Truthout refers today to Daniel Levy, “Ending the Neoconservative Nightmare”, in Haaretz.
Witnessing the near-perfect symmetry of Israeli and American policy has been one of the more noteworthy aspects of the latest Lebanon war. A true friend in the White House. No deescalate and stabilize, honest-broker, diplomatic jaw-jaw from this president. Great. Except that Israel was actually in need of an early exit strategy, had its diplomatic options narrowed by American weakness and marginalization in the region, and found itself ratcheting up aerial and ground operations in ways that largely worked to Hezbollah’s advantage, the Qana tragedy included. The American ladder had gone AWOL.
More worrying, while everyone here can identify an Israeli interest in securing the northern border and the justification in responding to Hezbollah, the goal of saving Lebanon’s fragile Cedar Revolution sounds less distinctly Israeli. Perhaps an agenda invented elsewhere. As hostilities intensified, the phrase “proxy war” gained resonance.
Israelis have grown used to a different kind of American embrace – less instrumental, more emotional, but also responsible. A dependable friend, ready to lend a guiding hand back to the path of stabilization when necessary.
After this crisis will Israel belatedly wake up to the implications of the tectonic shift that has taken place in U.S.-Middle East policy?
In 1996 a group of then opposition U.S. policy agitators, including Richard Perle and Douglas Feith, presented a paper entitled “A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm” to incoming Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The “clean break” was from the prevailing peace process, advocating that Israel pursue a combination of roll-back, destabilization and containment in the region, including striking at Syria and removing Saddam Hussein from power in favor of “Hashemite control in Iraq.” The Israeli horse they backed then was not up to the task.
Ten years later, as Netanyahu languishes in the opposition, as head of a small Likud faction, Perle, Feith and their neoconservative friends have justifiably earned a reputation as awesome wielders of foreign-policy influence under George W. Bush…
Israel does have enemies, interests and security imperatives, but there is no logic in the country volunteering itself for the frontline of an ideologically misguided and avoidable war of civilizations…