Making mountains out of molehills

Dr. Norman Bailey

Metal detectors are routinely installed at malls not to mention holy sites at Mecca and Medina. So why not at the Temple Mount?

Moles are small mammals which spend much of their time busily digging underground tunnels and forming small piles of dirt as a result.

Human beings are larger mammals who spend much of their time turning those molehills into mountains ranging in size from the Pyrenees to the Himalayas.

Whenever this happens we can be sure that there is another, political/social/economic agenda behind the assiduous construction activities, which otherwise would be incomprehensible.

Examples of such behavior abound, but we will concentrate on two current molehill to mountain construction sites:

Firstly, in response to the murder of two (Druse) policemen by an Arab terrorist using weapons hidden in the Al-Aqsa mosque the Israeli government decides to install metal detectors at the entrance to the Temple Mount, as is the case with countless somewhat less significant shopping malls and incidentally, also the holy sites in Mecca and Medina. This is a molehill so small that no self-respecting mole would lay claim to it. Arabs inside and outside Israel, not to mention sundry other busybodies such as the United Nations, immediately begin to turn this anodyne decision into a huge mountain range. The Israeli government capitulates and removes the detectors. Predictably, all the mountaineers immediately make further demands.

Of greater potential significance, a series of molehills involving various contacts by Trump campaign associates and political appointees with the Russian ambassador, a Russian lawyer and other people, have been seized upon by a large coalition of groups and individuals determined to destroy the Trump administration. The coalition is made up of, but not limited to (as the lawyers would say), former president Obama and various members of his administration, grouped together in a new Obama-created NGO called Organized for Action (OFA); almost the entire Democratic Party; a large portion of the federal bureaucracy (who might be characterized as internal moles); various NGOs other than OFA, and almost the entire mass media. Despite the almost total lack of hard evidence of anything illegal or even unethical on the part of the already-judged guilty parties, heroic mountain-building by the coalition continues unabated. At worst, the "perpetrators" can be accused of stupidity, but if that is an indictable offense, few of us would escape.

Making mountains out of molehills has been a human activity since the beginning of recorded time, of course, but of late it has been intensified by the dramatic increase of political/social/ideological/religious polarization characterizing contemporary societies around the world, but especially in the Middle East and what continues to be referred to as "The West". It is a dangerous activity, because it diverts attention from truly significant issues and because it exacerbates the quantum of hatred in the world, already at levels not seen in Europe since the 1930's, and in the US since the years leading up to the Civil War.

To misquote the last of the great presidents: "Ladies and Gentlemen, tear down those mountains".

Norman A. Bailey, Ph.D., is Professor of Economics and National Security, The National Security Studies Center, University of Haifa, and Adjunct Professor of Economic Statecraft, The Institute of World Politics, Washington, DC. He was formerly with the US National Security Council and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

The views he expresses are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of "Globes."

Twitter Facebook Linkedin RSS Newsletters גלובס Israel Business Conference 2018