Foreign Policy by the Numbers ~ Sustained Instability

25 11 2012

What has happened recently in Israel/Gaza is enough to induce cynicism in even the most hopeful observer. The targeting of Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Zahar by Israel was calculated for a multiple of reasons, the least of which was to thwart Hamas strength and popularity. In fact, it will likely have the opposite effect. Israel clearly knew what the response would be by the Palestinians and the larger Arab world.

So why did Israel do it? Because of Iran. Well, I suppose it’s a little more complicated than that, but not a lot more. This is how I see the conversation unfolding behind closed doors at the Knesset:

Netanyahu: “Look, we need to find a way to show Iran that we mean business, that any attempt to send rockets our way will be met with an overwhelming counter-response. The US anti-rocket technology we’ve inherited is brilliant, and we need to showcase it.”

Israel General: “So we need a pretext for shooting some rockets down, and we need to make sure that the US supports us unequivocally in doing so.”

Netanyahu: “Precisely. We need a one-two punch.”

Senior Policy Adviser Guy: “Wait, I’ve got a brilliant solution! And it’s not just a one-two punch. It’s a one-two-three punch… a hat trick! Get this. We take out al -Zahar with a lethal strike and say that we had intelligence that an attack from Hamas was imminent. Hamas will retaliate like they always do, by sending rockets across the border. But our missile-to-missile defense system will render their response futile, and in doing so we’ll show Iran just how impervious we are to their attacks. But here’s the real spoiler. We’ll get Sec. Clinton to come over and broker a cease fire, thereby making her a hero and American foreign policy look effective, which ensures the US support we’ll desperately need in the face of such a brazen attack on our part. There you have it. One, two, three… a weaker Hamas, a chance to make a credible threat to Iran, and the support of the US through the entire process.”

And the meeting was adjourned.

America’s Middle East policy of sustained instability renders any attempts at an honest truce between Israel and its neighbors totally futile. And by keeping this policy going, American ensures that no one will have complete and unimpeded control of the oil reserves. Israel’s presence in the region is our defense system. Plain and simple. The only trouble is, we’re supporting an apartheid government in the process, and we ruin our credibility as a force for democracy and justice around the globe in continuing such support. But Israel is our co-dependent ally, so what are we gonna do? We need them and they need us, even if in convincing ourselves that we need them, we are cutting off our nose to spite our face.

In addition to having the presence of Israel safeguard control over oil, an additional, and perhaps even deeper reason for our total support of Israel comes down to some wacky proto-Evangelical Dispensationalism that has managed to take our foreign policy by the throat for over half a century by insisting that Israel as a nation must be saved at all costs in the name of Jesus. His imminent return is dependent on it.

Alas…  and so we’re stuck with what we’ve got. But that’s not the worst part. The worst part is that the Palestinians are stuck with it. And I don’t mean Hamas, or the extremists who represent them. I mean the Fatah government and the Palestinians who want peace, which accounts for about 98% of them.

And so it goes… foreign policy by the numbers. Trouble is, alliances like this inevitably lead to unsustainable moral and ethical algorithms that always backfire in the end, and this alliance is no different. Just watch and see.

(Hint: If you happen to disagree with everything I’ve said, you can still make use of this blog entry by playing the numbers above, a 5s game sequence that requires your ability to organize them. Good luck. See




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