For those who find the cultural and political matrix of the Middle East intractable, I ‘d like to put recent events in perspective regarding their trajectories.
Most in the West refuse to admonish the political stasis and the social paralysis religious autocracy engender, perhaps the left’s love of absolute power and its attendant ability to eliminate political rivals is what consumes their fidelity. Nevertheless, similar behavior dominates the actors in our latest melee. Without American resolve present, emerging actors without historical restraint are going to position themselves in politically advantageous positions harmful to long term American interests. Monday’s painful encounter between the Israeli Navy and Turkey is the first shot across the bow for the immediate future in a region already exhausted.
Turkey is determined to position itself as the leading Muslim state in the Middle East. The Turkish view their ascendancy as a return to the world stage after the demise of the Ottoman’s. Remember, the Ottoman Empire ruled for an extraordinary long time, and memory is never in short supply in the Near East. Turkish cultural trajectory was western for decades immediately following the demise of the British. Remember Robert Kennedy’s mad cap diplomacy to Kruschev in a desperate plea to peal off Turkey for Cuba! With a weak executive in the White House, Turkey revealed its wish to shed its cultural ties to the West in favor of embracing what seems inevitable: an ascendant Theocracy in Teheran.
We refuse to acknowledge an emerging Turkey or its recent diplomatic cover for the Iranians, we’re to sheepishly enamored by the ‘plight of the Palestinians’. Does anybody think this is going to end well? Intelligence agencies in Denmark, London and Tel Avi know the links between a Turkish Humanitarian Relief Foundation, Muslim Brotherhood and Al Qaeda. Can the American’s in their paralysis see through shields that provide cover for such endeavors?
Many intelligence officials, such as Bonen Bergman, the senior military and political analyst for the Israeli Yedioth Ahronoth have revealed the unavoidable strategic position the Obama administration shaped for Israel. Israel took a narrow military approach to a broad strategic problem. For intelligence officials, this bespeaks a siege mentality unbecoming Israel’s past history with such encounters, it also weakens Israel in the eyes of its enemies. Any open encounter with an enemy, especially one with a superior tactical grasp of shaping the field of engagement, weakens the superior agent. Hamas, Hezbollah and a host of other sympathizers are watching Israel and its proxy agent America. They like what they see. A prostrate Israel, a paralyzed America. Monday was round one.
Monday’s provocation was cynical, the Israeli’s behaved in a clumsy fashion fitting an exhausted people unused to going it alone. This is symptomatic of a larger picture, namely a new degree of fatigue in Israeli governing circles. But I don’t think Monday was definitive. Israel’s fatigue and ostracism will serve its interests long term. The point is political: will America stand with its allies or not? In this long war against fanaticism, neutrality reveals a weakness only emboldening Islamic fanatics. The longer the engagement is, it will develop a lethal life of its own, rendering strategic and tactical clarity lost. The West must weigh in here if it is to regain a foothold for liberty, if the peoples of such a region are to have a future.