The Last Man Standing
Despite the fact that Jeffrey Goldberg believes that Israel "has no strategic sense" it seems to be winning the war not only in Gaza but across the whole region. David Goldman notes that at no point in the last 50 years has Israel been so secure from conventional invasion.
Indeed, gone are the days when the Syrian Army could launch a 5 division attack supported by 188 artillery batteries in the Golan. The era when Egypt could mount an attack with 100,000 men, 1,350 tanks and 2,000 artillery pieces is nothing but memory. All around Israel's edges, countries are falling apart.
Jordan is wracked by internal dissent, Syria paralyzed by a civil war that kills upwards of 200 people per day; Egypt bankrupt and will be lucky to avoid starvation. Libya is no more. Iraq is still prostrate. Oil in the Gulf is running out.
It's not that Israel has grown; it is the Arab world that shrank. Despite all predictions of its imminent demise Israel threatens to be the only real Westphalian State left in the Middle East; the last man standing.
How did this happen? Richard Landes is one of the principal scholars of "cognitive warfare", the methods by which the Jihad spreads itself by advancing a narrative. But perhaps he should expand his study to include possibility of "cognitive suicide"; the self-poisoning that occurs when you believe your own crazy propaganda.
Gaza fulfills the self-imposed delusion of the Arab Middle East as the underdog. To hear it told it is "little Gaza", "underdog Palestine" against Giant Israel. But a look at the map shows that underdog Gaza has a border with big Egypt which has a border with an even bigger Muslim North Africa. The Islamic world stretches in every direction from around the objectively worthless piece real estate that is Israel, to the North as far as the Stans and to the East to the banks of the Indus.
Look at the map. It will tell you the truth. The truth isn't "little Gaza". The truth is Little Israel. It is that very littleness which is eating away at the region's psyche: the humiliation of 1948 had to be avenged in 1956; that catastrophe had to be avenged in 1967 and 1967 by 1973; and 1973 is still unavenged. It is vengeance eating away at the very minds that crave it.
And now we have the humiliation of 2012, where an entire region must resort to the Western Left, Twitter and Facebook to defend Gaza from Israel because the truth is that all of the Arab Armies put together can't do squat. Can't do squat because they are all too busy killing each other. Twitter is alive with the Left's despair over Gaza. Glenn Greenwald has called on the US to stop supporting Israel. The British Left is in a lather of anger at Israeli "aggression".
How the mighty have fallen.
Perhaps its not fair to say that Israel is winning so much as the Muslim world is losing. Losing by tearing itself apart, frittering away the oil resource and paralyzing itself with Jew-hatred. Israel is winning simply by sending its children to school, going to work every day, making scientific discoveries in the lab on a quotidian basis, by paying its bills and sweeping the streets. It is simple, but deadly. A whole lot better at least than jumping up and down in the street firing AK-47s into the air.
The fact is that Gaza is in military terms a very small military operation. The tonnage of bombs dropped is miniscule by modern standards. And it is normally dropped by drones with the aerodynamic characteristics of a World War I Sopwith Camel. Israel's artillery is barely in action. Although it has called some of them up, Israel has not even had to use its reserves. And that is a sign that the IDF, small as it is, is hardly breaking a sweat. This is a far cry from the days when Israel fought outnumbered with a every man it had on every front.
Rather than lacking "strategic sense" Israel seems to have hit upon the winning formula. Keep Israel intact, even expanding it -- though not by too much in the West Bank -- and counterpunching along the borders to prevent incursions or threats. And then let the Muslim world's dysfunction and Jew-hatred do the rest.
Hamas and Fatah are "Palestine's" worst enemies and the Western Left's continued support for these gangs of murderers only guarantees the poverty and destitution of their population. They are reinforcing failure. And the more it fails the more they reinforce. Similarly the Obama administration's partnership with the Muslim Brotherhood, while in the short term a nuisance to everyone, including Israel represents in the long run a death sentence for Egypt. Soon America will have to feed Egypt; prop it up and provide snacks to the very same people who will storm its embassy walls.
That country along the Nile used to be the granary of civilization. Now it is the world's biggest importer of wheat and is rapidly running out of everything except delusions of regional destiny. Hatred blinds and perhaps nothing encapsulates this ethos so perfectly as the now classic statement by labor of how it forced the bankruptcy of the Hostess company to send a strong message of union resolve, resulting in the layoff of everybody -- 18,000 and more workers. If that is winning, what is losing?
Perhaps the most important lesson American conservatives can learn from Israel versus the Muslim world is that there is no revenge greater than success. Right after the elections I wrote that "in the coming years revolutionary acts will be indistinguishable from self-improvement." Although there is always be a need to resist actively, the best resistance is simply to make things work and watch Chicago, Detroit and California fall apart. In the immortal words of that great Communist, Deng Xiaoping, "to get rich is glorious".
Israel, however, is in possession of the original epigram, from which Deng's maxim is only derivative.
THE LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.