Bibi Netanyahu’s Lament

October 16, 2014

ISIS and Hamas are fruit from the same poisoned tree.” – Netanyahu at the UN

Benjamin Netanyahu is one of a kind among seasoned politicians. He doesn’t just think outside of the box, the Israeli prime minister makes boxes for men like Barack Hussein Obama. Take the perennial impasse in the Middle East, the so-called Palestinian problem. The atmospherics alone tell the story. Netanyahu has been to America a dozen or more times since Obama came to office. In that same period, the American president has been to Israel once and even then reluctantly.

The Israeli PM addresses the American president as ‘Mister President,’ Obama addresses the Israeli PM as ‘Bibi,’ a diminutive of Benjamin. In this, Barack Obama comes across as petty and immature. Surely, there’s no love lost between the two, their relationship is a little like an experienced adult trying to reason with an insecure adolescent.

My way or the highway seems to be Obama’s petulant premise for any domestic negotiation. In contrast, he seems to think the international world of Muslim pathology is win/win game. Foreign policy naiveté might be an attempt to channel the wisdom urban philosophers like Rodney King, “Can’t we just get along?”

Every time that the Israeli prime minister comes to Washington, he reminds the world, and Diaspora supporters, that Israel alone has been at the front in the fight against Islamic terror for 60 years or more. In contrast, the Mediterranean littoral is now littered with the debris of recent American failure, failures among putative Arab and Muslim “allies” of the Obama administration.

In all of this, the American president thinks he is on the right side of history. He likes to whistle in the dark too, telling the American people that they are safer since his national security team came to town. Netanyahu sees the world as it is, the best that might be said of Obama is that he is naïve, frightened, confused – or in way over his head.

Israel is a sovereign successful nation, a rich culture that predates toxic Islamic monocultural illusions by millennia. Indeed, tiny Israel and the Diaspora have made more artistic, scientific, and cultural contributions to humanity in 60 years than the Ummah has made in 500 years. Unlike Arabs, Ottomans and their historical subjects, Jews never cultivated empire – political, religious, or military imperialism.

Calling parts of the traditional Jewish homeland “occupied” territories is a little like calling New Mexico, California, or Scotland occupied. Land lost in war is often lost to history and the enemy. Israel has been more than generous, by any modern standard, with lands returned to ungrateful Arab neighbors who were defeated in existential wars. For Israel, the alternative to military victory is always extinction.

The Arab population within Israel lives better than Muslims in most any state with an Islamic majority. Indeed, most Arab countries are judenfrie by fiat and that includes the lands occupied by Fatah and Hamas. When the subject is Jews, the progressive West and the Islamic East see tolerance as a one-way street. Indeed, anti-Semitism is the bond that now unites the liberal West and theocratic East, a kind of macabre moral suicide pact.

Israel cannot trust fractious Palestine any more than Arabs trust Palestinians.

Any examination of the history of so-called Palestinians in states bordering Israel tells the tale of Arab duplicity. Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and Egypt have been ruthless in suppressing Palestinian militants. Indeed, you might argue that, until the advent of al Qaeda, most Muslim autocrats were happy to have the jihad focused on Israel.  Arabia, especially, was happy to let the Palestine chimera fester in the Holy Land.

Arabs care about Palestinian territorial claims in the Levant about as much as New Yorkers might care about Algonquian claims to Manhattan. For too many Muslims, Palestine is seen as the permanent drip torture that erodes the state of Israel.

Alas, the fascist wolf always goes for the weak and lame. Hence, those plump complacent Arab dictators who supported Fatah, Black September, the PLO, the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas and predictable grandchildren like ISIS, are now surrounded by Islamist carnivores.  You might buy a wolf, but he will never be housebroken.

For once, Joe Biden was correct when he recently called the Turks on similar double dealing in Syria and Iraq. ISIS is a created problem, a descendant of all the other “nefarious characters” that rampage globally in the name of religious war these days.  Biden conveniently failed to mention America, Europe, and Arabia as early co-sponsors of ISIS in the Levant. ISIS is simply another mutation of the global Islamic  jihad.

Bibi Netanyahu is too diplomatic to use a canine metaphor to describe metastasizing Islamic terror. Dogs are haram for Muslims. At the UN  on 29 September he instead compared religious terror to a tree; indeed, he used a Christian homily, a selection from the New Testament, Mathew 7:18.

Say nothing else about the Israeli prime minister, you would have to admit this guy knows how to work a room.

The prime minister’s simile was creatively ambiguous. Examples of bad fruit, Hamas and ISIS, are specified; however, we are left to wonder whether the “poisoned tree” is Islam, Muslims, or just the twisted beards who would behead infidels, apostates, and oil autocrats.

Nonetheless, beneath Netanyahu’s UN lament lay some new thinking on a new approach to the Palestine pot hole and the global jihad; withal, a new direction for Israel and the West.

Without equivocation, the Israeli prime minister calls Islamism a global fight, a threat to Arab regimes as well as the Ummah at large. He puts the burden for a Palestine solution where it belongs, with the Arab nation. Concurrently, he isolates Iran’s nuclear ambition as a threat to Sunni Islam and Israel. Netanyahu suggests that Shia and Sunni Islamists are branches of the same “poisoned tree.”

Heretofore, Israel and America have tended to atomize the threat, attempting to deal with individual manifestations while ignoring the larger phenomenon. A fractured strategy is manifest in whack-a-mole tactics where each terror group is treated as a local problem.

Yesterday it’s the West Bank, today it’s Gaza. Yesterday it’s Fatah, today it’s al Qaeda and Hamas, and tomorrow it’s ISIS. The anthology of firefights and factions is open-ended and global.

Trying to solve the Palestinian problem by talking to Fatah’s Mahmoud Abbas is a little like trying to contain global terror by talking to the Taliban’s semi-literate Mullah Omar. Even if success could be had with one faction, little is done to solve the universal problem.

Without saying so much in so many words, Benjamin Netanyahu seems to be suggesting that Israel ought to be negotiating directly with Riyadh and Cairo, indeed the Arab League, not Ramallah.  By implication, we might also suggest that America and the EU ought to bypass the UN and negotiate directly with the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). If the OIC aspires to speak for the global Ummah, the time has come to speak with one voice.

Islamism is now a universal problem, the defeat of same requires a global solution. And if any boots are required on the ground, they need to be on Muslim feet. And the West doesn’t need to offer too many incentives, as Netanyahu says, for collective Muslim action. Without a new strategy or plan, the oft celebrated “moderate” Islamic majority will be devoured in short order by the beasts of Muslim hell. Ins’allah!

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This essay appeared previously in the American Thinker and the Iconoclast

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We Are Israel

September 8, 2014

“We don’t thrive on military acts. We do them because we have to, and thank God we are efficient.”  – Golda Meir

Almost every news report on the latest Palestinian war leads with comparative casualties; Israeli victims number in the tens while Arabs number in the hundreds. Such stories never fail to report on the percent of women and children injured as if Hamas tactics played no role in the predictable collateral damage of urban warfare.

Back in the day when Communism was a Soviet monopoly, Joseph Stalin is alleged to have said; “One death is a tragedy; a million is just a statistic.” Stalin was, if nothing else, a realist. He knew that numbers, like much statistical evidence, are just as malleable as anecdotal evidence. Objectivity, like truth, is also peculiar to the eye of the beholder. Military disciplines and sciences are no exception.  All wars produce statistics, yet for the most part, battle numbers are most useful as propaganda. Take comparative casualties, the full metal jacket of statistics, a weaponized statistic if there ever were one.

Somehow, for Media apologists, Palestinians terrorists firing from population shields should be immune from counter-battery fire. We are lead to believe that the “disproportionate” number of Palestinian dead or wounded is evidence somehow that Israeli defensive reactions are “excessive.”  Israel is thought to have forfeited the moral high ground. Jews protecting their homes are yet again portrayed as villains.

Never mind the tortured history of Israeli patience or what Jewish casualties might have been if Israel did not maintain a competent defense. If Israel could not defend itself, the price to be paid is another holocaust. Just such a prophesy is part of the Hamas charter.

And never mind that Gaza was given back to the Arabs in what turns out to be naïve quest for peace.  Never mind that Hamas uses hospitals, mosques, and residential neighborhoods as weapons depots, launch pads, and entry points for infiltration tunnels. Never mind that Hamas has used the aid and good will of NGO’s and naïve western supporters to purchase those rockets and fund those tunnels. Never mind that Israeli doctors and hospitals frequently treat Muslim victims in wars that Israel does not initiate. And never mind that Fatah and Hamas are just the most recent examples of the many local and global terrorist organizations with a Palestinian lineage. Let’s leave these facts aside for the moment and speak just about comparative competence.

Jews anywhere, Israelis in particular, are very good at what they do. Indeed, global Jewry is arguably the most successful ethnic/religious minority on the planet. Where Jews live, they make enormous contributions to commerce, literature, science, music, art, and education. Muslims, in contrast, one fourth of the world’s citizens, desiccate in a kind of cultural desert that has persisted since Roman times. Beheading is again one of the faces of Islam. Contemporary achievement and cultural gaps that separate Muslim from Jew are vast by any measure.

And now, of necessity, Jews are also very adept at the world’s oldest profession. The stereotype about Jews being good at everything but contact sports has been laid to rest, yet again in Gaza. Since 1947, Jews have proven themselves to be able soldiers in what, if statistics like population matter, has always been a lopsided conflict, David versus Goliath if you will.

Israeli military efficiency in concert with Arab incompetence alone accounts for disproportionate casualties today, yesterday, and for the indefinite future. There has never been any moral equivalence between the way the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) fight and the abject savagery of historical Jihadists or contemporary Islamists. The Jewish David is every bit the moral superior of the Muslim Goliath.

Indeed, while Israel defends itself yet again, the Muslim world writhes in the anguish of medieval religious genocide – in East Africa, Libya, Syria, Iraq, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. Indeed, Islamism is advancing globally.

Press and politician alike whine and anguish over mice in Gaza while Jihadist elephants rampage. Any fair observer need only load the word “beheading” or “crucifixion” into their search engine to know the gulf between contemporary Jewish culture and bestial Islamic imperialism.

Horrid videos and ‘selfies’ now taunt the West, a clinical forecast of what awaits Jews, infidels, apostates – Americans and Europeans. Muslims may represent a sixth of humanity, but at the same time Islam seems to sport 90% of humanity’s dysfunction.

In Europe, the traditional hubs of anti-Semitism (France, Spain, Germany, Ireland, and Scandinavia) are now energized too by Muslim immigrants and Islamism.  Jewish victims in Europe, a world away, are blamed for a global social pathology that has nothing to do with Jews, least of all Israel.

Alas, the Obama administration and his uniquely inept national security and foreign policy teams have supported a cascade of regime changes in the Muslim world, from North Africa, to South Asia and now most perilously in the Levant. Imprudence and appeasement has liberated the dogs of Muslim hell.

The so-called Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) rampages through the created chaos in the Levant, a barbarian nightmare that has nothing to do with Jews and everything to do with American and European policy blunders. And now with the Arab and Muslim world aflame; a confederacy of the clueless in Washington and Brussels are picking a new fight with Russia too; a diversion to be sure.

Mister Obama may not be a Koran thumping zealot, yet surely he creates as much suffering as any rabid Islamist. And just as surely, the Obama national security team is a milquetoast ‘ally’ of Israel.

Nonetheless, America should send Bibi Netanyahu and the IDF a thank you note and a case of champagne sometime soon. Here’s what David has done to Goliath in the past few days.

The IDF has put a bullet through the ears of any ‘two-state’ solution. Hamas has been exposed as an unreliable partner for even the likes of Fatah, say nothing of Israel. The Palestinian unity and statehood chimera is the real collateral damage from recent fighting.

The generals in Cairo have been alienated too. Closure of the Israel border might be inconvenient. Closure of the Egyptian border could be fatal for Gaza. Egypt has decades of bad blood with the Muslim Brotherhood. General el-Sisi is not likely to tolerate an al ikhwan stepchild, a terrorist state, on Egypt’s northern border. Hamas may have done a lot more than shoot itself in the foot this time.

Hamas, Fatah, and global Islamism may still have friends in the Media, New York, Brussels, and Washington, but allies that count, local coreligionists, now including the most populous nation in Arabia, appear to be fed up with the idea of “Palestine.” Ins’allah!

The West has been on the wrong side of history since New York was attacked by a Saudi/Arab terror team. Clearly the tactical response of remote air strikes, small wars, and appeasement has failed. Islamists are on the march while free-world allies dither. Europe and America are now perilously close to being on the wrong side of civilization too.

Israel has thrown itself again into the breach, a solitary beacon of courage beset by a nest of vipers. Israel again rises to be the 21st Century metaphor for the Gates of Vienna. Would that America, Europe, and the rest of the civilized world see the example in the most recent Jewish struggle? Religious or political fascism cannot be appeased; it must be defeated in detail at the points of origin, those dark tunnels that riddle the Muslim body politic.

Sponsor states like Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, the Emirates, Turkey, and Iran must be confronted. Without external ideological/ material support and sanctuary, groups like al Qaeda, Hezzbollah, Hamas, and ISIS would be impossible. Terror is the symptom, cancerous religion abetted by fascist politics in the Ummah is the disease.

Barack Obama tells us that he is seeking a solution where there are “no victors and no vanquished.”  Hard to believe such vapidity coming from the mouth of a man who presumes to lead the civilized world. The historical and real-politic naiveté of such banalities defies explanation.

There is no substitute for victory.   We are with Israel – or we are done!

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Colonel G. Murphy Donovan was the last Director of Research and Russian (nee Soviet) Studies at USAF Intelligence. He was also a former senior USAF research fellow at the RAND Corporation, Santa Monica. The author served in Vietnam during the Tet Offensive (1968) and the invasion of Cambodia (1970).

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Checkmate in Baghdad and Geneva

October 4, 2013

“Domestic policy can only defeat us; foreign policy can kill us.” – JFK

War is a messy business. Serial wars get even more untidy over time. Often, it’s hard to know where one begins and another ends. Such is the case today as the Arab spring looks like another Muslim winter. America and Europe stumble from one conflict venue to another wondering what happened to all those rosy assertions about jasmine, justice, moderation, and modernity. The Islamic world is a mess and no one has a clue as to where or how the sequential mayhem ends. In Syria, the nanny states of the West are again perched on the brink of another sectarian and/or tribal abyss.

Nonetheless, the optimism of intervention still prevails. Today you hear argument after argument about the responsibilities of power and success – or preaching about very selective humanitarian concerns.  If you read enough foreign policy analysis you might come to believe that someone has the answer, or that somehow Europe and America have the “responsibility” to make the Third World well. Never mind that the very words “developing” and “emerging” have become geo-political oxymorons, triumphs of hope over experience.

Ironically, the grand strategy, if there is one, when you strip away the boilerplate, can be summarized with a single word – that word is “more.” More is the mantra of imprudent expectations; bailouts at home and flailouts abroad. If one “investment” doesn’t work, surely the original sacrifice wasn’t big enough. No thought seems to be given to developing a new game plan. More aid, more pandering, more troops, more drones, or more missile strikes; but never more common sense. It’s always more, and more is never enough.

And now ‘more’ is accompanied by “red line” moralizing, the color coded version of chicken. Alas, the no-fault/default cultures of Europe and America are unlikely enforcers of any kind of norms and standards in the less civilized world. The West insists, ironically, on measures of accountability and restraint that have been abandoned in Europe and America. Political decay, especially in the First World, has consequences.

All the rhetoric about global responsibility is a rehash of the “white man’s burden” trope. Worse still, the hand-wringing and preaching seems to validate “orientalism,” guilt driven theories that excuse and forgive Muslim pathology because the chaos is thought to be the results of European racism, colonialism, or exploitation.

Ironically, much of the confused strategic rhetoric originates with senior military officers and the Intelligence Community.

Since Vietnam, the Pentagon has sought to redefine most wars as either guerilla, insurgent, or conventional conflicts. Conventional conflict is a distant third in most deliberations. Real wars might have to be declared and put to a vote. Unfortunately, the accepted taxonomy ignores ground truth and the worldview of likely opponents.

Most wars in the troublesome Muslim world are in fact religious wars, conflicts where the nexus is a clash between religious and secular values. The most obvious evidence of religious war, external to the Muslim world, occurs at the tectonic plates of religion, those borders where Muslim and non-Muslim polities meet. South Asia, North Africa, the Balkans, the Caucasus region, Thailand, and the Philippines are obvious examples. Even China has pockets of Muslim irredentism.

When ayatollahs and imams rant about “jihad,” or holy war, they have few illusions about the nature of contemporary conflict. Indeed, most Muslim clerics seem to grasp global strategic reality better than American generals who insist on parsing various Muslim wars into local insurgencies with local motives. Religion has become the invisible camel in the infidel tent.

The most celebrated version of the official US military view in these matters is contained in Army Field Manual 3-24; Counterinsurgency, the doctrinal bible that David Patraeus helped write and subsequently rode to four star notoriety. Unfortunately, like too many of his over-schooled peers, General Patraeus is more likely to be remembered for his social life than his military insights or battlefield achievements. Equally misguided was the US Marine Corps decision to adopt the Army manual in the interests of tactical ecumenism.

Religious war is now a global phenomenon, thanks in part to the failure of flag officers to acknowledge that threat. The Pentagon doesn’t have any official guidance for religious war beyond political correctness.

Within the Ummah, modern wars are of two types; civil and proxy. Contemporary revolutions in Iran, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, the Sudan, Somalia, Mali, and Egypt are religious civil wars. These in turn are of two classes; sectarian (i.e. Shia vs Sunni) or secular/sectarian. Secular military dictatorships, Egypt today for example, have been in the clerical crosshairs since Mohammed’s time. Libya and Syria are examples of secular oligarchies where tribal rivalries created opportunities for Islamists.

Syria is a prominent example of modern proxy war, where principals (Russia and the US or Iran and Israel), once removed, are attempting to settle old scores or exploit a regional opportunity. Any notion of moral “red lines” or WMD thresholds in Syria is just another flight from reality, a veil for political egos and hidden agendas.

The American Ranch Hand campaign (1962-71), which poisoned Southeast Asia for nearly a decade, was the most egregious, sustained modern use of chemical warfare. Granted, the putative aim of the Agent Orange campaign was defoliation; still, the net effect was to poison civilians and water sources under the canopy. No American administration is well-positioned to point fingers at Syria when the US Air Force, the Pentagon, and the White House have yet to acknowledge or accept responsibility for the mutilation of a generation of American GIs and several generations of Vietnamese children.

We might also recall those gassed Kurds and Persians (1988) of recent memory who perished from indifference if not complicity. Or we could mention the million or so Rwandans (1994) who fell to tribal clubs and cutlery. Such events barely make the evening news in the West. With these and Vietnam, ‘moral’ superiority about chemical warfare or genocide, if it ever existed, is a void not a high ground.

The recent gas attack in Syria is not an exception, nor is it a rule. Identifying culprits is probably irrelevant.  Nations adhere to international conventions or “norms” as it suits their interests. Credible force is the only reliable sheriff or deterrent. And a false flag prologue is often the pretense for the use of force.

Clearly there is more than a little overlap in any conflict taxonomy. Nonetheless, the need for a new vocabulary for the age of intervention is underwritten by two indisputable facts: religion underwrites much of the typology and too many conflicts are misrepresented as insurgencies when they are in fact civil wars. If Libya or Syria were true insurgencies, America should have sent guns to Gaddafi and Assad.

The ‘insurgent’ paradigm suits the politics, not the reality, of modern war. Terms like Islamic, religious, or “civil” war are avoided because the US military has no charter, doctrine, or legal authority for intervention in overseas internal disputes; and surely no moral authority for taking sides in religious rivalries. The Sunni tilt in American foreign policy since 1979 speaks for itself, a grim litany of blowback and failure.

At a minimum, you could argue that American intervention has made Shia fanatics, Hezb’allah, the Taliban, and now a global al Qaeda possible. Recall that America helped create a vacuum in southern Lebanon for Hezb’allah to fill. Recall also that clandestine support to the Mujahedeen in Afghanistan in the Soviet era made the Taliban possible. Imprudent signals to Islamists made the recent Muslim Brotherhood electoral success possible in Egypt too. In the geo-political arena, unqualified support for Saudi and Emirate oil oligarchs makes Salifism and related religious fascism possible worldwide.

The incompetence of intervention has more than a little to do with the caliber of American generals since Korea. Surely, David Patraeus was no guerilla fighter like Joe Stillwell and Martin Dempsey is no cavalry officer the equal of George Patton. At Benghazi, American military honor was compromised by timidity, if not bureaucratic cowardice. General Dempsey claims that he did not act because Mrs. Clinton didn’t give him a green light. Under Dempsey, the military ethos changed from “no man left behind” to “cover your behind.” Victory is no longer a staple of any flag officer’s resume or vocabulary.

The Intelligence Community is also part of the rhetorical decay. While at the White House, John Brennan literally scrubbed any reference to Islam, Islamists, jihad, or holy war from public and administration conversations about national security. He actually convinced most government departments, contractors, and the Press to delete any language that might suggest linkage between terror, religious war, and Islam. The Director of National Intelligence now refers to Islamic terrorists as “nefarious characters.” At CIA, Brennan is now well placed to police the language and analysis of National Intelligence Estimates.

And the chickens of strategic decline are home to roost as America again sides with the Sunni in Syria. Dithering in the West for two years has allowed Bashar al-Assad to regain the tactical advantage on the battlefield. And strategically, the Alawite regime now has a clear victory.  American gun sights have been lowered from regime change to “let’s make a deal.” Never mind that time is as good a gift to Assad as any aid from the Persians and Russians.

And the proxy war is a disaster. Vladimir Putin throws a ‘Hail Mary’ in Syria, and Foggy Bottom and the White House morph into cheer leaders. Worse still, the American administration embarrasses itself by trying to take credit for the Russian initiative. Say what you will about Putin, he is a better friend to Syria than Obama is to Israel. When the next “red line” is in the works, it might have to be drawn around Israel.

The Russian strategy may look a little like a deus ex machina, but compared to the Obama amateurs, Putin plays the great game like Winston Churchill. And putting John Kerry in  a diplomatic cage match with Sergei Lavrov is like watching  a bear  toy with a cocker spaniel. Checkmate in Baghdad and Geneva!

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The author provided intelligence support to Ranch Hand at Tan Son Nhut AB in 1968 and 1971. He writes occasionally about the politics of national security.

 

 


More is Never Enough

April 6, 2013

‘Humankind cannot bear too much reality.” – TS Eliot

Barack Hussein Obama finally went to Israel. Before the trip, America had a schizophrenic, yet constant, Mideast foreign policy; stroking autocratic Arabs and alienating democratic Israelis.

Indeed, the ‘Brennan’ doctrine took sides in the Shia/Sunni nuclear competition, the Ummah Armageddon that haunts every Semitic nightmare. American solidarity with Arabs, especially Saudi Arabia and the Emirates, has become a peculiar variety of national masochism.

Most Islamist terror originates with Sunnis. Irredentist Sunni theology originates in Egypt and Saudi Arabia and finds funding and sectarian solidarity in the Emirates, putative allies all.

And recall the first Islam bomb, a Sunni gift from another dubious ‘ally,’ Pakistan.  The Sunni nuclear threshold was breached 20 years ago while American Intelligence slept. This is the same Pakistan which harbored Osama bin Laden for ten years after 9/11. This is the same Pakistan which is always just a bullet away from dictatorship or theocracy too.

Ten years of South Asia weapons testing in the 1980’s hardly made a strategic ripple. Turning a blind eye to nuclear weapons in Pakistan is a little like ignoring a straight razor on a crowded playground.

Now the Islamic dystopia is converging on Mecca and Medina from two directions. And when Bashir Assad falls, the oil oligarchs will feel the heat from two sides. Shia theocrats and Sunni Islamists have the same target set. That over ripe Arab establishment is ground zero.

The ayatollahs of Tehran are buying time to build another bomb too. John Kerry, former anti-war zealot, is touring the Levant; threatening to intervene in Syria on behalf of Sunni Islamists – another US Secretary of State choosing winners and losers in the great minus-sum game.  America learned nothing from Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Tunisia, Tahrir Square, and Benghazi.

The nuclear dimension of Islamic politics is unique in the annals of death wishes; a fascination with improved ways to kill coupled with suicide theology and cultural decay. Child marriage, misogyny, homophobia, and martyrdom flourish side by side at the expense of education and social maturity. Beyond symptoms; the core pathology, the modern incarnation of fascism, is dressed in a burka of religion – a perennial toxin in Muslim culture. 

Why would any rational Western democracy – apostates or infidels –continue to throw dogs into this fight?

No matter.  Americans and Europeans press on into the dark night of tribal feuds and religious quarrels. The ancient wars between modernity and irredentism metastasize today under a variety of labels; revolution, regime change, civil war, insurgency, and terrorism just to name a few.

Rather than face the ugly truth about the contemporary face of fascism, western politicians have manufactured an elaborate set of political illusions, a kind of strategic transference, if you will. The most pernicious illusion is the “two-state” solution.

The binary formula, an Israel beside a Palestine, is underwritten by several flawed assumptions, not the least of which is poor arithmetic.   There is no single representative of Palestinian interests. Israel’s proximate enemies are three in number, Hezb’allah, Hamas, and Fatah. Only Fatah pretends to make a deal.

And the four Arab nation states bordering Israel have probably killed more Palestinians than the IDF. Palestinian militias have been purged from Jordan, Lebanon, and Egypt. Yasser Arafat was run out of Jordan, Lebanon, and Tunisia before Israeli indulgence allowed his return to the West Bank.  The terror vacuum in Lebanon was filled by Hezb’allah. Alas, all of those Arab states bordering Israel are capable of influencing Palestinian politics when it suits their needs.

Yet, who believes that a sovereign Palestine will be a good or pacific neighbor? Who believes that the UN, or the Arab League for that matter, needs another dysfunctional member?

Even if Israel could negotiate a settlement with non-state players, any agreement would have to be underwritten by four unstable, if not belligerent, Arab states. The likelihood of Israel accommodating one Muslim partner is slim; the probability of pleasing seven is near zero.

The Palestine dilemma has always been an Arab problem, but Arab governments have always preferred to let the refugees from lost Arab wars stew on the Israeli frontier in a pyric quest for sovereignty. Implicitly, that which could not be done by conventional force of arms, might be done by time, terror – and a poison pill like Palestine.

In sixty years, Israel has made numerous one-sided financial, humanitarian, and territorial concessions. Little of this is reciprocated at the borders where Arab state players, at worst, sponsor and, at best, ignore terror cells. Israel’s borders might be secured in a fortnight were it not for indifferent or duplicitous Arab neighbors.

Muslims within Israel live better than any minority in the Arab world, an Islamic world where Jews have been systematically purged. Twenty percent of Israelis are Arabs, living peaceably in Israel. The third holiest mosque of Islam survives in Jerusalem. How many synagogues stand in Mecca, Medina, or the Emirates? If Jews need to give more for peace; how much is enough?

Palestinians and Arabs are arguing for a Jew-free West Bank and Gaza; and ultimately a Jew-free Palestinian state. Where is the argument for Jewish human or civil rights in this edition of ethnic cleansing?

The two state formula isn’t a solution, it’s a symptom; a sign of moral cowardice and political charades. Israel is not likely to make a suicide pact with hostile neighbors and the Arab world is unlikely to give up the Palestinian cause; its favorite crutch, its favored excuse, and its favorite wedge issue.

And western political elites, right and left, can’t stop doing what doesn’t work either; endorsing a “two-state” chimera for example. Intemperate indulgence of Muslim rage prevails in America, Europe, and even parts of Israel. Social democracies, and their embedded dependencies, are the captives of fear – and excess. More of the same is always better.  Clear eyed candor is seldom an option.  Unfortunately, more is never enough when the threat is fascism underwritten by religious imperialism.

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This essay appeared  in the American Thinker and the Iconoclast blog in early April.


Israel; Canary in the Mid-East Coal Mine

March 6, 2012

 

“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear.” – Mark Twain

Every time Benjamin Netanyahu comes to America, the world is reminded that Barak Obama has never been to Israel as president. After nearly four years, the leader of the free world continues to shun the only true democracy in the Middle East. During the same period, Mr. Obama has traveled to several autocratic, if not theocratic, Muslim countries to reassure them of America’s good will. Concurrently, the president prosecutes several small wars in the Muslim world with the expressed purpose of “stability” or “nation building.”

Americans and Europeans have been dying for such ephemeral objectives for two decades now. Yet NATO armies are still charged to respect not defeat a noxious ideology. At the moment, American troops and advisers are being hunted down and summarily executed in South Asia by Muslim “allies” for real or imagined insults to a holy book which inspires the worst atrocities of a new century.

No matter the many mobs that gather in the many Muslim capitals chanting “death to America,” no matter the many Muslim theologians that use the sanctuary of mosques to preach hate in the name of “god” and jihad; a politically correct generation of timid social democrats, here and abroad, continues to assure their constituents that Muslim scripture is simply being misused by a few radicals.

Now comes a Shia theocracy whose secular and religious leaders have publicly vowed to wipe “Israeloff the face of the earth.” Should they succeed; in an instant, the heretofore impotent Sunni world majority will be displaced by a more militant and less ambiguous Shia role model.

And Persia makes no empty threat as Teheran poses on the brink of nuclear weapons capability. Here again, the apologists are deployed – including a 16 member American Intelligence Community that can not muster the integrity to make a call on yet another Muslim bomb. These are the same covert institutions who have no problem with cyber-war against the bomb makers or opening a Pandora’s box of American tactical and strategic vulnerabilities.  If the history of weapons programs in North Korea,Pakistan, andIndia provide precedents, western Intelligence might make a call on Persian nuclear capability when missiles are inbound over Tel Aviv.

Our most kinetic response to the imminent threat from the Muslim minority, and a thousand lesser barbarities, from the Muslim majority is to apologize to the Sunni and “sanction” the Shia. Indeed, American and European infidels and apostates are consistently assured by a fearful political class that the West is not at war with Islam or Muslims. And now that Israel presumes to exhibit the courage to prevent the first holocaust of the 21st Century, America and Europe advise restraint and caution. Unfortunately for Israel, the threat is potentially terminal and time is not an ally.

American policy is, at once, a flawed assumption and a cultural insult. Granting Muslim stability a higher priority than Israeli survival is the assumption; and elevating Muslim culture to parity with Jews or Christians is the insult.  Moral equivalence is the problem, not the solution to epidemic political cowardice in the non-Muslim world.Israel has no good reasons, by virtue of history or evidence, to accept any American assurances, especially from an Obama administration. Antisemitism is ever the canary in the geo-strategic coal mine.

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This piece was published in American Thinker and the New English Review on 6 March 2012.


Bibi and the Barbarians

April 30, 2010

“Where hope is unchecked by any experience, it is likely that our optimism is extravagant.” – Charles S. Pierce

Barack Obama has yet to visit Israel, America’s only true ally in the Middle East. Nonetheless, the president is about to visit his third Muslim capital in a year. Without reading too much into Mr. Obama’s heritage or foreign travel priorities, it may be time to remind the president that Israel is a friend also; not simply the only true democracy in the Mid-East, but Tel Aviv is also a unique partner in an otherwise barbaric neighborhood.

Yes, barbaric! Let’s not mince words. Israel is surrounded on three sides by terrorists; Hezbollah, Fattah, and Hamas. These are groups who name buildings, streets, and squares after suicide bombers. Farther North, Israel is threatened with mind numbing regularity by Iran, the oxymoronic “Islamic republic” – a Shiite theocratic menace that minces no words either. Tehran’s threat to “wipe Israel off the face of the earth” is soon to be underwritten by nuclear weapons with which the ayatollahs hope to take the irredentist mantel from inept Sunni Arabs. Indeed, Persia is poised to attempt to do what the Arab world, after many failed attempts, could not: sponsor the next Holocaust.

Against this darkening sky, the Obama White House sent a professional bridesmaid, Joe Biden, to Tel Aviv to jumpstart another oxymoron: the “proximity” talks. Proximity is one of those State Department euphemisms used to describe an adult version of “telephone;” party A talks to party B only through party C. Such charades are necessary because schizophrenic Palestinian Arabs are divided by two warring governing authorities; Fattah on the West Bank and Hamas in Gaza.

Do the math. Three players are in search of a “two state” solution. Israel must suffer this madness because the two Arab claimants can not speak with one voice. Vice President Biden, foot ready at the mouth, played the role of intermediary for a few days starting on 8 March in Tel Aviv. With such “partners,” no Israeli Prime Minister could be faulted for looking for the rabbit hole.

While Biden was trying to explain how three goes into two, some numbers of a different sort were tossed into the mix. The Israeli Interior Ministry announced that 1600 additional apartment units would be built in east Jerusalem. Before Air Force II could get its wheels up, Biden and Hilary Clinton launched a fusillade of brickbats at Israel; claiming among other things that the expansion of housing was an “insult” and a “slap in the face.”

You might think that Hilary would have a thicker skin by now. After all, during her husband’s administration, the priapic President was too preoccupied with a young intern in the Oval Office to notice the Taliban taking Kabul (Sept, 1996) for the first time; and Mullah Omar closing every girl’s school in that country. Afghanistan bled while Hilary’s husband dallied – until the Bush administration came along to reopen those schools. Now Mrs. Clinton, yet another “progressive” Secretary of State, finds her integrity under a stack of Jerusalem condo plans.

(Mrs. Clinton seems to be channeling Madeline Albright, her husband’s Secretary of State; hyper sensitive to Israeli behavior and insensate to the worst behaviors among Arabs and Muslims; behaviors that include genital mutilation, polygamy, child marriage, stoning, amputations, and a universal terror that targets civilians. Not all Muslims are terrorists, yet nearly every recent terrorist is a Muslim. When should we expect an apology from Islam?)

A pandering media was quick to pile on. First there was MSNBC’s Hardball host, Chris Mathews, suggesting that Jews were racists because President Obama doesn’t fare well in Israeli polls. Then Tom Friedman of The NY Times, never one to miss the opportunity to abuse an opportunity, resurrects the old canard about the omniscience of Israeli guilt. Paraphrasing Biden, he reports:

“What you (Israel) are doing here (building apartments) undermines the security of our (US) troops who are fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. That endangers us and endangers regional peace.”

Put aside for a moment the Vice President’s witless confirmation that US Special Forces are doing more than “training” the locals in Pakistan. Biden is using the contemporary rhetoric of anti-Semitism; whenever Muslims misbehave, somehow, somewhere there’s a Jewish connection or liability. Such “progressive” logic would have us believe that Israeli behavior, or American support for Israel, are central motives for Muslim atrocities, no matter where they occur. Such reasoning absolves the barbarians of moral hazard and validates a future of endless, no-fault terrorism.

We should recognize the warped Biden/Clinton and Mathews/Friedman moralizing for what it is: an obscene double standard that now typifies the distortions of the Muslim Right and the American Left. Their indignation is underwritten by the insidious presumption that Israel should put its national development on hold until inept Arab neighbors get their act together.

But, what about Bibi? Is the Israeli government trying to send a message to antagonists and apologists alike? Here, there is more than a little fertile ground for some informed speculation.

On the one hand, we could believe that the Israeli PM was ambushed by coalition partners to his right; religious conservatives who like to remind all takers that the status of Jerusalem is not negotiable. Fair enough. Under Palestinian control, the Temple Mount might be renamed the Khalid Sheikh Mohammed mosque. Now that would be a real insult!

Then there is the possibility that Netanyahu knew about the impending housing announcement and sought to use Biden’s token visit to underscore the certainty of Israeli policy – in contrast to the drift and dithering that passes for strategy in Washington.

And lastly, there is the camel in the tent. Maybe Bibi is laying down a marker, given the flaccid response of America and Europe to the likelihood of nuclear weapons among the Persians. Maybe the Israeli PM is telling the world that he will do what is necessary to insure the prosperity, comfort, and safety of his people. If this is Netanyahu’s purpose, then Joe and Hilary are just bicycle messengers. Bibi’s real audience is Barack Obama. Maybe the Israeli Prime Minister, like Thatcher did with Bush senior, is trying to put a little starch in Barry’s knickers – before the smoldering fuse in Iran becomes a catastrophic Mid-East explosion.

Of course, Binyamin Netanyahu has apologized for any real or imagined indignities that Joe Biden may have suffered while in Israel. But it is unlikely that the PM will change the housing or the strategic plan. A wise leader knows that, in the end, puerile manner is no substitute for prudent policy. The penalties for caution are much more severe than the amends of regret.