Tag: Middle-East politics

The Middle East’s cold war, explained 2017


We need the Israelis to impose their will on their enemy, the Palestinians. The Palestinians need to accept the permanent existence of a Jewish state. The U.S. government should encourage the Israeli government to do everything within the bounds of the practical, the moral, and the legal to effect that victory.

This doesn’t mean murdering people but taking steps to compel Palestinians to give up, to cry uncle, to say, “The jig is up. We can’t continue this. We need to coexist with our neighbor.” At that point, liberated from their foul, irredentist goal of eliminating their neighbor, Palestinians can begin to build their own polity, economy, society and culture.

Ironically, the Palestinians will win even more from their defeat than will the Israelis. Israelis won’t get blown up on the way to the pizzeria, but they basically a good life economically, legally, culturally, and so forth. The Palestinian live in oppression and poverty. They can only leave that once they give up the monstrous goal of eliminating their enemy.


Edward Luttwak argued the same thing ten years ago in general terms

An unpleasant truth often overlooked is that although war is a great evil, it does have a great virtue: it can resolve political conflicts and lead to peace. This can happen when all belligerents become exhausted or when one wins decisively. Either way the key is that the fighting must continue until a resolution is reached. War brings peace only after passing a culminating phase of violence. Hopes of military success must fade for accommodation to become more attractive than further combat.

Since the establishment of the United Nations and the enshrinement of great-power politics in its Security Council, however, wars among lesser powers have rarely been allowed to run their natural course. Instead, they have typically been interrupted early on, before they could burn themselves out and establish the preconditions for a lasting settlement. Cease-fires and armistices have frequently been imposed under the aegis of the Security Council in order to halt fighting. NATO’s intervention in the Kosovo crisis follows this pattern.

But a cease-fire tends to arrest war-induced exhaustion and lets belligerents reconstitute and rearm their forces. It intensifies and prolongs the struggle once the cease-fire ends — and it does usually end.