Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Sick Horse

If you read two things today - the first being this post - make the second A Middle East Without American Influence? by Lee Smith. Choosing select quotes to sell you on reading this important piece is difficult, as so much of it is exceptional. I'll simply wet your appetite:
In the middle of the 1973 Arab-Israeli war, Henry Kissinger airlifted arms shipments to Israel in order to guarantee an Israeli victory that for a time had seemed uncertain. Kissinger's strategic intention was to show the Arabs that as long as Washington stood behind Israel, there was no way they could ever defeat the Jewish state. If they wanted concessions from Israel, they would have to petition the Americans for it, a prerogative that made Washington not merely a great power but a power broker. By breaking the Arabs, the United States made itself the regional strong horse.

Of course, with those arms shipments, Kissinger meant to drive home another lesson as well, this one to Israel—in effect, that Washington held the power of life and death over the Jewish state and that Israeli leaders had best keep in line. This arrangement—Israeli strength and Arab weakness—secured what some have called the Pax Americana of the Middle East. After Egyptian President Anwar Sadat jumped from the Soviet side to the American one after the '73 war, our regional hegemony was never again seriously contested—until now.

Our position in the region depends on every actor there knowing that we back Israel to the hilt and that they are dependent on us. Sure, there are plenty of times we will not see eye-to-eye on things—differences that should be resolved in quiet consultations—but should any real distance open up between Washington and Jerusalem, that will send a message that the U.S.-backed order of the region is ready to be tested. And that's exactly what the axis of resistance is seeing right now.

Bingo. Read the rest. The Strong Horse is on my wish list, and it should be on yours. Yaacov wrote today of Obama, that "his lack of understanding of the world is so comprehensive he doesn't recognize that the folks feeding him data and interpretations are inept."


  1. the Slate link doesn't work - I found the piece here

  2. the info snippet that got my most attention in there is that Odierno seems not to have gotten through again.
    he is the one military who still has credit with me (on probation) but he is rarely in the news - not slick enough?
    this affair of Max Boot at Commentary "helping" Petraeus out of misleading? incorrectly reported/interpreted remarks about Israel gets smellier which each time they (Boot and/or Petraeus) chime in.
    Something's brewing and it is probably at the same time much more simple and much more complicated than Lee Smith makes it out to be
    referring to your earlier post Petraeus has an invocation "First with the truth" i.e. you may try to be as honest as you dare or as possible in a war but truth - my bet is any conflict has so many truths that anybody claiming to know what it is is throwing smoke screens

  3. Really? It works for me.


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