Sunday, August 03, 2014

YHWH Vult?

Over at Fabius Maximums' place the old Roman has a long post up discussing Israel in the light of the recent tsurris over Gaza. He brings up a number of salient issues that make the "success" of the Gaza beatdown problematic in the long term specifically in regards to the "4GW" concepts of the difficulty for a militarily strong polity to use its power differential effectively against a militarily weak opponent.

My thought, however, on reading the piece had much less to do with 21st Century theories and a lot more to do with 13th Century history.

Specifically; that to me the geopolitical position of Israel in the Levant seems almost impossible to distinguish from the Crusader States.

Like them, Israel is effectively a Western outlier in a hostile Middle Eastern sea. Like them, it had the initial advantage of political unity and military competence.

And, like them, I look at Israel today and see the internal dissension that follows the rise of the ultraorthodox and the erosion of the conventional warfighting skills of the IDF as it acts as a domestic constabulary as modern analogues for the fracturing of the Crusader Counties and Kingdoms and the gradual decline of the military supremacy of the Crusader armies as the Western Europeans began to lose their enthusiasm for crusading and the continual pressure from the successive waves of Middle Eastern polities - the Ayyubids, then the Mongols, then the Mamluks - ground down the incursor kingdoms.

The Western powers supported the establishment of a Western salient along the eastern Mediterranean that fought a more-or-less successful politico-military campaign of survival for 300 years. But in the end, just as Israel will discover, I suspect, the problem with their geopolitical position is that they just cannot sustain the costs of survival as a Western island in a Middle Eastern sea of hatred.

So viewed in that light actions like the present Gaza beatdown are in the long term a negative for the “intruders”. They succeed in crushing a local rival only to succeed in increasing the regional loathing for the crusader state.

Don't get me wrong; 300 years is a hell of a long time. More than one "country" hasn't lasted that long. I can easily see Israel hanging on for another century or two.

But cannot see it doing better in the long run than the Kingdom of Jerusalem did.


mike said...

Good analogy Chief. Agree with your conclusions. But I am wondering about the authenticity of the first photo. What is the source? It definitely does not look like Gaza. Photoshopped maybe?

FDChief said...

The photo is an Internet grab, so the provenance is unknown, mike. But it seemed like an appropriate image...

Barry said...

Frankly, Fabius is full of it, as usual. This line is especially vile:

"Third, entropy acts as the Palestinian’s ally. It is easier to destroy than build. Israel must defend everything, while the Palestinians in the refugee camps show their willingness to tolerate a low standard of living while waiting for victory."

An imiserated people living under occupation 'tolerates' a low standard of living?

For example, from what I've gathered, Hamas in Gaza was rather submissive recently, enforcing their side of the bargain almost perfectly. Israel was in total and deliberate violation. This put Hamas (and the people of Gaza) in a squeeze, with unsurprising results.

FDChief said...

But his larger point is still valid, Barry; the Israelis do HAVE to win every one. Their enemies - whether stateless like the Pals and Hezbollah or one of the Muslim polities surrounding them - only need to win one. The question is only how many times they can tolerate the misery of defeat, or in the case of the Pals, occupation and colonization.

Mind you, as usual he couches it in terms of the "4GW" nonsense, which is where he gets the nonsense that the awful conditions in the camps is actually a "strength" of the Pals.

Anyway, I don't agree with all of his ideas but I think his main point is valid - that Israel has lost any sort of geopolitical sense; that the Palestinians were and are effectively beaten, a subject people, and yet in response to a few measly rockets and some tunnels the Israeli state and its people have gone into a killing frenzy that makes them look like bloodthirsty maniacs.

What keeps the Western support for Israel is pure sentiment; Israel has nothing tangible that the West needs or wants - even militarily it serves only to antagonize the Muslim peoples that DO control resources and geography that the West needs.

If Israel makes itself loathsome enough to enough Westerners even the elites that mold public opinion won't be able to save the Zionist project from the fate of the Crusader States. As the attraction of Zionism fades as did the enthusiasm for crusading the fate of the Zionist state becomes more likely to resemble that of the crusader states before it...