left.  During the presidential campaign, a co-worker of mine (an admitted Liberal) said to me, “It is clear that our country is moving to the Left.  The pendulum is swinging to a more liberal nation.  Why don’t you Conservatives just accept that your ideas are dying, and give up?”  On that day, I understood why Liberals make me so angry.  It is not enough for them to think differently than we do.  We must accept that they are right and we are wrong, and give up all the things that we hold dear; give up our very foundation and core beliefs.  That’s the only thing that will satisfy Liberals.  Conservatives must fully accept the death of their value system and embrace the Left wing’s value system in its stead. They will accept nothing less.  I will not do that.  Let’s just say that our American society is indeed moving to the left.  That point is arguable, but let’s say that it’s true.  The exchange of one value system for another in a society is not proof that the new value system is superior.  Yes, there are examples where a certain new set of values has been proven to be verifiably better than the old set of values, but that does not mean you could argue that it is always the case.  A very quick evaluation of history will tell you this.  One only has to look at the changes in values that occurred in the Roman Empire, pre-WWII Germany, and the championing of the “White Man’s Burden” all across Europe during the Age of Imperialism to see that it would be an unsustainable argument to make.

There are many changes happening in the United States today that people on the left characterize as “progressive.”  In many instances these changes contradict the traditions and values that this country was built upon.  True Conservatives don’t hate Americans who support or vote for these changes.  They just do not believe that supplanting the values and traditions that America was founded upon is a good path for this country.  It’s that simple.  That view is not rooted in hatred, bigotry, or fear.  It’s a simple disagreement on what is best for this country’s future.

So be whomever who you want to be.  Believe in whatever you want to believe in.  That is a foundational tradition that America is based on, and one which Conservatives want to conserve.  Just let me have my own beliefs too. To punctuate my earlier point, what makes Conservatives so angry, and propels people like Donald Trump to the presidency, is Liberal contempt for our values.  From Hillary calling us deplorable, to Al Gore referring to Conservatives as the extra chromosome crowd, we are repeatedly told that if you hold Conservative values you are hateful, despicable, and mentally challenged. We are told this by the press, the media, celebrities, members of Congress, and presidential candidates.  This is why Conservatives were so incensed in this latest election cycle.  Issue after issue, Conservatives are demonized by Liberals for their conservative values.  At times, it truly boggles the mind.  Family, the life of an unborn child, protecting our borders, the right to defend yourself, responsible sex, and self-reliance.  Do these sound to you like values that were created by Satan?  These are not things that devils value, but you might think so if you listen to the way that Liberals characterize Conservatives who dare to stand up for these values.

One of the effects of Trump’s victory that has given Conservatives so much pleasure is the gallons of Liberal tears flowing since the election.  This does not please them because Liberals are upset (well, maybe a little), but it pleases them because it validates everything that I have been saying here.  How could Liberals not have seen this coming?  In what universe do Liberals think that abusing people would not lead to vigorous pushback?  Donald Trump did not win because Conservatives felt such a tight kinship to him, or a passionate ideological connection.  I assure you, the vast majority of Conservatives did not, and do not, feel those things for President Trump.  He won because of the vicious assault on our core beliefs, and the steady drumbeat of name calling and degradation by American Liberals.  This is not a new machination in the Liberal approach to civil discourse.  This goes back decades.  Don’t forget Alec Baldwin inciting thousands of people to chant for the stoning of the family of the man who was appointed to investigate Bill Clinton’s criminal activity.  A professor friend of mine, who is far wiser than I, was telling me recently that every year his students always ask him, “If Christians were so abused, persecuted, feared, and slaughtered for entertainment in the early days of the religion, how was Christianity able to survive and become the largest religion in the world?”  His answer is simple. When you assault someone’s core beliefs, it only makes those beliefs stronger.  Injury breeds resistance.  Donald Trump defeated a person who by all accounts should have completely run away with this election because Conservatives have had enough injury.

Being unified as a country does not mean that we all have to agree.  It does mean that we have to be respectful of each other’s viewpoints.  It’s OK that half of this country believes in the complete opposite of the other half.  Actual Conservatives, the kind who honestly value the traditions outlined above, do not hate you because you are gay, have had an abortion, or feel that there is a conspiracy of white police officers to kill American blacks.  Be who you want to be.  We support your right of thought and expression, and will fight to keep the government from forcing you to change.  We just would really appreciate it if you support ours as well.  We will never move forward as a country if anyone who disagrees with you deserves to be treated like dirt.

Obamacare: Looking to the Future

Obamacare: Looking to the Future

As we enter the final hours of the Obama presidency, let’s take a look at the defining legislation of the President’s tenure: The Affordable Care Act, nicknamed “Obamacare.” Strife with critics and shrouded in controversy, the looming transition of power in American politics threatens to undue the cornerstone of Obama’s administration. However, faced with the reality of the situation, the new Republican government cannot simply eliminate the Affordable Care Act. Doing so without replacement would leave behind a vacuum in which nearly 22 million people would become uninsured, having become dependent on this subsidy. Rather, it will be the task of our new President and Congress to not only repeal Obamacare, but replace it with something better.

The first step towards a better healthcare system for the United States is to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of the Affordable Care Act. Of these, its practical and strongest provisions are: allowing dependents to stay on their parents’ insurance until they are 26, guaranteeing coverage to those with pre-existing health issues, and protection from being denied coverage due to the discovery of new health issues. These points are amongst the most popular of Obamacare and are provision in which both House Speaker Paul Ryan and President Trump have expressed strong interest in continuing under a new plan.

One quick note about pre-existing conditions. Insurance companies are private businesses with the same goal as all others: make money. They make their money gambling that you won’t get sick. This is why older people pay more. There is a bigger risk of illness in a 80-year-old who smokes than in a healthy 22-year-old. How can an insurance company make money if they’re forced to take people who are already sick? Should you be able to buy Fire Insurance for your home after it has already burned down? While this is one of Obamacare’s most popular, and most fought for, provision, some things are not as simple as Bernie Sanders would have you believe.

Obamacare has enough shortcomings to raise serious concern over its effectiveness in the long term.  From the raised premiums across the board, to lacking the ability keep your doctor under this plan, many of President Obama’s original promises of the effectiveness of this plan have been broken.  This is a by-product of legislation that increases government beaucracy while decreasing private sector partnerships.

Currently, because President Trump has not fully disclosed his plan for replacing Obamacare, the most reliable option we have in assuming what may take the Affordable Care Act’s place would be the Paul Ryan plan.  Under this new legislation, the stronger points previously mentioned of the Affordable Care Act would be retained and incorporated into this new plan. It will still provide health coverage to those who cannot afford their own, promote more private sector partnerships which create more competitive healthcare markets, and grant greater autonomy to the states in how they will distribute these benefits.

The key component for the new Republican government in restructuring universal health care will be greater private sector partnerships. If, instead of the Federal government contracting their healthcare coverage to a small handful of giant healthcare providers, we were to grant Federal tax credits to individual people who could redeem them in their state health insurance market place, it would allow for a more fluid distribution of capital across health insurance companies. In doing so, health insurance companies would become more competitive and lower their premiums to attract new patients.  This is the most crucial component of reforming Obamacare. It will lower premiums, reduce government beaucracy, and create a more economically competitive market without having to take away health care coverage to those who need it.

In addition to lower premiums, the top priority of reforming Obamacare is to take the government out of medicine. This is not an attempt at selling my political or ideological rhetoric, but rather a fact grounded in data.  Fewer and fewer healthcare providers are accepting government programs, like Medicaid. At face value, this can be hard to understand. It becomes more transparent when you examine why this trend is happening. The average service billed to a patient’s Medicaid takes upwards of a full month before the doctor’s office receives reimbursement from the government. Once it finally arrives, they often only receive two-thirds of the billed amount, and are left at a lost for the remaining third. This is the sort of beaucracy that needs to be eliminated for any kind of national health care system to thrive while still promoting free markets. This can be accomplished by analyzing the few states that have the most effective Medicaid programs, and then implementing their strategies in those states with less effective systems.

Although Republicans have many plausible ideas for reforming national health care to make it more efficient and private sector friendly, there is a point of some worry. One major provision that Paul Ryan advocates for is the grouping together of “high risk” individuals (chronic or terminal illnesses ect.) into a separate market of their own with a premium cap. This in turn would dramatically lower premiums for healthy policyholders, however, it is a fair and ethical question to ask: At what cost? Reducing premiums for the healthy while allowing for an environment where the premiums for the sick and terminally ill will sky rocket is amoral, unethical, and something that in the long term will have catastrophic results. In a healthy insurance market, the only way you can assure lower premiums for EVERYONE in your market is to integrate the high-risk patients with the low risk. This is one of the many problems that arises when the government is involved.

Lastly, there is a major problem that neither Republicans nor Democrats seem to be discussing. In reforming our healthcare system, we could reduce operating costs for doctors and health care professionals, then premiums would go down, as services would cost less. The big problem? Malpractice insurance. Roughly 70% of general surgeons, obstetricians, and gynecologists are sued once in their career, and 50% more than once. However, of the overall malpractice suits, only 1 in 7 actually results in a payout to the plaintiffs. With these stats in mind, it is fair to say that if a more thorough vetting process were instituted for frivolous medical lawsuits, medical malpractice insurance would cost significantly less, provider’s opportunity costs for procedures would be greatly reduced, and ultimately insurer premiums would be greatly reduced as well.

The issue of national healthcare has long been a source of contention in American politics. Arguing whether we should have it or not is ultimately irrelevant, as under the Affordable Care Act millions of Americans have become dependent on a system that if vanished overnight, would have disastrous consequences for society. This was in large part done by design from the Democrats and is ultimately characteristic of its bureaucratic flaws. Ultimately, it will be the duty for our new Republican government to make a new form of national healthcare that is more cost efficient, private sector friendly, and doesn’t enable our eternally expanding Federal government.

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Ciaran Bruen is a graduate of Binghamton University and is now pursuing his MBA. He has interned on Capitol Hill, worked for the New York State Government, and has worked on various political campaigns.

Building Peace in Israel (Without Leftist Sophistry)

Building Peace in Israel (Without Leftist Sophistry)

The Nation of Israel is a friend and ally to the United States. As such, it’s stability and prosperity is intertwined with our own. Understanding it’s complex neighborhood is our key to creating bold new solutions to the troubles that have frustrated diplomats for generations. Applying Conservative principles, such as peace through trade and reinforcing strong, defensible borders, is vital to sustaining order and security. Achieving peace in Israel will, contrary to Leftist lies, benefit the whole world by leaving future generations a more cohesive society than what we have inherited.

Despite all the support a two-state solution garners in the UN and the media, it appears to be a misguided and simplistic, even Solomonic solution that will never engender any protracted peace. The longer-enduring effect of Palestinian statehood along 1967 borders will only create a mismatch of two competing, mutually-hostile nation-states: each claiming the land of the other state as “rightfully” its own in perpetuity. Perhaps such a scenario suits the agenda of some, but it certainly does not build a lasting peace.

Firstly, the Green Line of the so-called “1967 border” is merely a ceasefire line and has never been a recognized international border. Secondly, there has never, properly speaking, existed a State of Palestine. The political structure of the historical ideal of Palestinian nationalists was always one controlled by foreign imperialist entities (the Rashidun Caliphate, the Ottoman Empire, and finally the British Empire). Rather than recognize a new state ex nihilo (as the UN intends to do on September 15, 2015), it would benefit all parties (excluding the most radically nationalist) to recognize that a perfectly adequate homeland for the Palestinian people already exists as a sovereign state: Jordan. The majority of Jordanians are already Palestinian and the state of Jordan represents some 70% of the original British Mandate for Palestine.

Historically speaking, the reason for the UN partition plan of 1947 was due to the demographic composition of the land at the time, considering the limited pace of Jewish immigration. The ensuing persecution of Jews across the Middle East led to the influx of one million Jewish refugees from the Middle East alone, discounting refugees from Europe and the Holocaust. Considering the new demographic composition of the land, 70% is an appropriate portion of the land for Arabs, if indeed we are talking about a just solution for all parties and not the wholesale uprooting or annihilation of the Jewish people and the Jewish state.

Jordan, with the above considerations, represents a completely suitable right-of-return homeland for those Palestinians who no longer wish to live in diaspora.

How then should the remaining Palestinian territories be administrated? There are at least two options. My preferred option is that all parties drop the arbitrary demarcation of 1967 and instead allow Israel to annex Area C of the Oslo Accords, rather than forcibly evicting Jewish settlers. Concurrently, rather than evicting the Palestinian minority in Area C, they should be given full Israeli citizenship, with voting rights. Areas A and B should continue to fall under the administration of the Palestinian authority which would function as a completely autonomous governing entity or parallel government within the State of Israel, without becoming an independent state, maintaining all the rights of Israeli citizenship except that their voting rights extend only to local, Palestinian Authority elections, the governing apparatus of the autonomous Judea and Samaria region: a status not unlike that of Puerto Rico to the United States.

Alternatively, one could revive for the West Bank (Judea and Samaria, as the territory is known in Israel) the three-state solution in which Jordan would assume control of the entire territory, including Area C. My main concern regarding this proposal is that the borders are completely indefensible. Compared to having the nice straight line of the Jordan Valley as a border, this plan would put an international border in place that would divide the city of Jerusalem. Historically, we know that divided cities are not sustainable, to say the least.

A particularly thorny impediment to peace is the status of the Gaza Strip. The Hamas-led government there refuses to cooperate with either Israel or the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority. The conclusions left for the Gazans is that they must either be granted full independence or else left in a legal limbo (which would be inadvisable, inhumane, and I do not by any means advocate). Proponents of the three-state solution would have Gaza handed over to Egypt in a similar fashion to how the West Bank would be annexed to Jordan. However, today the Egyptian government is having difficulties pacifying Islamist insurgency in the Sinai Peninsula. The last thing the Al-Sisi administration needs is more Islamists to deal with, such as Hamas.

Here’s where this proposal veers into radical idealism:

In order to foment a lasting and sustainable peace, I propose a monetary and economic union for the nation-states of the Levant. Beginning with a customs union and slowly progressing stage-by-stage to a full economic and monetary union under the Israeli shekel, this war-torn region may achieve peace by commerce. The European Union has done much to promote peace in Europe – a lasting peace – and has as an institution, even been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The security and stability of Europe began and evolved from a simple trading bloc. My ideal would have this process replicate itself in miniature throughout the four states of the Levant (Israel, Jordan/Palestine, Lebanon, and Syria).

It is my hope that Israel could take a stabilizing leadership role in the region much as Germany has done in the EU. In doing so, Israel could both potentially export democracy and raise the standard of living among its neighbors in exchange for new markets for Israeli enterprises to explore.

Now, moving on to a bigger and more complicated topic, which is an important factor in regional security, yet far too big to do justice in the context of this article.

Whichever faction prevails and becomes the government of whatever is left of Syria (if such an outcome is even possible) will require aid, in terms of security and financial assistance, to begin reconstruction. Israel and Jordan can muster some support and fill this void, along with the rest of the international community. These actors particularly because they are directly affected by the aftermath of the Syrian Civil War in terms of their security. Whether these nations like it or not, any foreign policy mistakes will lead to domestic consequences when it comes to states in such close proximity.

Further incentive for implementing a full economic union with the embattled Syrians, outside of peace and security, is Syria’s lucrative oil reserves, though Israel’s huge, newly discovered sub-aquatic natural gas reserves as well as the slumping price of oil may diminish the magnitude of the incentive this would bring to the negotiating table.

The economic prospects are interesting, but undeniably it is security that serves as the major catalyst for action in the region. The threat from groups such as Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra necessitate regional security cooperation. Lebanon has both lessons to offer and lessons to learn concerning its confessional system of pluralist representation. Linking a religious sect to their own parties has the benefit of ensuring representation in a sense, but it is by no means a perfect solution as it enables and perpetuates division between the sects. More important to the Israelis would be the tolerance of the Lebanese for militant group Hezbollah, a major security concern. In myriad ways, all participants would benefit from further cooperation, yet the main impediment to any formal moves towards that end would be the violent militant Islamist groups: Hamas, Nusra, Hezbollah, and ISIS.

Further Balkanizing forces in the region include Kurdish and Druze separatism. But that is another article altogether.

Were such a union of the states of the Levant to defy the odds and come together to unite against religious fundamentalism, provide security, and create new dynamic investment opportunities, the trajectory of human and economic development could experience unprecedented success for the region. Furthermore, economic and monetary union would serve as a bulwark and counterpoint to other influential hegemonic spheres such as that of Iran or the Saudi-led Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). Factions used as proxies by outside powers within the Levant such as Hezbollah and the Assad regime (Iran) and rebel groups such as Ahrar al-Sham (Turkey) and Nusra (Saudi Arabia and Qatar) have served only to destabilize the Levant and embroil it in conflict.

United, the states of the Levant can stand together against the neocolonialist ambitions of foreign elements and in doing so preserve the cultural, economic, and political autonomy of the Levantine peoples, bringing peace to a region of the world in desperate need of stability.

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