Tuesday, February 13, 2007
By Gabriel Kolko
"......Rivals are much more equal, and wars more protracted and expensive for those who persist in fighting them. America's ambitions for hegemony throughout the globe can now be more and more successfully challenged. Nowhere is this truer than the Middle East, where the United States' long-standing alliance with Israel, which shares its fascination with military power, has produced colossal political failures for both nations.
The ultra-modern Israel Defense Forces finally learned this in Lebanon last July, when Hezbollah rockets destroyed or seriously damaged at least 20 of its best tanks and the IDF was fought to a draw - abandoning the field of battle and losing their precious myth of invincibility. Growing demoralization well before the Lebanon war plagued Israel, and the percentage of Jews with higher academic degrees that migrated grew steadily after 2002.
Israel exports brain power to a high extent by world standards. The Lebanon war and talk - by both Israeli and by Iranian leaders - of "existential" threats to the state's very existence only gravely aggravated this defeatism and the desire to leave. At the end of January, 78% of the Israeli public were "unhappy" with their leaders for a variety of reasons......
Ha'aretz' Akiva Eldar then published a series of extremely detailed accounts, including the draft accord, confirming that Syria "offered a far-reaching and equitable peace treaty" that would provide for Israel's security and which would divorce Syria from Iran and even create a crucial distance between Damascus and Hezbollah and Hamas.
The Bush administration's role in scuttling any peace accord was decisive. C David Welch, assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs, sat in at the final meeting and two former senior Central Intelligence Agency officials were present in all of these meetings and sent regular reports to Vice President Dick Cheney's office. The press has been full of details on how the US role was decisive, because it has war, not peace, at the top of its agenda......
Israel's power after 1947 was based on its military supremacy over its weaker neighbors. It is in the process of losing it - if it has not already. Lesser problems, mainly demographic, will only be aggravated if tension persists. It simply cannot survive allied with the United States, because the Americans will either leave the region or embark on a war that risks Israel's very existence. It is time for it to become "normal" and make peace with its neighbors, and that will require it to make major concessions. It can do that if it embarks on an independent foreign policy, and it can start immediately to do so with Syria. "