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Saturday, August 16, 2008

What Israel should learn from the rape of Georgia

What went on in Georgia this past week was nothing short of naked aggression by the Russian bear. Unless you were following events very closely, you probably missed a lot of what happened this week. Caroline Glick has a great recap. The bottom line is that the Europeans negotiated Georgia's surrender of its territorial integrity and of the West's access to its pipelines - with American approval. The extent to which and the swiftness with which the United States abandoned this loyal ally (the only thing the US did was fly Georgia's troops of Iraq) is nothing short of appalling. It seems like the only people who aren't tired of fighting wars these days are the bad guys. Caroline then goes on to lay out what lessons Israel should learn from what happened to Georgia.
The US and European willingness to let Georgia fall despite its strategic importance, despite the fact that it has operated strictly within the bounds of international law, and despite its obvious ideological affinity and loyalty to them will have enormous repercussions for the West's relations with Ukraine, the Baltic States, Poland and the Czech Republic. But its aftershocks will not be limited to Europe. They will reverberate in the Middle East as well. And Israel, for one, should take note of what has transpired.

In Israel's early years, with the memory of the Holocaust still fresh in its leaders' minds, Israel founded its strategic posture on an acceptance of the fact that the soft power of international legitimacy, peace treaties, alliances and common interests only matters in the presence of the hard power of military force. People such as David Ben-Gurion realized that what was unique about the Holocaust was not the Allies' willingness to sit by and watch an atrocity unfold but the magnitude of the atrocity they did nothing to stop. Doing nothing to prevent an innocent nation from being destroyed has always been the normal practice of nations.

Yet over time, and particularly after Israel's victory in the Six Day War, that fundamental acceptance of the world as it is was lost. It was first mitigated by Israel's own shock in discovering its power. And it was further obfuscated in the aftermath of the war when the Soviets and the Arabs began promulgating the myth of Israeli aggression. In recent years, the understanding that the only guarantor of Israel's survival is Israel's ability to defeat all of its enemies decisively has been forgotten altogether by most of the country's leaders and members of its intellectual classes.

Since 1979 and with increasing intensity since 1993, Israeli leaders bent on appeasing everyone from the Egyptians to the Palestinians to the Syrians to the Lebanese have called for Israel's inclusion in NATO, or the deployment of Western forces to its borders or lobbied Washington for a formal strategic alliance. They have claimed that such forces and such treaties will unburden the country of the need to protect itself in the event that our neighbors attack us after we give them the territories necessary to wage war against us.

It has never made any difference to any of these leaders that none of the myriad international forces deployed along our borders has ever protected us. The fact that instead of protecting Israel, they have served as shields behind which our enemies rebuild their forces and then attack us has made no impression. Instead, our leaders have argued that once we figure out the proper form of appeasement everyone will rise to defend us.

If nothing else comes of it, the West's response to the rape of Georgia should end that delusion. Georgia did almost everything right. And like Israel was, for its actions Georgia was celebrated in the West with platitudes of enduring friendship and empty promises of alliances that were discarded the moment Russia invaded.

Georgia only made one mistake, and for that mistake it will pay an enormous price. As it steadily built alliances, it forgot to build an army. Israel has an army. It has just forgotten why its survival depends on our willingness to use it.

If we are unwilling to use our military to defeat our enemies, we will lose everything. This is the basic, enduring truth of international affairs that we have ignored at our peril. No matter what we do, it will always be the case. For this is the nature of world affairs, and the nature of man.
Read the whole thing.


At 7:51 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

Exactly, Carl! Nations are not governed by morality or by humane sentiment. They are guided by their supreme national interests. And Israel had better not forget it for a moment. For without the IDF, the Jewish State would not be around today.

At 2:26 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

In all this, keep HaShem, our true Guarantor, in mind.


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