Monday, March 23, 2009

Israel: Mideast Welfare Queen

Many Americans seem to think that giving Israel a blank check to amass limitless weapons and use them however it wishes is doing the Israeli people a favor. Alas, Washington has created the world’s ultimate welfare queen: by providing Israel as gifts with no strings attached the military and economic resources to dominate the Mideast, Washington has made Israel irresponsible. Since Israel feels, so far correctly, that it can do whatever it wants and leave the U.S. to pay the bill, Israel is losing all sense of proportion, becoming heedless of the consequences of its behavior.

Even if Washington politicians, mindful of the reverse flow of Israeli funds into their re-election coffers, never turn off the tap, the question of whether or not Israel can continue to move at will throughout the Mideast with a foreign policy based on the theory that its neighbors “only understand the language of force” should be of real concern to the Israel people. The political group that has controlled Israeli national politics for the last generation has made crystal clear its faith in military force as the solution to Israel’s international problems. Even if this faith were justified in theory, the conclusion that Israel can in practice continue to win all its battles is ever more suspect. Israel picked a fight with Hamas after its 2006 electoral victory only to see Hamas take control of Gaza; Israel invaded Lebanon later that same year only to see Hezbollah fight it to a standstill and emerge stronger in Lebanese politics; Israel has been threatening Iran with attack for years, only to see Iran steadily gain strength; Israel could not even end Hamas’ control of the walled-in Gaza, despite slaughtering over 1,000 Gazans and continuing its collective punishment of the Gazan population after its invasion.

But Israel’s predicament goes beyond the relative balance of regional military power. Israel is increasingly finding that military solutions to social, economic, and political problems simply do not exist. More, the attempt to solve militarily social, economic, and political problems is increasingly likely simply to put a temporary lid on the underlying issues, concealing them while the pressure builds. So, if Israelis feel insecure despite their preponderance of military power, it is perhaps not just paranoia, but also in part a sneaking feeling that their strategy for seeking security is one destined to fail.

Yet even all that is not the sum total of Israel’s dilemma, for, in truth, gifts do have strings. What can be given, can be withheld. Israel is only the Mideast superpower until Washington turns off the tap. Now that Israeli hubris has reached the point of vetoing critical American national security appointees, blatantly sabotaging highly sensitive U.S. foreign policy initiatives, and trying to push the U.S. into yet another war against a Moslem society, the tap may just be turned off.

Israeli patriots should pray that it will be…before it is too late for the security of the Israeli people. The longer the welfare queen flaunts her wealth before her neighbors, the more they will hunger for revenge. The more accustomed the welfare queen becomes to her unearned lifestyle, the harder it will be for her to adjust to being just another working stiff.

The longer Israel is spoiled by being allowed to play by special rules, the greater will be the shock to Israeli society when the world tells Israel to grow up and act like everyone else. Israel has been stiff-arming the U.N. for decades, but U.N. condemnation of Israeli violations of international law are becoming increasingly outspoken. Even Israeli media are gagging on the stream of revelations about Israeli barbarity, the rising savagery of Israeli culture, and the increasingly racist pronouncements of Israeli officials. As for Israeli foreign policy beyond Palestine, the now-common assertions among Israeli officials that Israel has the right to launch wars against vastly weaker and non-nuclear countries because they might someday attain the ability to make nuclear arms (Iran) or simply because they might import a weapon system that would give them the barest beginnings of the ability to defend themselves (Lebanon) suggest a level of paranoia that would make Israel certifiable if it were an individual.

It has in recent decades become clear that handing welfare checks to the poor or giving free food to poor societies does not work. Don’t give a man a fish; teach him to fish. Israel is showing that welfare works no better for countries than it does for individuals. Endless presents are addictive. It is simply a fact of human nature that we do not appreciate an endless supply of gifts. The mere fact that the gifts are endless and free somehow cheapens them; they end up being neither appreciated nor cared for, and, ironically, they end up not even serving the intended purpose.

The enormous outpouring of American weapons that has turned Israel into a regional superpower not only has not brought peace to the Israeli people, it has not even made Israel feel secure. On the contrary, the more militarily powerful Israel becomes, the more afraid it seems to become of the dark. Deep in its soul, Israel seems to know that oppressing and threatening its neighbors, denying food and medicine to women and children in Gaza, littering southern Lebanon with bomblets that explode in the hands of children is not giving Israel security. Even if it were, at the cost, it would be inexcusable, but morality and fairness aside, all those arms are not even achieving their purpose. And the more arms Israel demands, the more it misuses them, and the more insecure it becomes.

So Israeli patriots should pray that Washington starts to act like a true friend and forces Israel to grow up and learn how to play with matches without burning itself before it starts a fire that no one can control.

1 comment:

Renegade Eye said...

Very interesting post.

Hitchens wrote today in Slate, against aid to Israel, on constitutional religion and state issues.

Israel actually gains more from arm sales, than US direct aid. US direct aid is essentially frozen at a certain amount (source Stradfor).