Yes, he does want the U.S. military to intervene in Israel

It wasn’t a brain fart?! After some hyperbolic, almost SPHR-style rhetoric criticizing Israel and less inflated ( — how couldn’t it be? — ) rhetoric about wanting to have done with the Palestinians, this is The Dish today:

And if Rahm Emanuel is sick of them all, one can imagine how the average American feels. My own view is moving toward supporting a direct American military imposition of a two-state solution, with NATO troops on the borders of the new states of Palestine and Israel. I’m sick of having a great power like the US being dictated to in the conduct of its own foreign policy by an ally that provides almost no real benefit to the US, and more and more costs.

Listen, I know you’re an American citizen-in-posse, but are you under the impression that U.S. policy makers would like to put NATO troops on the Israeli-Palestinian border, except that the United States is beholden to Israeli interests? … Because that’s a very mistaken impression.

AS hasn’t thought very clearly about this. Where has he read about this military solution, apart from its being a security element of a peace plan agreed to by both Israel and Palestine?

He may not have read much about this idea and its ramifications, but instead watched this popular video clip of an interview with the estimable Samantha Power … However, she doesn’t support Sullivan’s “solution” in answering this interviewer’s strange hypothetical about what to do in the case of the next Tusti-Hutu-style war … if it is between Israelis and Palestinians.

Two phrases also make me uncomfortable. One is “great power,” as though state power is something admirable in itself in foreign policy, “great powers” being worthy of respect simply for their ability to disregard or compel little powers. That idea is fireside chat in the Pat Buchanan camp of “the realists.” (And Buchanan himself has expressed admiration for state power when a regime used it domestically.)

Sullivan may just have been writing fast and I’m viewing his use of “great power” out of proportion. But the next phrase is a case study in lack of proportion: “almost no real benefit” ?! Yes, if Andrew is scheduling his breaths in between the ticker spurts on CNN Headline News, but not if he is reading the financial press about the tech trade relationship between the two countries. This provides a great benefit to American consumers, to American medical patients and sometimes to American troops — important example, here.

“Almost no real benefit” is not well-toned rhetoric for his argument. It seems this is a topic where he now possesses “almost no real self-control” in joining rhetoric to his opinions.

I hope this suggestion of using troops in the Middle East isn’t simply a result of his ego doubling down after an embarrassing brain fart. I mean, he could have just said “excuse me.” Backing the use of troops because of a razzing from Israel-supporters (who did not call him “antisemite,” as he prophesied) would be disturbing.

His lack of small-c conservative patience with the peace process is already disturbing enough. The process is not managed by Americans or Europeans (or wanna-be-American Europeans, Andrew). It can only be done by Israelis and Palestinians, reacting to each other in an ongoing dialectic, reacting to their present conditions, and impelled by their own existential ideologies.

If he is getting impatient, then I suggest he becomes less obsessed with the idea that “a total settlement freeze [including Jewish areas of Jerusalem] was essential to restarting the peace process” and with “one of the US’s closest allies that refuses to budge an inch.”

Instead, he should become more obsessed with different ways Israel can unilaterally withdraw from virtually all of the West Bank while (a) protecting its own security, (b) giving the appearance of the withdrawal being managed with Fatah, and (c) leaving some potential for a future peace process. This, BTW, would bring The Dish closer to Ehud Olmert, Michael Oren (in his personal opinions) and many of the members of Americans for Peace Now.

The true Israeli Left-liberal — the old-school one and, I believe, the pragmatic modern one — wants to dismantle settlements wherever they haven’t become Jewish cities that border Israel, not just freeze them.


4 Responses

  1. […] on The Dish about Westerners getting “sick of the the Israelis and Palestinians” and NATO intervention perhaps as Andrew’s medicine got me thinking […]

  2. […] our cynicism — even if our cynicism lives primarily in the desire to settle old debates about using war to create democracy — is a natural […]

  3. […] I assume you don’t mean the Israeli war with the Obama administration you spoke about (or your NATO suggestion, for that matter). as some kind of eternal and uplifting state of mind. I hope Israel shifts soon. […]

  4. […] could have been spent on Haiti relief … or for that matter, the Dish’s humanitarian intervention in Israel and the West Bank. Here’s a rough draft of my capsule review: Say what you want […]

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