I put Middle Earth Journal in hiatus in May of 2008 and moved to Newshoggers.
I temporarily reopened Middle Earth Journal when Newshoggers shut it's doors but I was invited to Participate at The Moderate Voice so Middle Earth Journal is once again in hiatus.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Your Sunday Israel Rant

John "The Shaggy DA" Bolton's career in politics and diplomacy may now have a lifespan so short that mayflies feel sorry for him, but he's not going out without firing a few shots across any bow he crosses.
The U.S. Ambassador to the UN, John Bolton, launched a scathing attack on the United Nations Friday.

Bolton was furious over the adoption by the General Assembly of a resolution which said the assembly regretted the deaths of 19 civilians in an attack by the Israeli military in the town of Beit Hanoun last week.

Despite the resolution being significantly watered down at the behest of the United States, and being passing by 156 votes to seven, Bolton launched a blistering attack on the UN, and many of its members.

"Many of the sponsors of that resolution are notorious abusers of human rights themselves, and were seeking to deflect criticism of their own policies," he said.

"This type of resolution serves only to exacerbate tensions by serving the interests of elements hostile to Israel's inalienable and recognized right to exist."
The U.S. already vetoed a similar resolution in the security council this week, but they couldn't stop the General Assembly from voting on this watered down version. (Interesting side note... the only permanent member of the Security Council to use the power of veto more than the Russians and the Chinese over the last two decades was the United States, and the vast majority of those vetoes - 31 in number - were cast to stop resolutions condemning Israel which had been signed on to by most other nations. In fact, even England signed off on this one.) I think it's significant that our "representative" to the United Nations was still launching blistering attacks on the UN for this even after the key wording in the resolution was changed from a statement of condemnation to an expression of regret over the deaths of a number of civilians.

Don't get me wrong here... the Palestinians, Lebanese, Syrians and various other players in the region can obviously be a right bunch of bastards with little to no provocation, and richly deserve the condemnation so often heaped upon them. But as wise old men and wives have said throughout the ages, it's pretty hard to find a coin with only one side to it. Israel will never have any incentive to stay inside her own borders and force her enemies into the permanent role of the real bad guys as long as the world treats the country like they are a helpless babe amid a pack of wolves.

Israel is a military powerhouse in that area, and everyone knows it. They have a military that is, in terms of technology, superior to all her neighbors and only one generation behind ours at any given point. They have an air force that can dominate everyone in the region except possibly Iran, thanks to Uncle Sam. And anyone who doesn't believe that they're hanging on to at least a few tactical nukes (made in the U.S.A!) is living in a dream world.

But leaving that aside for the moment, I'd like to turn back to the second of Bolton's statements which I emphasized in the quote above.
"This type of resolution serves only to exacerbate tensions by serving the interests of elements hostile to Israel's inalienable and recognized right to exist."
Does Israel have a "right to exist" as Bolton says? Clearly they do. They have a country with borders and a government and citizens and, by golly, they've even got themselves a flag. That makes you a country in today's parlance, and as such you've got a "right to exist." But here's a tip for those who don't follow history much. Every country has a "right to exist", but that right extends only as far as you can defend your country and keep it going with the ability to stop other foreign entities from taking it away from you.

Countries come and go. That's just a fact. Look at some hand drawn maps from as recently as the late 19th and early 20th centuries. There's plenty of countries which "existed" back then but are not to be seen today. They got swallowed up by invaders, or fell to internal conflict and wound up with new names, new borders, or both. Hell, the state of Hawaii was still an ostensibly independent kingdom as recently as the time of my birth. Today it's part of America. Where did it go? What happened to their inalienable "right to exist" as an independent kingdom? Anyone remember Persia? At one time they were one of the greatest imperial powers on the planet. Where are they today? Oh, that's right. They had their asses beat down and were carved up into some new countries.

What are Israel's prospects for "existing" (for lack of a better word) over the long haul? Well, at least into the immediate future they look pretty good. They've got the big kid on the block looking over their shoulder and watching their backs. But at this point you'd be foolish indeed not to believe that Israel's future as a nation is inextricably tied to the existence, power and international influence of the United States. If we continue on our current path of alienating all of our allies, demanding so much of our military that it begins to sweat and strain, and possibly putting ourselves on a path toward isolationism, they start to look a bit shaky. If the U.S. loses its place on the world stage as the sole superpower and alleged defender of the West, Israel's life span begins to resemble John Bolton's diplomatic career. The country is surrounded by national entities who would like nothing more than to see them pack up and leave, and they have antagonized so many other formerly friendly western nations that their list of allies is growing thin.

What can be done? Who knows? Don't ask me... I'm clearly not that smart. But I do believe that Israel needs to start doing a little less Bush-like swagger and military swatting and get back on a path of diplomacy first and building the relationships with other major UN members which will be required to secure a seat at the table far into the future.

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