Porphyrogenitus

If one is going to go after sacred cows, one should really go after sacred cows. Most of the people in our society who get credit for "going after sacred cows" are just going after unfashionable ones. At least ones that are unfashionable in the circles they want to appeal to. We live in a world of iconodules posing as iconoclasts.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Israel's Strategic Failure

My cold-blooded and deranged response to Walter Russell Meade's post on the subject.

The real strategic failure is that Israel continues to start measures and then backpedal in a way that produces all the negative consequences of action without any of the achievable goals being produced:
Going into Lebanon and then later Gaza in force to root out the problems at their source, and then stopping and withdrawing in the face of the usual international reaction. Their international reputation would have hardly been worse if they had finished the job. Anyone who supported the initial policy in each case has to be disapointed by the ultimate lack of fortitude to follow through with it (which was predictable to me as both these campaigns started, though I hoped I was wrong), and anyone who opposed Israel in these cases is quietly thanking their good fortune.

Yet as I said, the each unfolded predictably, every time, exactly as I have foreseen, because at bottom even - especially - the Israelis want to not only do the right thing, but what is actually worse be *seen* and *perceived* as doing the right thing. So when they go to cut the knot, they saw half way through and when the International Community's Greek Chorus shouts them down, they stop and back off, letting it regrow and metastasize, letting it feel it has the momentum, feel a sense of victory, and that the Winds of Change are on their side.

This inevitably leaves them with the worst of both worlds. Surely WRM knows Napoleon's saying that if you set out to take Vienna, TAKE VIENNA.

Probably the best strategic move Israel could do now is rename itself "North Korea" (while not adopting that nation's political ideology). Then they could do whatever they want, sink any ship, threaten and kill anyone they needed to, and the ever-so caring International Community wouldn't care one whit - except to urge "Caution" and "don't over-react" and "nobody should escalate the situation."

Anyhow, it's really all over now; as my mother said the other day about this, it's like a dying person connected to a respirator. Everyone knows what is to come, but no one knows when.

Or, in one of my favorite quotes, tragic in this context, "The non-inevitability of events we nevertheless know are bound to come."

It is non-inevitable: Something could change, in us, the broad us, the so-called civilized world. But do you think it will? In time? Since it hasn't yet, despite many wuss-slaps to the face by reality, when and under what circumstances do you think it will? Again: In time. In this case, in time for the Israelis, who one would think have sacrificed enough and been sacrificed enough to other's self-regard.

T.S. Eliot: "Half of the harm that is done in this world Is due to people who want to feel important. They don't mean to do harm. But the harm does not interest them. Or they do not see it, or they justify it because they are absorbed in the endless struggle to think well of themselves."

These days it most, more than half, of the forces for evil in this world would be readily checked if it wasn't for these two sorts of people. But we let them hold the reins.

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9 Comments:

Blogger William Newman said...

"Probably the best strategic move Israel could do now is rename itself 'North Korea' (while not adopting that nation's political ideology)."

I think I understand your cynical frustration here, but I also think you're mistaken for at least two more cynical reasons.

First, communist political ideology has often been a free pass for various acts of military aggression, mass murder, and slavery. Therefore, it's unrealistic to expect the free pass to come with the NK name alone without the ideology that backs it up.

Second, like most states at most times, NK benefits from avoiding picking on racial or religious groups which don't have large, wealthy contingents outside its territory. When states don't benefit from this, as e.g. Britain with the Irish, they can take a disproportionate amount of flak.

I don't know why bisecting a national identity group and enslaving a good chunk of it doesn't generate a comparable problem, but it seems that it generally doesn't (Germany, Korea, China...) --- racial (South Africa) or religious identity seems to be required for this phenomenon to occur at full strength.

"the Israelis want to not only do the right thing, but what is actually worse be *seen* and *perceived* as doing the right thing"

It seems to me that the Israelis want to be granted the amount of slack for coverups and spin that is often granted friendly sovereign actors. Thus in this incident they jam transmissions, confiscate video, selectively release video, and want the international community to lap up the resulting confection. In the larger picture, they are secretive about how the blockade is actually enforced (no clear public guidelines on what's allowed through, e.g.) but want to be able to represent it to the international community as a narrow security-based blockade, without controversy about collective economic punishment. Freely using lethal force to enforce a blockade or to respond to riot-level violence is hardly unheard of in 20th century history, and imposing collective economic punishment isn't either. Supporters of the Israelis, perhaps including you, can make a case for being driven to it. But the Israeli government seems to prefer to make the easy case that they don't need to defend the controversial actual policy, but only the narrow idealized policy. Unfortunately the easiness of that case depends on being given a lot of slack for coverups and spin.

June 5, 2010 at 10:21 AM  
Blogger 怡谷ShanikaMaxey怡谷 said...

臨淵羨魚,不如退而結網。 ..................................................

June 6, 2010 at 10:46 PM  
Blogger 佩GailBohanan1蓉 said...

Lets cross the bridge when we come to it............................................................

June 10, 2010 at 8:38 AM  
Blogger batesda said...

人有兩眼一舌,是為了觀察倍於說話的緣故。............................................................

June 13, 2010 at 10:43 PM  
Blogger Vi2139 said...

人有兩眼一舌,是為了觀察倍於說話的緣故。..................................................................

June 17, 2010 at 5:41 PM  
Blogger 冠慧 said...

If the quantity is not a lot, I will hand carry..................................................

June 21, 2010 at 7:26 PM  
Blogger 茹順茹順 said...

期待你每一篇文章......................................................................

June 26, 2010 at 7:47 AM  
Blogger 政儒 said...

上班好累哦,看看部落格轉換心情~~~先謝謝啦!!.................................................................                           

June 29, 2010 at 5:58 PM  
Blogger 于庭 said...

成熟,就是有能力適應生活中的模糊。.................................................................

July 3, 2010 at 5:48 AM  

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