The shape of things to come (with apologies to H. G. Wells)

On Friday my son’s wife took two of my grandkids and her mother on a mini-vacation – to Germany. In the four days that they’ve been there, there have been three terror attacks. I’m more than looking forward to their return.

I have a friend who visits Europe often. I try to get him to take a side trip to see me in Israel, but his wife is worried about terrorism. Hmm.

There is a bit of schadenfreude in Israel toward Europe. It gets stronger when the French take time off from picking up the body parts from the latest terrorist outrage to organize lynchings of Israel in the UN.

But we shouldn’t celebrate their misfortune too much. If Western Europe submits to the jihad or dissolves into violent conflict it will be very bad, both for them and for us.

And the United States – now there is a bomb with a short fuse. President Obama is already slipping out the back of the Middle East as Iran comes in the front door with guns blazing, but the real American retreat into irrelevance is yet to come when the rapidly growing internal conflicts start ripping the country apart. Yes, I expect that. I don’t have the words to describe what I think about the coming election and the candidates.

In both Europe and the US, the political options seem to be between those who pretend that the worldwide jihad isn’t a problem and those who think the solution is to kick out the foreigners and build higher border fences. This is only a delaying tactic: think of building a sand castle and surrounding it with multiple walls. Ultimately the tide comes in and the waves get them, one by one.

The solution is for the democratic, enlightened Western nations to get together, make a plan to crush the jihad and carry it out. The military might of the West could make mincemeat of Da’esh, destroy Iran’s nuclear and missile programs and put an end to some of the smaller terrorist groups in a matter of weeks. With the heads cut off, the jihad in general would wither. Islam would have to wait another few hundred years before taking another shot at world domination.

In an ideal world, this is the kind of thing a real “United Nations” would do. Stop laughing, it isn’t funny.

I can’t imagine this happening today, and the likelihood of it happening in the near future seems even smaller. On the other hand, while the jihadists have very different ideologies and goals, they are capable of cooperating when it helps them to defeat common enemies.

Things are getting worse and they will probably get much worse before getting better. It isn’t going to be easy for Israel to survive in the coming chaotic world. So here are some of my suggestions:

  1. PM Netanyahu’s efforts to improve relationships with India, Russia, China, Greece, Turkey, Cyprus, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and several smaller African nations (did I leave anything out?) are a good thing. Chad won’t replace Germany, but in a wild melee, every friend counts.
  2. We need to keep maximum strategic depth. It would be very stupid to open up an eastern door to Iran or Da’esh in return for Western guarantees. The West can’t guarantee its own borders, never mind ours. Just say no to two-state stupidity.
  3. We need to maintain our military strength, even in scenarios in which we can’t depend on the US. The F-35 that the US is selling Israel is very expensive, has numerous problems, is not a match for the latest Russian fighters, and doesn’t meet our needs for a long-range attack aircraft capable of hitting Iran. The US would not agree to provide a new F-15 stealth variant instead of additional F-35s. It may be too late to develop our own, but there are other countries that manufacture capable aircraft, including Russia and China.
  4. We should take steps to reduce the ability of other countries, especially the US, to intervene in our politics and our military operations. Get rid of the European-paid NGOs and the American radar installations. Stock up on ammunition and equipment that is hard to replace.
  5. We should encourage European Jews to make aliyah. This might be a short-term burden for Israel, but it could save their lives. In the long term it will benefit our economy and society.
  6. Do the Bank of Israel and the government have plans for how to respond to a sudden fall in the dollar? They should.

Israel is doing better than it ever has, economically, politically and socially. But the relative stability of the post-WWII period – or even of the longer Western ascendance that began with the Ottoman defeat at the Battle of Vienna in 1683 – may be coming to an end. The geopolitical environment we live in is already changing rapidly.

As usual, I specialize in doom and gloom. But I think we can survive. Perhaps rather than a world-wide dark age, there will be a realignment of powers, with the US and Western Europe playing a less important role, especially in the Middle East. Everything will turn upside down, but there will be advantages as well as problems for us. Our leaders need to think creatively about how to act in a different world. But unlike the past two millennia, the Jewish people don’t have to hunker down and hope for the best. We have the ability to act and steer the direction of history.

It could mean the destruction of Israel and a new dispersion of the Jewish people. But on the other hand, if we make the right alliances and use our power judiciously, it may be that the Jewish state will find its place as a regional powerhouse.

Posted in Europe and Israel, Middle East politics, Terrorism | 2 Comments

The Republican platform gets Israel right

Everyone knows that party platforms are just for atmosphere. They bind nobody to anything, and are quickly forgotten after the election. But I must say that the Republican platform plank on Israel – regardless of what one thinks of the candidate – is remarkable, including the very fundamental statement that “[w]e reject the false notion that Israel is an occupier…” as well as recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel (and not, as in the Democratic platform “a matter for final status negotiations.”)

And then there is what is not there. What has especially been noted is the absence of any mention of the so-called “two-state solution” (TSS), a consistent part of US policy since 1993.

Leaving it out today is not unreasonable. For the past 23 years we have been trying and failing to come up with a TSS acceptable to both sides, and as we shall see, there are good reasons for this. A partition of the land between the Jordan and the Mediterranean to create a sovereign Palestinian state is only one of numerous possible solutions to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs. Why should the platform of an American political party insist on one particular solution to a foreign conflict that ultimately can only be solved by the parties involved?

But Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, who is himself neither a Republican, an Israeli nor a Palestinian, finds it ‘ominous’, a “dangerous turning point.”

Jacobs’ arguments are surprisingly weak. For example, he says,

But a one-state solution, the only alternative anyone has ever offered, allows the settlers to stay in place in their entirety, which perhaps is the intent of [David] Friedman [an adviser to Donald Trump involved in the platform drafting process], a strong backer of the settlements. This would subject Israel and the Palestinians to an endless cycle of violence.

I presume he is referring to the idea popularized by Caroline Glick and others that Israel should extend Israeli law to all of Judea and Samaria. One of the points in its favor is that one of the main causes of violence is precisely the Palestinian Authority, which incites murder on a daily basis in its media, official mosques, schools, and so forth. If it were removed there would be less violence, not more.

There is also the argument that the PA’s massive corruption is one of the main reasons for Palestinian unhappiness and frustration, and that the cause of peace would best be served by improving the daily lives of the Arab residents.

But in any event, this is not the “only” solution anyone has proposed. For example, Naftali Bennett, who presently holds the Education and Diaspora Affairs portfolios in Israel’s cabinet, suggested that Israel annex that part of the territories that are under full Israeli control under the Oslo accord (Area C), and leave the PA in control of Arabs living in the other areas. Area C contains the great majority of the Jewish communities and only a small number of Arabs.

There are still other possibilities. But Jacobs is stuck on this idée fixe that has held the Israeli Left and the American government in its grip for the last several decades, the TSS.

Let’s look at some of the reasons that a TSS is unacceptable, even if such an agreement could be reached (don’t forget that far-reaching TSS proposals by Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert were rejected by the Arabs as not giving them enough).

  1. Security, security, security. The topography of the region is such that the only way to protect Israel’s center from rocket attacks and to defend the country from invasion from the east is to control the high ground in Judea and Samaria and the Jordan Valley. This is a matter of brute geological fact, not politics. Recent history in Lebanon and elsewhere shows that no international force or guarantee can replace the IDF.
  2. Land for Paper. Nothing that is agreed upon with one regime, the PA, would be binding on any future entity that might take control of the area, such as Hamas or even Da’esh. As a matter of fact, the PA itself has systematically violated the Oslo accords that it signed, so even without a regime change there is no reason to trust signed agreements.
  3. National Aspirations. Mahmoud Abbas himself made it clear that in the event of the establishment of a Palestinian state in the territories, he would immediately press claims against Israel “at the United Nations, human rights treaty bodies and the International Court of Justice.” The PLO, which runs the PA, does not aspire to live alongside Israel, it wants to redress Palestinian grievances from 1948, including ‘return’ of millions of descendents of Arab refugees to Israel, not the Palestinian state. This is why Abbas has always vehemently refused to agree that Israel is the state of the Jewish people or agree to a formula of “two states for two peoples.”

Jacobs also reruns the demographic argument, that

It seems axiomatic that the alternative to two states is one state, since the demographics indicate that in the near future, the majority of that one state would not be Jewish. Such a state would then either be a Jewish state that would cease to be a democracy and disenfranchise millions of Palestinian souls, or it would be a democracy and cease to be Jewish.

There are several reasons this isn’t true. First, nobody is including the 1.8 million Gazans in any “one-state” plan. Second, the number of Arabs in Judea and Samaria is overstated by at least one million by Palestinian sources. And third, the Arab birthrate is dropping and the Jewish one is rising, so there will not be a demographic ‘time bomb’. If Israel were to annex all of Judea and Samaria today, the population of the combined state would be 66% Jewish (the current percentage within the Green Line is about 80%). I am not arguing that Israel should do this, just pointing out that it would not change the fact of the Jewish majority.

Finally, Rabbi Jacobs refers several times to “extremists on both sides.” I presume the Palestinian extremists are the countless terrorists who stab, shoot, blow up and run down Jews every day because they are Jews. And the Jewish extremists? They write slogans on walls and build illegal shacks on hilltops in Judea and Samaria. Yes, there is one in an Israeli jail now accused of firebombing a Palestinian house and killing three family members. Even if it turns out that he is guilty – and I am still doubtful about that – it will be one person, rejected by almost all of Jewish Israel and punished by its justice system, alongside hundreds of Arab terrorists incited by the PA, encouraged and, afterwards, venerated by their society.

Rabbi Jacobs is for coexistence. So am I, which is why I oppose creating a base for terrorism on our doorstep, and why I see the Republican platform as a breath of fresh air.

Posted in 'Peace' Process, American politics | Leave a comment

Islam is not a religion

Today in a 647-word editorial the New York Times has strikingly exemplified the West’s misunderstanding of and impotent response to the threat posed to it by a resurgent, expansionist Islam:

Each new attack, each new convulsion of fear, horror, grief and anger is a progressively greater test of enlightened civilization’s commitment to its core values. …

But whoever struck the blow, whatever its malevolent purpose or toll, the response cannot be to abandon the respect for human rights, equality, reason and tolerance that is the aspiration of all democratic cultures. Though it has become almost a cliché to argue that the goal of terrorists is to bring their victims down to their moral level, it is also a truth, and it must be reaffirmed after every attack.

First, the misunderstanding. The perpetrators of these murderous attacks can’t be “trying to bring us down to their moral level,” because they believe they are on a higher moral level than we are. They are not trying to make us give up our moral principles, which they think are stupid anyway. Rather, they are trying to demoralize us, to terrorize us, to paralyze us so that we will not strike back. To create chaos. To make us see how powerful they are. To make us appease them. To make us submit.

The editors of the Times would have us stress ‘tolerance’, according to the perception that Islam is a religion like any of the attenuated religions with which we are familiar, a sort of liberal Protestantism or Reform Judaism where they go to mosque on Friday. And if this were a correct characterization of Islam they would be right. But Islam is not a religion in that sense. It is a religion-based ideology, and two of its fundamental principles are that Islam must a) spread throughout the world, and b) become politically dominant wherever Muslims live.

Marxism-Leninism and Nazism were also expansionist ideologies that had a hold on large numbers of people, although without involving religion. The religious basis of Islam only makes it much more effective in gaining and keeping adherents, a task at which it is unmatched. The collection of ideas that make up the Islamic ideology has possibly been the single most effective ‘memeplex’ in human history.

The wave of Islamic conquest that began in the 7th century was a straightforward military campaign. Defeat the infidels’ armies, kill their leaders, enslave or convert the population to Islam, impose shari’a (Islamic law), and move on to the next conquest.

Today the balance of military power is such that the infidels can’t be confronted head-on. But the jihadists understand the weaknesses inherent in Western societies. They believe that they can be cracked into pieces over time by terrorism and taken over by subversion. And the Western leadership often plays directly into their hands

For example, there is no recognition on the part of Western elites that Islam is anything more than a ‘religion’ in the most trivial sense; and therefore it would violate our ideal of freedom of religion to interfere with it in any way. So, although they admit that there is such a thing as ‘radical Islamism’ which engages in terrorism, it is considered wholly separate and distinct from ordinary Islam, which is peaceful and harmless.

They refuse to see that the ideology that is Islam is pervasive; the difference is just that for whatever reason – temperament, practical considerations, degree of commitment – ‘moderate’ Muslims do not engage in violent activities. Nevertheless, there is a great deal of support in the overall Muslim community for extremists, who are often seen as ‘more devout’, better Muslims because of their zeal.

Religion in the West is exempt from criticism, and in the US it receives exemption from taxation as well. Ideology and politics are not so protected. It isn’t considered bigotry to oppose Marxism or Republicanism, and political contributions can’t be deducted from income on American tax returns. The problem is that the pernicious political ideology of Islam rides along with its religious underpinnings.

Criticism of Islam is systematically suppressed by being called ‘hate’, ‘bigotry’ or even ‘racism’. Organizations like the ADL or the Southern Poverty Law Center see ‘Islamophobia’ as a form of ‘hate’, along with anti-black racism or Jew-hatred. Although it should be obvious that one can be opposed to the ideology inherent in Islam without hating Muslims, and certainly without being a racist, this distinction is never drawn.

Because it ignores the ideological nature of Islam, the West does really stupid things. For example, the US allows foreign interests in Saudi Arabia, the Gulf states and Iran to pump huge amounts of money into mosques and Islamic centers in America. These institutions teach both the religion and the ideology – they are inseparable – convert Americans to Islam, engage in ‘educational’ enterprises in their communities, support friendly politicians, squelch criticism of Islam, and so forth. And of course they pay no taxes.

Foreign money also goes into educational institutions, endowing Middle East Studies departments that are little more than mouthpieces for pro-Islamic propaganda, giving grants to academics for helpful  research, and – to a shocking degree – influencing the content of textbooks used by American grade school and high school students.

In what must rank as one of the most foolish acts in history since that Greek horse was allowed to enter Troy, US prisons provide taxpayer-funded Muslim chaplains who teach Islam, organize worship services and help inmates convert to Islam. Thus some of the most violent elements in society are indoctrinated with an ideology that lends itself to violent extremism!

So what should the Western response to Islamic terrorism be?

  • First and most important, we must recognize that Islam is not merely a religion that should be given the benefit of ‘tolerance’. It is an ideology that is opposed to the basic principles of the democratic, enlightened West, and should be treated as an enemy.
  • We should stop shutting down criticism of Islam, an ideology, on the grounds that such criticism is the same as irrational hatred of a person because of his ethnicity or race. Criticism of ideologies is entirely legitimate.
  • We should treat Islamic institutions as (anti-Western) political institutions, not religious ones.
  • We should understand that foreign money supporting Islamic causes in a Western country constitutes subversion, and take steps to control it.
  • We should ensure that the history and philosophy of Islam as an expansionist ideology is taught in schools in an honest way (e.g., the primary meaning of ‘jihad’ is not ‘an inner struggle against evil’).
  • We should monitor Islamic institutions for subversive activities.
  • We should not encourage immigration of Muslims to the West.
  • We should eliminate Muslim chaplains in prisons.

The Times concludes thus:

What threatened nations and their leaders can do is to firmly instill the idea that the only sure defense is to stay true to what democratic societies really stand for.

What the editors of the Times intend, of course, is that the West should not allow Islamic provocations to cause us to treat Muslims any differently than anyone else. And they are correct that we should always protect human rights.

But it is not a human right in the West to espouse an ideology that embraces conquest and destruction of Western civilization. Such an ideology contradicts “what democratic societies really stand for,” and tolerance for it is no more justified than tolerance for smallpox or polio. It is suicidal.

Posted in Islam, Terrorism | 2 Comments

Some people just can’t be helped

When the Zionists began to build the yishuv, the enterprise that would become the Jewish state, they had to develop an economy, a political system, an army for defense, a legal system, an educational system, a transportation network, a postal service, and countless other things. They got help, first from wealthy benefactors like Montefiore and Rothschild, and later – when they needed to resettle hundreds of thousands of often penniless refugees from the Holocaust and, later, from the Muslim world – from organized appeals in the Diaspora. In a highly controversial arrangement, Holocaust survivors in Israel also received billions as reparations from Germany (the state also received several hundreds of millions).

The Jews created cooperative enterprises in every economic sphere which enabled them to pull themselves up by their bootstraps, despite a war of independence in which they lost 1% of their population, and massive immigration. Later they surprised the world by repeatedly defeating their more numerous enemies, and little by little transformed their economy to a more entrepreneurial model. Today Israel, despite the challenges, is a remarkable success, economically, socially and culturally. Not perfect, but still a remarkable success.

Despite what people think, Israel does not receive non-military aid from the US, and only modest amounts of money from Diaspora charities. Indeed, many Israelis think we can and should end the military aid, which comes with many strings attached.

Now let’s look at another group that ostensibly aspires to a state, the ‘Palestinians’.

Take the Gaza Strip, with 1.8 million residents, 72% of them with refugee status, wards of the international dole. There is no economy to speak of, except that created by UNRWA which feeds and educates its population with funds provided primarily by the US and Europe, and Hamas, which manufactures rockets, digs attack tunnels and prepares for war.

This population is rapidly growing; it is expected to reach 2.1 million by 2020, with a fertility rate of 4.2 children per woman (a conservative estimate). For comparison, the fertility rate among Arabs in Judea and Samaria is only 2.8. 21% of Gazans are between the ages of 15 and 24, and 64% under 25.

This huge ‘youth bulge’ combined with a lack of employment, is a guarantee of continued violence. And it is all paid for by the West, which, through UNRWA’s welfare policies, incentivizes Gazans to have children. Welfare costs for Palestinians increase every year, along with the population.

The West went along with Arab demands to prevent any resettlement of ‘Palestinian refugees’ and the UN granted refugee status to anyone who lived in pre-state Palestine for as little as two years – and to all their descendents in perpetuum, something done for no other refugee population. 99% of UNRWA employees are Palestinians, and the curriculum in UNRWA schools is aimed at keeping alive the narrative of Arab dispossession and dishonor that fuels the conflict. UNRWA does not ameliorate the conflict, it nourishes it.

Consider also the Arabs of Judea and Samaria, the great majority of whom live under the control of the Palestinian Authority. The PA, like UNRWA, is totally dependent on American and European money. The PA burns through most of the more than $1 billion a year it receives on corruption and its multiple ‘security forces’ (which sometimes engage in terrorism). It also disburses large payments to the families of prisoners in Israeli jails for security offenses, and to families of ‘martyrs’, including suicide bombers. The PA and its official media continue to incite violence and murder of Jews, and treat terrorists as heroes.

Large monopolies, like cement and telecommunications are in the hands of PA insiders. Crime is rampant and economic activity is stunted.

Both Israel and the Palestinians received injections of capital from abroad. Israel used it to help build the infrastructure of a state, and turn her refugees into productive citizens. The Palestinian Arab leaders stole much of the money, nurtured their people’s hatred and created a permanent class of stateless refugees as an army to fight Israel. Indeed, even if a Palestinian state were created in the territories, the refugees would not be welcome in it, because according to Palestinian dogma, the only way to stop being a refugee is to ‘return’ to ‘your home’ in Israel!

When the international community gave the Palestinians money for building infrastructure like waste treatment plants or power stations, they built mansions for PA and Hamas officials. Hamas took cement for rebuilding homes after the last war and used it to line attack tunnels. The only area in which they have shown any initiative is getting attention by killing people.

Do you see the difference here? The Jews really wanted a state. They were ready to sacrifice and struggle for it. They took advantage of the aid that was available and used it to build something. The Arabs aren’t even trying. All they want is to destroy our state.

The ‘Palestinians’ have contributed nothing to the world except violent terrorism since they invented themselves in order to oppose Jewish sovereignty some 60 years ago. It’s time to start weaning them off welfare. If they can switch from stabbing to state-building, then they should go for it. In any case, the world can’t afford to keep feeding them.

Posted in Israel and Palestinian Arabs | Leave a comment

Who will cut off the head of the snake?

Remember the Cold War? In particular, do you remember when both sides had consistent ideological positions? Washington was always acting to stop soviet expansionism, preventing the dominoes from falling, while the Soviets fought to end American Imperialism.

I miss the clarity of those days, the ideological self-assurance of both sides. My teachers in the 1950s explained that we were in a struggle with godless communism that wanted to make us slaves, and that’s why our older brothers were facing human wave assaults or freezing their butts off in Korea. I’m sure Russian and Chinese children learned about the menace of American Imperialism, and maybe even practiced getting under their desks in case of atomic attack, as we did.

Today Americans don’t have a clue anymore about who or what they are fighting, and even many Israelis are confused about their enemies. This is a terrible spot to be in, because if you don’t know who you are fighting you are likely to end up shooting yourself. Today I’m going to talk to the Israelis. Maybe there will be something here for Americans too.

Who or what are Israel’s enemies?

There are many of them, all of whom don’t want there to be a sovereign Jewish state. They include the PLO, Hamas, Da’esh, and yes, even elements in Europe and America. But none are as immediately threatening as the Iranian regime. I want to concentrate on it, because a) it is the strongest and most dangerous and b) if we defeat Iran, it will serve as an effective lesson for our other enemies.

So the first thing we need to do is to understand them. Who ‘they’ are in this case are the Shiite clerical leaders of Iran (the ayatollahs) and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), an ideologically oriented military organization.

The IRGC is very different from Western or Israeli military forces, because in addition to being a military force, it is embedded throughout the Iranian society and economy. It runs the Basij paramilitary force that violently put down the so-called ‘green movement’ in 2009 and gave the Iranian presidency to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The IRGC controls Hezbollah, a heavily-armed militia – actually, ‘army’ is more correct – based in Lebanon that has extended its tentacles throughout the Lebanese society and economy, and also carries out world-wide terrorism. The IRGC controls Iran’s missile and nuclear programs, and wields great influence – if not effective control – over the clerical government of the Islamic Republic.

It’s important to understand that the Iranian people, 78 million of them, are not a historic enemy of Israel or the Jewish people. In fact there were good relations between Israel and Iran prior to the 1979 revolution, and even contacts during the 1980s. Iran’s people are well-educated as a whole and it is a surprisingly modern country compared to the Arab nations in the region. Unlike the populations of the Arab countries, Iranians are not highly anti-Jewish.

However, since about 1990, the ruling theocracy and the IRGC have seen Israel as one of their greatest enemies (the other is the US, something which the US president seems determined not to admit). They are opposed to Jewish sovereignty in the Middle East for religious reasons, but the main cause of conflict is that they wish to expand their sphere of control to include the entire region, and Israel is the greatest stumbling block to this ambition.

Since the downfall of Saddam Hussein and the recent withdrawal of American power from the region, only Israel stands in Iran’s way. The Russians and the US even seem to be cooperating with Iran to some extent (just how far they will be willing to let it go is an interesting question).

Iran is already well on its way to conquering Iraq, and Syria’s Assad is totally dependent on it. Iran’s Hezbollah subsidiary is the most powerful military/political force in Lebanon, and poses the greatest military threat to Israel since 1967. In addition to Hezbollah, Iran also provides money and weapons to various terrorist factions in Gaza and elsewhere, even Hamas, despite their religious differences.

You may recall the so-called ‘linkage theory’ beloved by the US State Department and administration, that insists that “if the Israel-Palestine conflict were solved, most of the problems in the Middle East would go away.” This has been thoroughly disproved by the rise of Da’esh, the continuing Sunni-Shiite conflicts, and the Syrian civil war, none of which are related at all to the ‘Palestinians’ or Israel. But there is another possible root cause of Mideast violence and tensions today: Iranian expansionism.

A great deal of the instability in the Middle East and the plague of world-wide terrorism is related to the efforts of Iran to take over the region. Even the progress of Da’esh can be seen as a reaction to Iran: it can be argued that if the Iranian efforts to unify Iraq and Syria under Shiite domination were to end and local forces (Kurds, Iraqi and Syrian Sunnis, Alawis, etc.) allowed to take control of their home regions, much of the appeal of Da’esh would be removed.

The persistence of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is also abetted by Iran. Much of the intransigence of the Palestinian Arabs is due to their hope that outside pressure – both diplomatic pressure from the West and military threats, including those from Iran and its proxies – will force Israel to give in to their demands. Neutralizing Iran would take much of the military pressure off.

It is probably true that if the IRGC were to disappear tomorrow, so would most of the worst threats facing Israel. The IRGC is the “head of the snake” that former Saudi king Abdullah wanted to see cut off.

Until recently, Israel (as well as Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states) depended on the US to keep order in the Middle East and protect them from aggression. The botched response to 9/11 and the disaster of the Iraq war disrupted this, and now the Obama Administration has chosen to pull back precipitously, leaving a power vacuum that is being filled by Iran and Russia.

Israel is not a great power like the US still is or even a less-great power like Russia. It doesn’t have the depth or resources of a larger country like Iran. But it has extraordinary military power for its size. Unfortunately, despite its traditional desire to be left alone to tend its own garden, it is being forced into a situation in which the only way to guarantee its security will be to intervene more actively in regional affairs.

Someone needs to cut off the head of the snake. It may turn out to be us.

Posted in Iran, Middle East politics | 1 Comment