A Tale of Two Wars

Pages: 1 2

There are two possible conflicts on the table in Washington. One is with Iran and the other with Syria. The Iran conflict is the one that Washington doesn’t want. Its most likely trigger at this stage is an Israeli assault on Iran’s nuclear program. Like most of the wars centering around Israel, this one is existential and of no interest to the philosopher kings in D.C. who wage wars with the grand purpose of making the world a better place.

Washington does not particularly care whether Iran gets nukes or doesn’t get nukes. It cares about History. With a capital “H.” Libya got bombed because it was on the wrong side of history. Syria is about to get bombed because it’s on the wrong side of history. There are people in the administration like Samantha Power who would like to bomb Israel for being on the wrong side of history, but they don’t think that even J Street and Peter Beinart could spin that as a pro-Israel move.

Being on the right or wrong side of history is one of those topics that primarily interests Islamists and nation builders on the right and the left who subscribe to a progressive version of history. Things don’t just happen, they happen because a country and a people are riding the history escalator up or down, to the top floor of the mall of the world where the cultivated stores like Starbucks, Nordstrom and the now defunct Sharper Image are located, or the bottom where K-Mart, Payless and Gap take up space.

The Arab Spring was on the right side of history because of its transformative qualities. Supporters of it were on the right side of history. Opponents of it needed to be bombed if they were Arab dictators or disinvited from the right cocktail parties if they were merely columnists and analysts. And at the end of it all through the sublime majesty of democracy and people power, the Middle East would look exactly like Europe, but with a more exotic cuisine.

Israel has always been the hedgehog in the soup of Arab democracy, agitating them, empowering their rulers and causing them to distrust Western benevolence. Now Israeli jets threaten to spill the soup of the Arab Spring by bombing Iran, which may reinforce support for Syria, which will hold up the Arab Spring and halt the progressive escalator of history.

Washington needs the Syrian war to happen, and it needs to keep a conflict with Iran from happening. The great diplomatic problem of Israel has always been that its leader insist on viewing conflicts in practical terms. Israel does not fight wars to make the world safe for democracy, it fights wars because there’s someone shooting missiles as it. This is an unacceptable reason for a war in a postmodern world where wars are fought to preserve the international order, protect civilization, make the world safe for democracy and prove that human rights violations will be punished by the duly constituted body of international jurisprudence.

Self-interest is Israel’s original sin. It was the sin that countless titans of the left from H.G. Wells to Lenin berated the Zionists for. Instead of contributing to the welfare of mankind and participating in the international brotherhood of workers, they went off to rebuild a country that existed only in their holy books and stirred up all kinds of trouble doing it. And since they have kept on stirring up trouble, not in the name of some grand idea, but out of their tawdry interest in defending themselves.

With angry Muslims boiling in European cities, Koran touting terrorists blowing up the modern infrastructure of the world’s capitals and turmoil roiling the hundreds of millions of Muslims who still haven’t managed to get refugee status in the UK or the US, the progressive vision is in big trouble and the only solution is to somehow stabilize the situation. Democracy is the only panacea that the progressive prescription plan covers.

Israel’s insistence on a purely existential view is dismissed as selfish and narrow-minded when the Middle East is headed toward a brave new world where nukes no longer matter because no one is angry anymore because there are no more dictators and democracy is everywhere. While the Israelis see the Middle East as basically static, the progressives see the Middle East as constantly on the verge of a great leap forward to a new more enlightened age.

As a result any affinity between the neoconservatives and Israeli leaders was always going to be limited. The neoconservatives were impressed by Israel’s modernism, but they assumed that it could be copied over to their neighbors and came to resent Israel as an obstacle for not playing a more meaningful role in their grand theory of history. While outwardly the progressives see Israel as very modern, they reject it for not possessing the most vital element of modernism. Transnationalism.

While Israel has more than its share of leftists, its animating philosophy is an ethnic nationalism that is repugnant to the transnationalist. They can find no meaningful globally applicable philosophy that defines its success. Like Japan, Israel is a self-contained wonder. It is a nation, not a philosophy. Its identity is rooted in an infuriating recent and ancient history. It is modern in defiance of the progressive understanding of history– which is why its technology, its human rights and its basic decency are dismissed.

Pages: 1 2

  • Alvaro

    An Iran with nukes will trigger a nuclear arms race in the Middle East.

    In countries with responsible governments it does not really matter if they have atomic weapons. But in the hands of lunatics it is the recipe for atomic war.

    Iran must be prevented from getting atomic weapons, by any means necessary.

  • crackerjack

    Israel has neither the intent nor the capabilitiy to "……go it alone in Iran…". If it had, it would have done so long ago, without prior notice.

    Israel can't go it alone and the US can't go it with Israel.

    • WildJew

      Israel has the capability. The question is whether Israel's leadership has the will in the face of international and primarily U.S. pressure to stand down.

      • crackerjack

        Nonsense. Israel does not have anything close to the capability to week, if not month long air campaigne against Iran. Israel would have enough on its plate hitting once or twice with a few random bombs, after which it would probably run to the cover of the UN, and cry victim to get the West to defend it.

        Let's stop pretending Israel is a superpower.

        • UCSPanther

          Try telling that to Gamal Nasser, and there ain't no UAR alliance now.

          • crackerjack

            Israel is a regional power only by will and mercy of the West and the USA. Take away AIPAC, and Israel is in dire straights.

            And by the way : The present UAR , led by the House of Saud, would love to see Persia fall. But the moment there is even the slightest hint of allegience with Israel, the Arab Spring trained masses will take to the streets and hang their leaders from the highest trees available. Decades of humiliation and confontation count more to the Arab masses than the rise of the Shiite.

          • UCSPanther

            You need to read some history. Israel has been isolated for decades and it single handedly took on and defeated nations that were both numerically superior and better armed than they were. They dominated Gamal Nasser's UAR alliance in '67 and fended off Anwar Sadat's surprise attack in '71, and had no outside help in doing so.

            It just blows your mind that Israel is a prosperous, wealthy and free nation, while the Arab world around it wallows in self-inflicted poverty and chaos.

          • crackerjack

            Henry Kissinger and hundreds of thousands of tons of US arms aid, emergency flown in by Galaxys and Starlifters on over 500 flights won Israel's war.

            The oil crisis of the 70's, staged by OPEC is protest of Western aid for Israel, was the result.

  • davarino

    The egg heads toy with nations and screw them up with their little experiments. No one is held accountable and unfortunately this "global government" wont step up to make things right for Israel when their nation is turned to glass. That is why Israel cannot rely on these egg heads, they have to go it alone.

  • WildJew

    D. Greenfield wrote: "….affinity between the neoconservatives and Israeli leaders was always going to be limited."

    How do you know if a person might be a neoconservative? The following are some good indicators:

    1) After President George W. Bush enunciates a vision for a Palestinian Muslim-enemy state in Israel's historic and strategic heartland, he continues to strongly support Bush because even though the president betrayed a friend, he is implanting democracy in Iraq.

    2) He writes a piece in the Washington post entitled, "Egypt protests show George W. Bush was right about freedom in the Arab world," (January 2011)

    3) Newt Gingrich says (publicly) the Palestinians are terrorists; an invented people dedicated to Israel's destruction. In response, Mitt Romney says Gingrich is a bomb thrower. A neoconservative sorts out the disagreement with a hit piece on Gingrich ("And Reagan") in behalf of Mitt Romney in National Review Online. Another neoconservative who supports Romney says Gingrich's remarks about the Palestinians are "provocative" and "irresponsible."

  • http://www.dropboxfaq.com/developers DropBox Questions

    Definitely imagine that that you stated. Your favourite reason appeared to be at the web the easiest factor to bear in mind of. I say to you, I certainly get annoyed whilst other folks think about issues that they just don’t understand about. You controlled to hit the nail upon the top as well as defined out the entire thing with no need side effect , folks can take a signal. Will probably be back to get more. Thanks

  • tagalog

    "Israel fights wars because there's somebody shooting missiles at it." Priceless. The United States used to think that way most of the time.

    • mrbean

      Stupid is as stupid does in your case, tagalog. Iran admitted publically that it did indeed supply 6000 Zelzal missles and 100 long-range Zelzal-2 missiles to Hizbullah. The longer-range Zelzal missiles, manufactured by Iran and are capable of reaching Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Beer Sheva in the Negev. Iran reinforced the purpose was in a statement of "wiping Israel off the map" and though bullets are not flying yet between Israel and Iran, both nations are very much at war.

  • tagalog

    I think if you had read my post, you probably would have left out the "stupid is as stupid does" thingie, mrbean.

  • Nakba1948

    But why stop at just two wars?! Let's start a third! Yemen is looking like a pretty attractive target these days. And while we're in the area, let's bomb the heck out of Iraq again just for kicks. It's easy to be a cheerleader for embroiling America in war after war when your first and only allegiance is to Israel. Let the Apartheid State do its own dirty work and reap the consequences.

    • Viewpoint

      The term, “Apartheid State” can not be justly, rationally applied to Israel… because Israel is not racially segregated. Arab Muslims not only hold positions of power in the Israeli Parliament, they are free to go into any part of Israel without fear of injury, or homicidal attack. This is not the case for Israelis. What is the likelihood that an Arab government would ever allow a Jew to hold office? Israelis that accidently crossed into Muslim-dominated regions in Israel suffered great detriment and even paid with their lives. This past week, a couple of British teen boys ventured into a part of England that the Muslims now claim as theirs… the boys were nearly beaten to death.

    • Viewpoint

      Perhaps you meant, “Occupier”… but this is also unjust and irrational… because it was Israel that was repeatedly attacked by the very ones that now whine about incrementally losing the entire half allotted to them by the U.N. Partition Resolution of 1948. Surely, it is beyond dispute, that if one nation attacks another repeatedly with the intention of completely annihilating the attacked nation, the attacking nation can not then claim to be the victim of the very conflict they started and perpetuated. Surely, only those who are completely ignorant of the historical record and those who are completely blinded by anti-Semitism can so willingly fall for such an absurd deception.

  • Ghostwriter

    Hey Nakba1948! How about you slithering back to whatever pit you came from? The Israelis aren't just going to sit by and watch themselves get slaughtered which it seems that you want. Get used to it!!! The Israelis AREN'T going anywhere!!!!!!

    • Nakba1948

      I'm an American, dumbo. Unlike your country, Israel, mine isn't a "pit." No one is threatening Israel with total annihilation. It's all part of the elaborate paranoid delusion you call Zionism.

  • Guest

    Israel will attack Iran because it has no choice whatsoever. Over the last few years the Iranian mullahs have EVEN gone so far as to publicly discuss how they could afford to lose X percent of the Iranian population….as LONG as Islam is ADVANCED worldwide. This pseudo-religion WILL have no compunction about using a nuclear device on Israel. In the coming war (perhaps within months) the Iranians may be STUPID enough to use chemical weapons on Israeli cities. We could well see Israel responding (if it feels threatened enough) with a low grade nuclear weapon dropped on Teheran. As the great Jewish writer/Nobel winner Isaac Bashevis Singer once said: "We Jews suffer from many diseases. Amnesia is not one of them."