Bill Clinton adds his voice to American concern about trends facing Israel:
The missile projects have their critics in Israel, who question their effectiveness and say they are too costly. And many Israelis would probably agree with U.S. former President Bill Clinton's recent warning to an Israeli audience that the country could achieve true security only by making peace with its enemies, who he said would always be able to improve their ability to attack.He's only restating what Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have said earlier.
"The trajectory of technology is not your friend," he said. "You need to get this done."
I believe that, strategically, the status quo is unsustainable when it comes to Israeli security; that, over time, in the absence of peace with the Palestinians, Israel will continue to be threatened militarily and will have enormous problems along its borders.
We see historical, demographic, political, technological trends that are very troubling as to Israel's future. At the same time, there is a legitimate aspiration of the Palestinian people that needs to be addressed.This creates a very interesting situation where Israel seems not to act as if it shares any American anxiety about the future.
This creates a very interesting situation where Israel seems not to act as if it shares any American anxiety about the future.
This is a situation where the Israelis understand something the Americans do not. The Americans have this very naive belief that if Palestinian "leadership" - widely understood to be appointed by and to serve at the pleasure of Israel and the United States - can be persuaded to accept a peace agreement, and then the Palestinians can be threatened, sanctioned and starved until they succumb to the pressure to vote for the agreement, that the agreement would increase Israel's strategic security.
It would not. No poll to date has shown any support for the type of "state" the Israelis and Americans are willing to offer the Palestinians. A "state" without control of its own borders, barred from fielding a military, without control of its natural resources and the Palestinians would have to cede any right to return to the territory they or their forebears left during an armed conflict. The Palestinians would not vote for this except under duress, and a positive vote under those circumstances would not be regionally accepted as valid.
There would still be a large proportion of Palestinians who believe there remain grievances to be resolved, and those Palestinians would still have the support of large portions of every non-Jewish population in the region. In other words, the US would, as long as it prioritizes the security of Israel, be forced to support dictatorships throughout the region and to sanction any government that, for any reason, pursues or threatens to pursue the consensus foreign policy objectives of its population.
Israel understands, in a way that its Americans supporters will not allow themselves to, that the current status quo is the best case scenario for Israel. The moral system of Americans cannot accept the situation in Israel except as a temporary and unfortunate stop along a path to a fair resolution somewhere over some horizon. The American value system cannot accept that there is no fair agreed resolution that maintains a Jewish state over a horizon and so Americans block that fairly easily demonstrated idea from consideration in an example of cognitive dissonance.
Americans understand, in a way that Israelis will not allow themselves to, that the current status quo can not be maintained indefinitely. The Israelis do not believe that if they starve some of the Palestinians into voting to accept a Jewish state that it will lead to actual acceptance. From Israel's point of view, even if a Jewish state is unsustainable, it is better for a one state solution to prevail in 2030 than in 2015. Every year that such a resolution is put off is a victory for Zionism, and who knows? Maybe some miracle will occur that is totally unforeseen now.
The fact of the matter is that keeping the Middle East safe for a Jewish state is a very expensive proposition. A huge amount of military, diplomatic and political resources have to be expended to keep a ring of corrupt dictatorships strong enough to be balanced against each other but weak enough not to threaten Israel. US policy goals are drastically more difficult to achieve given this constraint than they would be otherwise. Balancing Iraq and Arabia would not have required an invasion and occupation of the country by any stretch of anyone's imagination if not for the constraint that Arabia must not be allowed to be a threat to Israel.
Further, the expense of rendering the region non-threatening to a Jewish state is increasing - as the US privately comes to terms with the idea that preventing Iran from gaining nuclear weapons capability is no longer possible. Simultaneously, the US ability to absorb this expense is decreasing as the relative economic position of the US and the West continues its slow but essentially inevitable decline from its apex immediately after World War II.
Fears that a nuclear capable Iran will lead to nuclear capable Arabia, Egypt and other nations are correct, as are fears that the US' ability to persuade regional countries to pursue unpopular and illegitimate foreign policies will decline until the US is no longer effective playing that role for Israel.
Americans delude themselves into believing this situation is only temporary because they must. Israelis either delude itself into believing either that this situation can continue indefinitely or or that the 100 million people living under dictatorship, the 100 million people living under sanction and the huge costs in money, diplomacy and soldiers' lives that the US pays to maintain this situation a price well worth other people paying to prevent them from having to tolerate not being a majority the way White South Africans must.