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Posts Tagged ‘Israel’

As I was preparing my lecture on Israel–listen live tonight, I wanted to try to find an apt comparison to demonstrate just how small Israel is. A quick Google search revealed a great site: IRIS.ORG.IL (IRIS stands for “Information Regarding Israel’s Security”) that has great comparative maps.

Here’s the pick of the litter:

How Big is Israel–A Special Map for Americans:

How Big is Israel–a Special Map for Canadians:

How Big is Israel–a Special Map for Arabs:

Actually, the Arab World is so big, it won’t even fit in my blog window! You can click on the map to see the original, if you like. No wonder the Arab world had so much trouble accommodating the Palestinian refugees. Where would they all fit?

(IRIS also has a decent BLOG, but I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how to leave a comment on some of their more interesting posts. If you manage to do so, let me know how!)

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Perhaps Israel’s action will come before the upcoming election!  Maybe Bush and Cheney will take one huge parting shot in the “war on terror” by using Israel as a proxy–one that doesn’t require “congressional authorization”–to strike at Iran?  That’s what this Washington Post editorial suggests.  It states the following reasons for concern about an upcoming attack:

  1. the recent resignation of William Fallon — a general who is known as a critic of the administration
  2. a trip by Cheney’s trip to the Middle East
  3. a recent airstrike on Syria by Israel, which may signal the intention to clear a strike corridor by assessing Russian-built air defenses
  4. the presence of U.S. warships off Lebanon
  5. Israeli comments
  6. Israel’s war with Hezbollah

Perhaps by “Israeli comments,” one can include the fact that there have apparently been leaks concerning an Israeli nuclear strike on Iran using bunker-buster weapons–which may have been supplied to Israel by the US as recently as 2006 expressly for the purpose of attacking Iran.

If this happens, it’ll simply mean that Israel recognizes the imminence of the Iranian threat and is going to render McCain-Obama even more irrelevant by preempting any self-defeating move either of these leaders might make with regards to Iran.

What worries me, however, is that these attacks will amount to “nuclear pinpricks” and thus do nothing but reinforce Islamic totalitarianism’s hold over Iran and exacerbate the long-run situation in Iraq beyond repair.

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While Americans try to sort out the question of who will be their next president, the real question people should be asking themselves is, “Will Israel have the courage to save itself–and the rest of the world–when it comes time to deal with Iran?”

It really doesn’t matter whether the American electorate takes the unlikely view that it wants a more bellicose geriatric version of George Bush, i.e. John McCain, or the likelier scenario that it wants a vibrant black JFK who promises change, i.e. Barack Obama. Either way, the responsibility for saving the world will fall on Israel’s shoulders.

Pick your leader America.  I’m afraid it won’t matter! 

If McCain becomes president, the United States will obviously stay in Iraq longer than otherwise.  The American government will continue to try to suppress the reactionary tendencies within Iraq’s Islamic culture, only to find that any policy designed to direct Iraq’s development necessarily involves other requirements beyond America’s current political will.  

To try to mitigate Iraq’s external handicaps, McCain proposes to apply “international pressure” on the regimes that seek to undermine Iraq’s Westernization, i.e. Iran and Syria.  This deliberately vague proposal means one of two things:  1) either McCain does not want to confront them directly, and he’s being up front about it, or 2) he wants to, but realizes that it would be political suicide to say so.  Either way, he will never do so with the effectiveness required to dissuade these terrorist regimes and motivate America’s political allies in Iraq.

Only with America’s full support against Iran could Iraq’s secular leaders possibly be motivated to tough out what will certainly be decades of religious strife to come.  It is well known that Iran aids insurgents militarily, but this is just the tip of the iceberg. Iran is the central hub of contemporary Islamism and thus it impacts the entire region ideologically. The reactionary theocratic philosophy that fueled its 1979 revolution has been gaining in appeal among Muslims, and Iraq’s leaders need to know that they will always get help resisting this force.

Similarly, Iraq’s nascent democracy needs to know that its ally will not tolerate the undermining presence of oppressive theocracies and terrorist states along its other borders. Consequently, regime change in Saudi Arabia and Syria would also have to figure in any American plans for a stable Iraq.  These things will never happen.  In the Republican mindset, Saudi Arabia is a stable ally, and Syria is just a containable nuisance.

What will happen if America sticks with the Republicans is that McCain will attempt to “stay the course.” He will try to isolate the Iraq situation, and try to evade the fact that it can’t be isolated.  And if Americans aren’t calling for the troops to come home quite loudly enough for McCain to hear it yet, he won’t be able to not hear it as president.

Tragically, the longer American troops stay in Iraq while Iran remains untouched, the stronger the eventual backlash against America’s presence will be. Iraq will most likely disintegrate into civil war. The world will be scrambling to come to grips with Iraqi disintegration, and praying that we aren’t swallowed up by some world-wide conflict.  While everything is busy pointing the finger at America for creating this mess, and falling over each other not to get involved, Iran will capitalize on America’s diplomatic isolation and try to do what every Muslim regime in the Middle East wishes it could do: destroy Israel.

But what if Obama becomes president?  Can we avoid such an outcome? 

With Obama in charge, America will adopt a position of respect for the “self-determination” of the Middle East. Obama will remove America’s troops from Iraq as quickly as possible.

In the hopes of stabilizing the situation in the region, he will then attempt to befriend Ahmedinejad as JFK attempted to befriend Nasser.  Like JFK, however, he will get stung, only it’ll be much worse than Nasser sending troops to revolutionary Yemen.  It’ll be a lot more like Chamberlain getting stung by Hitler.

The historical parallel between modern Iran and pre-WWII Germany has naturally occurred to many. Like Germany in the 1920s, Iran does not accept its subordinacy to powers that have never conquered it. It does not accept that other countries may determine its national fate. Like inter-war Germany, it is surrounded by weaker countries that share an ethnic (in this case religious, not racial) identity with it, and which it hopes to dominate based on an integrating ideology, in this case Pan-Islamism.

Iran’s neighbors only vaguely apprehend its ambitions and have only a loose connection to the power that should be the one to stop Iran, the United States. However, just as in the 1930s, Americans want disengagement, and Obama is ready to deliver. 

What’s worse is that like Chamberlain before WWII, he is willing to exchange hand shakes and promises with someone he believes isn’t really an enemy, just a frustrated patriot.

Thus what McCain would abhor doing, but can’t avoid, Obama will willingly do: empower Iran to strike at Israel.

The situation has deteriorated to the point where we will arrive at this juncture regardless of which of the current candidates leads America into it.

 

With America paralyzed, the way will be cleared for Iran to make its move.

As everyone is well aware,  Ahmedinejad is pushing forward with Iran’s nuclear energy program.  And as everybody knows, this is a natural stepping stone to the creation of nuclear weapons.  The idea that Iran needs nuclear energy to help its own people, when it starves them of oil which it has in abundance, is ludicrous.  For a committed Islamist regime nuclear power can have only have one purpose: nuclear weapons, and nuclear weapons can have only one first-strike target: Israel. 

Ahmedinejad’s message is clear, but it’s so frightening no one wants to listen.

So the real question is: what will Israel do when the time comes?

Will Israel strike first? It will take incredible courage. I don’t envy the Israelis to have to be in this position because America has defaulted and will continue to default on its role as world leader. If they choose to destroy Iran by the preemptive use of nuclear weapons, they will have to endure decades of international hatred for refusing to be sacrificed for “peace in our time.”

But this is their only option. No matter how good Mossad’s operations are in Iran, and no matter how good their air force pilots are, limited strikes can hardly guarantee a secure result, and they will only serve to align the world against Israel and embolden Iran to take the final step.

Unlike pre-WWII Czechoslovakia, Israel is powerful enough to stop its aggresive neighbor militarily. Its policy of “nuclear ambiguity” is obviously a cover for its own nuclear program, which has probably been in place since the 1960s. Its leaders certainly understand as well that Israel is too small to trade blows on a nuclear battlefield, and cannot risk being the first to be struck.

This all adds up to one of only two results. Iran gone. Or Israel gone.

The only thing the upcoming election is going to settle is the number and variety of intervening events along this terrifying timeline.

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My latest course, The Islamist Entanglement, starts tomorrow, and I couldn’t be more excited.  It will be hands-down my best course ever!

So if you’ve heard about Powell History’s unique content and method, and clients’ rave reviews (and here too!), don’t you owe it to yourself to try one of my lectures?!

The great thing about this offering is that that’s all you have to do: try one.  You don’t have to commit to the whole course — a steal at $249, but still a good chunk of change.  Instead pay the discounted rate of only $20 for a single lecture.

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The LA Times carried an article yesterday that touched on an interesting theme relating to the importance of the history of the Middle East, and the importance of history in general. In essence, that theme is the weight of un-integrated history.

As students in my current European history course (registration is always open!) are well aware, the complex and dreary chain of wars that Europeans waged on each other throughout their history provides important insight into the cultural malaise on that continent. Whence that wry English wit? Whence the French distaste for a happy ending? Whence the German “Weltschmerz” (“world weariness”)? These are all symptoms of un-integrated history, expressed in the “sense of life” of a culture.

The emotional burden that people carry when they fail to integrate the past of their nation is just one of the costs of not learning from history, and really just a symptom of a more tragic reality. When history goes unlearned, as George Santayana was wont to say, the same mistake keep getting repeated. And worse yet, this iterative process of failure compounds the context of historical-psychological baggage that people carry with them.

Witness the Israelis, Palestinians, and Americans in the latest round of “peace talks.” It’s been forty years since the UN Resolution 242, which proposed “land for peace.” Everybody says they want peace, but no one seriously believes they will find it now, or in the near future. The so-called “road map” put forward by President Bush sets out conditions for peace that are not being met by the Palestinians, and that no one can foresee being met.

The weight of un-integrated history which everyone carrying but evading is the basic fact that the Palestinians (and their Muslim and Arab sponsor states) are morally bankrupt and have done nothing to come even remotely close to earning them statehood. The history of these people is a shocking litany of self-destructive religious fanaticism, racism, and violence. And yet they are treated as genuine partners in the “peace process.”

Until the historical record of the Middle East is set straight, predicting the outcome of the latest round of peace talks is depressingly straightforward. Whatever commitments are stated will not be met, whatever hopeful sentiments are expressed will be repudiated in action; and there will be no peace.

Learn the history of the Middle East with Powell History by taking The Islamist Entanglement this coming February (general registration is now open).

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