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"America has two great dominant strands of political thought - conservatism, which, at its very best, draws lines that should not be crossed; and progressivism, which, at its very best, breaks down barriers that should never have been erected." -- Bill Clinton, Dedication of the Clinton Presidential Library, November 2004

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Wednesday, August 02, 2006


Israel will win

posted by Aziz P. at Wednesday, August 02, 2006 permalink View blog reactions
It depends on how you define "win". And all my recent pessimism on the short-term events aside, I do believe that in the long term, Israel will not only survive but even prosper. The simple reason is that Israel is free. And, there has been an inexorable trend towards increased freedom in the middle east - facilitated in no small part by Al Jazeera, possibly the single media forum most dedicated to genuine "air all views and let the audience decide" journalism in the world.

Israel will pay a price for its short-sightedness in this campaign. That price will likely be in needless deaths of innocents due to ongoing violence - a price that every nation must pay, it seems, in the simultaneously sacred and cursed center of the world. But is Israel under an existential threat?


Hizbollah poses zero threat to Israel's existence. It is a militia, tied to geography and to demography. A sophisticated one, to be sure, and one that can inflict terror upon Israeli civilians from afar due to its own state sponsorships. But remember the political cartoons in the US after 9-11: Uncle Sam, sporting a black eye, rolling up his sleeve. Not Uncle Sam, stabbed in the heart. Even a nuke in Miami would represent a wound, not a fatal stroke - we simply are too strong, their methods (being quintessentially asymmetric) are by their very nature too weak.

Remember the Blitz. During the first phase, London alone was targeted by over 200 bomber sorties per night, with over 13,000 tons of explosives and over 1 million incendiary bombs dropped in a period of three months. Sure, there were great losses of life, and priceless heritage. And yet, like the most beautiful building in London, the British remained strong. Bruised and bloodied, but all the more determined.

Does Hizbollah possess even a fraction of the Nazi machine's arms? Can Iran, by proxy, supply even the tinest portion of the munitions needed to rival the Blitz? And even if it were so, would the Israelis succumb where the British did not?

Mind you, the will to survive is not unique to Israelis or to the British. Lebanon too will rebuild. After all, they have inspiration next door:

a country noted for intellectuals, musicians, classical music concerts, raves, major publishing houses, incredible nightlife, beach parties, excellent local beer and wine, a diverse population of incredibly secular and incredibly religious people, leftists and libertarians, budding film directors. This is a country that has tremendous problems with all its neighbors. A country that feels oppressed by its neighbors. A country that has been greatly harmed by its neighbors.

There are two nations on the Mediterranean, north of Egypt, bordering Syria, that fit this description. Someday, the sacrifices of the innocents will bear sweet fruit rather than the bitter lemons that are today's crop.


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About Nation-Building

Nation-Building was founded by Aziz Poonawalla in August 2002 under the name Dean Nation. Dean Nation was the very first weblog devoted to a presidential candidate, Howard Dean, and became the vanguard of the Dean netroot phenomenon, raising over $40,000 for the Dean campaign, pioneering the use of Meetup, and enjoying the attention of the campaign itself, with Joe Trippi a regular reader (and sometime commentor). Howard Dean himself even left a comment once. Dean Nation was a group weblog effort and counts among its alumni many of the progressive blogsphere's leading talent including Jerome Armstrong, Matthew Yglesias, and Ezra Klein. After the election in 2004, the blog refocused onto the theme of "purple politics", formally changing its name to Nation-Building in June 2006. The primary focus of the blog is on articulating purple-state policy at home and pragmatic liberal interventionism abroad.