Sunday, January 28, 2007

The mother of all blowbacks... so who needs enemies?

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It is vitally important for those in America and around the world who are horrified by the direction that Bush and all who sail in him are taking to realize that a great many Israelis are even more horrified than they are. After all when the United States fails in the Middle East, when America's policies crash and burn, the Israelis will be the ones left holding the bag.

Most important when speaking about the complex relationship between certain elements in the Zionist establishment and certain elements in the American establishment is to never, ever use the definitive article "the" when speaking of Jewish people, as in "the Jews". "The" in this context is really antisemitic and yes, despite all smearing of Alan Dershowitz and Abe Foxman, antisemitism does exist and it is a terrible thing that can destroy a society.

It would be catastrophic if the blame for all the approaching disasters is laid at the feet of "the" Jewish people and not just at the very specific feet of "some" very specific Jewish people, who with a huge pack of very influential and specific gentiles like Cheney or Murdoch, have brewed this hellish slop.The people in the American Jewish community who are pushing for war are a minority, just as their gentile co-conspirators are. A lot of them, like their gentile counterparts such as Bush and Cheney, are simply "chicken hawks", acting out their damp fantasies of masculinity on borrowed gonads. Others, Americans, Arabs and Israelis, get killed and mutilated, they merely "reset" their strategies.

As a result of Bush's fine adventure in the Middle East, America's power and influence have deteriorated and will deteriorate much more. This will have a direct effect on America's prosperity and ordinary people's pocketbooks and people will be looking around for a scapegoat... after all "accountability" is an American fetish. Historically in similar situations, the blame has often been laid on "the" Jews.

I live in Spain, my wife is German... Jewish people once lived happily in Spain and Germany and made enormous contributions to the cultures, wealth and prestige of both nations. It is no exaggeration to say that antisemitism subsequently tore both countries apart and left them permanently impoverished and tainted. The only other place where Jewish people have ever lived as safely, happily and productively as Spain and Germany is the United States of America and as the Spanish saying goes, "when you see your neighbors beard on fire, put yours to soak."

It is precisely the Dershowitzes and the Foxmans that are creating the sinister climate that could lead to some terrible ground swell of popular revulsion, that could forever poison the relations between Jew and gentile in America. And what would America be without all the wonderful things its Jewish people are and do?

Antisemitism of the traditional European variety in America would truly be the "mother of all blowbacks": the blowback to end all blowbacks. The ultimate "unintended consequence" from the war in Iraq and the probable war with Iran to come. Wars where, ironically, the Israelis may finally suffer much more than Americans, Jew or gentile, have or will.
"Friends of Israel"... with friends like these who needs enemies?

Many native born Israelis are horrified by the mess Bush is making of their neighborhood. Far from having a sinister agenda, they are caught in a trap. Israel is where they were born and the only place they know, their mother tongue is Hebrew and like most people in the world they have a "place" and no other place to go. Bush is setting their neighborhood on fire. This fine article from Haaretz, by Tony Karon below, will give you a valuable insight into their predicament.

It is of vital importance, then, that the innocent not be tarred with the same brush as the guilty and that the majority of Jewish people, in the USA and in Israel, who are genuinely horrified by the direction that events are taking, be given every kind of sympathy, understanding and support. For it is they and only they who will have to finally "bell the cat" and "slay the dragon". Only shoulder to shoulder with them will we able to stop this tragedy unfolding. DS

Tony Karon: Should Israel be in Bush's back seat? - Haaretz
When Ehud Olmert tells the world that President Bush's invasion of Iraq has made the Middle East safer, at least he can fall back on the excuse that sarcasm is a mainstay of Israeli discourse. But when Olmert says Israel won't talk to Syria as long as President Bush won't, Israelis ought to be worried. More worried, still, when Condi Rice comes hawking fantasies about Israel concluding peace with the Palestinians while Hamas is swept away by Mahmoud Abbas (or is it Mohammed Dahlan?) playing a Palestinian Pinochet, while the likes of Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt somehow contrive to reverse the train wreck of Iraq and scare Iran back into its shell.

Olmert appears to be outsourcing Israel's strategic decision-making to a White House that has repeatedly demonstrated a catastrophic failure to grasp the realities of the region. Betting Israel's security on the ability of the Bush crowd to transform the strategic landscape in the Middle East is rather like leaving a party in the backseat of an SUV whose driver is cradling a bottle of tequila and slurring his words as he rebuffs offers by more sober friends to take the wheel.

Warning signs have been there for months: When Olmert stumbled into Lebanon last summer, he may have been expecting Washington to play the role of the big brother who would drag him, still swinging, off Hassan Nasrallah, having demonstrated his "deterrent" power without getting himself into too much trouble. Instead, he found Washington impatiently egging him on, demanding that he destroy Nasrallah to prove a point to the Shiite leader's own big brother, and holding back anyone else who tried to break up the fight. As neocon cheerleaders like Charles Krauthammer made plain, the administration was disappointed at Olmert's wimpish performance.

Clearly, the game changed when the United States blundered into Iraq, believing it could transform the region through the application of its overwhelming military force. Sober minds in Washington have concluded that Iraq is lost, but Bush is having none of it - as he made clear last week, he intends not only to up the level of force, but also to begin directing it at Syria and Iran. Those in Israel tempted to welcome this development may be suffering from the same geopolitical psychosis as President Bush: the belief that military force translates automatically into power. If anything, 2006 highlighted the fact that America's overwhelming military advantages have failed to tip the region's political balance in its favor; on the contrary, resorting to military force over the past four years has actually been accompanied by a precipitous decline in America's ability to influence events in the region and beyond, much less impose its will.

As a character in the great gangster movie Miller's Crossing put it, "You run this town because people think you run it." Ergo, when people realize that you don't, then you no longer do.

The failure to impose Pax Americana on Iraq or even Afghanistan has therefore had profound consequences throughout the region. The Iraq Study Group recognized that the United States is simply in no position to dictate terms to its rivals and enemies in the region, and instead advocated pursuing a new stability based on recognition of the real balance of power, rather than the fantasy one concocted by the White House. But Bush remains in denial, pressing ahead with short-sighted, aggressive strategies that will only compound and accelerate the demise of U.S. influence in the region.

Washington's rejection of any talks between Israel and Syria has nothing to do with Israel's security; it is based on U.S. power plays in relation to Iraq and Lebanon, games the United States looks unlikely to win.

And Israelis know that the result of toppling Bashar Assad would be to extend Iraq's "Jihadistan" province of Anbar all the way to Israel's northern border. On the Palestinian front, Israel's security establishment knows that the fundamental flaw in the U.S. effort to topple the Hamas government is that such efforts will actually strengthen Hamas politically and further weaken an already decrepit Fatah. Washington has looked on skeptically at Abbas' efforts to form a government of national unity, and it has prepared for what it appears to assume is the eventuality that these will fail and he'll get on with the business of destroying the Islamists - which is what the Bush administration prefers.

Rice's attempts at social engineering in the Palestinian Authority are giddily detached from reality, and when they fail - as the United States has failed in Afghanistan, Iraq and Lebanon - it is Palestinians and Israelis who will pay the price. Moreover, throughout the region it has become clear that even U.S. clients such as Saudi Arabia simply ignore the American line when it doesn't make sense - for example, in engaging with Hamas. Even the Iraqi government has made clear that it has no interest in backing U.S. efforts to confront what Washington calls Iranian "meddling" in Iraq.

So, the idea that the Bush administration is implementing a policy capable of turning the regional dynamic against Iran is equally deluded: No matter how much tacit support they garner from Cairo, Amman and Riyadh for an air strike to destroy Iran's nuclear facilities, where would the success of such a strike get Israel or the United States? The lesson of Iraq is that wars of choice based on the suspicion of an opponent's motives and capabilities can produce catastrophic unintended consequences - consequences that will likely be felt more painfully in Israel than in the United States. Military solutions to the region's problems have, quite simply, exhausted themselves. Yet, the Bush administration has resisted recognizing that reality, preferring strategies whose implementation only serves to accelerate the demise of Washington's influence in the region. The irony is that Israel's security establishment is well aware of the folly of many of these U.S. policies. But still, they stay in the back seat.

Even if Washington is unwilling to engage with the realities of the region, Israel has plenty of incentive to independently and directly engage the powers that be in Damascus, Beirut, Tehran, Gaza and Ramallah, along the lines revealed by Haaretz last week in relation to Syria. The reason is simple: It's a safe bet that Assad, Nasrallah, Ali Khamenei and Hamas will be there long after Bush, Rice and their fantasy are wheeled off the stage.

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