Friday, June 11, 2010

Israel, the West, and the Rest

Wilsonianism, Neoconservativism and Realism have dominated American thinking on world affairs for some decades now, with the last of the three barely able to keep a toehold inside the Beltway. Wilsonian paradigm (to which most Europeans subscribe even without being aware of that fact) is embodied in Obama, Pelosi and the Clintons here, Javier Solana and Tony Blair in Europe, and George Soros everywhere.

The neocons include Marxist intellectuals like Podhoretz, Kristol, or Muravchik, and policy gurus like Wolfowitz, Perle, and Feith. Their blanket depictions as redesigned Trotskyites need to be corrected. In several important respects the neoconservative world outlook has some striking similarities with Stalinism and German National Socialism. Today’s neoconservatives share with Stalin and Hitler an ideology of nationalist corporatism at home and internationalist imperialism.

The tragedy of the Israeli-Arab conflict is that a problem that may have been amenable, a few decades ago, to the conventional conflict-resolution approach has morphed into a civilizational and religious dispute beyond politics. Most principal actors now perceive it as a zero-sum game.

The development of a Realist anti-jihadist strategy should go hand-in-hand with demystifying the relationship between America and Israel, redefining it in terms of mutual interests devoid of metaphysical or emotional mists. This would help Israel mature into a “normal” nation-state and help her to overcome the paradox that the state of Israel, instead of solving the perennial problem of Jewish insecurity, remains beset by it. Her real and eminently legitimate security concerns after 1948, and notably after 1967, were aggravated by the reemergence of an outlook predicated upon the premise of an inherently hostile world at large. America should grasp the causes of that insecurity from without -- by scrutinizing the structure of the Middle Eastern conflict and the nature of the Islamic threat -- rather than pander to its symptoms from within by the undissenting acceptance of whatever Israel does as her right to do, from U.S.S. Liberty 43 years ago to the Gaza flotilla today.