Sunday, January 04, 2009

Proportional Response

This morning I was treated to a call in on a C-Span news program by a viewer who likened Israel to China and the Gaza Strip to Tibet. He called for a "proportional response" and he, like another caller who accused the C-Span analyst of "probably being Jewish" were full of spite and vitriol for those who supported the cause of the Israelis.

Listen, it's been said before but I'll say it again. If anything, Israel is Tibet in this scenario. Israel is surrounded on all sides by a united group of nations who have been trying to wipe them out for not years, but centuries. To suggest that Israel, a country that occupies the tiniest strip of land in the region, is comparable to China, which along with Russia controls most of an entire continent and currently has no serious local enemies, is beyond ludicrous.

So is this idea of a "proportional response." Let me repeat what I wrote before. All of the other nations of the region have been trying to defeat Israel for thousands of years. Not get them to concede a little territory, but to completely wipe them off the map. If Israel falters just a little bit, just for a second, they could be entirely destroyed. Furthermore, these attacks that get people up in arms about Israel are ALWAYS, not just sometimes, but ALWAYS initiated by these so called "victims of aggression."

A final thought about proportional response. What do you suppose President Bush would have done had Cuba decided to lob a missile or two into Florida? When Al Qaeda attacked a mere two targets in the United States, this country responded by completely overthrowing two independent foreign governments. I wonder if these Israel naysayers considered that a "proportional response?"

1 comment:

James said...

In this case, though, I think proportionality is also linked to relative military power. To use your Cuba example, I have little doubt as to what the United States would do if Cuba launched a missile at us. That doesn't mean it would be right, however.

Israel is in a tenuous situation, for sure, but elements of their foreign policy--e.g., the illegal settlers--are dedicated to inflaming things further.

What's the solution? For Israel to decide on a de facto set of borders, establish them, and go forward from there? That has the benefit of clarity, but it's illegal under international law (and unlikely to assuage the Palestinians). How are they going to deal with the shifting demographics of their own state?

It's obviously very, very complex, and it's easy for me to opine from my secure perch. However, I think bombing runs, with their mess and destruction, are inherently counterproductive and murderous.