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« A Prospect on Prospect | Main | Free Reads -- Philosophy and Literature »

October 08, 2002

Policy break


Of course, just because I told you to check out "Prospect" doesn't mean I agree with everything in it. After browsing through it, I must admit I don't. Nonetheless, it is always interesting to have a look at the views of those on the other side of the argument. For example, take Anatol Lieven's article, "The end of the west?" Mr. Lieven argues that if the U.S. goes to war against Iraq in alliance with Israel, really, really bad things will happen, particularly to the "West"--i.e., the U.S.-European political alliance.

Israel is something of a bugaboo for Mr. Lieven. He seems to take seriously the theory that Israel, through the Jewish lobby, controls U.S. foreign policy. According to Lieven:

...thanks to support from the US, Israel has become a kind of superpower, able to defy its entire region and Europe too. This is an untenable situation. Israel is not a superpower. It is rich and powerful, but it is still a small middle eastern country which will have to seek accommodations with its neighbours if it is to live in peace.

I wonder what accommodations Mr. Lieven has in mind--jumping in the sea? Mass suicide? Conversion to Islam? He makes no direct mention of the three defensive wars the Israelis have had to fight with their neighbors during the time Europe has sat protected by American military power. He does, however, describe Israel's claim to the West Bank as a result of military victory as the sort of claim that "Milosevic and his henchmen" would have made, had they triumphed. Apparently the difference between Israel acting in self-defense and Milosevic performing ethnic cleansing is too unimportant for Mr. Lieven to take notice of.

Arab Invasion Routes into Israel & Israeli Counter-Attacks, 1948

Do you suppose that for Mr. Lieven, Israel acting like a superpower is untenable because the damned upstarts won't bow to Europe? Frankly, the whole European-American "fight" over Israel seems to ultimately derive from European resentment of its own second-class citizenship in world affairs. As the French ambassador to Britain so eloquently put it, Israel is a "shitty little country" which should come and heel when Europe whistles. (I mean, if you can't order around a "shitty little country" then what are you, exactly?) I keep hearing that Europeans believe that America really needs Europe because it needs their troops as peacekeepers when the American soldiers are finished fighting. I've also heard threats (which are repeated by Mr. Lieven) that European countries could refuse to allow Americans to use the Nato logistical facilities (which the Americans paid for and built to defend Europe from the Soviet Union) to support their attack on Iraq. Both strike me as revelations chiefly of a massive European inferiority complex and its attendant hostility.

As I've said before, it's always good (if not always pleasant) to know the score in these difficult international situations.



posted by Friedrich at October 8, 2002


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