The dovish approach didn't seem to work so well. The Israelis withdrew from Lebanon, withdrew from Gaza, were preparing to withdraw from the West Bank, but still the rockets came down. Bummer!
What about a hawkish approach? Even more fundamentally, what is a viable hawkish approach to the problem? A "proportionate" response doesn't seem useful. Hezbollah fires a few missiles into random population centers in Israel, so Israel fires a few missiles randomly back into Lebanon? Nah, doesn't cut it.
The more intense response that we're currently witnessing doesn't strike me as working particularly well either. What's the end game? How can Israel finish this war and end up with a lasting peace? I can't imagine how that can happen, but it could be that I'm just short on imagination.
I've seen a number of articles calling for the end of Israeli restraint. Fight fire with fire they say. A good example of this genre is contained in an editorial from Arutz Sheva (Israel National News.com) by Ellen Horowitz:
The Western concepts of fair play, moral equivalency, proportional response and restraint seem more suitable for a sporting event than for a war against an enemy who deems such concepts as absurd. Israel's timeout for an investigation must seem downright laughable to an adversary who would litter any playing or battlefield with penalty flags and fouls. The UN referees best pack-up and go home, because any whistle-blowing will fall on deaf ears.Her concluding sentence?
Nobody understands that better than Dutch attorney and former UNHCR official Johan Rhodius. Last week, I had the opportunity to exchange thoughts on Israel's predicament with him.
Mr. Rhodius asserts that the very existential nature of Israel's wars make the Western concepts of proportionality and restraint irrelevant. And by insisting on the Jewish State's adherence to such notions, the Western world demonstrates a lack of moral clarity and endangers itself by weakening Israel. [...]
Mr. Rhodius goes on to say that the Western concept of restraint has permeated the Israeli justice system and weakened Israel's state of security. Terrorism, by its very nature, knows no restraint: "It's not moderate, proportionate, objective or unprejudiced."
Israel best ... learn to play by Arab rules, and get the job done.But I think this last sentence is an awkward way to conclude. What sorts of actions should be taken in order to play by Arab rules? Since the Arabs (especially Hamas and Hezbollah) would love to slaughter every last Jew in Israel if they could, does that mean that Israel should attempt to perpetrate a mass genocide against Arabs? Does it mean that Israel should indiscriminately target civilians? Should Israel enter treaties and then ignore them? Aren't these the sorts of things that playing by Arab rules implies? Or is there something less horrific that still qualifies as playing by Arab rules and will somehow help the situation?
I'm starting to suffer from Stanley Kurtz "Hawkish Gloom". It's not just Israel that's in trouble:
This means that the entire Western world now stands in a position roughly analogous to that of Israel: locked in an essentially permanent struggle with a foe it is impossible either to placate, or to entirely destroy — a foe who demands our own destruction, and whose problems are so deep they would not be solved even by victory.There seems to be no satisfactory outcome possible, especially with regards to Iran:
The West is on a collision course with Iran. There will either be a preemptive war against Iran’s nuclear program, or an endless series of hot-and-cold war crises following Iran’s acquisition of a bomb. And an Iranian bomb means further nuclear proliferation to Egypt and Saudi Arabia, as a balancing move by the big Sunni states. With all those Islamic bombs floating around, what are the chances the U.S. will avoid a nuclear terrorist strike over the long-term?My current prediction, and I obviously hope that I'm very, very wrong, is that we'll do nothing of significance to address the problem - primarily because there's nothing that can be done that a civilized society can or should be willing to do - until we suffer horrific damage (nukes or otherwise) at the hands of terrorists.
Then we will no longer be a civilized society and we will be willing to play by Arab Rules.